A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby Sighclone » Tue May 06, 2014 5:37 am

Thanks, Kathleen, both for going to the satsang with Jac and your comments here. Thanks also to the others who commented. Jac is a friend. She helped me through an odd period about two years after a big kensho. I did not know it during that time, but I was overdosed with oxycontin after major back surgery. It had various effects on me all of which were bizarre, including a kind of hallucination about the spirit world and lots of over-primed assumptions about random events. She called my home from Turkey and spoke to me for about a half an hour, all with immense understanding and clarity. We had communicated many times by email, I reviewed her first book, etc. And we have a common affinity for Bray, County Wickow, Ireland. Also we spoke at length at the SAND conference last October, where I met her new husband. Jac O'Keeffe is hardcore Advaita. There is no "little me" egoic self that is permanent. It arises moment-to-moment. That is her belief and experience, and one premise of her books. Irish people can be very firm (I'm married to a Dubliner!)

But they can also be immensely sensitive and caring. My guess is that Jac has a public persona and a private side. I'm on the private side and know a different character. Her life has been very unique, always a deep seeker and explorer, with beginning experiences in the world of mediumship and mystical/paranormal visual experiences...her awakening, after those times, was harsh, abrupt and deeply confusing. Her first book "Born To Be Free," is a watershed, take-no-prisoners approach to nonduality. She can be very dry. In person, in one-on-one encounters she is less abstract, but still very direct. I do know that her recent marriage was a great relief for her, and that her husband is very large and very calm. She walks a very different path than do most of us. For every five male nonduality teachers there is one female -- we need many more.

Thanks for going, Kathleen!

Andy
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby Drifter » Tue May 06, 2014 6:29 am

Hi Katie, sorry to be joining in so late in the discussion. I am the guy you sat next to at the satsang. You may remember after the talk, when you asked my opinion, I said at some point I was reminded of a quote by a philosopher whose name I cannot remember, and I'll paraphrase; 'before we discuss let us define the terms'. I really was not sure at several points that evening that I understood the message correctly because I may have a different definition of the terms, like 'neutral' for example. What I can say though, which is hard to put into words, is that generally that evening I felt an underlying coolness, maybe something like discipline, bordering dogma, and it felt detached from what I feel when I tune into spirit. What was missing for me, and Katie I know you agree, was love, the word yes, but also the feeling. When the woman you spoke of cried and talked about her poor relationship with her sister, she said 'I guess I just have a romantic view of how it should be'. Listening to her and being there where I could feel her emotion, I got the real sense that love was the seed from which her romantic story sprouted. The problem in my opinion was that she had wrapped that seed in layer upon layer of thought, and script, hope, and anticipation. She took the feeling of love and tried to define it in to a story, which got edited over and over each time it didn't play out as expected. Jac told her to drop the whole drama completely, and I really think the woman initially sensed that was not quite right, but she acquiesced in the end and I sensed an unfortunate dull neutrality glaze over her. To me the correct approach is very subtly different. Yes, drop the drama. But don't drop the seed. The problem is just the thick swaddling of expectations surrounding the love and shedding those layers is what was really needed. I hope that woman finds the love she clearly and desperately wants and doesn't try to pretend it doesn't exist just because her story isn't playing out.
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby coriolis » Tue May 06, 2014 1:57 pm

Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die to get there.

Just as there are hellfire and brimstone preachers in protestant christianity there are the equivalent in the gurusphere.

Jac O'Keefe, from her writing and videos (which are all I know her from), is one of those "hellfire and brimstone" non-dualists.

And that message is what suffices for some as does "walking in love down the primrose path" for others.

