Jim Newman at the Nothing Conference

Here are some lightly edited excerpts from Jim Newman‘s intro and Q&A, hosted by Emerson at the recent Nothing Conference:


So this message is really a response to the individual’s not wanting to miss something. It has no answers to the need of seeking. It doesn’t offer anything. It responds to that need to know more, by pointing out that nothing is needed. The need is an illusion. Nothing needs to happen for this to be the unrecognizable freedom that it is already.

The experience of the individual is that to find something there has to be a certain process. The past has to be worked out. Realizations have to happen. There’s nothing that needs to happen for this to be what it is already.

This message is incredibly frustrating. But when there’s an openness, something else might be heard, beyond that need for something to happen.

There isn’t a you. That knowing experience is never true. It’s a dream. Part of that dream is that you have free will and choice, to avoid or not avoid negative or painful experiences. There isn’t anyone “in there” that makes a choice, whether or not to have negative or painful experiences.

There is never an experience of having “no free will”. But there is the revelation that only the individual, through its experience of knowing or feeling it knows what’s happening, feels like it has the choice to do one thing or another. It’s a dream. That experience falls away when the experience of knowing what’s happening falls away. The end of the experience of knowing what’s happening isn’t a “state of unknowing”. It’s just what’s apparently happening, without rules, or limit, or need to be one way or another.

What we’re pointing to is something that can’t be known. So this, what’s happening, what seems to be going on, can’t be a knowing experience. That is just the imposition of the illusory sense of separation. When that illusory separation falls away, what’s revealed, in contrast to the experience that this is conditional, is that really everything is unconditional, unknowable, unspeakable.

The individual thinks something needs to happen to bring about what’s longed for. That’s just a part of the dream of the individual, that this isn’t what’s longed for. That whole experience of separation is a dream. The idea that it has to “go away” is just a part of that dream experience. When it does “stop”, it isn’t really happening. It doesn’t fit into the individual’s need for something to happen. It’s the end of that need, revealing that nothing is happening.

It makes total sense to doubt what’s being said here. The separate experience is without choice; it will either believe or not believe what’s being said. Because this message doesn’t fit the model of the experiencer who feels that knowing, the only currency it has, will be the solution to its experience of what’s happening, the message is dissatisfying.

“Understanding” the concepts of this can lead to a certain ease and be in some ways relaxing. But what we’re really pointing to isn’t an understanding; understanding is superficial to what we’re suggesting.

There is no real past. It’s just this appearing as that. There isn’t a now. There is no real point in time to compare it to. There is just what arises. We’re talking about the end of what appears as “real”.

The story goes that there’s a contracted energy that arises in the body out of which the illusory “I am” arises. Then around that, a belief system is built up. When the “I am” seems to arise, so does the sense that it has meaning and purpose. So “my” journey is then to find and fulfill that. And to do that, I (without any choice) build up my beliefs, about what’s right/wrong, good/bad, and they are built up through experience as “my” path to find what “I” feel is missing, and the meaning and purpose of “my” life. But there is no individual, there is no “my life”, and the appearance has no meaning or purpose. It is already unconditionally free.

“Empty fullness” cannot be described. It’s not really “empty fullness” or “unconditional love” or “unrecognizable freedom”. This, what is, can’t be described in words, and can’t be known or owned. It is everything, completely unbound. To call it anything is just to put a label on it.

When you stub your toe, the sense of it being “your” toe, comes from the experience that there is something real inside the body, so there’s an experience of ownership of what’s happening. It doesn’t actually arise in the body; it arises within everything. So everything that is happening, or not, is claimed as “mine”. It’s happening to me, or not — that’s my story. That’s ownership; the individual is the owner of all experience. As long as the dream continues, there’ll be that experience of ownership. When there’s no one left, it’s obvious that there’s just stubbing the toe. Of course there’s still pain, but it’s not yours. (Ouch!)

What advice can be given? To whom? About what? There cannot be advice about how to find what is already. The individual’s in a story of becoming. The question of advice presupposes that something really needs to happen — generally a better experience so at some point there’ll be enough knowing. There is no advice. Nothing needs to happen. Nothing could be done to bring about what is already.

