Dear Friend,

I am working on a new book, tentatively titled Before and After Awakening: An Old Meditation Journal and My Experience Now.

In 1983 I was living in a four-bedroom house I owned in Santa Rosa. It had a swimming pool in a lovely backyard setting. I drove a brand-new BMW. I had a successful chiropractic practice. But, I wasn’t happy. Why?

I’d had a profound taste of enlightenment in 1977, which I write about in End Your Story, Begin Your Life, and the experience had been so pure, so mind-blowing that after that, it was the only thing I wanted. I wanted to live in the ‘enlightened’ state all the time. I had always been a good chiropractor, but chiropractic was never ‘it’ for me. I wanted to become enlightened so that I could share it, teach it, and write about it. (I know, it may sound arrogant to some, but my intention was always pure!)

So, some time earlier, I’d resolved to sell my practice, sell my BMW, rent the house out, and travel to India and Southeast Asia to find enlightenment. (Ah, such naiveté, such an illusion to even think it was somewhere outside myself! But I am reminded of the lines from T. S. Eliot: ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.’)

So, in the spring of 1983 I sold my practice and was preparing to embark, with my girlfriend, on what would be a nine-month journey to China, Bali, Nepal, India, Australia, and New Zealand. In that spring, while I was getting the house ready for the new tenants, and preparing for our travels, I kept a journal during my regular morning meditations. I would scribble notes on a yellow legal pad, describing my various states of consciousness, which alternated between time of great peace, clarity, and equanimity, and periods of extreme uncertainty, anxiety, and insecurity. After all, my identity was still very much tied to what I did and what I had and I was giving all that up!

I would type the notes at night (personal computers were only just coming on the market then), and I still have the 110 page manuscript. It is funny too, because I always knew that meditation journal of mine would find its way into a book, and now, almost thirty years later, it has!

Yesterday I finished in-putting the entire manuscript into my laptop, and at various intervals along the way, in I write up my experience now: what I see or know now that I didn’t see or know then. I think it is a book that will help a lot of people. It is certainly the kind of book I would have wished I had back then.

And what do I see now that I didn’t see then? Back then, I still believed that my stories, and my sense of “self” was real, and that “I” had to find enlightenment, presumably, I thought at the time, through the practice of meditation.

Now I see that nothing between my ears is real—no thought, no story, not even this “I” and “me” I take myself to be. Why? Because thoughts and stories come and go, but we—as these aware, conscious beings we are—are always here.

Stories may be true, or they may be false, but none of them is real. What is real always here, always exists. We exist. We are real, independent of our ever-changing thoughts, stories, feelings, emotions, events, and circumstances.

To know that, to embody the knowing, is to be free. It is to be one with the natural ease, harmony, and flow of life.
The eBook is 127 pages and is available for $9.95 at www.beforeandafterawakening.com.

Love and blessings,

Jim