~ An Interview with Linda Clair
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Sunday, March 4, 2012
The Absolute is not absolute. It contains the relative. It's this unchanging state, but the only constant is change.
I don't know if I'd even call it nothingness. I feel now I'd call it union. That's how I feel, in this union, all the time.
Enlightenment is—to use Nisargadatta's words—the dawn,1 the start of something miraculous. It is also an end of sorts: the end of the heartache. It is a recognition of nothingness within the Absolute, and a catalyst for recognizing the Absolute in all things relative. Said another way, it is becoming everything, the mind-body dissolving into Love. In the words of Ramana Maharshi:
The mind is dead, resolved into the Self; like a river discharged into the ocean and its identity lost; a river cannot be redirected from the ocean.
Enlightenment is permanence, yet the unfolding never ends...
As is customary, at a 2012 meditation retreat with Linda Clair in Raleigh, she reserved time for private discussions with each participant. What follows is a transcription of our discussion during the private interview. But the words aren't as important as the feeling and energy within and between them.
P: I appreciate you being here. I really am grateful. As I said the other night, I felt a lot of gratitude just for being in the presence of everybody here and you. I feel very fortunate.
Linda: It's a great group, isn't it? It's a really good group of people.
P: People have settled in very quickly.
L: Yes, they have. Incredibly quickly. Because I think a lot of the people haven't done much of this before, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen. So I thought, "This might be a bit much." But they're really into it, and that's great.
P: I appreciate your honesty, and you're approachable too. That's very unique nowadays with Enlightened teachers. I don't think I've heard anything you've said that I disagree with. There's been a lot of wisdom interspersed with the silence. As I said, I'm very happy, very grateful.
L: Well, I'm glad you came.
P: Carolyn [our retreat hostess] mentioned to you my interest in rapport in group settings like this. So I'm curious—I asked the question [this morning] about stillness coming and going, and I wondered if that's what's happening with you in front of a group of people like this. Are you in nothingness the entire time? Or do you have thoughts coming and going? Or do you have intention to...
L: The intention has gone. I think in the beginning, when I first started teaching, there was a bit of an intention there. Not much, but it was still there. But gradually, gradually it's gone. And now, I don't know if I'd even call it nothingness. I feel now I'd call it union. That's how I feel, in this union, all the time. So it doesn't come and go. Occasionally there is a thought, a thought might come through, but there's no desire to go towards it and make anything of it. Just seeing it, it disperses. So there are still thoughts at times, but a lot of the time, there's no thought. There's just this feeling of union. There's no me, there's no you. It's just complete oneness. And it doesn't come and go. There's no fear. There's Love.
P: I can feel that.
Do you have a—and maybe this is rehashing what I just said—but do you reach out to people who are sitting?
L: No. I used to do that. At first when I was teaching I did, and I would use the eye contact to do that a fair bit. And I used to feel people individually. But now that doesn't happen either. I still have the eye contact with people, but it is different to how it was before. I think there was a bit of intention. I could still feel myself almost burning things out in people, whereas now it's...different. There's no force involved in me, on my part.
P: Do you feel like when your partner [Roger] is in the room, and you have two people who have had an Enlightenment experience, does that somehow magnify the atmosphere or the charge?
L: Yes, it does. It does. It becomes stronger. Not for me so much. Although it is quite amazing teaching with someone else in this state. He's been in this state for about a year. And at first, to be honest, it was quite difficult teaching with someone else. It did bring up a little bit of residual stuff in me because I was used to teaching by myself—I was the teacher. And I think anyone who teaches by themselves, whether they know it or not, a little bit of ego can creep in. So when you're with someone else doing it, you're not the only one—it's even more unified. You're even less of an individual. So it actually acted as a catalyst to something that's happened in the last couple of months where I do feel a much more complete union than I did before. But it does affect the energy.
P: Do you lose energy physically when you sit like this with people?
L: No. But I can get tired, I have to rest a bit. And I think that's another thing about teaching with someone else—I can let the other person talk sometimes, and we can share the responsibility of it. I can get tired, but not as much as I used to. At first I got more tired because there was a bit more of that force involved, whereas now I sit back more in it.
P: When I talked with you on the phone—I'm trying to think of the words I used—the more you taught and the more you worked with people, the stronger it got, or the more the residual Linda fell off.
L: Yes, that's true. That's true. That's what happened.
P: What do you attribute that to? Why would the teaching accelerate that?
L: Because it forced me to look. I'm sitting there teaching and advising people, sitting with them, taking them on energetically. It forced me to look at myself more deeply. And just the actual sitting—there was more energetic stuff that needed to be absorbed. And a bit more purification. And sitting with a group tended to do that. I can't say exactly why.
P: Do you prepare in any way? I don't mean topic material, I mean do you prepare your life in any way for a retreat?
L: A couple of days before I usually have a bit of a rest, and I like to spend a bit of time by myself. But no, I have retreats every month at home. I'm aware energetically of the time leading up to a retreat. I do feel something in my body—I feel more of a vibration, and I'm aware that it's going to happen. But I don't really prepare. I feel it when it's near a retreat time, and I try to have a bit more rest if I can. Sometimes I can't, sometimes I can.