Both are, of course, extreme caricatures, but the harsher message points out an extremely important fact that might be skirted around a bit in the gentler messages:

Nobody gets to heaven without dying and when enlightenment happens (as an irrevocable life changing event) there is nobody there for it to have "happened to" -- because the fundamental nature of it is the death of the separate, inherent, un-whole individual entity -- otherwise known as "the seeker".
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby KathleenBrugger » Tue May 06, 2014 5:10 pm

Drifter wrote:Hi Katie, sorry to be joining in so late in the discussion. I am the guy you sat next to at the satsang. You may remember after the talk, when you asked my opinion, I said at some point I was reminded of a quote by a philosopher whose name I cannot remember, and I'll paraphrase; 'before we discuss let us define the terms'. I really was not sure at several points that evening that I understood the message correctly because I may have a different definition of the terms, like 'neutral' for example. What I can say though, which is hard to put into words, is that generally that evening I felt an underlying coolness, maybe something like discipline, bordering dogma, and it felt detached from what I feel when I tune into spirit. What was missing for me, and Katie I know you agree, was love, the word yes, but also the feeling. When the woman you spoke of cried and talked about her poor relationship with her sister, she said 'I guess I just have a romantic view of how it should be'. Listening to her and being there where I could feel her emotion, I got the real sense that love was the seed from which her romantic story sprouted. The problem in my opinion was that she had wrapped that seed in layer upon layer of thought, and script, hope, and anticipation. She took the feeling of love and tried to define it in to a story, which got edited over and over each time it didn't play out as expected. Jac told her to drop the whole drama completely, and I really think the woman initially sensed that was not quite right, but she acquiesced in the end and I sensed an unfortunate dull neutrality glaze over her. To me the correct approach is very subtly different. Yes, drop the drama. But don't drop the seed. The problem is just the thick swaddling of expectations surrounding the love and shedding those layers is what was really needed. I hope that woman finds the love she clearly and desperately wants and doesn't try to pretend it doesn't exist just because her story isn't playing out.

Hi Drifter, welcome to the forum! Glad you signed up. Of course I like that you confirmed my impressions. :D But much more than that, I feel like you expressed the essence of the interaction with the crying woman better than I did. I really like the image of the seed of love swaddled in layers of story. Very nice. And I think that is what some of the posters, like Ralph, were addressing when they questioned my problem with the word "neutral." Eliminating the story, peeling off the layers of crushed expectations, is an important first step to get to that seed inside. But what is the goal? Complete detachment, or loving engagement? Here is for me the philosophical issue with Advaita or non-dualism. I choose passionate engagement with life.
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby KathleenBrugger » Tue May 06, 2014 5:18 pm

Sighclone wrote:Thanks, Kathleen, both for going to the satsang with Jac and your comments here. Thanks also to the others who commented. Jac is a friend. She helped me through an odd period about two years after a big kensho. I did not know it during that time, but I was overdosed with oxycontin after major back surgery. It had various effects on me all of which were bizarre, including a kind of hallucination about the spirit world and lots of over-primed assumptions about random events. She called my home from Turkey and spoke to me for about a half an hour, all with immense understanding and clarity. We had communicated many times by email, I reviewed her first book, etc. And we have a common affinity for Bray, County Wickow, Ireland. Also we spoke at length at the SAND conference last October, where I met her new husband. Jac O'Keeffe is hardcore Advaita. There is no "little me" egoic self that is permanent. It arises moment-to-moment. That is her belief and experience, and one premise of her books. Irish people can be very firm (I'm married to a Dubliner!)

But they can also be immensely sensitive and caring. My guess is that Jac has a public persona and a private side. I'm on the private side and know a different character. Her life has been very unique, always a deep seeker and explorer, with beginning experiences in the world of mediumship and mystical/paranormal visual experiences...her awakening, after those times, was harsh, abrupt and deeply confusing. Her first book "Born To Be Free," is a watershed, take-no-prisoners approach to nonduality. She can be very dry. In person, in one-on-one encounters she is less abstract, but still very direct. I do know that her recent marriage was a great relief for her, and that her husband is very large and very calm. She walks a very different path than do most of us. For every five male nonduality teachers there is one female -- we need many more.

Thanks for going, Kathleen!

Andy

I'm really glad I went too. First I met Drifter. Second, it clarified some things about detachment and love in my mind (and that's partly due to sharing about it here, so thanks for encouraging me to do so). Thanks Andy for sharing your experiences. As I've tried to make clear, my posts are just one person's subjective experience of one event in the totality of Ms. O'Keefe's teaching and sharing. A good number of people at the satsang had seen her before and/or were taking the silent retreat that was starting the next day, so obviously she speaks meaningfully to others.

