Neti Neti: Not That, But Maybe ⇒THIS⇐? (Or: The Big Zero, Where a Life of Conceptual Spirituality Ends & Reality Begins)

Things are changing rapidly for me in 2018, both internally and externally. It’s hard to say for sure, however, because in some ways, I can only really notice internal changes when they emerge as external expressions. This may be why I am almost (?) compulsively driven to express myself—“to be creative”—via my blog and podcast (and lately YouTube channel).

I just read a passage in Charles Upton’s book, The System of the Antichrist (a book that is wreaking more changes in my thinking than any book I have read since I gave up being influenced by books), that describes how, and to some extent why, contemplation of the divine is “eternally greater” than expression. Since I am a chronic worrier (Jeff Gentry recently described worry as “wrong use of imagination”), the passage caused me to wonder whether my unceasing creative expressions are a way to avoid contemplation; or at least, if they are disproportionately copious compared to the amount of contemplation I do.

Be that as it may, one thing I have recently been contemplating (and that came up in the last podcast, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”) is the essentiality of humor, of laughter, in the process of understanding, acceptance, and redemption of the self. I noted how the one thing I was consistently able to enjoy, listening to the sorcery-soaked ramblings of my former Jake-self, in 2002, was his humor, which as often as not bubbled up unconsciously, or at least, un-self-consciously (which is perhaps why I enjoy it so much). Jake’s humor back then was often faintly bitter; but at the same time, as humor in the face of suffering, it served to sweeten and even dissolve the bitterness.

The closest I could find to a picture of the author laughing

Another thing I have been contemplating lately (though nothing new here) is the nature of spiritual teachers, mentors, “masters” and guides and how necessary they are to us in the process of our awakening to ultimate reality, or Truth, big T. This is mostly—but not only—because I continue to spend time with Dave Oshana. Dave has recently announced his rejection of the title or station of “spiritual teacher.” In his last two posts, he has more or less withdrawn the word “enlightenment” from his menu and replaced it with “⇒THIS⇐” (which reminds me of how I renamed my old Aeolus blog “This Is Not It” towards the end of Aeolus’ reign). This (I mean ⇒THIS⇐ ) seems a wise and canny move on Dave’s part, considering the times we are in, times in which spiritual teacher diatribes are becoming like another kind of STD: best avoided. Certainly, one can learn from the experience; but mostly what one learns is to practice abstinence and wait until a lifetime’s monogamous commitment becomes possible (and not by trial and error, either!).

I am at the age now in which my days of shopping around on the spiritual, or the singles, marketplace are behind me. If I haven’t found my lifetime partner or my “spiritual” sponsor by now, I would be wise to suck it up and accept I never will. (“Spiritual” is another word Dave is wisely eschewing, as I suggested to him way back in 2007, when we first met.)  Nor is the comparison between partner and soul sponsor frivolous: my experience suggests that both a sexual partner and a mentor of the “spiritual” variety—a soul advisor—are all-but indispensable in the Neti-Neti life that is pointing away from self-reflecting (Narcissistic) illusion and back to . . . Reality. To see ourselves as we are, we can’t rely on photographs or family members. We need to find mirrors that are clear and polished, that won’t simply reflect back at us our own projections, or our fantasies of what we’d like to be, but both our true condition and our actual potential.

I have been lucky or blessed enough to find such mirrors. In some ways, the mirroring has been obvious (literal), in others not. Unlike John de Ruiter, who I suppose I superficially resembled both in physical appearance and manner (while being deeply antipathetic to him), Dave Oshana is in many superficial ways a polar opposite to myself. Non-artistic, anti-intellectual, working class Cockney, bawdy, brash, unrefined, highly masculine, and a bit of a joker. Take this for example from his recent article, Laugh Your Way to Enlightenment:

Such outside-of-the-box creativity comes from my rough, raw, in-your-face Y2K-style of sharing ⇒THIS⇐, i.e. what happened to me on 19th June 2000, what I stutteringly declared as “Enlightenment”. You can make up your mind if it is Enlightenment (Awakening, Satori, Moksha, Unity, Samadhi, Self-Realisation or Nirvana or whatever it is for you), and authentic by tasting your own brew. Everyone brings their own tea to an Enlightened Other — which makes following the implicit advice of the “Zen Teacup” story an impossibility, like all koans!

My aim is to lighten all notions of the historically-serious, absurdly-ridiculous spiritual student-teacher relationship. In fact, I aim to logically dissolve the whole tradition because there can be no equality within a hierarchy. The walls of the Third Temple (modern spirituality) will fall only when the congregants are immodestly rolling in the aisles with uncontainable side-splitting paroxysms of laughter instead of trying to reach the eye of the pyramid (i.e. become Numero Uno).

