Allspirit Interview with Jim Dreaver
By Gill Washington
Jim Dreaver emailed me after visiting the Allspirit website, and told me about his new book, The Way of Harmony. Jim kindly offered to let me interview him, and below are his responses to the questions I put to him. Jim, many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for the Allspirit readers.
Jim Dreaver is the author of The Ultimate Cure:The healing energy within you and Somatic Technique: A Simplified method of releasing chronically tight muscles and enhancing mind/body awareness. He has lectured and taught workshops on the mind, body and spirit connection for more than twenty years. Originally from New Zealand, he gained his degree from the University of Auckland. He is also a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, and he now lives in California.
For more information about his work and speaking schedule, visit his website
Jim, please tell the Allspirit readers a little about yourself, and how you came to be walking The Way of Harmony.
I grew up in New Zealand, served as a young artillery officer with New Zealand forces in Vietnam, worked in corporate sales for several years, then came to the US to study chiropractic and mind/body healing. During my last year in chiropractic school I went through a health crisis, where I thought I was dying of a heart attack. That started me on my spiritual quest, an urgent seeking for meaning, and for inner peace. I really got into Krishnamurti, Zen, the writings of Alan Watts, Herman Hesse, and others. I learned to meditate, started doing yoga. Two years after that crisis I had an enlightenment experience, in which everything fell away from my mind and I experienced the astonishing unity and perfection of existence.
From then on, I knew what I was looking for. I wanted to live with that clarity, that sense of oneness with life, that magic, all the time. I looked high and low for the secret, traveled to India and Nepal, explored psychedelics, studied with a number of different teachers. Eventually, in 1984, I met Jean Klein, a former physician from Europe and a master of Advaita Vedanta, an enlightenment teaching which traces its roots back to the Upanishads and the Vedas.
Jean said to me ‘You are not the person you’ve taken yourself to be. See through the illusion of the personal self and its history, see that is all a fabrication, a fiction, and you’ll be free.” It took eleven years of working with his teaching, but eventually it took hold, and I found the freedom that is who and what I am. That is who and what we all fundamentally are. Then I wrote THE WAY OF HARMONY.
What inspired or motivated you to write this, your most recent book?
I live very much in the world. I have been married, I have a son who is almost sixteen, I run a business, I am fully engaged in life. I want to let people know that it is possible to wake up fully, to find the enlightenment that is our true nature, right here, right now, in the midst of daily life. I also wanted people to know that while there is never any guarantee of success in any worldly venture, enlightenment, by liberating us completely from the fear of loss and failure, actually increases our chances of succeeding. And if for some reason an effort of ours fails, it doesn’t matter. We are always having fun and feel very alive in the process anyway.
Would you sum up for us the ‘core insight’, which you refer to throughout the book?
You are not your story. The world between you ears–all those beliefs, concepts, and images that make up this “person” you take yourself to be–is not real. It is just something you have made up. Enlightenment is seeing this. When you, as consciousness, as the witness, if you like, see it, the entire psychological and emotional component of thinking starts to fall away, and your head becomes astonishingly clear, and your heart opens wide. Then you live always, consciously, in the present, but no longer with any limiting sense of an “I” or “me” who lives in the present. You’re just here, and you’re truly free. It’s wonderful!
In what way did Jean Klein help you to realize this core insight?
Jean Klein embodied what he taught. He lived it. He used to say, “You must live your understanding.” I watched him over a period of almost fourteen years and he was always this clear, luminous being, who didn’t take himself for this or that. From time to time he would experience problems, especially around his health–he was quite frail toward the end–and some old residue of a “self” might briefly kick in. But then it would fade, like a small ripple on a vast ocean, and there was just that clarity, that radiance, that tremendous sense of harmony and vitality again.
What are you currently working on, and do you have any plans to travel to make your teaching more widely available?
I am working on a new book, exploring the myths and facts of enlightenment, and its relevance to our life and our times, to this stage in human evolution. I love to share the message of awakening with those who feel the call, and enjoy traveling. I visited the UK about twenty years ago, and would enjoy going again some time. All it would need to get me there is a group of people who feel the call and the commitment to learning how to walk the way of harmony. People who have already done a lot of inner work, and are ready to go the final step. It’s fun to share this!
I am also very committed to framing this timeless teaching in a way that it will appeal to more of those in positions of leadership and power, in the corporate world. That’s a challenge that appeals to the former warrior–now spiritual warrior, you could say–in me.
What do you think is the one main problem which keeps people from realizing their own enlightenment and finding the harmony within their own lives?
Krishnamurti said, “You must give your life to this.” Nisargadatta Maharaj advised, “Enlightenment may seem arduous, but it is easy if you are earnest, and quite impossible if you are not. Everything yields to earnestness.” People get distracted by the world. Making money, or just surviving, or succeeding in some career or project, or finding the right relationship, becomes all important, and enlightenment, awakening, takes second place. You can never find it that way. It has to be the central focus. Then, as Nisargadatta says, it is easy, or relatively so. After all, we always, usually, come upon that which we most want.
The good news is you can still have worldly success, the right relationship or whatever (I am totally a proponent of both), but you have to get your priorities in the right order. Then everything happens. It is just like Jesus taught, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else shall be given to you.” The “kingdom” is a metaphor for liberation, true inner freedom. One of my goals as a teacher and writer is to make the message so compelling and inspiring that people say “Yes, I want this. I want to be free. I want inner freedom to be the central focus of my life.”
If you could give one piece of advice to help others toward awakening, what would it be?
Continue to fulfill your life, work, and family obligations, have fun in your life, but get serious about this. Accept that freedom is your true nature. Because it is. Then breathe, be very present, and relax into it. Try living without your story for an hour, or a day. See that it is unreal anyway…. That’s the key. See that it’s no more real than Santa Claus was ever real. Discover what a blast it is to be nobody!