Btw, the silent retreat was five days (I think). The night after the retreat ended I had a dream with Ms. O'Keefe in it; I can't remember much about it except that she and I were going to have lunch together. It was as if she visited me to say everything's cool. :D
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby Sighclone » Tue May 06, 2014 5:36 pm

Welcome, Drifter! I also think the Jac may need some downtime...is there such a thing as nondual burn-out? I know both Ramana and Nisargadatta took long breaks.

Andy
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby Ralph » Tue May 06, 2014 10:48 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote: Eliminating the story, peeling off the layers of crushed expectations, is an important first step to get to that seed inside. But what is the goal? Complete detachment, or loving engagement?

So what is the goal ? ... I would say loving engagement and definitely not detachment ..... because detachment is to be found in the crushed expectations but when you peel off all the layers what is found is love and understanding.

Btw, you can discuss this further when you get together with Jac on your lunch date. :)
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby KathleenBrugger » Wed May 07, 2014 1:57 am

Ralph wrote:Btw, you can discuss this further when you get together with Jac on your lunch date. :)

That's right! I'll report back on our discussion. :D
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby smiileyjen101 » Wed May 07, 2014 3:01 am

Coriolis said: Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die to get there.

Speak for yourself :lol: (sorry Coriolis, it fell out :wink: ) Yay though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death I fear no evil .... (bumper sticker ending :wink: )

What a lovely discussion with such tenderly lightly held musing, thanks for sharing Katie.

It's interesting when we are within all sensory perception fields of another, often the questions we didn't know we even had in anticipation arise.

Before I went to volunteer at events with the Dalai Lama I realised and identified many of those questions in my rising excitement, how does he balance his wisdom with his joy, and also at the time I was 'balancing' within questions and perspectives here. I was aware of not holding on to my perceptions and expectations and paring it down to little - I wanted to 'feel' his giggle, mostly - and it's gorgeous, genuine, all-encompassing. I think I described it like pink bubbles that lightened every heart that felt it and brought a shining mist into their eyes and smiles to their faces. The whole audience floated out of there at the end, a sea of pink bubbles, with twinkling eyes.

When I saw a presentation by Neale Donald Walsch I became aware of the fragile, inconsistent persona energies within him, softening the power of the mighty god within with his self deprecating humour so as not to scare folks too much. I really appreciated it - the complexity of his 'balancing'.

Katie, could it be that you wanted the woman to find this 'love'?

And maybe it is from a state of neutral that we realise it can only come from us in peace, through us in peace, and not 'to us' from another.

Edit: watching an interview aware of the questions here - she says
'We promote conditioning, even though we know it creates suffering'

'Experience is worth having, so consciousness says, otherwise we wouldn't be continuing with this (mumble-correction) potential for suffering.'


I love that she also says of children, that some don't ever get pulled into the matrix (of thinking they are separate - I think my youngest might have been a good example of that - what a roller coaster ride that is!!)

Interview: Enjoyment for no reason and no person
here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbm3sJ7U5ug

Edit again on love - NDW shares that it is without condition, without need, without limitation and therefore it requires nothing in order to be expressed, places no limitation on another, seeks nothing not freely given, to hold nothing not wishing to be held, and to give nothing not joyously welcomed. And it is free.
(free of our beliefs and presumptions about what it is and what it looks and feels like)

Between that and the oh so beautifully uttered (if only I could share the nuance and timbre of and oh gosh-honesty of Don Miguel Ruiz) the equilibrium of gratitude and generosity.


Katie said: KathleenBrugger wrote:
Eliminating the story, peeling off the layers of crushed expectations, is an important first step to get to that seed inside. But what is the goal? Complete detachment, or loving engagement?

She says in the interview "it's all fantastic, the crap and the joy, it's all fantastic."

