A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

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KathleenBrugger
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A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by KathleenBrugger » Sat May 03, 2014 10:44 pm

Recently I went to a satsang of Jac O’Keefe’s. I wasn’t going to share about it on the forum because I didn’t have much positive to say, but a member encouraged me to share anyway. So I’m doing it.

I didn’t really know anything about Ms. O’Keefe before the satsang, other than she was a nondual teacher. I had only listened to a short bit of one of her YouTube videos prior to the satsang.

The evening started with a half-hour guided meditation, which was nice. Then Ms. O’Keefe spent the next hour answering questions from the audience. I was disappointed that she didn’t do a talk. She would have people come up to sit with her at a microphone and they’d have a dialogue for five or ten minutes.

In her responses I was reminded of some of the questions I’ve had about nondualism in the time I’ve been on this forum. There were two issues that came up for me: love and experience.

One of the people with a question was a woman who had a very troubled family. It sounded like nobody in her family got along, through at least three generations. This was clearly very troubling for the woman, as she started off by crying. She wanted help in particular with her relationship with her sister; she said that whenever she saw her sister she would start thinking bad thoughts about her. Ms. O’Keefe suggested the woman get a photo of her sister and practice looking at it while feeling neutral. This seemed to suggest that the solution was detachment. I kept waiting for Ms. O’Keefe to use the word “love” but she never did. If it hadn’t been the end of the satsang I would have gotten up to ask about love.

While talking to another person Ms. O’Keefe disparaged experience, as if experience is just a function of the brain and was, basically, nothing worth talking about. Another person got up to ask her to talk more about experience, and I frankly couldn’t follow her thoughts.

I had a few minutes to chat with the man sitting next to me before the satsang started. He was a fan of Eckhart Tolle, so afterwards we spent a little time sharing our experience as we walked to our cars. When we got to her response to the last woman we almost shouted simultaneously, “But what about love?!”

It seemed clear to me that this woman wanted to love her sister and her family, and heal the intergenerational rift. What she was given as a solution was detachment. Maybe that would be a good first step on the way to her goal, but since Ms. O’Keefe never spoke the word “love,” it’s impossible to know whether this was what she had in mind.

Of course all of this is my subjective experience of something that no one on this forum can objectively judge for themselves, so not worth much in the scheme of things. :D
Last edited by KathleenBrugger on Sat May 03, 2014 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ralph
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by Ralph » Sat May 03, 2014 11:42 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote:. Ms. O’Keefe suggested the woman get a photo of her sister and practice looking at it while feeling neutral. This seemed to suggest that the solution was detachment. I kept waiting for Ms. O’Keefe to use the word “love” but she never did. If it hadn’t been the end of the satsang I would have gotten up to ask about love.
She used the word neutral .... isn't that another word for love and not detachment ?`

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by KathleenBrugger » Sun May 04, 2014 6:03 am

Ralph wrote:
KathleenBrugger wrote:. Ms. O’Keefe suggested the woman get a photo of her sister and practice looking at it while feeling neutral. This seemed to suggest that the solution was detachment. I kept waiting for Ms. O’Keefe to use the word “love” but she never did. If it hadn’t been the end of the satsang I would have gotten up to ask about love.
She used the word neutral .... isn't that another word for love and not detachment ?`
I don't know. Is it? Explain that to me please.

When I think of what the word neutral means, I think of things like "having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features," "not helping or supporting either side in a conflict," "a neutral color or shade." This doesn't sound like love to me...sure if you were coming from love you wouldn't take sides in a conflict, but still I'm going to need to be shown what I'm missing here.
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by Ralph » Sun May 04, 2014 10:27 am

KathleenBrugger wrote:I don't know. Is it? Explain that to me please.
Well, here is another way of looking at it ..... perhaps Jac was trying to get this woman to see her sister in a different light by taking a different approach whenever she thinks about her sister . In the case of the photo, by her practicing to be neutral when looking at it instead of reacting or judging too quickly, may give her an insight that can perhaps break the pattern of how she repeatedly sees her sister.

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by beginnersmind » Sun May 04, 2014 5:12 pm

That's kind of a difficult one Kathleen, as I don't know anything about this "teacher". I know often times in neo-advaita, apathy is often equated to spirituality. Being aloof about one's experiences and the world is almost seen as enlightenment.

But if we go on the premise that underneath all of our own little self ideas, beliefs, values, etc, that our true essence is love, then maybe the exercise is a way of simply removing a barrier to this essence.

To try and look at the picture with love when one feels the opposite at that point in time might just be an exercise in reaction to the opposite. Maybe instead of telling the person who didn't feel love for the sibling to look at the picture and pretend to feel love, maybe looking at the picture with a more neutral outlook would slowly start to "melt away" the barrier within the woman to the authentic love within her.

