The next two issues that I edit (today's and Tuesday's)
will primarily be devoted to one of the founders of Nonduality
Salon, a pioneer in both online nonduality and real life communal
We begin with a recent article from David posted to his
Reddit nonduality group athttp://www.reddit.com/r/nonduality.
This will be followed by Part One of an interview with David,
along with photos. In Part Two we'll conclude the interview and
show you more photos.
There is an image of hackers in the movies as bad
characters or evil geniuses who can unlock even the most secure
computer systems, and to defeat them you need a white-hat hacker
on your team who can do the same.
However, within the computer community, the term “hacker”
is generally a term of praise. Good hackers are heroes of
resourcefulness. Computer hackers can cobble together programs to
do just about anything out of parts of other programs. The whole
open-source movement was created by hackers who were less
interested in making money than in providing valuable programs to
the hacker community. Linux is the hacker’s operating system. I
speak as a computer programmer, for whom there is nothing more
satisfying than a good, ingenious hack.
Do-it-yourself hackers can hack together a robot out of a
Roomba vacuum cleaner, a Kinect game controller, a raspberry Pi,
and some open source control programming.
Musicians increasingly are hackers of sound, cobbling
together remixes and mashups using GarageBand and ProTools.
So what is a spiritual hacker?
If a person wants to put together a coherent, meaningful
spiritual life, and if they don’t want to go down the line with a
mainline church, or if they are a refugee from organized religion,
then they can now go the hacker route.
Spiritual hackers can cobble together a spiritual framework
for themselves out of the plethora of ideas, discussions,
articles, posts, tweets, facebook groups, and so on that are
Just because you are a smart person, steeped in technology,
doesn’t mean that you can’t have a deep spiritual connection. Just
because your rational brain rejects what you see as the
mythologies on the trashheap of spiritual history, doesn’t mean
that you can’t construct a viable alternative.
There are many paths to God.
The hacker’s path is now, at this time in history, the one
to watch. And NonDuality is the spiritual hacker's Open Source
photo: David Hodges in hat. Vermont during the building of
Interview with David Hodges
The following questions come from each of the Highlights
editors, Gloria, Mark, Dustin, and Jerry:
Q: How/when did you experience nondual
awakening/insight? What was your
spiritual background or reading/research on the topic?
It was in the spring, around 1999 or 2000. I had driven
about 45 miles from
my home to visit my mother, who was ill. I was in my car,
on my way home,
Madonna’s “Ray of Light” on the CD player, when something
gave way. It was
like a balloon popping and suddenly the skin of my small
self wasn’t there.
Instead everything was just happening on its own - the
landscape on the
side of the highway rushing by, the music flowing from the
my hands, looking strangely foreign, on the steering wheel.
I stayed in an expanded state for several days. When I
slept I had lucid
dreams. Everything had flipped. The world was full of
self, while inside
me was just emptiness. It was glorious to just take a walk
and feel that
the trees had awareness and that everything was made from
This was a big deal in my life and a lot of things changed
for me after
In answer to the second part of the question, I was raised
a Christian but
had become interested in the NonDual approach when I read
“Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics” in high
school (except I
didn’t know the term NonDuality then). I considered myself
seeker for years. I started meditating in my 40’s and found
state pretty quickly, and felt energy moving in me when I
the Internet came along I discovered some kindred spirits
in the Kundalini
mailing list, among them Jerry Katz, Harsha Luthar, Berit
many others, and was one of the first to jump with Jerry to
Salon group. I learned a lot about self-inquiry then. Jerry
during that crucial period when I walked around asking
myself “Is this I
AM?” I would come to awareness with this question in mind a
hundred times a
day. And it was then that the experience in the car
happened that pretty
much ended my spiritual seeking, but led to other things
opening up for me.
Q: How has your investigation evolved?
It’s a paradox. I just don’t believe my personal self is
anymore, yet the Self that is the Absolute (Atman in
Brahman) insists that
I keep working on the personal self. It’s a continual
impermanence and downright inadequacy of the personal self
shoved in my face. I suffer when I don’t get it or resist
I keep getting nudged to move in the direction of devotion.
Devotion is a tough one for Americans but very familiar to
those who were
acolytes of a guru. How can a Western NonDualist practice
the yoga of
devotion (bhakti yoga) without a belief in a personal
creator god? That’s
my paradox right now. Because in my heart of hearts I feel
a lot of praise
Q: What does surrender mean to you?
Surrender means “No Resistance”. When faced with
oppositional energy from
someone or some situation I try non-resistance, the way a
might. Then the oppositional energy often is deflated or
Surrender also means I stopped having anything to prove. I
to perfect myself. I prefer to be whole, with a lot of
flaws, then to
aspire to perfection, which is a recipe for making oneself
Surrendering the personal will means opening up to the
manifestation power of the universe. So many things have
manifested for me
at the right time, that trying to exert will to make them
Q: How do you feel that nondual insights have affected
the machinations of
your daily life, particularly with respect to how you
handle conflicts in
your work life and interpersonal relationships? Is there
a way that you
bring your nondual insight to bear in your interpersonal
Since I came to know that there is nothing to defend, I
defensive in conflict.
Since I came to know that there is nothing to be made
perfect, I stopped
trying to be right in an argument.
But, I muck about in relationships like everyone else I
guess. I am
learning to be more open, more honest, to communicate my
needs better, but
I am still an amateur at that.
I think that since my NonDual realization I have become
more conscious of
love. Not romantic love, but love as a basic flow between
me and just about
everyone I come in contact with. I mentioned devotion
previously. I think
in the NonDual sense, Devotion means following the love
energy. But that
doesn’t mean all relationships are hunky dory. Living in
don’t always get the best side of people. And you accept
the fact that they
are going to see you at your worst from time to time.
stuff, baggage, button-pushing - yeah, all that happens to
me and to my
community-mates. But also good communication, sharing,
together, laughter, trust, caring.
David's Facebook page will
draw you further into his life, his writing, his photography,
and his spirit: