099. Robert Wolfe

More than twenty years ago, my (second) wife and I divorced, after ten years of marriage. After we divorced, I recognized that I had some unfinished business: it revolved around “the meaning of life”, which is at the bottom of the spiritual pursuit—to which I returned.

As soon as our house was sold, I took my share of the equity and bought a fully-equipped camper van. I parked it on the property of an absentee friend in the redwood forest, near where I had been living in Northern California. I lived there in virtual solitude: reading, contemplating, taking walks for hours in the forest. At the end of three years, something suddenly fell into place. The spiritual quest resolutely came to an end. I discovered the actuality which is inescapable.

The inseparability of all things, which has been referred to persistently by mystic sages for 3,500 years of our written history, is commonly spoken of as “oneness” (or Oneness). There is an aspect of this oneness which is rather apparent to most any attentive mind. But the aspect which seems to give many of us some difficulty has to do with our personal, individual relationship to this oneness. This latter aspect is the matter which had now become clarified for me.

This radical, and sudden, shift in perspective was received like good news by me. Where before there had been confusion and perplexity concerning the relationship of the individual to the whole of existence, now there was a calming clarity. There was a profound resolution of the uneasy questing which had punctuated my prior years, a resolution which was not transitory because it has not since been apart from my general awareness.

I hoped to share the good news, particularly with those whom I knew to have quested concurrently with myself. I knew, from my own experience, that a certain element of this unitive understanding is communicable from one mind to another; the analogy is sometimes given of a flame leaping from one torch to another torch.

For the past fifteen years, I have conducted a considerable number of discussions (both individually and in groups) with persons who indicated their interest in resolving—and in recognizing that they had resolved—what has been called the perennial question. I have carefully observed the junctures at which their confusion compounded. I have also observed that for a few individuals there was no point at which their confusion was not surmounted, to their satisfaction.

The essence of the unitive understanding is that it is liberating; the marvel of the unitive understanding is that it is basically effortless. Its liberation is a consequence of the non-attachment it engenders. This is not a detaching of piece from piece, item by item. It is an across-the-board release of attachment, which even includes non-attachment to the continuity of one’s life. This dispelling of attachment is, in the same moment, the dispelling of correlated fear—and that is dynamic liberation.

Robert’s website.


Interview recorded 12/3/2011

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to the Interview with Robert Wolfe
  • 00:02:08 – The Meaning of Enlightenment
  • 00:03:47 – The Myth of Enlightenment
  • 00:05:41 – Recognizing the Truth
  • 00:07:42 – The dissolution of the individual conception
  • 00:09:41 – The Significance of the Word “If”
  • 00:11:30 – Insights from Living in the Forest
  • 00:13:50 – Finding the Zen Farming Commune
  • 00:16:14 – Life Changes and Unfinished Business
  • 00:18:42 – Three years in the forest reading, contemplating, and taking walks
  • 00:20:58 – The Misconceptions of Enlightenment
  • 00:22:42 – Guru Suits and Businessmen
  • 00:24:45 – The Power of Immersion in Non-Duality
  • 00:27:21 – Sharing the Truth with Others
  • 00:29:46 – Relocating to Ohio for Krishnamurti’s Teachings
  • 00:32:51 – Making self-realization a priority amidst worldly responsibilities
  • 00:35:54 – The Illusion of Future Results
  • 00:38:23 – The Cultivation of Deep Interest in Enlightenment
  • 00:40:57 – The Difference in Interest levels
  • 00:43:13 – The Illusion of Control and the Mystery of Self
  • 00:46:04 – Awareness of the Witness vs. the Witnessed
  • 00:48:57 – Non-duality and Physics
  • 00:52:06 – Linkage of Subatomic Particles
  • 00:54:41 – The Intelligence of the Cosmos
  • 00:56:52 – The Development of Spiritual Intelligence
  • 00:59:24 – The Purpose of Human Existence
  • 01:01:30 – The Importance of Expressing Awakening Experiences
  • 01:04:21 – The Importance of Reading, Writing, and Speaking
  • 01:06:28 – A Quest for Truth
  • 01:07:56 – A Joyful Journey
  • 01:09:15 – Stay Connected with Buddha at the Gas Pump
  • 01:10:46 – Theme Music