non-duality magazine
Home About Books                       Contact
   
TROY OF IS

 

Interview with non duality magazine

 

 

 

 

NDM: Can you please tell me a bit about your background?            

Troy of IS:  During childhood both of my parents were extremely neglectful and I was left with very few skills to function within the culture-society. Therefore, I was left with no real comprehensive education, and I just barely was passed along through the educational system until the final year of high-school. Without any significant meaning or purpose in life, besides playing music in a band which was gradually breaking apart, I began to get into smoking marijuana on a regular basis. As a result I got kicked out of high school for smoking marijuana at the school and began to suffer around that time from chronic anxiety (panic) attacks.            

I began to look for a relief from this horrible suffering through Christian religion. That is, fundamentalist Christianity, which promised peace of mind through Jesus and I began to treat fear and anxiety as something to be fought, avoided, resisted, etc., since it was 'the devil' according to many pastors and priests that I encountered. At this time I met a Signposter (someone who has Awakened from the dream-trance of cultural-social prison and has Realized there True Nature as the Only - Tao, God, Brahman, Buddha, The Kingdom of Heaven, etc.).

A Signposter is someone who points the way out of cultural-social prison. When I met the Signposter I was identified with fundamentalist Christianity. The belief system I had was threatened by him when I first came in contact with him and his wife (his soul-mate who I will designate with the name M). Thus, I stayed away from them since I interpreted them to be 'the devil' (which was a false belief that I had internalized from the culture that I was programmed/socialized/enculturated within).

After avoiding the Signposter for the duration of a year I began to notice that Christianity wasn't helping with the suffering and that in fact, the anxiety was only growing worse. Therefore, one spring day I became overwhelmingly desperate to find an answer to the horrible suffering I was going through. I then began to pray to God (God as I believed at the time - God as an 'Other'/Father figure, etc.) and the prayer was full of anger. I was angry with God that I was doing all of the things I was being told to by preachers and fellow Christians to do, but was not getting the results I wanted; that is, an end to suffering. I was very honest with 'God - (as I was conceiving God at the time through Christianity) that this whole 'Christian thing' was not working. Then shortly after the prayer was over, walking back into my home from outside sitting down on a chair exhausted, I was ‘hit’ with an image of the Signposter (as if the image came directly from the unconscious) and I remember something that he had said about a book that he was writing and what he would put at the beginning of his book came to my mind. He was going to write, "this book is for sufferers only; if you haven't suffered or are not suffering, then throw this book in the garbage" at the beginning of the book he was working on. Then I was hit with the honest and deep realization that I was suffering a tremendous deal and had been for over two years with horrible fear and sadness about being stuck with fear and anxiety without any satisfying answers to be found within the culture/society.

I then walked over the 'devil's house' with the intention to poor my guts out to the Signposter while being moved by some deep inner-force to do so. It should be mentioned that the Signposter is 80 years old and I am 22 years old; this was roughly 6 years ago when I met him the second time without prejudice (the horribleness of my pain wiped out the prejudice and I was open to seek him out as a resource and wisdom source). Upon entering his home M (his soul-mate) greeted me at the door and brought me into their living room where he just happened to be sitting in a chair by the window (where little did I know, I would end up receiving the great Teaching or Way). I began to unfold my suffering and fears to him. He then instructed me to pick up the pillow that was located beside me on the couch where I was sitting and to bring it over to the other couch in the room with full attention while doing so. I was not able to do this the first time, so he then showed me how to do this by picking up the pillow and holding it like a precious baby saying something along the lines of: “you do the action as if it were the most important thing in the whole universe, as if your life depended on it”. I was able to ‘be one with the pillow’ the second time that I attempted to move it and this was the first teaching that I received from him; which he referred to as ‘always deal with what is in the palm of your hand with full expenditure of energy’. What this does for an individual is that it focuses the body-mind and all of its energy into pure action - moving the pillow with no-one doing it. Therefore, no energy is left over to go into mental rumination of thoughts about the future (which is where anxiety comes from—the ‘what if this happens’ (futurization) thoughts—and thus anxiety vanishes in the full attention put into action taking place in the moving present.