Eric

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by snowheight » Sun May 04, 2014 7:23 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote:
Ralph wrote:
KathleenBrugger wrote:. Ms. O’Keefe suggested the woman get a photo of her sister and practice looking at it while feeling neutral. This seemed to suggest that the solution was detachment. I kept waiting for Ms. O’Keefe to use the word “love” but she never did. If it hadn’t been the end of the satsang I would have gotten up to ask about love.
She used the word neutral .... isn't that another word for love and not detachment ?`
I don't know. Is it? Explain that to me please.

When I think of what the word neutral means, I think of things like "having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features," "not helping or supporting either side in a conflict," "a neutral color or shade." This doesn't sound like love to me...sure if you were coming from love you wouldn't take sides in a conflict, but still I'm going to need to be shown what I'm missing here.
Kathleen, does love have an opposite?
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by Enlightened2B » Sun May 04, 2014 8:08 pm

Kathleen, I can't comment fully because I don't know the context that the speaker was using the term 'neutral' as mentioned above by Ralph, it could also mean love.

With that said, personally, I don't like the term 'neutral' in the first place because it almost implies a 'rejection of any kind of emotions towards that person'. To me, it's like saying....can you look at a photo and not have any feelings towards it?

And I say, what on earth is the purpose of that? Isn't that just another tactic to deny our very humanness? Like you said Kathleen, there's no love in that at all. So many in the extreme non-dual sector (mainly neo-advaita) are overly concerned with attachment to other people and their 'roles' in this whole play and they are afraid to allow themselves to love another, even a family member in fear that it will be deemed as an act of 'ego' which is just silly if you ask me.

I say, if you have a family member, then love them fully and embrace the life you have with them. We don't live in an 'absolute blotch of white' where feelings and emotions are non-existent. We fully live WITH feelings and emotions because we are human beings. We are expressions of the very thing we call 'life'. It's one thing to cling ever so tightly to a particular feeling and emotion and constantly rely on that feeling/emotion as a source of happiness towards another person/thing (like sex addicts do) as opposed to ALLOWING the emotion/feeling to be there completely and STILL feeling it fully. Meaning, you can look at a photo of a deceased family member, and STILL get emotional over it, but not suffer from those emotions.

In my opinion, the most honest form of love, is allowing all that is, to be exactly as it is, and that means feeling every emotion/feeling exactly as they come.

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by beginnersmind » Sun May 04, 2014 8:46 pm

I agree E2B, neutral has a sterile vibe to it

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by Manyana » Sun May 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Enlightened2B wrote: I say, if you have a family member, then love them fully and embrace the life you have with them. We don't live in an 'absolute blotch of white' where feelings and emotions are non-existent. We fully live WITH feelings and emotions because we are human beings. We are expressions of the very thing we call 'life'. It's one thing to cling ever so tightly to a particular feeling and emotion and constantly rely on that feeling/emotion as a source of happiness towards another person/thing (like sex addicts do) as opposed to ALLOWING the emotion/feeling to be there completely and STILL feeling it fully. Meaning, you can look at a photo of a deceased family member, and STILL get emotional over it, but not suffer from those emotions.

Love this, E2B

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by KathleenBrugger » Sun May 04, 2014 11:04 pm

Enlightened2B wrote:Kathleen, I can't comment fully because I don't know the context that the speaker was using the term 'neutral' as mentioned above by Ralph, it could also mean love.

With that said, personally, I don't like the term 'neutral' in the first place because it almost implies a 'rejection of any kind of emotions towards that person'. To me, it's like saying....can you look at a photo and not have any feelings towards it?

And I say, what on earth is the purpose of that? Isn't that just another tactic to deny our very humanness? Like you said Kathleen, there's no love in that at all. So many in the extreme non-dual sector (mainly neo-advaita) are overly concerned with attachment to other people and their 'roles' in this whole play and they are afraid to allow themselves to love another, even a family member in fear that it will be deemed as an act of 'ego' which is just silly if you ask me.

I say, if you have a family member, then love them fully and embrace the life you have with them. We don't live in an 'absolute blotch of white' where feelings and emotions are non-existent. We fully live WITH feelings and emotions because we are human beings. We are expressions of the very thing we call 'life'. It's one thing to cling ever so tightly to a particular feeling and emotion and constantly rely on that feeling/emotion as a source of happiness towards another person/thing (like sex addicts do) as opposed to ALLOWING the emotion/feeling to be there completely and STILL feeling it fully. Meaning, you can look at a photo of a deceased family member, and STILL get emotional over it, but not suffer from those emotions.