Continuity and predictability are the dream of the individual. The knowing energy that imbues what the individual sees, makes it feel dead, so it seeks something else. To the individual, everything is no longer the aliveness and anarchy that it is already. But “you” don’t know what is happening. Predictability is just anarchy appearing as predictability. Predictability assumes there was a last moment that leads to this and then the next moment. That’s the dream. There is no continuity. This is an immediate, singular, unrecognizable, unknowable happening.

“Awareness” is just a form of knowing. Awareness, consciousness, attention, “I am-ness”, are just contracted senses in the body that are forms of knowing, and teachings are all about knowing. Nothing needs to be known or can be known, or taught.

“Falling away” isn’t a real happening, and really isn’t worth mentioning. It never would be mentioned if there wasn’t a separate experience asking about itself. There’s nothing to say about it really.

The self can’t accept that there’s nothing to do. The suggestion here is — there’s no one to do it. And nothing needs to happen. That doesn’t mean there’s someone there who now doesn’t have to do anything. There’s just no one there.

Experience is separation, a subject-object relationship. That can only happen if there’s a real happening, and a real “I am” to experience it. There is no real happening, and no “I am”.

This is doubtless. There’s no certainty, and no doubt. There’s no position. Just what’s arising. This message is not about an achievement, or coming from an authority. This doesn’t know anything. This message comes out as the end of the need for this to be anything other than what it is.

This is a paradox. What appears both is and isn’t, simultaneously. That’s not two separate things. It doesn’t function in the world of the individual that “knows” what’s being said. And that is all there is.

There are no real relationships. Nothing really exists. There is no real here and now. And there is no reason for anything. Everything is anarchy already. There is no self, no realization. There is only what’s happening. Waiting for the “me” to fall away is the experience of knowing, waiting for another experience. A circle of looking for something to happen. What is longed for is what is already. That can’t be found, because it can’t be lost. There can only be the illusory experience that it’s not this.

The individual’s search to get something else can run into the recognition that there is nothing to get. That the situation is hopeless. But this message will never be widely accepted. It has no practicality whatsoever. Somebody who comes to it looking for something else will quickly move through and reject it. Only a few will ever have an openness, a readiness, to hear something beyond the individual’s need for something else.

Nobody knows this, but to everyone it is in some way already obvious. It can’t be known, but everyone “knows” (not the right word) it. When there’s a readiness and openness, the message just goes in like butter. That there only is what’s appearing. And that it is not dependent on anything happening. That there is no need for it to be any way or for anything to happen or to “know” what this is.

The end of the individual is the individual’s worst nightmare and fear. It doesn’t want this. This isn’t going anywhere. It has no intention. It’s not missing anything. It’s not waiting for anything to “become”. It is already what is. Questions about it are mostly about getting somewhere, because this is not satisfactory to the individual. There is no way out for that discontent, no answer for it.

If you are worried this “falling away” might lead to indifference [or nihilism], it’s because you think you have free will and choice, and that you’re really doing something now, so that if you’re not there, you won’t be able to control things any more. But you’re not controlling anything now. You’re a reaction to a reaction to a reaction, having the experience of being in control. It’s a dream.

The individual is threatened by emotions, by strong happenings. When there’s no one left feeling they have to be in control, there’s simply what’s happening. So there’s sadness, or loss, or extreme happenings, but they aren’t happening to anyone.

This is meaningless, valueless. There is no “here” or “there”. “All is one” is the dream of an individual that it will find what it’s looking for. This can’t be understood, so the individual imagines they understand what is being said, and thinks they can bridge the apparent separation as an experience and then “know” themselves as “one with all other things”. “You” will never find “oneness”. There is no separation already.

Intuition is something that arises and is somehow narrowed by the individual’s separate experience. When that falls away, intuition seems to blossom.

There is no solidity, no “real-ness” to the appearance. There is nothing behind it. It’s not really coming from anywhere or going anywhere.

The only illusion is the “me”, the knowing experience that what’s happening is real. Everything else is neither real nor unreal. It’s apparent; it’s indescribable.

The dream and the dreamer are the same thing. No one “wakes up” from the dream. There is no one to wake up. When the dreamer ends, the dream ends, and nobody wakes up.


If you’d like to hear more, Jim’s latest meeting video is excellent.

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1 Response to Jim Newman at the Nothing Conference

  1. Peter says:

    Wow! Thanks-listening now, “unspeakable”!:)

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