062. Paul Hedderman

Paul HeddermanPaul has been involved with the recovery community since 1988, and has been leading workshops and holding talks for 18 years.

He has been with assisting those with addiction problems over many years. The 12 step program has some very potent ‘pointers’, which, by chance or some by other means, has assisted a few to go beyond the 12 steps.

Even when asked to contrast his very direct pointing, with the long lasting appearance of some “momentum” that won’t budge from old familiar feelings and a familiar sureness of a separate condition, no matter how clear that pointing, Paul doesn’t waver.

“Whatever arises in my mind, I don’t let it vouch for me.”  “Any form of looking that focuses on an object, (such as an object called the power of the illusion) is missing the opportunity to directly be the seeing, and not concentrate on the object.”

Paul’s site, ZenBitchSlap.

Interview recorded 3/26/2011

Audio and video below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

40 thoughts on “062. Paul Hedderman

  1. “In the willingness to include and accept it all, one is the beneficiary of ultimate freedom.”

    You extend a most potent invitation here. I thank you for that.

    Which is why I earlier invited anyone, who might be interested, to respond to everything and everyone that/who appears before him…

    with the real-ization that “I am That, and That, and That”.

    You extend invitations extra-ordinarily.

  2. Paul is somewhat controversial, and is certainly not for everyone, but if nothing else he is completely open, honest and genuine. And that seems to generate a dialogue — which alone is worth the price of admission.

    As for the my ‘ultimate freedom’ remark: that may come back to haunt me. Hence the proviso (at least in this world)

    ;-)

  3. So you are happy not to take any position, and yet you’re certain this Paul is genuine, sincere, honest? All of a sudden you are so certain about something. Where your teacher is concerned. Naturally, one’s teacher must be so, or else we are wasting our time right. This is the usual stance for students, and the reason so many run into trouble. MY teacher must be genuine – otherwise what am I doing there? And so one everyone believes their teacher is genuine, and not everyone will be right. Which yes, is the way of the world, but I’m just saying it can’t hurt to discuss it. Seems like many advaitists – if this and several other forums are any indication – tend to address everything with the same advaita speak.

  4. Interesting to note that Shankara, the father of Advaita, was definitely not an “anything goes” kind of guy. He was famous for debating the exponents of other spiritual perspectives, often resulting in many becoming his disciples. One of his most famous works was “The Crest Jewel of Discrimination”. There’s a difference between being locked into a narrow judgmental perspective and using a refined intellect to discriminate between subtle points of knowledge, or even to evaluate the merits of a teacher.

  5. Actually my exact words were: “Paul is somewhat controversial, and is certainly not for everyone, but if nothing else he is completely open, honest and genuine.”

    Again, I don’t personally view Paul as a ‘Teacher” (nor anyone else for that matter, except insofar as anyone can be a teacher,I suppose, if you learn something from them. In which case my 6 month old grandson, is my current teacher). To me, Paul is just another person having another experience — which I can’t presume to invalidate. I take from it what resonates with me, and let the rest go. I have no reason to believe that he is being dishonest, or disingenuous, so I accept him for what he claims to be — which is a guy with an invitation. But even if he’s a bold faced liar, I would accept that too, without any judgment. After all, what difference does it make to me?

    And I don’t mean to imply that I don’t take positions or make choices. But what determines that choice is that any given experience either resonates with my heart or it doesn’t; it either speaks to me or not. I see nothing as either good or bad, right or wrong, real or illusory, except insofar as believing makes it so. That to me is the prerogative of the ego, but not the heart.

    Personally, I suppose I’m at a stage now that I couldn’t care less about enlightenment — however you choose to define it. I only care about following my heart — wherever that may lead is fine with me. And I respect everyone’s freedom to do the same.

    So feel free to believe whatever you want — I respect that freedom, as I hope you respect mine.

    (-:

  6. Quote from Rick: “There’s a difference between being locked into a narrow judgmental perspective and using a refined intellect to discriminate between subtle points of knowledge, or even to evaluate the merits of a teacher.”

    I can live with that. Certainly, if someone is claiming to be an enlightened Teacher of wisdom, or offering specialized techniques for attaining it, with some claim to credentials, then one might wish to validate those credentials — at least before forking over any cash. But I don’t believe that Paul would put himself in that camp. It seems that people choose to listen to him, and invite him to talk, because he resonates with their sensibilities, or their own stories, and he can be a very engaging and amusing story teller. I personally see nothing wrong or right about that.