The Signpsoter also began to unpack what I was saying in regards to my tremendous struggle with anxiety and used a metaphor from the Bible that I just happened to be familiar with. In this passage, a woman fights off demons with a lamp and several come back with the first one that “she drove out”. He related this biblical reference to the anxiety I was going through. When I was fighting anxiety provoking thoughts with other thoughts from a Christian belief system, it was only making the anxiety worse. He also pointed out how thought is composed of associations, so that one fear-inducing thought is associated with other fear-inducing thoughts and if you fight one undesirable thought, it triggers off other associated fear-inducing thoughts. The woman in the Bible had to learn to allow the demons in, so that they could be dissolved in the Light (the moving and ever-changing present moment).                          

I understood what he has saying and a realization hit me at the core of my being which was: allow anxiety to arise as bodily sensations, observe it, and do not fight it. When this happened I noticed a transformation where the fear dissolved by allowing anxiety to 'just be'.

I left his home with overwhelming feelings of Freedom. I went walking into the nearby woods and picked up a stick and pretended to be a Ninja, hitting the trees like a child absorbed in a toy full of joy. Little did I know at the time, this was just the beginning to a process of loosening the chains of cultural-social prison. I returned the following day and every day for the next week with all sorts of questions that came up from deep within the core of my being. I wanted to know how he stumbled upon such Wisdom, and how the suffering I was going through could be evaporated like it was within the first hour I entered into dialogical-inquiry with him about the anxiety. I was in awe seeing as I had exhausted all of the options available to me within the culture-society to relieve suffering and anxiety. I later would learn from the Signposter that you cannot find a solution to suffering within the culture/society if that very thing (culture/society) is what caused (created/constructed) all the problems in the first place. That is why, in order to find a true solution to suffering, something or someone has to impact you from outside the culture; that is the role of a Signposter.

One of the first questions that I asked him (not having any exposure to Zen, Non-duality, or anything other than fundamentalist religion) was: Is there such a thing as a 'path', are there such things as 'tests', and is there such a thing as a life 'plan' or 'purpose' for people. The answer I received was plainly: “No”… then after perhaps twenty seconds or so had passed he said, "Truth is a pathless land". When I heard those answers to my question it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my chest and that I could begin to breathe deeply and peacefully for the first time in a very, very long time. This type of conversation is what began innumerable amounts of what The Signposter refers to as 'dialogical-enquires', taking place with him and I. What dialogical-inquiry means is, to enter into dialogue and to inquire into the very roots of what the culture/society has presented and constructed to be the 'Truth', 'real', and so on. Once this occurs, various insights, apprehensions, and awakenings begin to occur since various obstructions and encumbrances (assumptions, conclusions, beliefs, etc.) internalized by the cultural-social enterprise (the totality of human thought) are seen-through as false and delusional. The more sincere the inquirer is, and the deeper the inquiry goes and the more inquirers can rid themselves of false beliefs, conclusions, assumptions, and so on, related to self, others, 'reality', and the world.  Such uninspected conclusions, beliefs, and assumptions are the thought-structures composing the cultural-social-enterprise that each human beings lives out, as mere products (programmed robots) manufactured by the cultural-social-enterprise itself. Until one enters into the process of sincere dialogical-inquiry no True Awakening can occur and one  is simply left to live out and perpetuate the delusions and illusions of the cultural-social-enterprise, most notably, the delusion of being a separate, free-willing, free-choosing, and independent 'self'.            

One of the most memorable dialogical-inquiries occurred within the first few months of meeting the Signposter. I had borrowed a book from him titled, ‘the Gospel according to Zen’ (which is now out of print). In this book there was a passage that went something along the lines of:  “you are from the Kingdom of Heaven and ye shall enter into it again”. I read this passage off to the Signposter to gain more clarity on it and then the Signposter responded with: “No, no… it is not that you are from or ‘enter’ back into the Kingdom of Heaven… it is that you Are the Kingdom of Heaven”. When he said this I was hit with a mystical-like experience where it felt as if a bomb was exploding somewhere in Europe and the shock-wave was headed for his home. What he said totally ‘hit me in the gut’, so to speak, and I was driven into the radical-apprehension that I (the True Nature of this organism and all other organisms) is indeed the Kingdom of Heaven (Total Unknowing). I then got up to grab the Signposter’s neck-brace for him in his room and I did this really without thinking, still undergoing this mystical-like state. When I entered his room, the entire room was filled with radiant-goldish energy which signified sacredness. When I came back into the dialogical-inquiry room he was radiating as that energy, as well, as with everything else, and that was the main experience that told me, “this man is pure and he is your Teacher”. It was also one of many awakening experiences which will continue to occur along the Way (Journey to complete and/or total Awakening/Enlightenment).                                                                          

I have spent the last 6 years in non-stop dialogical-inquiry with the Signposter and I am still, up to the present day, in intimate and intense dialogue with such a One that is 'no-one'.