(Pay special attention to that last line; we will return to it.) At the same time as being my polar opposite, there are obvious similarities, starting with the time and place of our birth (same year and country) and, perhaps ironically, Dave’s attitude to the spiritual scene in general. In some ways, Dave may be even more skeptical—the naïve call it cynical—than I am, even if he’s in a tougher spot when it comes to stating his distaste plainly, since he might appear simply to be dissing the competition. (I have a similar problem when I “expose” fellow alternate perceptions investigators such as Strieber or Levenda.) In fact, the first time I visited Dave’s website, in 2007, he had just posted a piece about the twin towers falling as a metaphor for awakening that made repeat references to The Matrix. The feeling of having found a kindred spirit was there from inception—was the inception, you might say—and it remains above all what keeps me aboard the good ship Dave, even through some heavy squalls (well OK, I may have hung out in the lifeboats for a while, but I was never far away). If I didn’t have the sense of an ongoing collaboration with Dave, I would probably have tossed out his “ET” baby some time ago, along with the bathwater of another Oasis that turned out to be more sand than sustenance. At the same time, I can’t get around (nor do I want to, really) the felt sense that Dave is—as good as his word—ahead of a curve that I am still trying to see over. It may be a journey of zer0 distance to where he is, but I still feel that zer0 palpably between us, like an 0pening I have yet to find my way through. It’s not that I want to go through it to get to where he is, but that placing my attention in his general vicinity helps me to draw steadily closer towards that opening and through it. I don’t expect to find Dave on the other side—only myself. And that’s the only sort of mirror I am interested in gazing into now—the two-way sort.

Getting to that last line: Was Dave thinking of Jake, circa 2002, when he prescribed “uncontainable side-splitting paroxysms of laughter instead of trying to reach the eye of the pyramid (i.e. become Numero Uno)”? Who knows—and who cares? Better that he wasn’t (that would only add more tinsel to Jake’s tiara); enough to know that the reflection grows brighter and clearer the closer I get to the surface of my own ego-immersion.


Dave’s follow-up piece, Spiritual Teachings Are Supposed To Be Temporary Devices Not Immutable Truths, seems to be even more on point. Something is happening here and I don’t (need to) know what it is. Only that it is.

Have you heard that a teaching is a canoe to be used only to take a spiritual seeker across the sea of illusion to the shores of reality, and furthermore, that the canoe is not to be carried after its purpose has been served? Turning this on its head, so that it can be practically understood, this means that the process to know reality happens in 2 stages.

The 1st stage is to fill up the seeker’s head with nonsense concepts, rituals and techniques (I have avoided this stage because it is wearisome, ethically dubious, increasingly attracts contempt, generally already done by someone else and nearly every person has enough nonsense to create some mental mulch).

[If anything Dave has written ever made me feel like a star pupil, it’s this. I really made Dave’s work easy by showing up with a head literally (well OK, not literally) overflowing with “concepts, rituals and techniques”!]

The 2nd stage – which normally never gets delivered in most spiritual groups – is to empty out all of those concepts, rituals and techniques. Thus the purpose of eating spiritual concepts is like the purpose of eating fibre – to create a full and effective bowel movement. [Italics added]

The passage emphasized is quite timely, as well as helpful, regarding my “Chronicles of a False Awakening” series, which I think, or hope, is showing the process Dave is describing in action. COAFA is about just how far “Jake” took his gonzo occult-shamanic-spiritual belief set—all the way to the bank, literally (wait for episode 4), and the publishing industry (to my I hope not eternal regret). If there is anything I hope to demonstrate to readers and listeners it is this:

That spiritual concepts do not facilitate an experience of spiritual reality (though they may certainly allow for psychic phenomena galore).

That in fact they only make it all the easier for us to generate a counterfeit version of spiritual reality, and so fool ourselves into thinking we have arrived when we haven’t even left the runway.

That most likely, when we are making concept-based progress, our progress is purely conceptual: we are caught in a holding pattern and are burning up our resources, going nowhere.

This is not “⇒THIS⇐”—i.e., not the kind of “journey of zero distance” Dave is talking about.

See! Every spiritual Truth has its counterpart, and the counterpart is a LOT easy to encounter. Why? For the same reason it’s easier to sign into Second Life and have cybersex with a computer program than go out and risk a real flesh and blood encounter. When we are the author of our experiences, we never need to leave the (crucial)fictional construct we have made our home.


Dave’s piece continues:

The whole point of a spiritual teaching is to take all of the nonsense away from a person’s head including a spiritual teaching itself after it has fulfilled its purpose. A spiritual teaching is supposed to be like one of those multi-hooked throwing tools (the kind with a rope used to scale tall buildings). The hooks go into the mind and then are pulled out thereby bringing all of the nonsense concepts along with it. . . . Spiritual teachings should not be loading spiritual concepts into a person and leaving them there forever – that simply weakens a person and does not help them to a better place. . . .

At one time it seemed that 50% of my time was taken with clearing up misconceptions. It’s like spiritual seekers were speaking some other language. I had to laugh (or else I would have had to cry) that spiritual seekers were ironically telling me about the nature of truth, reality and Enlightenment and yet that was supposedly what they were coming to receive from me.

D’oh! Been there, done exactly that, with Dave, first casual meet, 2007. I knew Dave was writing about me. 😉

There’s always a risk that when you try to disabuse a spiritual seeker of their prized and pet beliefs that they will react unkindly or not nicely. It’s like telling a young child that their father is not God or Superman – they might go into shock or rage.