    In any case, as I said (as ironic as it may seem), enlightenment really doesn’t interest me much anymore as some definitive, or desirable state of being, or in terms of defining what it is, or what it isn’t, or deconstructing its apparent levels, or determining who has realized it or not. I’ve had my share of those now well-documented experiences of oneness, timeless bliss, living light, etc, starting very early in life. But probably because it is probably impossible to ever objectively define it, I simply see it as just another subjective experience, however rare it may be, no different than someone claiming that they talk to angels, or plant spirits. As such, I feel no need to validate that. What interests me is the journey: but no more so, let’s say, than someone’s personal journey to the Amazon to photograph some rare and elusive butterfly. The actual pictures of the butterfly may or may not be of passing interest, but the adventure of the journey itself I find endlessly fascinating.

    And hence why I enjoy your interviews with such adventurers/explorers in consciousness.

    Keep ‘em coming :-)

  7. “He was famous for debating the exponents of other spiritual perspectives, often resulting in many becoming his disciples.”

    Which infers that he was willing to accept disciples. An interesting revelation, in it of itself.

    I contrast that with a couple of folks, whose paths I crossed, who desired no disciples, shooed away many who who wanted to be one, and felt no urge to campaign for one particular road map to “awakening”/”enlightenment” over another one.

    If I were open to receiving disciples, I’d probably feel that I have something to teach them. Which would be an interesting core belief in the first place.

    I also find it interesting, Rick, that some folks feel inclined to view Shankara as the father of advaita.

    Our parents often are the chief culprits for conditioning us to unquestionably vest authority in an external source. Or to look outside of ourselves (and often to someone else) for the truth.

    It’s a conditioning that receives its roots in childhood; and, more often than not, extends itself into adulthood.

    “Someone else must have the right roadmap for me to use to get to X. Now, if only I can find that person with the right roadmap.

    Ah, I think that I may have found someone. They call him the Father of Getting to X. I’ll just use his roadmap then. Since many of my fellow sojourners vest him with so much authority.”

    *sighs*

  8. Quote from Peter: “It’s a conditioning that receives its roots in childhood; and, more often than not, extends itself into adulthood.”

    I suppose that observation could apply to just about every human endeavor, if not behavior, and just about every good/bad, right/wrong, true/not true, real/not real distinction we make. And of course it comes from far more than just our parents: it comes from our entire personal history, it comes from our cultural/educational overlay and background, and possibly even our genetically pre-programed operating system through which we view the world — just like PC’s come with Windows, and Macs come with Snowleopard … no pun intended. in fact, it is so deeply ingrained, we just take it for grated, without even questioning it, and thus it is almost unavoidable, and unlearnable, except through a lot of disciplined self-inquiry, or I guess the occasional near-death experience, or spontaneous ‘awakening,’ or some such shock to the system.

    And so conditioning is surely where judging begins. For example, never mind so-called teachers, even something as seemingly neutral as corn flakes can carry very heavy baggage for some people. One hears people all the time say things like: I ‘hate’ corn flakes, or corn flakes are the ‘best’ cereal ever, or corn flakes are ‘bad’ for you, and therefore one may claim that the corn flake producers are either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for making them, based on one’s particular conditioned or preconceived preference, beliefs, etc — even though none of those qualifiers are inherent to corn flakes, or their producers.

    And such judging is often thereafter based on such pre-conditioning, or a preconceived personal belief system, as opposed to a keen unconditioned intellect — which I dare say, most of us, myself included, don’t possess — if such a thing even exists (with I suppose the possible exception of the Shankara’s of the world, though that too may be debatable). For most of us, If our parents or teachers tell us that corn flakes are such and such, then chances are we will believe it, or at least until we grow up and make our own such judgment. Or if our peers or media tell us otherwise, we may choose to believe them instead. And so, one could say that parents, teachers and culture in general are simply the purveyors of a given set of beliefs, that are not inherently good or bad, right or wrong, real or not real, etc.

    The only point I’m trying to make is that those either/or categories are always going to be somewhat arbitrary. Now, of course, if one happens to be allergic to corn flakes, it is probably best to avoid them. But that doesn’t require any god/bad judgment. If corn flakes don’t resonate with your body, then don’t eat them. End of story. To me, it is pretty much the same with so-called teachers. I am not for or against them. They aren’t inherently good or bad, right or wrong, real or not, except insofar as we believe them to be. If anything, they will be both/and. But they either click with you or they don’t. You either learn from them or you don’t. And that too, no doubt, may depend on one’s cultural background, or preconceived personal belief system, or inborn sensibilities. But again, no good/bad, real/not real, etc, judgment is required.

    Ok, I’m done going around in circles. I’m getting tired … lol.

  9. conditioning is related i mean the word to air conditioning/
    once you get use to airconditioning it effects you.
    you learn to need it.
    in Lusiana airconditioning is used extensively – a lot
    of heat and humidity out there- southowrd.

    a 2 year old is constantly conditioned by her parents –
    slowly for years.
    it takes 2 years to know 50 words-
    learning is slow up to that age.