How shall we begin our dialogical-enquiry John? 

NDM:  Ok. You mention that the “Signposter” quoted J. Krishnamurti "Truth is a pathless land" Can you please tell me more about this "Signposters" background. Do you know who his teacher was for example? What tradition and so on.

Troy of IS:  As for the Signposter's teacher... 'Life is the Great Teacher' was one thing that he repeatedly said that really impacted 'me'. The Signposter still holds to that realization and/or apprehension as well, that indeed Life-itself was and is his Great Teacher. The Signposter learned the most from interacting with and living in the cultural-social-enterprise (the world of programmed/culturally-conditioned human organisms). There were 'teachers' that impacted the Signposter in the sense that he studied them in depth (such as Krishnamurti, Zen, Alan Watts, Adi Da Samraj, and so on).            

He made it so that he was left completely free to study any teacher and not to be tethered to any particular teacher as if they were 'the one' or 'had it all' (none do). Instead, he eliminated aspects of what teachers said after being able to discern their faults (left over programming), and then he extracted what was most relevant and true from the teacher(s); which altogether was a process that lead to the unfolding of 'The Teaching' for him, as I encountered It and was impacted by It via the Signposter. Eventually, by being able to extract the most true and 'pure' pointings/teaching(s) from a particular teacher, one develops their own Teaching and points the Way beyond cultural-social prison. Don't get 'me' wrong though; its not like a type of capitalistic-consumerism where you read a few books, visit some guru(s), India, Zen centers, etc., and then all of the sudden you can pick what is your ‘favorite’ or what ‘rings most true’ to your 'self'; its more profound than that. You must have already expended your whole being into sincere dialogical-inquiry and developed the discernment through sufficient insight and apprehension to be able to find flaws in any teacher that is studied and not project delusions onto a teacher. Most people are not willing to find flaws in their special 'gurus' who such ‘seekers’ often unconsciously make into Daddie/Mommie-figures, projecting delusions onto them for security. In other words, you must develop a profound and complete understanding of your own psychology, that is, your own cultural-social conditioning that structures every aspect of your life before you can be free to see clearly what aspects of a teacher's teaching are valid and which are not; what is to be kept and what is to be discarded. In other words, you have to be able to keep the teaching and leave the teachers behind.            

There is no lineage or tradition that the Signposter followed since all traditions and lineages are leashes (traps/obstructions) that you have to be free from completely, or else you cannot sincerely inquire about anything or enter into true dialogical-inquiry with anyone. In other words, you have to be able to explore anything and everyone (anything that has been proposed to be true). If you are stuck in a Zen temple or with a specific guru as if they have 'got all there is to get' you are not free to explore and to investigate if such a conclusion that they have ‘got it’ is even really true. Until true exploration occurs, it is only a conclusion that some teacher has 'got it all', or is ‘awake’. Following a certain lineage or tradition is like being tied to a post, you can only go so far in exploring the territory of life. You have to be free to explore and completely willing to question everything (anything that comes out of human thought) or else you cannot even come close to Truth; if not, you only stay in the false, and all traditions, structures, lineages are false. There are no answers to be found in any tradition, lineage, or form of human thought. A lineage or tradition is just a medium whereby the cultural-social enterprise is able to perpetuate itself in such a way that your organism comes to internalize the unquestioned assumptions and knowledge-stories of that culture, only to be a robot of that particular tradition/lineage which it then seeks to defend as real and/or true.