Me again! Dave went through that experience exactly when he started asking questions about John de Ruiter:

Dave: What if John is not God?

Jake (actually I was Jason by then, so I can’t blame it on Jake): “How dare you?!!”

Bringing truth to those who claim to want truth but actually have a strong aversion to truth is a tricky problem. Consequently, I prefer to avoid any kind of discussion that asks for my opinion about a spiritual teacher or guru because in some cases the “mummy” or “daddy” figure is not only not God or Superman but leading a highly immoral lifestyle that could end up in Supermax.


Anyhow, what I offer really has nothing to do with spiritual language. What I offer is ⇒THIS⇐ . ⇒THIS⇐ is a pure experience of the present moment. When I awakened to ⇒THIS⇐ on 19th June 2000, I called it Enlightenment – but there any similarity with spiritual teachings and concepts ends. I am delivering ⇒THIS⇐ not a teaching.

I started this article intending to introduce the SEVA (Spiritual Enlightenment Virgin Assistance) Program – which supports spiritual newbies to have free access to live online Interactive Bliss Dialogues. That article will have to wait now. Clearing up misconceptions uses up a lot of valuable time – which is very convenient for spiritual egos (who by definition always seek to delay their Enlightenment).

[Emphasis added] OK, you got me. I was inspired to share these latest articles not (simply) to go mano-a-mano with my sp****ual sponsor and up the collaborative ante, but because, yes, I got excited at the thought of some of you among my AUDIENCE CULT (not you, of course, but all the others reading this) who have been sitting uncomfortably on the spectrum between rolling your eyes and squinting curiously at my ongoing relationship with DOS (that’s Dave O’Shawna, don’t tell him I told you: he is trying to hide his leprechaun roots) now having the opportunity to find out for yourselves—whether I have come another cropper or found a genu-ine . . . ⇒THIS⇐. And if you’re not curious to find out for yourself, evidently you haven’t been paying attention.

If you are feeling nervous at the thought, you may even find me in the airport lounge; although coincidentally (since it’s the only time that works for everyone), I am hosting my own (sort of free, well, by donation, and with certain conditions) meet-up events, every other Sunday at roughly the same time as Dave. How’s that for mirroring?

Hopefully I won’t be getting a SLAPP from Dave’s lawyers anytime soon. If so, they will have to stand in line.


I am not currently offering ⇒THIS⇐ anyway. Only ⇒THAT⇐



6 thoughts on “Neti Neti: Not That, But Maybe ⇒THIS⇐? (Or: The Big Zero, Where a Life of Conceptual Spirituality Ends & Reality Begins)

  1. My impression of Dave so far is that he is trying to escape from words, and that you as a writer are like a fulcrum that helps him generate sufficient force to do that. For all his humour and mucking about, underneath there is power, like a hand gripping the essence of life or essence of timeless formless knowing.

    I vaguely sense he does perceive a spirit world but he is aware that it would crush people accustomed only to mundane things, and that his persona is a form of misdirection concealing his true import.

    Not that he would readily admit this.

  2. He is trying to escape from words, or he is trying to find a way to communicate that isn’t restricted by them?

    Is force a solution to imprisonment or is the mind a Chinese finger trap that knows jui jitsu?

  3. I don’t have enough experience to answer that. This is at the edge of my understanding.

    What I am trying to convey is that what you have described here, and what Dave has written at his site, is second order method, rather than first order knowledge; like a kind of chanting, that loosens the grip of the mind, and allows the universe to come in.

  4. Bravo what an article, Jasun, totally fascinating. I like your honesty in the blog post, and you were very clear in your thinking about yourself and about Dave Oshana. It sounds like you were a bit loathe to admit “At the same time, I can’t get around (nor do I want to, really) the felt sense that Dave is—as good as his word—ahead of a curve that I am still trying to see over.” It is a power play in the mind that spiritual seekers get caught in–if we are already enlightened (so they say) we don’t NEED to seek, but we don’t EXPERIENCE reality as if we were enlightened so why pretend? I, too, feel that Dave is ahead of me and yet, the capacity to be there living life => THIS WAY<= is also inside me. I also applaud your challenge to your blog readers to attend one of his events for FREE through his new SEVA program–what have they to lose? …Perhaps nothing except maybe their illusions! wahaha

    • Thanks Heidi, for jumping in and amp-ing the signal. I think it’s something of a balancing act to both remember that all truth is within us while allowing for a need for an external reference point, or mirror, to help us isolate it and magnify until it becomes more and more experiential. I feel like I know my readers (some of them) enough to know that they have a tendency to want to “do it alone” and reject the whole notion of an external figure or person to guide us. I was that way also, & one reason I am sharing my past adventures is to indicate how wrong I was about that. I wish I had run into Dave in 2002, when we were frequenting similar neighborhoods (esoteric bookstores in the West End). It might have saved me years of “bad spiritual posturing”!

      On the other hand, it would have been so easy and natural for us to have met then, since I was making a documentary about the illusory nature of reality and asking for possible subjects in Watkins, who knew Dave! So I have to accept also that my path of trying to do it alone was what I needed to get to a place where I would be suitably defeated to acknowledge a true “master” when I saw one.

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