P: I only wanted—this is a fascination of mine, and it's a lifelong fascination. I'm saying this because it's not why I'm here entirely. It sounds like we just had an interview [laughing] but that wasn't my intention. I wanted to mention that somehow in my life, I've gravitated toward rapport—it just descended on me, the interest in it. Because I'm not a great communicator, and I'm not going to get up in front of people and teach.
L: I never thought I would teach. I never went into this feeling like I would teach. It wasn't my aim. I know that when some people go through it, they feel like they want to be teacher. But I never had that. It just suddenly happened. And I was never into talking in front of people. I was never attracted to that at all [laughing].
P: That's amazing. You're excellent at it. Because I can tell you're not just rehashing words, you're feeling the person as they're talking, and you're just allowing the right thing to say to happen.
L: That's what I mean. It's not even an interaction anymore. It's like this union, and I'm feeling what they're saying. So one person might ask a question. Another person might ask the same question. And my answers might really be quite different depending on where it's coming from.
P: I was a guy who was really into my head. And basically I feel complete, and I am very much in my Heart. The residual [Paul] is still very much in his head. Did Carolyn share this essay on spiritual rapport with you?
L: No, I don't think so.
P: I wrote this essay—I would be interested in feedback on it from you or the some of the Australian group members. And if nobody responds, I won't be offended.
L: I would be interested to have a look at it, really.
P: I came through Richard Rose. That's how the whole...I experienced rapport with him, which was very different than this.
L: In what way was it different?
P: He had a way of electrifying the room. And—this to me [gesturing to the space between] is more of a direct—we're in direct contact right now. And he could do that, but he could also electrify...I mean you could feel it. And I've had those experiences as well—they're separate outside of Richard Rose. I've had one-on-one electricity feelings. But he was able to talk in front of a group. He chatted the whole time—there wasn't silence. Then at the right moment, he would go dead silent. And the room would be charged. And it was always in a spiritual context—he was discussing something spiritual. And I think the people in the room all got into the same resonance. I don't know how to explain it. But I talk a little bit about that [in the essay], and it's quite different to me than this [again gesturing to the space between]. And it's just become greater and more magnified as I live my life.
L: So the thoughts coming and going. The thinking coming and going. Do you feel that it disturbs the stillness?
P: No. I know what I am, is everywhere right here. Unlike you, where you're there more, I am sometimes lost in my head, especially if I have to go back to work, and I'm pulled out of this. But the stillness is definitely...us talking, the thoughts coming and going, that doesn't disrupt what's here.
L: But work does.
P: Work does.
L: I can see the stillness in you. But there's more. And maybe it will happen eventually. But I suppose what I'm saying here is that, this is a practice that really can finish it off. So you do become everything. I've got no idea who I am. No idea. Never. But I feel the same whether I'm here or in the middle of New York City.
P: It felt to me, after I had been searching for 22 years, it felt to me that there was a culmination. And I won't go into it because it's just a story. But having that happen—the suffering, the burning, the wanting to know—disappeared. And I feel like...nothing is going to die, because it's all right here now.
L: Nothing dies. It's just that you dissolve. The ego dissolves. Into...
So I suppose what I'm doing is combining that interaction with a teacher—that connection with a teacher—with a definite practice. And that's what worked for me, so that's what I teach. And I know it's worked for other people too. And for me, I was just desperate for it. I didn't want it to take 20 years. I was just obsessed with it.
P: What concerns me...you say to finish it off. I lost that desperation. And maybe that's...I'm sure it's all arranged for whatever reason.
L: Yes. Well, not everyone has that desperation to finish it off as soon as possible. Why, I have no idea. I don't know. I just couldn't stand being me for another moment. But what I'm saying to you is there's more. There's more to come.
[long silence in eye contact]
L: And so much more has happened in me since I spoke with you.
P: Since last year?
L: Yes, over the last year, a lot has happened.
P: I do feel that it was a start. Whatever happened to me was the start of something. It was the end of my suffering, but I feel like it's a dissolving of the [Paul] character. And it's happening slowly, but...I don't know what else to do.
L: I suppose for me, the clearer I became, the more I dissolved, the more clearly I could see, although the less I could tolerate what was left. And that's what kept me going. And it just became intolerable. Even that bit that was left. Well it seemed like a big bit to me.
[long silence in eye contact]
P: Thank you.
L: Thank you.
» Visit SimpleMeditation.net for more information on Linda's teachings.
» Listen to a Linda Clair audio recording from one of the Q&A sessions at the March 2012 meditation retreat (MP3, 25 minutes).
1 "There are so many who take the dawn for the noon, a momentary experience for full realisation and destroy even the little they gain by excess of pride."
Desire is, of course, a state of mind. But the realisation of unity is beyond mind. To me, nothing exists by itself. All is the Self, all is myself. To see myself in everybody and everybody in myself most certainly is love.
- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That
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