It (Truth) is about being free of everything human thought (the cultural-social-enterprise) has constructed and the programming/conditioning effects of such thought-content on your organism (your psychology). That's it. Without understanding the 'ins and outs' of the cultural-social-enterprise and how it has conditioned you to assume that you are a separate, free-willing, free-choosing, and independent 'self', you'll forever be deluded. By living in a Zen temple this does not mean that someone has understood and seen-through the falseness of the cultural-social enterprise. In fact, people often speak about how they are 'spiritually-weak' when they leave the Teacher's presence, the temple, or the ashram because they get 'swallowed up by the world again'; 'the ego again', etc. This is because the teacher has not taught the inquirer how to function within, as well as, how to see-through the cultural-social-enterprise in which they are embedded and which they have been born into and deeply programmed within, 24/7 for all their lives. Such cultural-social programming that has yet to been seen-through remains dormant, ready to be re-triggered by the environment (conditioned stimuli) outside of the environment(s) of the Ashram/Zen temple. Seeing-through and being able to function fully and impeccably within the cultural-social-enterprise, while not being of it (identified with it) is what Awakening, Enlightenment, etc., is all about. Once this happens there is no 'being pulled back into the world or ego' since the whole universe and beyond is then the Temple (Kingdom of Heaven) and the Totality that is the universe is Realized to be a Great Mystery and all is simultaneously Understood to be the Perfect expression of the Great Mystery (the Tao, God, Brahman, etc.).

It is also Radically (at 'the root') Apprehended that there is Only the Great Mystery and that the Great Mystery is One's True and/or Eternal Nature; Forever.

NDM: When you say that "Seeing through and being able to function fully and impeccably within the cultural-social-enterprise, while not being of it (identified with it), is what Awakening, Enlightenment, etc., is all about "Is enlightenment" about anything else other than this?           

Troy of IS:  It is important that I define what I mean by the word, 'impeccably' more. To be impeccable means to not be fooled into believing that any of the beliefs, assumptions, conclusions, or ideologies, etc., of the cultural-social-enterprise are real or true. Once all of the belief systems of the cultural-social enterprise have been seen-through as false through investigating them in-depth, one can no longer be influenced or contaminated by such thought-systems of the cultural-social-enterprise. One becomes impeccably 'clean' of all falseness, which means all that is false about the cultural-social-enterprise. You 'become' Truthful by seeing through what is false or un-True about the ‘self’, ‘others’, ‘reality’, and ‘the world’. Enlightenment/Awakening does indeed involve more than seeing-through the cultural-social enterprise. However, seeing-through all human-thought systems, which comprise one's cultural-social-programming, is the dominant and/or main aspect of Awakening and Enlightenment. Why is this so? It is so because if you see-through the cultural-social enterprise you are also, at the same time, seeing-through the 'ego/separate-self' since it IS the cultural-social enterprise; it is something that the cultural-social enterprise made up and continually reinforces. The assumption of a separate, free-willing, free-choosing, independent 'self' is the main presupposition or assumption that underlies every other thought or belief which is manufactured or produced by the various social institutions of the culture/society: family, education, media, religion, etc. To rephrase the ancient Teacher Dogen: [to understand the cultural-social enterprise is the Know the 'self', to see-through the cultural-social enterprise is to loose/see-through the 'self'; seeing-through the 'separate-self' (the cultural-social enterprise) is Enlightenment].           

A very vital point, in all of this, is that there is no method to Awaken. It is not like seeing-through the cultural-social enterprise equals Enlightenment or Awakening. It is more like seeing-through the falseness of the cultural-social enterprise is something that needs to happen, as a prerequisite, in order for Enlightenment to occur. However: Total-Enlightenment is not guaranteed to happen; it is necessary (to see-through one’s cultural-social programming), but not sufficient for Enlightenment to ‘occur’. You can open the window (see through your programming/the cultural-social enterprise), but you cannot make the bird of Total Enlightenment fly in; this is because there is no 'self' and therefore no 'doer'. Being hit by Satori (Enlightenment) is like going outside during a storm and holding up a wrench. Seeing through the cultural-social enterprise is what allows you to hold up the wrench. There is no guarantee that you are going to get struck by the lightening (Awakening), but there is a greater probability that you will. In either case, you don't control the weather.

You are not the ‘doer’. All choice, doer-ship, and control is a delusion and an illusion. Realizing there is no such thing as control is one of the Realizations of Enlightenment (which is a 'network', so to speak, of inter-related and inter-connected Realizations all composing One, Great, Holistic or Total Realization: That there is Only a Great Mystery and that The Great Mystery is All that Is; Eternally (As one's True Nature and/or Real-Identity). 

NDM: You say that "A very vital point to all of this, is that there is no method to Awaken" What about meditation? Do you meditate by the way, and what are your thoughts on this method?

