Thursday, January 31, 2013

You Are None of These Things: Guest Teaching by Kenny Johnson


We have a Kenny Johnson double-header today that I know you're going to enjoy.  The story behind this post is pretty funny, so I'll share it.  Some months ago I was emailing back and forth with Chris Hebard of Stillness Speaks, and I mentioned I'd like to get Kenny to be a guest for Awakening Clarity.  Chris said, "Well isn't that funny?  He's staying at my house right now!"  I asked Chris to pass along my request, he got a go ahead from Kenny, sent me his phone number, and here we are.

But of course I'm going to do some talking before we get to Kenny's post...

I have two people I want to tell you about.  One is a brand new friend who's just come to know his true nature, and the second is Don Wolfe again, who sent in a further "field report."  You may remember that I talked about Don's Direct Pointing Session with me, and his subsequent awakening in the last issue of AC.

New guy first.

My new friend is a former Zen Monk.  I won't tell his story other than to say that he contacted me, as most people do, out of frustration.  We exchanged a couple of emails and set a date for his Direct Pointing Session.  When that time arrived, it turned out that Skype wasn't recognizing his webcam.  I've found that my having visual cues to help me judge what the client is, or is not understanding is really important, so I much prefer Skype over audio.  But at this moment we had to either go with audio, or nothing, and I chose to march on without visuals.  I'm glad I did.

As we went through the inquiries I kept probing to see if my friend was "with me" or not.  Every time I asked if he was understanding my request I got a yes.  Every time I asked for his response to a specific part of the initial inquiry--which is experiential versus intellectual--I got the best answer available.  There's no right or wrong to the inquiry, but the answers tell me whether the client is, or is not beginning, in essence, to fall into their true nature as we talk.  To my blind ear it sounded like he was doing great.

Then, near the end of the inquiry, when I had him open his eyes, I instantly lost him.  He had moved from identification with his full being to identification with the human being, but he was smart and honest enough to tell me what was going on. This moment of reduced, or contracted identification can be a tricky spot; some can't move beyond it, especially with their eyes open.  We cue so heavily on our vision, that we're loathe to relax it.  But in this case I simply brought the client's attention to what he was doing--in other words I pointed out his base error--and asked him to correct it.  I directly asked him to identify with his full being.  That snapped the "divine hypnosis," and it was over.  As fast as I had lost him, I had managed to pull him back, and he immediately bounded through the Gateless Gate all on his own.  He's still on the other side.
I heard from him last night (Monday) and here's what he had to say:

"Fred,  I deeply enjoyed meeting with you. I am doing well. I have felt quite clear.

I had an interesting occurrence that evening. I was thinking about the inquiries we did when I heard a "pop" (literally) and the knowing of the existence of awareness beyond/before/after birth and death became "embodied" for me. A calm knowing. This feels steady. This was quite simple and obvious.

I'm able to identify as the sense of presence (as I remember you saying). For this I feel it would be useful to meet again (if that was acceptable to you).  Thanks again!"

My friend and I talked about language after he woke up, and we've agreed not to outlaw personal pronouns!  Don't be fooled, though.  When he says "I" he knows precisely what he's saying in every case.  We're going to meet one more time on Friday.  He wants to make sure he's grounded.  And that should do it for him. I'm not saying the journey is over for him, but I'm saying my part of it is over.  I've found out that I'm quite a good alarm clock for waking people up out of the dream, but I'm not much of a hand holder after that. It just doesn't interest me.  That's one of the reasons that I've dialed back my teaching practice, although it's not the only one.


One more report for you.  I think it's so important that readers really get it through their heads that awakening is for real, and that it is, in effect, teachable.  A more accurate way of saying that is that it is pointable. I tend to harp on this, because there was a time some years back--even after I'd had a glimpse of truth (which I was desperately trying to mentally write off)--when I began to wonder if all of this wasn't a bunch of hooey.  A very well known spiritual teacher confided in me some time ago that he'd once felt the same way, too.  I doubt we're the only two who ever thought that.  Well, we were wrong.

This next bit is from Don Wolfe, who kindly sent it in last night:

Hey Fred,
Everything is just as we left it---no clinging, no fireworks, just Clarity.  For a lifetime led as a nut-job, this is really extraordinary!  I just got back from Florida (where most people sound like you, by the way!) [he's referring to my Southern accent], and there is simply this presence, with no compulsion to do or accomplish anything in particular.  I used to have trepidations about traveling and leaving my “comfort zone”, but there is now the seeing (by no one) that everything is fine just as it is, because it is as it is, by definition.  There’s really no desire to wax philosophical or speak a great deal about this experience, because its main components seem to be deep stillness and acceptance of what is.  Summing up:  No more tilting at (self-created) windmills!
Thought you’d like the update.
Love and Peace,


I just this morning (Thursday) had a successful DPS with a woman in North Carolina.  I'll find out in the next little while if I can use her name, or not.  It turned out that this woman, who like me is not a youngster any longer, had a spiritual experience when she was in the 7th Grade.  Completely off the cuff she gave me as clear a description of the Void as language will allow.  Conditioning swept in right behind that, however, and she hasn't consciously known who she was during all the ensuing years.  Until today.  More later.


When I talked to Kenny Johnson on the phone, that laughter I'm so familiar with from his videos boomed out at me.  It's totally infectious.  And when I read the post he's written for us, I felt the very same way.  Wow!  It, too, is totally Kenny, and totally infectious.  Here's a guy who spent much of his life as a ball of total resistance, and as a result he spent a lot of time behind bars.  Now his life is spent speaking and teaching freedom.  I'm so happy for Kenny.  And I'm so happy that you get to read this today; it's beautiful and straight from the Big Heart.

