The essential message of radical non-duality, as opposed to more historical types of non-duality, is that there is no ‘you’ — no separate person or thing, no self, no ‘awareness’ or ‘consciousness’ or ‘enlightenment’ or liberation, no self-control or choice or volition or agency or responsibility, no time or space, no life or death, no path or process to get closer to the ‘truth’, no knowledge or experience, no meaning or purpose. ‘You’ are an illusion, a “psychosomatic understanding” that evolved accidentally in the brain, a “useless piece of software” that is not needed, and the absence of which changes nothing. All there is is nothing appearing as everything.
This is not a teaching, nor is it spiritual. It is a message, an attempt to illuminate this understanding. Apparently, that illusory self can seem to fall away, and all that is left is everything. But there is no process for making it happen or even making it more likely to happen. You can get a pretty clear conceptual understanding of this message, but that doesn’t get ‘you’ anywhere. ‘You’ are separation, duality.
It is possible for ‘glimpses’ to happen — the self appears to fall away for a while, revealing the truth of this message, revealing, amazingly, everything as it really is, but then the self comes back. When that happens the self is left in a kind of limbo — it knows intellectually and intuitively that it does not exist, but it has no choice but to continue to navigate its apparent life and world as if it and they were real. That is where ‘I’ am ‘now’.
Tony Parsons and Jim Newman have made many videos of their meetings, available on YouTube. They both say that there is no longer a Tony or Jim, and in fact there never was. ‘No one’ makes these videos and ‘no one’ attends the meetings. But there seems to be something in the character known as Tony or Jim with a predisposition to present this hopeless, uncompromising message, and discuss it with whoever is interested in doing so. They prefer the dynamics of meetings and videos over essays or books about the message, which tend to be dry and lack the useful interactivity of the meetings’ Q&A format.
Some people have told me that while they’re interested in the message (which seems more and more aligned with the latest learnings in neuroscience, quantum theory and astrophysics, and consistent with the ideas of several modern philosophers), they can’t bear watching or listening to recordings. So for them I have made lightly-edited transcripts of the opening remarks from three of Tony’s recordings:
- 2012 meeting: Original audio here. My transcript is here, part of a blog post which also discusses what were perhaps ‘glimpses’ in ‘my’ apparent past.
- 2018 meeting: London, June. Original video here. My transcript is here.
- 2011 meeting: Original audio removed. My transcript is here.
I’m working on transcripts of parts of Jim’s meetings too. I attended Tony’s meeting in Wales in the summer of 2017, and Jim’s in Vancouver last October (2018).