120. Katie Davis

Katie DavisKatie Davis is a spiritual teacher and author who offers satsang worldwide. She is a graduate of the University of Washington, a former secondary school educator, a former owner of aerobics studios in the Pacific Northwest and mother of two.

She is author of Awake Joy: The Essence of Enlightenment and since 1999, she has been traveling to share with people the radical possibility of Self-realization that is the end of all suffering, separation and the key to world transformation.

Katie Davis was a Keynote Presenter at the Vancouver BC Convention Centre in Canada. She offers spiritual talks at church services or spiritual gatherings, corporations, hospitals, professional communities and organizations, schools, television and radio shows, as well as for community organizers worldwide that are offering talks in the form of satsang in public meetings, intensives and silent retreats.

In 1986, Katie Davis radically and spontaneously awakened to the ultimate reality of who we really are without practices or teachers. She had never meditated or even heard of enlightenment, Advaita Vedanta, Non-duality or Self-realization. Katie had no intellectual reference whatsoever for what had occurred.

In 1988, Katie met her future husband, Sundance Burke, author of Free Spirit: A Guide to Enlightened Being, who had similarly awakened in 1982 with Satoshi (Osho) and Shunyata, named the Rare Born Mystic by his friend, Ramana Maharshi, one of the most cherished sages of modern day India.

Katie Davis is a world spiritual teacher and a current resident of Seattle, Washington, USA.

Katie’s website: katiedavis.org

Katie’s book, Awake Joy: The Essence of Enlightenment

Interview recorded 4/29/2012

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

158 thoughts on “120. Katie Davis

  1. Kim if that means you’re leaving too – Enjoy Yourself – that’s all there is. Blessings to You.

  2. Blessings to you as well Ising… I will think of you everytime I have cake with ising. xoxo 😀

    Happiness and gratitude, from my heart to all.
    And to all a good nite. 🙂

  3. Hi Jill
    I happened upon your advice column when I checked what people had to say about the interview.

    Your basic advice to me is good but is sadly shadowed by denial. Not everyone is on your path. As I have said repeatedly, this awakening has been in stages. As it is grace, that has nothing to do with my or your expectations of it. In fact, awakening never has anything to do with expectations. You know that. Even your grace did not come from reading Ramana. As I’ve said elsewhere, I quote scripture only to demonstrate this is not just my own experience.

    If you refuse to recognize and thus discount someones journey, you are not pointing the way.

    The books that have noted Ramana’s talks record a clear seeing. But they speak to the place I’ve been, not to where I am now. I don’t mean better, just different. Thus, I work with other teachers who have had a similar journey to my own.

    Your advice cannot serve if it does not recognize the one who is unfolding. Not everyone is served by Ramana nor should Rick’s interviews serve that agenda. As his site says, it is interviews with Ordinary awake people to help others see the possibility. Then they can find truth for themselves. As long as you think you or anyone else can “bring forth Truth”, you don’t understand truth. Myself, I’m happy for this diversity of expressions. I’m learning something from it. Keep it up, Rick!

    I appreciate your compassion Jill but there is something more to let go of for that advice to come purely from the heart of the Self. And yes, I can use more of that myself too. It is unfolding.

  4. Thanks Jill. You have been an inspiration for me. In having recognized the Self, I thought this was enough work for a lifetime and have stopped seeking. But you’ve shown me that there are much greater depths of surrender and Love. And you’ve shown me that reaching for Finality is not necessarily an unreachable goal.

  5. “And you’ve shown me that reaching for Finality is not necessarily an unreachable goal”. Poor English. “Finality is not necessarily an unreachable goal”. (So much for spontaneity …)

  6. Rick has stated the purpose of his site. “Buddha at the Gas Pump: Interviews with ‘Ordinary’ spiritually awakened people.” They are not all going to be super stars, same place on the road, or even exactly the same road.

    The new reality in this interconnected world is pluralism. We need to learn to deal with this. The wisdom of multiple traditions at one’s finger tips (or click away). A synergistic blending of modern knowledge with ancient tradition as in Ken Wilbur’s Integral Theory will be part of the mix (even though it’s probably too “mental” for most people on this site). Even different criteria for “truth”. (There will be some who will never accept a thorough subjective transformation as the final criteria, no matter how obvious and convincing it seems to be.)

    In the new cacophony, there is a need for discernment. If someone feels in their heart of hearts that something is amiss, something needs clarification, they should their speak their truth, even fiercely, *for the sake of others*. It at least can be a consideration. Other people can then sense whether it resonates from deep within.

    For those desiring a more “purist” path, there is an off ramp to the individual teachers, their web sites, their videos, and their satsangs.

  7. Regarding the degrees of embodiment thing…How can we truly judge that in another. Adya says, “Nobody gets enlightened. Enlightenment gets enlightened.” In other words the local experience we call our self doesn’t awaken – it is the thing we all are that wakes up inside the person. The personality then re-forms constantly around that inner opening.

    Did any of you ever study black holes? The cool thing about them is that you can never see one. Light can’t get out. Not only that, but as the light falls in, those observing from outside will never see it enter the black hole and disappear. That has something to do with relativistic bending of space time around the singularity.