Troy of IS:  Meditation is another word for life. Is there a method to life? Is there an instruction book for life? No. What is Life?  No one knows. Life is mystery; fundamentally. Therefore, no one knows what meditation fundamentally 'IS'. When people talk about meditation being about counting the breath, crossing the legs, etc., the assumption is that they know what 'meditation' (i.e., what life) 'is'. What ‘is’ the breath? What ‘is’ a ‘leg’? There is only a Great Mystery (God, Tao, or whatever you want to call it - the word is not the 'thing') and that Mystery is the Condition of all apparent conditions. If meditation were to involve anything, it would be recognizing that all is an Eternally-Unknowable-Mystery, to a greater and greater degree until that Realization becomes Total (a total body-neurological-brain-mind realization); then there is Only-Ignorance (the Tao) that is smelt, tasted, touched, and heard. The Tao was what was already there to begin with as All-and-Everything; Eternally (the Real and Only You).            

Life is meditation. Meditation could also be understood as whenever there is full attention without an observer. Pure-observing or full attention without anyone doing it – no ‘self’ (think back earlier to the pillow example of when I first met the Signposter). Seeing-through one's cultural-social programming by being fully aware of one's machine-like reactions in the midst of relating with other human organisms in the cultural-social enterprise, is a form of meditation; this meditation can occur whenever interacting with other humans (fellow robots).

It is necessary to understand one's programming in the midst of interacting with others within the cultural-social enterprise because until one has profoundly understood their own psycho-social emotional conditioning, meditation only reinforces the ego-self-identity, and meditation then becomes an obstruction in itself. Meditation becomes an obstruction when it does not involve observing with full-attention, no-condemnation, and zero-judgment - one's psycho-social-emotional programming/conditioning (ego).

Meditation is also not about 'looking within'. There is no 'within'. Meditation is not about identifying with a 'witness', 'presence', 'consciousness', or 'the I-Am'. Meditation is about nothing, has no purpose, and can never be understood. The myth of 'within' is constructed by the belief that one's True Nature is an eternal 'witness' or 'consciousness' and that Self-Realization, or Realization of True Nature has something to do with identifying with such a 'witness' or ‘I-AM’-ness. To be a 'Witness' is not to be identified with what is witnessed, and is a form of duality/separation or dissociative-introversion. This dissociative-introversion is the ‘final' attempt of the separate-self-identity to identify with something (apparently/assumed to be) eternal, so that it can continue on forever, stemming from the fear of death. Anyone can say “I am what is aware of thoughts going by” (this even a technique of psychotherapy nowadays – called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy), but to say “I am aware of the thoughts, therefore not the thoughts” is merely to repeat a slogan. Anyone can repeat slogans and there are thousands of people all over the internet now implicitly and explicitly claiming to have 'realized' that they are 'that which watches thoughts go by' not knowing that they have merely substituted a new identity to take refuge in, narcissistically, often to find fame. Facebook and You-tube are quick roads to fame for anyone (and I mean anyone) who can pretend they are Awakened.  It is actually sickening for actual real and sincere inquirers of Truth to see so many con-artists that there are now exploiting other helpless human beings in the various ways that pseudo-gurus do. It is a disgrace to anything representing Truth, integrity, and or Real-Wisdom. The tragedy is that they are taking the one thing that is humanity’s only hope (regarding the survival of the species and living in harmony) and they are twisting it and cheapening it down into mere narcissism and circus (slogan-like beliefs, that anyone can repeat/model). In other words, they are no longer providing humanity the necessary keys to unlock the doors of cultural-social prison, but merely throwing them back in the jail-cell of egoity, since these pseudo-gurus are now nothing but the mere embodiment OF the cultural-social enterprise (prison). Whenever the next True Teachers and Signposters appear they have a lot of work to do to clean up all kinds of lies and mess that these con-artists ('teachers') have left in their wake (including all of the unsolved psychological issues in their ignorant followers, which will then only have become more imprisoning and seemingly hopeless for such people to solve since the answers (slogans) they were given will start to break down - since they were never True, or Realized profoundly deep enough in the inquirer to begin with).                                                                  
           
What you Are is not aware of 'witness' to anything. You don't even know what you are, so there is no way to identify It with a 'witness', 'presence', etc. There is Only an Eternal, Unlimited Mystery that is the One Identity; as All That Is, was, and Forever Shall Be. Amen.                                                              
           
'I' do meditate in the sense that 'I' mentioned above, about observing the cultural-social programming being elicited when interacting with other human organisms. One of the most recent ways this meditation has shown up is on Facebook, where I will present the Teaching and people will respond to it in a critical way. People will often trigger my programming, so that I will be tempted to enter into arguments with them, which are based purely on programmed responding to ‘defend’ myself to begin with (based on anger/irritation, so it doesn’t go anywhere). A true teacher never argues. I have learned that all arguing related to Truth, Reality, etc., with anyone is truly futile. People cannot be argued into being sincere; they have to be already in the process of open and sincere inquiry in the first place. If someone is arguing with you it means that they have something they want to protect. In the process of Truth there is nothing that can be protected, or to be protected because everything eventually gets deconstructed completely. Deconstruction is the ‘first and last step’ to freedom.

