086. Joan Tollifson

Joan TollifsonJoan Tollifson writes and talks about the ever-changing, ever-present aliveness of Here / Now, that which is obvious, unavoidable and impossible to doubt. She has an affinity with Advaita, Buddhism and radical nonduality, but she belongs to no tradition or lineage. Her main teacher was Toni Packer, but Joan has also studied with several Buddhist teachers and has spent time with a number of Advaita and nondual teachers. She has been holding meetings on nonduality since 1996. In her books and meetings, Joan invites people to explore their actual present moment experience and to question the deep-seated assumption that we are each an independent entity encapsulated inside a separate bodymind looking out at an alien world. Instead, we may discover that everything is one seamless, boundless, unbroken whole in which there are no separate parts. Joan also invites people to question the deep-seated assumption that we are in control of our lives (or should be), and she points to the realization that everything is one choiceless happening. Joan is known for her honesty and her sense of humor. She is the author of Bare-Bones Meditation: Waking Up from the Story of My Life (1996), Awake in the Heartland: The Ecstasy of What Is (2003), Painting the Sidewalk with Water: Talks and Dialogs about Nonduality (2010), and she has written two more books that are slated for publication early in 2012. Joan has lived in California, New York and Chicago, and is currently living in southern Oregon.

Joan’s website

Transcript of this interview

Interview recorded 9/4/2011

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Joan Tollifson’s Work
  • 00:03:00 – Defining “Awake” and “Enlightenment”
  • 00:06:07 – The Illusion of Being an Encapsulated Unit
  • 00:09:24 – The Illusion of the Self
  • 00:12:24 – The Illusion of “Me” and “Happening” in the Movie of Life
  • 00:15:02 – The Illusion of Self-Improvement
  • 00:17:38 – Being an Individual Wave in the Ocean
  • 00:20:34 – Trusting the Unfolding of Life
  • 00:23:24 – The Conceptual Picture of Totality
  • 00:26:11 – Emptiness and the Conceptualization of Reality
  • 00:29:02 – Dependent Reality and the Manifestation of the Universe
  • 00:32:03 – The Three Stages of Perception in Zen
  • 00:35:19 – The Paradox of Absolute and Relative Realities
  • 00:38:04 – The Paradox of Enlightenment
  • 00:40:46 – The Subtle Misinterpretation
  • 00:43:10 – The Openness of Awakening and the Paradox of Inclusion
  • 00:46:29 – The Practicality of Life
  • 00:48:59 – The Switch that Happened
  • 00:51:57 – The Liberating Realization of Unicity
  • 00:55:13 – The Liberation of Non-Ownership
  • 00:57:48 – The Pitfalls of Progressive Practices and Non-Progressive Approaches
  • 01:00:31 – The Place for Everything
  • 01:03:13 – Embracing Individual Perspectives
  • 01:05:46 – The Nature of Political Views and Choices
  • 01:08:39 – The Illusion of Choice
  • 01:11:42 – The Illusion of Choice and Consciousness
  • 01:14:08 – The Power of Conditioning
  • 01:17:07 – The Illusion of Authorship
  • 01:19:31 – Accepting the Movement of the Universe
  • 01:21:39 – Upcoming Books and Mailing List
  • 01:23:34 – Join the Email List for New Interviews