    Personalities are like the light falling into the black hole…they bend and warp and take on the shape of the singularity but never fully take its form. How could anything take the form of the Formless? Anyway, that’s how it looks from the outside. From within the knower is the singularity, there is no light or gravity, just endless falling into infinity.

    Ever notice how thoughts manifest? It’s sort of crazy…how we think things then they just play out in the events of our lives. We see this more clearly as we relax more into It. Thoughts are the bubbling up of the cosmic energy as the gravity of Eternity pulls the localized view into the Universal view. As such they are the expression of the Unknown becoming known.

    So since our experience is a projection of thought, our entire individual life expression is also just the Universal playing its lila through our projector lens. Like the movie projector, the figures on the screen do not gain their specific features by their inherent light, but by subtracting some of the light and colors out of the pure white light that shines within the projector.

    Likewise, all forms that we perceive in the world are subtractive expressions of the Brahman that is too great to be expressed in its wholeness. Yes, even Ramana and Nisgardatta, as precious as their expressions are, are, to our eyes, limitations of the Absolute. As such they are, no matter how clear they may be, not able to express wholeness in its entirety. They are just thought-forms as we are just thought-forms.

    The combination of our personal limiting factors and those of another expression will produce the chemistry of the relationship. Teacher-student relationships are no different. There is no question that resonance is a personal thing. And while it is good to be discriminating on the path to the unknown, we must remain open to the gifts that come from every crack and crevice of our experience. The bird whose song stimulated Adya’s awakening may not have been fully embodied – but it certainly worked the will of Grace.

    So I have a hard time with judging a teacher’s degree of embodiment…but I have no trouble sensing transmission when it is going on (for me). There are many stars in the sky – each one contributes to the glow of the universe, and the universe would be incomplete without even the tiniest of these.

    Let us go forth in peace, honoring above all the voice of truth in our own heart.

    And to Jill, I say thanks from the depths of my heart, for your light is not just that of Ramana, but a reflection of a generation of awakening. From Maharishi to Watts to Pamela to Neelam and all those other threads that have woven the cloth of your life…From the LSD hippie revolutionaries of the sixties to the corporate raiders of the eighties to the waves of the awakening in the new millennium, these are all in you making you who and what you are and that is so beautiful.

    Thank you for taking the time with us here. I can’t imagine spending that much time at the computer when the birds are singing in the park and the spring sun is warming the window breezes. Also, I can’t imagine wanting to spend so much time with us crazies. 😀

    I might as well quote Adya again here, “I wouldn’t wish this job (spiritual teacher) on anyone.”

    Now enjoy the peaceful flowers and try not to burn the chicken.

  8. Hi Heat Seeker
    There are some rare people who have one single very full awakening. Most people, in my experience, go through that process in a series of awakenings. And by that I don’t mean conceptual discoveries but actual changes in being where the old reality falls away and a new one takes it’s place. I’ve had several of those and have discussed them with teachers who fully support my understanding. I’ve helped others through those stages as well.

    It’s true, there are some who are not interested in understanding that process. Nothing wrong with that. Some don’t need it. There are teachers on BATGAP who say there is no stages but describe them in their own unfolding. Their principle seems to be avoidance of concepts that might be a barrier. Fine. But there are people who have published books describing the hell they went through because they didn’t understand what was unfolding. I’ve met some who’ve really struggled. Depends on the person and their clarity. Some need understanding.

    And yes, of course I bring my own take to my own experience but I listen to others, seeking a fuller understanding of the underlying process beneath the variations in their experience. This is partly to support others and partly as the process of return mirrors the process of creation, in reverse. Understanding creation means understanding who you are in a fuller way than you might imagine. (see comment on Maya below)

    A “path” is a variation in how one comes home. For people like me, understanding is key. It is much deeper than preference. There is a recent blogger who is talking about how sex played a key role in her awakening. For others it is through devotion, inquiry, meditation, etc. Same underlying process, different approach. It makes the journey different but the result about the same.

    When someone starts saying “highest truth” and “Truth”, thinking they know the one true truth, they’ve created a barrier to more. For me I might have agreed at one time that Ramana spoke of the highest understanding. I don’t anymore became I have experienced several layers deeper than he describes. So it’s not the “highest truth”. It’s a very good truth and one very worthy seeking. But to me it is not the highest.

    He is certainly much more embodied than I am. Don’t argue with that. The question is – why other teachings?

    There have been many sages over the years who have spoken of truth much like Ramana. Some of those same sages also spoke of other truths of other perspectives. Buddha himself spoke of both Ramana-style truth and higher ones. But unless you understand the difference, they all sound about the same. But I can tell you, the difference is night and day. Literally.

    For example, many sages speak about existence being absolute. Sat Chit Ananda. At one stage, that is truth. But at a further stage, existence is just another value of duality. Brahman is beyond existing or not existing. It is a profound difference to change from feeling you exist absolutely to recognizing yourself as neither existing nor not. That’s actually more absolute, if we could say such a thing. Some of the same sages speak of this also.