 'I' also devote some time to zazen meditation. However, the dominant focus while doing that is being 'aware and/or understanding' that there is Only the Great Mystery and that the Great Mystery is True Nature (Enlightenment). Another word for the Great Mystery (is 'The Only' and that is the term which I learned from The Signposter. I find that to be the most useful and resonating term.                                                                    
           
So, there is Just the Only; which is the same as saying there is only Mediation, which is the same as saying there is Only Ignorance, Only God (Tao), or Only Enlightenment. Zen is another word for The Only, by the way. Zen is Enlightenment (Eternal – Not-Knowing). You ARE Zen; Only.                                                                  

With all of the above mentioned... What lineage is there to follow? What leg should be crossed over the left-leg? What is the right diet? How many breathes should one count? None of that has any meaning in the Pure and Realized-Ignorance of not knowing what even a single thing 'is'…. eternally.

NDM:  Is there a difference between the absolute and relative levels of reality?

Troy of IS:  There is no difference. There is only the Absolute (The Only). Speaking about the 'relative' is just a teaching tool in order to remove obstructions that are there in the inquirer, so that the Absolute can be understood to be 'The Only (One's True Nature). The whole talk about 'relative/absolute' is a construction of human thought which comes out of various spiritual cultures such as some sects of Buddhism, etc. It is important to realize that all talks of 'Absolute/Relative distinction' are teaching tools and that these tools have to be discarded as merely maps or models of Truth. The map or model is not the territory (the Absolute) that it represents. In other words, it is completely delusional to speak of any type of 'distinction' since there is Only the Only (Tao) which both includes and transcends the distinction between 'absolute/relative'.

The statements that I have made throughout this dialogical-inquiry of ours concerning the cultural-social enterprise (seeing through your cultural-social conditioning) can be viewed as taking place on the 'relative' level. However, it is important to always put what appears to be the 'relative' (as if there were such a 'thing' as relative) into the context of the Absolute. All is an expression of the Tao (the Absolute) which includes the 'relative' as the very Tao-Itself. Therefore, there is Only the Absolute expressing Itself As the Absolute-Itself. Moreover, it should also be mentioned that all 'reality' is relative to the point-of-view of the human neurological system which constructs apparent events, situations, happenings, and 'things' as if they were ‘external’ to the neurological system when, in actuality, they are merely its own constructed/projected realities; including the apparent 'reality' called the 'relative' as distinct from the Absolute.

However, most would-be ‘gurus’ pump out 'Absolutist' statements such as 'There is no doer', 'there is only the Self', etc., no matter what stage or psychological make-up (programming) an inquirer brings with him or her into the 'gurus' presence. These gurus (con-artists) are not able to adequately Signpost or point the Way to profound Awareness/Understanding because of their limited backgrounds in the domain of psychology-sociology (the relative level). In other words, there is an absence of understanding on these pseudo-gurus’ part concerning the psychological structure that is a direct result and reflection of the structure of the cultural-social enterprise. A narcissist/neurotic can listen to one of these gurus and be told 'you are awareness' and never have their narcissism targeted and dealt with because the ‘gurus’ do not have a background, being trained in psychology; namely clinical/counseling psychology to address such narcissism (which often can be expressed in very subtle).