I'm moved to thank you Katie for introducing me to this lady - she's just saying 'enjoyment is a frequency that is just there outside of the cause and effect.' (regardless of the 'stuff' that's going on in the story) yum yum yum - I have to say she 'gets it' and shares it in this interview in a way that resonates for me. Have you seen this interview? Is this who you were expecting on stage?

... 'me' again :wink: hahaha I'm in love with the 'jac' character :lol: she's talking now about the Sands conference and how the 'jac' character is curious about how the science community think and discuss and explain the 'energy' Yum!!

Sighclone if she ever comes to Oz... haha we could burn it down completely!!!
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby runstrails » Wed May 07, 2014 3:45 pm

Kathleen wrote: But what is the goal? Complete detachment, or loving engagement? Here is for me the philosophical issue with Advaita or non-dualism.

Hi Kathleen,
Thanks for sharing. The only Advaita that I know is the traditional kind. That talks about 'lila' or 'divine play' within maya (the illusion). This refers to a Self-expression of creativity. A main book in vedanta is the Bhagvad Gita which takes place during a war, and Krishna (the main protagotnist) tells Arjuna to engage in the war (because it was a just one) and then gives him instruction on vedanta. I don't know how much more engaged you could get! So as you can see Advaita Vedanta talks about realizing the illusion and then living your life within it.
Of course you do need to detach (or step back a bit) to be able to see things with clarity. Like Eckhart says 'be the space' within which a situation occurs. Maybe that is what Jac meant? Can't say.
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby KathleenBrugger » Thu May 08, 2014 1:08 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:I'm moved to thank you Katie for introducing me to this lady - she's just saying 'enjoyment is a frequency that is just there outside of the cause and effect.' (regardless of the 'stuff' that's going on in the story) yum yum yum - I have to say she 'gets it' and shares it in this interview in a way that resonates for me. Have you seen this interview? Is this who you were expecting on stage?

... 'me' again :wink: hahaha I'm in love with the 'jac' character :lol: she's talking now about the Sands conference and how the 'jac' character is curious about how the science community think and discuss and explain the 'energy' Yum!!

Sighclone if she ever comes to Oz... haha we could burn it down completely!!!

You're welcome smileyjen! I haven't had time to watch the video yet but I will.
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby KathleenBrugger » Thu May 08, 2014 5:04 am

runstrails wrote:
Kathleen wrote: But what is the goal? Complete detachment, or loving engagement? Here is for me the philosophical issue with Advaita or non-dualism.

Hi Kathleen,
Thanks for sharing. The only Advaita that I know is the traditional kind. That talks about 'lila' or 'divine play' within maya (the illusion). This refers to a Self-expression of creativity. A main book in vedanta is the Bhagvad Gita which takes place during a war, and Krishna (the main protagotnist) tells Arjuna to engage in the war (because it was a just one) and then gives him instruction on vedanta. I don't know how much more engaged you could get! So as you can see Advaita Vedanta talks about realizing the illusion and then living your life within it.
Of course you do need to detach (or step back a bit) to be able to see things with clarity. Like Eckhart says 'be the space' within which a situation occurs. Maybe that is what Jac meant? Can't say.

When I first heard about Krishna urging Arjuna to go to war I was confused, having been raised with Jesus the "prince of peace," and then picking up the idea that enlightenment meant not fighting. I couldn't understand why a God would urge a human to fight (although also having been raised with the Old Testament which is filled with a God urging "his" people to fight I don't know why I was so surprised). But your explanation--that what Krishna was doing was encouraging Arjuna to be engaged in life--makes much more sense.

I agree that some detachment is necessary for clarity. If you stick your nose against a mirror you're not going to be able to see yourself well. Only when you step back and get a little separation between the mirror and yourself does your image become clear. That may well be what Jac meant. Is the truth always the middle way?
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Re: A Satsang with Jac O'Keefe

Postby Sighclone » Thu May 08, 2014 6:36 pm

Detachment implies duality. "I am detached from that." But, like so many paradoxes in nonduality, the "watcher" or the "witness" seems to be one of the stages.

Andy
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