    And yes, the higher teachings are very simple and profound. But if I catch myself thinking it’s the highest, I know I’m mistaken now. Just read the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, for example. Arjuna is overwhelmed just to see the extent of the form of God. God’s perspective is the highest and even merged with God we do not have the capacity to comprehend as God comprehends. So what then is “highest truth?”

    OK – I’ll give you an example of something the Vedas talk about but Ramana does not. There are 4 Mahavakyas, phrases from the Upanishads that both define the unfolding and can serve to trigger the realization at the right time. I am That, Thou art That, and so forth. You’ve undoubtedly heard them before. I’ve seen them in action.

    Secondarily, there are also 4 becomings where we experience and then become (recognize ourselves as) a stage or perspective of creation.
    Aham Vishvam: I am the Universe
    Devo Hum: I am the Devata (laws of nature)
    Aham Shrivhir: I am the Cosmic Body
    Veda Hum: I am the Veda

    Some will say – oh thats just Maya. But thats another truth that is not the highest as I’ve mentioned before. These are profound realizations that bring great knowledge about your body, the universe, and so forth. They have been part of my path. Thus, it is my preference to have a teacher with whom I can discuss those truths with.

    Who you are determines how you experience the world and what is true for you.
    Perhaps this makes my point clearer.

  9. Erick
    Love the comment on black holes. For every black hole, there’s a “white hole” where the light comes out. You might enjoy Nassim Haramein. He has a pretty cool model of the unified field, suggesting everything has a singularity at it’s centre. Had a big experience of the universe at 9, then spent much of the rest of his life trying to describe it.

  10. “But even for them, I still find the judgements childish and rude.” – tynman99

    At the same token, tynman99, I have never met an awakened person who evidenced being affected by anyone’s judgement of him of her… be it a negative or positive one.

    Judgements tend to have an inconsequential affect on them. But they can be, occasionally, entertaining.

  11. I havta say I was finding the situation becoming more and more frustrating as well. While I appreciated much of what Jill had to say, her comments seemed to be turning into “sarlo’s guru rating service.” I understand her passion but the situation was becoming more and more divisive. She could always pull the trump card and say, “I’m the fully awakened and fully embodied one, and I know” and while it may not have been her intent, she was discounting Sno’s resonance with KD for example.
    I have had experiences with teachers where there was an instant knowing that they were awake, a dropping of mind occurred , changes in the visual field…) what chuckee probably means by “kinda like tripping”, but I feel where one gets into trouble is when one thinks that that sense is infallible for all teachers or whomever for that matter. I would never presume that some teacher wasn’t awake based on that not happening. But then again, I don’t claim to be fully awake or fully embodied either. Neelam once told me that there is no way to judge from the outside if someone is awake, and I know she gets all kinds of info about people’s nervous systems and such.
    As to people’s speech patterns, my sense has been the opposite, that when folk’s are speaking from presence they slow down, and when more from mind they speed up. But these kind of observations are grossly general and can’t be applied to an individual. Jac O’keefe is most likely awake in my view and she speaks very rapidly.
    Several years ago I sent my Mother (who’s now 87) a link to an Ekhart Tolle interview because even though she’s rather a pessimistic person, I’ve seen hints of openings before. Her response was “well, he’s kind of a slow talker… but I found it relaxing.) That was my last attempt at sharing this stuff with her. 🙂
    Another teacher told me that “judgements are delusion.”
    I resonate with that. I think acceptance of what is happening is key. I watched Gangaji’s webcast last weekend and her question to work with was “what are we resisting?” ` Something to look at moment by moment in one’s day for instance. And yes, I suppose that someone could say I was resisting some of what Jill had to say, and I dunno, they might be right! 🙂

  12. @Peter “I have never met an awakened person who evidenced being affected by anyone’s judgement of him of her… be it a negative or positive one.”

    I wonder about this one. I would think no less of a person because they are “moved” or even “hurt”.

    I do wonder about those who are “immune” and “invulnerable”. Talk about embodiment …

  13. Observing someone to be unaffected by someone else’s judgement… is simply an observation.

    Drawing a conclusion that they, therefore, must be “immune” or “invulnerable”… is creating a conclusion based on an observation.

    I feel more comfortable sharing the former than creating the latter.

  14. Also worth noting that the awake still have very full emotions – in fact more full in some ways, but they move through and complete rather than engaging a story, drama, and so forth – as you mention Snow.

    There are stories of guru’s being quite angry, for example. But as you say, quickly dissipates afterword.

    One shouldn’t think someone awake has no feelings and is immune to offense. They’re just unlikely to make it personal, more patient, and more compassionate.

  15. “One shouldn’t think someone awake has no feelings and is immune to offense. They’re just unlikely to make it personal, more patient, and more compassionate.” – David

    To someone awake, judgements are also often seen as aspects of the story (underlined) that the judgment issuer is creating about the subject of the judgement. Judgement issuing, therefore, may just be another manifestation of storytelling.

    “Have whatever story/judgement about me you wish”, someone awake may be heard to utter.

    “I just can’t promise you that I will subscribe to it, if that is your purpose for placing it on my plate.

    For I am not any and all stories that you are inclined to create about me.”

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