A Teacher needs to be able to meet each person ‘where they are at’, and this is able to be done more adequately if the Teacher has a background in psychology; such as psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, existential-humanistic, etc., models of therapy. In other words, what I am saying is that, these pseudo-gurus’ lack of psychotherapeutic knowledge prevents them from dealing sufficiently well with the 'relative' (the inquirer’s psycho-social-emotional programming); which is the exact type of focus that most individuals require before they can truly have genuine understanding(s) of the Absolute. In other words, it is in the domain of the ‘psyche’ (your psycho-social emotional programming from the cultural-social enterprise) where the obstructions and encumbrances standing in the way of Awakening are to be found and deconstructed (annihilated) by profound Understanding/Apprehension of such obstructions and encumbrances. Metaphorically speaking, such obstructions and encumbrances are your karma which you bring with you to each moment (birth) unconsciously as an uninspected and not yet transcended cultural-social program which inevitably leads to various undesirable consequences (suffering) for your organism as well as others and the planet. To be free of all karma is to have transcended all of your cultural-social programming (karma or ‘the relative’) and to therefore to realize the Absolute (The Birthless/Deathless) as your True Nature (Nirvana). Once this occurs you are never to be ‘reborn’ (reinforce) any cultural-social programming that would otherwise be brought with you into the next moment. Instead, you enter the next moment as no-one; dead to the past, crucified on the cross of Understanding, and sitting Enlightened under the Bodhi-tree of no-where, in the Pathless Land of Unlimited-Ignorance. It is only when one ‘reaches’ such a ‘place’ that they can then take the Stand, to Stand for That which one Stands For; To Be the Stand, that one Stands For.

Once again, if you have all sorts of 'garbage' (programming that hasn't been understood and let go of) you cannot truly 'grasp' the Absolute. This is why it is tremendously important to be able to pick up on an implicitly or explicitly claimed guru's own psychology and the flaws (ego) that show up as a result of the gurus themselves having yet to see-through (transcend) their own psychology (programming). However, this discernment can only occur when there has been profound self-knowledge that has taken place in one's own organism. We are like the rest of humankind (our programming is essentially the same), so when you understand your own structure deeply enough, you simultaneously understand all of human beings’ structure (programming). Then and only then can you discern what teachers are true or false. Keep in mind that all of this self-knowledge is in the realm of the 'relative', but is actually an expression of the Absolute as the Absolute (the Tao). The insights that follow from such self-knowledge lead to and are integrated with profound-apprehensions that take place concerning the Absolute; which is one's True and Eternal Nature - As the very Tao (Great Mystery) Itself. Once you see through all of your own cultural-social-psychological programming you will also know what Jesus meant when he said, “Judge not least ye (the Absolute) be judged. Do not attempt to remove the speck of dust (programming/obstructions) in your brother’s eye without first removing the log (largely unquestioned programming) in your own eye (consciousness). Remove the log (vast amount of false assumptions, beliefs, conclusions, etc., internalized and constructed by the culture-society) from your own eye and then you will see clearly [Radically-Apprehend], so that you will be able to remove the speck (ego/programming/false assumptions, etc.) from your brothers eye (consciousness).” Once such blinding ignorance (programming) is removed by Radical-Apprehension there will no longer be the apparent distinction constructed by thought, between ‘brother’ and the one removing the speck of dust. There will be, and has only ever been that One who is never removed; the Tao (or if you would like to use another word: God).

NDM: How do you make the assessment if someone is a "true guru" or not? What is the criteria for this evaluation exactly? Is this primarily based on weather the guru went to university and has a background in clinical psychology, took a course in 101 psych, or has a master’s degree, or is there something more to this?

Troy of IS: It would be a little ridiculous if only those who obtained a university undergraduate or graduate degree were qualified to be teachers (Signposters). That would also mean that each teacher would undergo the ‘benefit’ of being brought up in middle to upper-middle socio economic background whereby they had access to a higher education. If university education were required this would mean that Krishnamurti, Jesus, and Buddha were never teachers; which is not the case. A higher education provides more tools for a teacher to use in order to meet an inquirer ‘where they are at’. Clinical psychology happens to be the more suitable tool-box of interventions for a teacher to have (compared to other disciplines) since it is often a psychological issue (suffering) that is brought to a teacher in most interactions between a teacher and an inquirer.

People must have the self-knowledge and self-understanding first, before going to a teacher which means the self-knowledge that they, themselves, are conditioned to look for and construct authority figures in order to be secure (to survive). We are culturally and socially programmed to seek out authority figures to tell us what to do, so that we do not have to do the necessary work ourselves, in terms of self-understanding and awakening from the cultural-social prison (ego). As I mentioned earlier, when you have a profound enough understanding of your own cultural-social programming you automatically are able to see-into and see-through, at tremendous depths, the psychological structure of all other human beings. Once this happens you will be able to see the things that other so called teachers have not transcended themselves and then you will know who to stay far away from.
                                                               