In my opinion, the most honest form of love, is allowing all that is, to be exactly as it is, and that means feeling every emotion/feeling exactly as they come.
This is really nice, E2B. I felt the same way about "neutral"--that it meant get to a place of no feelings. And I thank all of you for sharing since there's no way you can know whether I just made all of this up!

But perhaps this is about helping me get a fuller understanding of what it is to be alive and to love. I started a thread in February on love, and I talked about the definition from my book, which is "the experience of unconditional acceptance of what is." As that thread played out, and particularly in some things Sandyjoy wrote--about feeling a coldness in the discussion--it made me rethink that definition. There is something detached and, I can't believe it, neutral in it. About the same time as that thread was going on, someone commented to me that he thought a good addition to my definition was "embrace." Love is accepting and embracing what is. "Of course!" I thought. This is really how I've been thinking about life for some years now--life is an ecstatic dance of energy--every moment is an incredible opportunity to be alive and connected to all that is. For me life is more and more about using every moment to live and to love, to never miss an opportunity to connect with another person. Love your statement about love that I bolded.

And yes, it's possible that the best way for the woman to stop being angry at her sister was to start by feeling neutral. That may very well have been the best route for her to get to love, and maybe Ms. O'Keefe could see that and I couldn't. But as I said, I'd never have mentioned this if Ms. O'Keefe had used the word "love" even once.
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by Ralph » Sun May 04, 2014 11:56 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote: But as I said, I'd never have mentioned this if Ms. O'Keefe had used the word "love" even once.
... but did you feel the love in her words instead ?

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by beginnersmind » Mon May 05, 2014 12:23 am

E2B: In my opinion, the most honest form of love, is allowing all that is, to be exactly as it is, and that means feeling every emotion/feeling exactly as they come.

Eric: This is another example of how one could view non-dualism. Instead of trying to take abstract metaphysical ideas and reduce them down to a concrete numerical number (1), non-dualism can be seen as not simply a numerical number one, but Oneness.

I think there have been some very good points being made here and to be honest, I don't care for the word neutral because of the connotations it often holds in some spiritual circles where apathy is equated to spirituality. It's funny to come here and read Ralph's latest reply, because out of curiousity, I decided to watch a short clip of Jackie O' Keefe, because I know nothing about her. I actually thought it was a guy due to the title of this thread.

Ralph posed the question about hearing love in her words. As I watched the video, someone came up and asked about neo-advaita and the idea of not doing anything....well we all know the deal. Anyways, before she answered the question she kind of paused.I saw a look on her face that in my perception I would describe as genuine compassion. Though there was a smile on her face, I could almost see a kind of sadness in her eyes. She answered the person's question and I felt a lot of compassion in her answer.

So I too would be interested in Ralph's question.

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by Enlightened2B » Mon May 05, 2014 5:20 am

KathleenBrugger wrote:
life is an ecstatic dance of energy--every moment is an incredible opportunity to be alive and connected to all that is. For me life is more and more about using every moment to live and to love, to never miss an opportunity to connect with another person. Love your statement about love that I bolded.

Nice Kathleen. I agree with this.

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by Enlightened2B » Mon May 05, 2014 5:27 am

beginnersmind wrote: This is another example of how one could view non-dualism. Instead of trying to take abstract metaphysical ideas and reduce them down to a concrete numerical number (1), non-dualism can be seen as not simply a numerical number one, but Oneness.
Speaking as someone who was quite rigid in the non-dual sector, I started questioning my beliefs on what non-duality should or shouldn't be over the past month or two, and realized that non-duality can be anything we want it to be within the context of 'oneness'. We're not just a 'blotch of Consciousness' just kind of floating around :lol: as the neo-advaitans seem to imply. We're expressions of 'oneness/consciousness' or whatever you want to call it.

Non-duality is difficult to define because it can mean so many different things to so many different people.

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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Post by KathleenBrugger » Mon May 05, 2014 5:51 am

Ralph wrote:
KathleenBrugger wrote: But as I said, I'd never have mentioned this if Ms. O'Keefe had used the word "love" even once.
... but did you feel the love in her words instead ?
No. And the reason why, is because of something I haven't written. Ms. O'Keefe's first reaction was to tell the woman to protect herself from her sister. The woman reacted so quickly in surprise and unhappiness that Ms. O'Keefe changed tack and suggested looking at the photo. It was very quick so I'm not quite sure what Ms. O'Keefe meant by "protect" or where she was going with that thought. But it surprised me too, as it seemed the opposite of what the woman was looking for.

I don't mean to suggest that Ms. O'Keefe is lacking in presence or compassion. She was really there with the people who asked questions and definitely showed caring and compassion. And I'm not saying that Ms. O'Keefe wasn't expressing love to this woman in her response. What was missing was her acknowledgement that love was what this woman desired.
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