  10. “For most of us, If our parents or teachers tell us that corn flakes are such and such, then chances are we will believe it, or at least until we grow up and make our own such judgment. Or if our peers or media tell us otherwise, we may choose to believe them instead. And so, one could say that parents, teachers and culture in general are simply the purveyors of a given set of beliefs, that are not inherently good or bad, right or wrong, real or not real, etc.”

    Agreed.

    But the most insidious part of this social conditioning, to me, is the dependency that is sought and co-created on external sources.

    Parents coerce their young ones to see things as they do via punishment and reward. Teachers pass and fail their students. And the government jails you if you don’t subscribe to interpretations of right versus wrong.

    Coercive authoritarianism is often the tool that creates your dependency on others for their judgements and approval.

    Which probably explains why I am so fond of the invitation to question authority. Including spiritual ones.

    And I’ll even opine that the invitation to self-inquire is an offshoot of the the invitation to question the authority of what you may believe to be true.

  11. “a 2 year old is constantly conditioned by her parents
    slowly for years.
    it takes 2 years to know 50 words-
    learning is slow up to that age.”

    More importantly, a 2 year old is also conditioned to identify (underscore identify here) himself with the words and thoughts that are conveyed by parents who identify with them as well.

    What child doesn’t like hearing any variation of “you are smart for saying that” or “you are wonderful for doing that”.

    It’s the identification of who we are with the thoughts we harbor that lays the foundation for the continuation of that trap into adulthood.

    And trapped parents generally cultivate trapped children.

  12. I have yet to read this tread, i hope it doesnt go beyond my
    ability to folow it- my head is jammedly dense-
    wonder if that was not just a thought indicating my ignorance of what goes underrneat.

    Rick mention Fuller book I seem to be a verb, but have
    you read utopia or oblivion – he talks a lot about
    conditions that hinders development-
    Fuller thought that we should reform the enviorment and not man.

  13. Qhote from Tim: “I have yet to read this tread, i hope it doesnt go beyond my ability to folow it- my head is jammedly dense-”

    Follow it or not, it doesn’t really matter … it’s just another make-believe story, after all. If it resonates with you, follow it wherever it may take you, take what you care to take from it, for as long as you care to, . … just don’t believe it to be absolutely ‘true’ or ‘un-true.’ If it doesn’t resonate, don’t follow it. Just drop it, let it go, forget about it. End of story (-:

  14. I find an intresting book i think – i have to check if
    the library have it otherwise i might buy it.
    i tell you later when i am a bit sure.

    criticism helps to nudge the brain a nutch from the habit
    of accepting.

  15. “criticism helps to nudge the brain a nutch from the habit
    of accepting”

    If a habit is simply a predominant, reoccurring response, Tim, then there’s a good chance that the habit of accepting will accept any criticism that is placed on its plate.

    It wouldn’t be a habit if it didn’t, now would it?

  16. Rick:
    “There’s a difference between being locked into a narrow judgmental perspective and using a refined intellect to discriminate between subtle points of knowledge, or even to evaluate the merits of a teacher.”

    Right. Was trying to convey this but was all over the board. Thanks to Rick for the clear, concise, comments here.

  17. Bucky Fuller said to do ones own thinking; Krishnmurti
    use to try make evryone doubt and reflect about the
    truth and after all these years though i am quite genral
    read reader I still have not cintmeter clsser.

    And actually have not seen one who can think and
    reflect in an not authoritarian way.
    I am practicing moments of rest after a tought come
    through; i am not sure if it will be successful.
    i am searching for the gab between thoughts.
    there seem to be an interval but probably a noise
    of identitybehind or old thoughts or
    residue- anyway ikeep doing it when i am not
    istracted byone the point.

    Dvid Lynch said to stick to one obbsession in
    making film intreview I think.
    well because i had never been in relation with
    a woman; last few years I am obsessed with girl
    and I noticed it as form of fixation it fits
    with depression – what i am tying
    to say that sex even after age weakness
    still powerful.
    by a chance after2 years od aduring her
    i got she let me kiss her on the cheek
    of course we both drunk –
    it styed in the memory-poor me –
    it is inconcivable that she will sleep with me
    she is 30-
    well, there is obbsesison; perhaps if I was
    free it will go-
    well I am not sure what I want to say.
    I wrote a love story about her it is only 20 pages though-
    all the women who read it thought it was
    worth and wanted to read more-
    and that sort of a thing-

  18. Quote from moksha: “Quote: “Thanks to Rick for the clear, concise, comments here.

    Ditto that! But hopefully ALL comments are welcome, even the rambling, less concise, less eloquent ones.

    If I wanted always ‘concise,’ I would stick with twitter and Haikus.

    I can live with both/and. :-)

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