This profound discussion is rich with meaning–so rich, that you can feel it in all sorts of ways as you listen. We are much more than our usual, everyday selves, and it’s the experience of this reviewer that there are energies in this deep and searching discussion that feed the parts of us that want to see beyond the cares of ordinary experience, and go higher.
Although they don’t speak about the Gurdjieff Work in detail, both Fran Shaw and Whitley are engaged in it, and the power of their inner work is communicated here with often startling clarity.
They discuss a book that Fran has written, “I Am Stories” that concerns experiences at a very special retreat in Switzerland. The master of the retreat, called in the book, “LeClair,” is no longer alive, but what Fran has done in memorializing the power of his work is a real blessing. Each of the stories approaches the journey toward real awakening in a different way, and Whitley explores them with Fran with his usual detailed attention to the contents of the book and what the author is trying to say. Expect moving, expect funny, expect joyous, and above all, expect enlightening.
This is truly a work of high attention and great love, and I am so grateful that they did it.
You can reach Fran at her website, FranShawBooks.com. Please don’t pass on “I AM Stories.” It will be one of the most joyous, life-affirming and enlightening books you have ever read. To get your copy, click here. If you are interested in finding out more about the Gurdjieff Foundation, click here.
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I’ve been a fan of your podcast for almost two years and I enjoy them. But you kind of lost me with this one. The only thing that I can relate it to is the Carlos Castaneda books
where Don Juan is teaching Carlos about things like the Tonal and the Nagual. I related to these books intuitively not logically. Perhaps I need to expand my consciousness to understand what she means. I don’t know.
Shifting away from complete identification with my mind’s inner voice, has probably been the most difficult yet most beneficial thing I have ever done in my life. But I was forced into it, I suppose, as that condition was making me profoundly ill.
I can’t really begin to describe the visceral fear that my own thoughts used to generate in me… but image being scared, deeply, truly frightened, of your own thoughts. You might have an outside chance of getting away from a snarling tiger…but trying running away from frightening thoughts, when they have you cornered. The more you try to run from them, or push them away (which is the natural response), the harder and worse they come back. Part of that complete identification with mind chatter, meant that I was scared that I might not be able to control myself if a thought (against what I felt to be my true nature), arose. And the more I struggled, the more abhorrent those thoughts became. The mind can be an incredible tool… but when it turns against itself, my goodness, it can be a truly terrible thing.
When I was in the throws of it, I was convinced (probably incorrectly), that most people have no concept, whatsoever, of what real fear is.
It was one of the truly terrifying facets of OCD…and it took years of therapy (and quite a bit of my own money) with a wonderful therapist, to begin to unravel it and put things into perspective.
Now, I have learned the difference between thinking and thoughts. One is purposeful…the other is automatic, just as fleeting as clouds in the sky. One is useful, the other, generally not so much.
One rather excellent tool was Mindfulness meditation….sounds easy…but in practise was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But at least now, when an unkind, hurtful, loving, acidic, egoic etc thought pops up, I now have a distance there, so I basically have a choice whether to listen to it or not. Before, when I thought those fleeting thoughts were the real me, I didn’t have a choice…I just reacted…often destructively.
Now I almost see them as a drunk friend in the pub…I shake my head at their total insensitivity but chuckle nonetheless, because whatever is in the silence between thoughts, still loves them.
Not being able to trust the sanity and intent of your own thoughts is terrifying. I went through this in 2010 when I had a classic nervous breakdown with anxiety and depression. It took psychotropic medications and years of therapy to become reasonably well again (but I come with no warranty). Your journey took a bravery many will never need. When the mind seems to turn on you, it is truly a dark night of the soul that threatens your very ability to survive. My mind even began giving me full fledged suicide instructions. To this day, many years later, I still wonder if these thoughts were only my own or were the malice filled invasion of another astral level entity that was playing with me the way a vicious child will play with ants with a can of RAID. I survived and learned so much. I am so glad you did too.
William, I’m glad you got through your dark periods too. It can be the loneliest of times, even surrounded by those you love, so I feel for those that have or are going through something similar. It does indeed take a great deal of bravery to endure and certainly felt as if I had won a huge battle, but not without quite a number of scars, that I still bare. Although, as you mentioned, I learned a great deal from it too. Maybe that was my ‘descent to the underworld’ part of the Hero’s journey?!
By the way, my warranty ran out quite a while ago, so I just try and keep up with the maintenance, as and when necessary!
I know exactly what you mean about feeling that your mental health issues might have an external origin, I certainly felt under attack much of the time.
I thought at one point I might have the beginnings of some kind of split personality, when I was trying to counter my unpleasant thoughts with arguments as to why they weren’t true. It reminds me of a few films, where the protagonist is fighting a mirror image of themselves…it mostly just ends up with them both flat on their backs, exhausted.
On a related note, one day when my stress levels were sky-high, with my inner voice (metaphorically) severely kicking my behind, I remember putting my head down and trying to sleep but not being able to, because I could ‘hear’ what I can only describe as thousands of voices all talking over one another. If I listened carefully I could clearly hear snippets of conversations, from children and adults, male and female alike. At that moment I thought I might be hearing the voices of the dead, as if my intense stress levels had weakened the veil between us.
