LU interview with guide John
1. What is the story behind the name John? Where does he live, what does he do, what music does he listen to, does he have a hobby?
I’m from the north of the UK. Right now, I mainly sit and watch the tadpoles get fatter in the pond. In recent months, I’ve been learning to sketch - mostly faces, or animal skulls as they’re sometimes known. It continues to be a fascinating exercise in perception - the distortions (long faces), deletions (missing ear), and generalisations (the lips really don’t look like that).
2. Could you tell us more about your path before LU? How did the search begin, what was wrong? What do you wish you knew before starting out as a seeker?
Briefly, it started with Jim Morrison, which led to Kerouac, which led to The Dharma Bums, which led to Zen, which led to being in a Zen class for several months, and then part of a Tibetan Buddhist group. Then several years of qualification in NLP, before being invited to join an intensive spiritual group for several years working with perception, emotion and relationship.
It wasn’t so much that anything was wrong, I just wanted to get to the bottom of myself, and thereby, to understand life more clearly. It felt like being a puppet in someone’s else’s show.
I think anything I learned later would have been rejected out of hand by my younger seeker self - typically of seekers, I wanted to have my cake and eat it, to be enlightened and still be me.
3. A few words about your thread? Do you remember what beliefs you came with and what you found out at the end?
I arrived at LU as a pre-lib (as it was so termed then). I woke myself up. :)
Briefly, what happened was (prior to knowing anything about advaita, no self, LU etc) one day, completely out of the blue, I stopped wanting to do anything. I had a lot of projects on the go, business stuff, and suddenly I just couldn’t be arsed with it. Thing is, I wasn’t down or depressed. I was actually very contented, but as a couple of weeks passed like this, something had to be done.
I did Google it (as you do) but apart from ‘mid-life crisis’ which it wasn’t, nothing came up of interest. I can’t remember what route took me there, but eventually I started watching early videos on Conscious TV. At that time, they spoke with fairly everyday folk that had experienced a realisation about self, which they were calling ‘no self’. After one such video of a fella talking about it, I had a very strong notion that there was something in this.
Once that had happened, and I’d set the outcome, ‘to penetrate the apparent self’, I realised I already had all the tools from my previous years of training. I remember thinking “I know precisely how to do this.” Took about an hour.
Following that, I saw a Batgap interview with Elena and Ilona, and found LU that way. Rick didn’t look convinced :) but I liked their down to earth approach.
4. What would you say the Liberation Unleashed process is exactly? What is it that happens in all these thousands of conversations?
First of all, each guide is different, to an extent guided by their own knowledge/realisations. I also think the LU process could be better framed. So rather than ‘see there is no self’, maybe ‘see that the story of you, is not you.’ Fortunately, LU has enough flexibility that I’ve been able to guide to this other frame.
In general, what happens is that a client arrives with a set of understandings, expectations, desired outcomes framed by their previous training/teaching/study. They think LU is a spiritual deal, because they (for example) are from a buddhist background, but really this inquiry is TECHNICAL not spiritual. And that should help blow the spiritual baggage to one side.
My approach is generally to work directly with perception and emotion rather than exercises.
First of all, the client starts to get some distance between themselves and their story of who they are. They start to see the story, and how a name has helped fuse the story into an apparent being with agency. As that distance grows, the identification thread wears away, until one day, when the conditions are ripe, it breaks.
At that point, the client is no longer their story of who they are. That is an awakening to seeing who I’m not. And for many, the story of myself was quite inhibiting, claustrophobic even, so being free from this can be a huge relief, it may present a feeling of spaciousness and so on. But it varies, there’s no telling what the response will be.
5. Some may say that seeing that there is no separate self is a nihilistic approach to life, that it is denying personal experience. What would you say about that?
As mentioned above, I don’t see it as ‘there is no separate self’ - the question is moot. The point is that ‘self’ is an effective story/perception to which we’ve identified, and thus ‘be come’. This is the error, if you like. So, from my view, there is no nihilism because nothing is lost, there’s just been a minor adjustment to the workings. Any client having a nihilistic reaction has got the wrong end of the stick.
6. How are your relationships with friends and family now that you are approaching life with a deeper view? Have things changed at all? And what would you say is the biggest difference in how you lived before this realization and how you live now?
This changes day by day - it is literally a way of life. All relationships change because they are no longer relationships between humans running a story engine - at least from my side. So I tend to see myself and the other as a complete stranger, and see what happens.
Now, I’m not going anywhere, the horizontal plane has become one of depth. The biggest change has been how being ever more conscious has led to an ever greater participation with life, of life - a complete revelation and joy.
7. For how long have you been guiding in LU and how many threads have you guided?
Nearly 8 years, with periods in and out. Don’t know how many threads, probably mid-100’s, with around 40 ‘through the gate’ - tend not to keep track these days.
8. Why a guide and not a teacher?
Guide is a relational context that supports a dialogue - you walk along together, prompting, probing, challenging. As a guide, you can Iearn a lot from every interaction, this is the value in the transaction for the guide.
9. Could you tell something to those who have fear and postpone their exploration in LU?
Sure. The fear is always understandable because it is based on a perception of what may come about at LU for them. So in the first instance, they could start their own inquiry to get some clarity on this: What is it I am thinking may happen here?
Or as a great trainer of mine would say: How am I seeing this, such that I react in this way? - And then, you can work with that.
10. What are the most common expectations and misconceptions you have to deal with when guiding?
No self. “I want to see through no self” or “…the reality of no self” etc etc. An alternative frame for inquiry is: can I see the story of myself, and how it plays out experientially (voice in head, looking from behind eyes, familiar feeling in chest), and then see - more and more - that I am not this story of myself, at all, nor ever have been, or ever will be.
So one of the keys is having a clear technical doable outcome - rather than some fluffy spiritual goal.
11. What would be your advice for those who completed LU process and had the realisation?
Set your intent on becoming ever more conscious, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.
12. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything you want to share?
Only to thank you Luchana for the questions; and Ilona and Elena, for their long hard work of setting up LU, and fighting endless battles along the way :), which I’m sure has made them both stronger. Also, to thank all the other guides, which have been useful to share with, watch and learn from. And finally, to thank all the clients I’ve had the privilege to work with over this period - it’s been a discovery and a joy.
And if anyone enjoys a fun spiritual adventure, have a read of The Faun’s Apprentice: The Battle to Discover Who You Are.