You Are None of These Things


Kenny Johnson

"Kenny you think you are a black man.  You think you are the father of your child.  You even think that you are a prisoner.  Kenny you are none of these things."

When these words were spoken to me by my teacher and guru, Gangaji, in the fall of 1994 in federal prison, they made little sense to me.  But yet these very same words were and are filled with truth.

My mind was grinding to a halt on that fateful day as I contemplated what this illustrious woman said to me. 

“I am black, I am in jail, I do have a daughter," my mind said in defense of such a statement.  Yes, there was momentary resistance to what Gangaji said but also there was a surrendering that was happening on a deeper level.

This internal battle was similar to the battle-field that Krishna wanted Arjuna to enter into [in the Bhagavad-gita].  The young Arjuna was faced with fighting with his close relatives. Here I was faced with the same challenge. Being black was very near and dear to me. Having a daughter was a sacred relationship. Now here this beautiful woman was saying that I was not to hold onto any of these precious and seemingly real facts. “My body is real, my daughter is real, my serving a parole violation for forgery is real.”  The protest went on.  Marching headlong in to this mystery.

So there I was later on, after Gangaji and her entourage left, lying in my prison bunk at midnight contemplating being none of these things. The battle raged on all night long in the form of me; simply witnessing so many thoughts raging past my mind's eye and all I could do was let the raging river of thoughts flee in the face of this eternal Truth Gangaji spoke earlier that evening to a convict who was not a convict?

Upon arising from a light sleep that was not a sleep I found that my mind had been transformed. There was no longer a marching into this mysterious place, happening but a simple witnessing, looking, seeing, and being.

What was I looking at? Thoughts! Every thought that came up into my awareness was scrutinized in the fire of None of These Things. It got so deep until I could do absolutely nothing but sit in silence and contemplate them. I became a biologist in the sense that I would dissect them every way possible. To see the inner working of each part of the seemingly real thought.  It is now clear that this was my introduction into Self Inquiry.

As and when thoughts occur, they should, one and all, be annihilated then and there, at the very place of their origin, by the method of enquiry in the quest of the Self.”
Ramana Maharshi

It has become increasingly clear to me that inquiry leads one to experience peace of mind, emptiness, or satchitananda.  Truth-Consciousness-Bliss.  The truth of Gangaji’s statement propelled my mind to explore the depths of what she said and this endless quest into the Self lead me to fall into a honey pot of joy untold for the next two years in jail.

I must say to each and everyone “Stop, Look and Know” and see what appears in this Self Enquiry.  

Over the years there has not been one problem that has withstood this scrutiny of Self Enquiry.

I can remember that once I was free I was really enjoying being out of jail. Then all hell broke loose in my life. It came in the form of my learning how to budget my checks from my job, maintain a healthy connection with my new woman, and stay off alcohol. Whenever anyone looked at me they saw a beaten man. Shoulders collapsed, head hung down, and speaking nonsensically such as. “This is not what I bargained for. Life is hard out here.  Yep, that is right. I was believing that I was a black ex con, that was in love and did not make enough money to pay his bills.

Here again it was and is the telling of the story that plunged me into the depths of despair and also separating me from what I love the most.  Satchitananda.  Over the years in prison there was only love. Yes I was in love and it was not with my Guru, even though I do love her, but this love was for the Absolute that came into my life as the form of Gangaji and surrounded me with its mantle of complete acceptance.
To this day I can not put a face upon this Satchitananda. The closest it will allow me to see it is through manifest things that point to it but are not it.

That is why the Muslims refuse to use any images to depict this unseen force that is always present and making its presence know at all times.

Let me fast forward to now, the beginning of 2013. The New Year has kicked in and we are moving to a new city, starting over and about to get married. There are so many things that has to be done to be a husband.  There is the part that says I must make enough money to take care of my wife.  There is the part that says I must be faithful to my wife.  There is the part that says that you must follow more rules and regulations that have not been spoken or realized or set out in the manifesto of being married.  These too you must follow.  For days now my mind has been gnawing at me about the rules.  Yet what is really amazing and blowing me away is that I allow them to come and have an audience and let them go.  For it is better to entertain an empty mind and open heart. What that means to me is this.
Thoughts are house guests that have a time limit and after that they must make room for owner of the house.  Satchitananda.

After years and years of witnessing an open heart and open mind and on the other side seeing a closed heart and closed mind, there has come an inner wisdom that comes to my aid in times of depression, anger, sadness, or confusion. It is almost automatic.
You see, dear one, the Love that came into my life that blessed day in the form of Gangaji and revealed itself as Pure Love, Pure Joy, and Pure knowledge will not allow anything but its offspring to reside in the house called Kenny Johnson.

This Love is the same and is everywhere and it is you. In this there is no doubt. I want to leave you with these few precious words. You are not male, or female. You are not any race, or ethnicity. You are not a part of the one percent, or ninety nine per cent of the population. In fact you are not even the human species.  If you are not any of these things then what are you?

I love posing these questions to my clients who come to see me and have attained a degree of wealth and seeming security. It is amazing to see the light go on in their eyes when they realize that they can walk away from all those years of accumulation and be empty. What joy, freedom. The very same joy and freedom I experienced, Gangaji experienced, and Ramana Maharshi experienced.  No difference.

Yes, that is right--you are none of these things. You simply are.

© 2013 Kenny Johnson
All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Kenny Johnson.org


This Sacred Space:

Last Hustle at Non-Duality Press:

Last Hustle at Barnes & Noble:

Stillness Speaks Interview:

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