William, Perhaps you experienced what I did a phycological serotonin drop that happens WITHOUT major life changes- divorce, deaths, laid off etc…. no stressors needed! 2 months of clean Lexapro cured me. It was mystery- I asked my doc and colleague doctor what lead you to my differential? He said Flight of ideas and pressured speech.
So normal levels of serotonin can fall off in middle age… so take heed UC friends its not always a major life stressor.
As for this podcast… well hard to follow….
Whitley, I thoroughly enjoyed your guest and the conversation. I will definitely read her book. On the direction of the show that you have been speaking about lately, I think it’s spot on. It seems our journey has evolved into a study or perhaps even a raising of consciousness. Perhaps it was this all along.
“I can feel the love in you for consciousness.” ~ from Fran, to Whitley
My heart was just exploding with joy as I listened to this show.
“An extraordinary experience”. Oh my goodness, YES. Thank you, both!!
Above my pay grade.
Many ET experiencers and researchers miss the connection the experiences have to Consciousness and our own multi-dimensional nature. Thank You Fran and Whitley for helping to bridge this most valuable understanding.
For me, this deeply harmonized with my own spiritual practice. Fran speaks of a deep mystical space, where we all have access to. A place-space of true Unity and Peace – of Self Realization. Many don’t know that the word yoga means to “yoke” or “to unite” with our own Divinity, the God-Force that we are. It’s not merely a physical practice. Yoga asana (or postures) are only a small part of the path. They were developed so we can sit quietly in meditation (or absorption in God). I love that she said to attain the I AM state is just a matter of removing the obstructions and getting out of our own way. Truth is Truth no matter what path we may take or what Master we learn from!
Wonderful interview Whitley!
Brilliant show! Thank you Whitley and Fran.
I wish the interview was twice the length.
I love how measured Fran is with her words. She isn’t shy with silence. :0)
We are indeed other than the voice(s) in our heads.
Thank you also William and Sherbet for the life experiences and understandings you each presented above. I know exactly what you each refer to.
It’s good to know that the experience of dealing with our own minds, that happens in such seeming isolation within our own heads, is actually a broader human experience.
I’ll be purchasing Fran’s book.
Morelight, I got the impression that Fran’s silences before answering, were because what she was saying, was not actually coming from her mind.
Most of us formulate ideas, and often start thinking how to answer a question, or what to say next in a conversation, before the other person has even finished talking…but I remember listening to a video of Eckhart Tolle once (who reminds me of Fran to a certain degree) where he was saying that he very rarely thinks…to the extent that when he opens his mouth, it is not to elucidate his own ideas but rather to move aside and let the ‘true Eckhart’ answer. Almost like he is channeling himself, if that makes sense?
Most of us have no concept of what that kind of ‘being’ might be like…which is why I can perfectly understand people just not getting it…I struggle with it myself. Meditation is probably the only time the average person might have a fleeting glimps of that…but to have those gaps between thoughts as your default state of being, like Fran and Eckhart, well, that must be quite something…and honestly quite alien to the rest of us.
Yes. It seemed to me that she was putting ‘Fran’ on hold to let what is Higher in her to speak through. Or at the very least, making a serious and conscious effort to do so.
I have heard Eckhart say similar things too.
lol “Eckhart channeling Eckhart.” I like that.
…and at the extreme other end of this process of wresting control away from the dialogue of mind and surrendering ego is the manifesting of Christ, like Whitley wrote in his book Jesus. Not only did Christ speak through the man Jesus, Christ actually manifested in the material world through the aspect of personality in the human man named Jesus. We can each do this. We can each be the Christ. In totality. Eckhart Christ. Fran Christ. Whitley Christ. Anne Christ. Sherbet UFO Christ. William Christie Christ.
etc. until all the “names that were, are, and ever will be” Christ.
Another wonderful reason to listen to Dreamland 🙂 through all the time I have been listening, so many times – your show speaks. Thank you for being who you are, for Anne and who she is, and for sharing this journey with us.
God bless you, Anne, Fran and “listeners” who fill this space. It is truly gift.
I and i give thanks and praises for Fran and Whitley.
Don’t fret lists, goals and expectations. Live each day as if it’s your first.
….about to listen…..scanning the comments…excited to hear…GURDJIEFFS work is SOOO profound….I grew up near rudolph steiner school in fair oaks and discovered, studied him about 25 years ago….once you dive into it…ITS SOOOO obvious!!!
“ATTENDING TO PRESCENCE”….that’s IT,,,,,right there….akin to music……
Fran seemed as though she was channeling…wonderful stuff!
I also found so much profundity in this interview with Fran and will get her book. My partner and I have dipped our toes into one of the local Gurdjieff’s groups here, we left due to the leader weirdness but mindfulness and staying in the moment is my practice. When Fran talked about hearing the same old ridiculous talk in her mind- “no, you are not going to go there again!” wow, I am right there. Really loved this Whitley. Thank you!