024. James Swartz

My name is James Swartz and I was born in Butte, Montana in 1941. I grew up in Lewiston, Idaho and had a very happy childhood. However, the small world of Lewiston could not contain me and at seventeen I left for a military prep school in Minnesota. I spent two years in a liberal arts college in Wisconscin, was expelled for disciplinary reasons, and enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley in 1963. Six months short of graduation I ran off to Hawaii where I started a successful small business. But something was terribly wrong; at twenty six I had become an alcoholic, chain smoking glutonous adulterer and life in every respect was not worth living. One day in the Post Office in Waikiki I had a life changing epiphany that put me on the path to freedom. We’ll discuss what happened next in this interview, and you can download the story of my spiritual quest to find out more. James’ Website

James’ books:

Interview Recorded 6/10/2010.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

31 thoughts on “024. James Swartz

  1. If that is true (which it is to me), then don’t we create an artificial difference when we perceive someone to be ahead of us on a path…

    and deify his/her words as the gospel?

  2. Hi Peter,

    Please do not take this the wrong way, but there are so many assumptions made in your post, and hence so many fallacies in your statement, that it’s hard to answer that question. Start from the fact that you are aware, and investigate your experience as fully as possible. Is there actually a separate person with free will, or is the person just a concept, arising spontaneously in consciousness? What are you trying to achieve and how do you gauge whether others are farther ahead, and on what path? Is it possible you’re mistaking yourself for a concept when in fact what you are is the awareness in which concepts appear? Let me know what you think.

  3. If you will point out a specific assumption (or two) of mine, I’ll be more than happy to address it.

    What specific assumption in which specific words of mine?

    TIA

  4. Well, the key assumption is that you are a person, separate from consciousness. From this assumption, or belief, all others are created, including the ones about “others”, “path”, etc. It is because you take yourself to be separate that you believe you need a path to fix something that isn’t wrong.

  5. I reread my last comment as see no assumption there, Matt.

    I merely pointed out a dynamic.

    The dynamic being…

    when you create the perception that someone is ahead of you on a particular path (i.e. gurus), you co-create an apparent/artificial difference between you and the other.

    I don’t see any assumptions in this observation, Matt.

    It’s merely an observation of a particular dynamic that I have personally observed.

  6. You do not see the assumptions because you are taking them to be facts. Due to lack of investigation, beliefs that are inherently erroneous are taken to be reality. The core belief is that you are a person, separate from consciousness. This is not what you are, and a thorough investigation of your experience will reveal this to you. Is there actually someone “there”, or are you taking yourself to be a recurrent concept called “me”? Somehow this simple message is missed and people continue the pointless search for a state of enlightment which does not exist. The peace you are looking for is in fact your natural state, what you actually are – it is because you imagine yourself to be a separate person that needs to find something that you suffer. There is no need for belief – any belief taken to be reality obscures what is clear and obvious. Drop all beliefs, drop all concepts, entertain the possibility you don’t know anything. REALITY IS, YOU ARE. Never for a second was this ever not the case. Your imagination may say otherwise and so long as this imagination is mistaken for reality what has been pointed out by those like Nisaragadatta will continue to be missed.

  7. I believe, Matt, that you may be the one who is working with some assumptions.

    “The peace you are looking for is in fact your natural state.” – Matt

    How did you conclude that I am looking for any kind of peace? I am not. I’m curious how you formed that conclusion.

    As for my separateness AND Oneness, I am both. The ocean AND its waves.

    May I suggest that you check your own conclusions for any assumptions before you go hunting for some outside of you?

    Peter <— no one (the Ocean) appearing as some one (a wave)

  8. (received from BatGap via e-mail)

    “Well, the key assumption is that you are a person, separate from consciousness. From this assumption, or belief, all others are created, including the ones about “others”, “path”, etc. It is because you take yourself to be separate that you believe you need a path to fix something that isn’t wrong.” – Matt

    I encourage you, Matt, to entertain the possibility that you are both separate AND One. The ocean appearing as a wave.

    This and that. And that and that and that…..

    The “this, not that” perspective creates resistance, I have found. The resistance to whatever you believe you are not. And what resists, persists.

    Thanks for your thought-full comments.

  9. HI Peter. I referred to and addressed your comment about respecting and quoting spiritual authorities in an interview I just did with Leslie Temple-Thurston. I don’t have a problem with it, as long as it is done in the proper proportion. As you know, I believe there are degrees of spiritual attainment.

  10. I haven’t forgotten that, Rick. I continue to peg you as a spiritual progress type of guy. “Different strokes for different folks”, as they say where I come from. They also say, “whatever floats your boat”.

    If I were a spiritual progress kind of guy, I, too, would be very interested in a tour guide. They are always helpful when you’re journeying towards an unfamiliar destination.

    Becoming certainly has its lure, for sure. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Being for me now.

    Thanks.

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