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Another fine title from Julian Noyce's Non-Duality Press -- http://www.non-dualitypress.com/ -- is brought to you. Julian finds some great books. Who would've published this stuff if Julian hadn't come along? Okay, enough sucking up to Julian. But in all the years I've been introducing his books to this readership, I never mentioned the man behind the books.
The Light That I
Notes From the Ground of Being
J.C. Amberchele is the pseudonym of a man who found freedom, real freedom, during the long prison sentence, which he is still serving. This freedom is the same liberation or enlightenment that so many of us are seeking, but we seek within the framework of a life where we can have access to all the paraphernalia of the spiritual search and the apparent comfort that money can buy. If you are reading this, you probably have an inkling that the real freedom which Amberchele talks about is something different and has no relation to the external freedom that most of us enjoy.
The 'experiments' he used before his radical shift in perception seemed, in his own words "... crazy and childish, but I gave them a try. And there it was, as plain as day'. The Light That I Am is no mere prescriptive rehashing of techniques, it combines fascinating biographical material with uniquely accessible insights into the nature of who we really are and how a person continues to function after everything has changed and yet nothing has changed.
Foreword by Richard Lang
Afterword by Douglas Harding
"This book is a collection of articles based on the insights of the English philosopher and spiritual teacher Douglas Edison Harding."
About the Author:
J.C. Amberchele was born in
Excerpt from the preface, by the J.C. Amberchele
Whatever idea I've had about how things work in this world hasn't gotten me far, considering I've spent more than twenty years in prison. Most of my beliefs I acquired from my father and from John Wayne, and anything that wasn't ultra tough and ultra cool was to me ultra embarrassing. In fact, I lived in a state of near continuous embarrassment, never measuring up to the ridiculous standards I had accepted without question, applied to a framework of expectations I and no one else could meet: how I should act, how others should treat me or otherwise comport themselves in my presence, how the days and months and years should unfold in my favor.
Needless to say, I became the poster boy for control freaks worldwide. And like all control freaks, I carried beneath a facade of polished strength a sense of hollowness and doom , ever waging the war between who I thought I should be and who I thought I was. In a haze, I self-destructed over and over, taking others with me.
And then years ago, already well into this prison sentence, I happened to watch a PBS Bill Moyers interview with Joseph Campbell, and I decided to try meditation. It was difficult at first, what with the crowds and the noise and the routine in the cellblock, but I soon discovered that during meditation I had few expectations, of myself or of others, as if there were no others. It was a place of no standards and no embarrassment, a refuge where I no longer had to assert my misguided will. And except for the rare glimpse on drugs or during moments of life-threatening stress in my long criminal career, it was the first time I had truly noticed myself, that bare attention of "I am" at the center of awareness that, it was now obvious, had always been there.
The mystery from then on, became a question of how this "I" had orginated and from where it continued to spring. The old way of thinking, that I could be a separate consciousness in a separate mind and body, was far too painful to accept. This was the way I had been taught, the way of my father and of everyone else by whom I had measured myself; this was the way of contraction and confrontation and endless self-torture. There had to be another explanation.
This led to six years of obsessive reading. I wanted to investigate the unspoken hunch I had had since my LSD days in the Sixties, one that had previously manifested as fear, and one that had been resurrected during the Campbell interview: namely, that all the major religions carried at their root an identical message, one so clear and so basic that words were unnecessary for its realization. I suspected that my perception of the world and my so-called place in it were illusory, that reality wasn't what I and most everyone else had thought. It was as if humankind were the recipient of a hoax the universe had conspired to play on itself. And it was clear that my life thus far had been a fight against the revelation of this knowledge, holding on, as it were, to the lies I had been handed, lashing out to avoid the truth.
I read Buddhist texts. I read Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. I read all I could find on the Christian mystics. I devoured Hafiz and Rumi, then launched myself into the work of the great Indian sages. I found Wei Wu Wei, then returned to Buddhism and dug in for the long haul. I was determined to sort this out, this mystery at the heart of the matter.
And then one day I read an article by Douglas Harding about his so-called "headlessness," and something snapped. Seeing Who we are, Harding pointed out, was elementary, so easy we miss it, and in failing to recognize it we erect philosophical and religious structures of monumental proportions, thereby concealing it all the more. And all the while it is right Here, closer than close. ... The message was clear: "We can't see It because we are It," and the implications were mind-shattering.
The Light That I
Notes From the Ground of Being
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