The Truth is to be free, for all. It will cost you EVERYTHING (all of your life energy) to sincerely inquire into the Truth, but this is not a money-cost; it is a life calling and total-life energy, so to speak, cost. The Signposter never charged me a single cent. How could you charge someone for being what one Always Already Is Eternally (their True Nature)? It is a joke to charge; and it is also a sign that the ‘teacher’ is into making money and not freely giving Wisdom to anyone who comes to him or her, no matter what their socio-economic background. As long as they, the inquirers, are sincere and have questions, then that is all that matters, no one is to be charged to break out of cultural-social prison (ego). Ken Wilber is an example of a major-league guru who charges big bucks for people to attend workshops, purchase his books, and various life-practice packages and DVDs. These DVD sets cost hundreds of dollars. Each DVD represents a stage of growth as a student of his integral-model of spirituality. However, those of a lower socio-economic background are excluded from this teaching and the so called ‘truly evolved way of being’. Whereas the people purchasing such DVDs are generally well-off financially, those individuals who may be suffering tremendously and longing for answers to their existential crisis in a lower socio-economic background (those who may require the Teaching the most) are not able to find access to It since they have to pay-up cash which they just do not have.   

As Jesus said, freely ye have received (the Teaching). Therefore, freely ye shall give (the Teaching).
                                                                        
NDM: Some contemporary non dual teachers out there today reason being a professional non dual/advaita teacher, will enable them to reach and help more people if they charge. That they have to charge in order to take their ‘show on the road’, so to speak. To pay for their travel and accommodation expenses. Also to rent a space to give a talk or a meeting.

What are your thoughts on this?

Troy of IS:  It all depends on the financial situation of the teacher. If people are willing to rent a venue and they invite the person to talk; that is fine. However, those of a lower socio-economic background should not be excluded in any way and they should not have to pay. If the teacher is already financially well off (like many teachers are) I don't see why they cannot pay out of their own pocket and not charge people. As I mentioned there has to be a way of determining someone's socio-economic background and they are to be helped (allowed in for free to ask questions to the teacher) if they are sincere and have questions.             

Generally speaking, if there is a large gathering around someone and they are 'selling-out' seats on ‘non-duality tour’, it is a sign that there is a lack of truth and that the teaching has taken on ego reinforcing characteristics. In other words, if someone is virtually unknown it is a sign that they are true and if they are well known and thousands of people gather around them it is a sign that they are false. People make the mistake of thinking the opposite of this: the more people someone has around them, then the more ‘wise’ those teachers are, etc., but it is actually the reverse of that. Truth is rare; there are few who find it and even less genuinely passionate about it, and who have the ability to inquire into it without prejudice through ongoing dialogical-enquiry with a Teacher.            

When Truth is commodified and brought ‘on tour’ to be sold like a popular music group, it gets falsified and degraded into something that is 'for everyone'; and its not. There is an aspect of sacredness in which the Truth has to be sought. The Teacher has to be sought. When all you have to do is log onto You-tube and type in some name like ‘yogandhia-yogurt’ or something and hundreds of 'teachers' appear, something is wrong. Truth is never so common; it is the rarest of the rare. However, when it is discovered it is worth more than anything that the cultural-social-enterprise could possibly commodify (turn into a product to be sold). In the words of Jesus, "the road to life [The Teaching] is narrow and few ever find it, but the road to death [the cultural-social enterprise] is wide and many tread it".           

The most common commodification in these days of spiritual culture is the delusion called 'presence', 'awareness', 'the witness', etc. You will see literally thousands of people nowadays pumping out these slogans to the point where it becomes ridiculous. Each of these people have their story to share about their 'awakening' not realizing that they have only internalized a new belief system from the cultural-social enterprise, that is the newest spiritual commodification of the cultural-social enterprise. Then all they have to do, as you the interviewer mentioned, is want to go on tour to be famous with the justification that they are charging to pay for resources. Capitalism has now gone so far to even take hold of the Teaching, so that any Joe can make a buck off of it, on the road to ego-fame. It is all a circus, the whole thing and it is ruining the Sacredness of Truth; it is disgusting actually. Everyone thinks they are a Buddha (which is Ultimately True), but these con-artists do not actually Apprehend that (nor do the thousands who pump out spiritual slogans such as 'I am Free-Awareness' 'Big Mind', and so on and so forth.) With all of the lies it becomes more and more difficult for someone to find an actual True Teacher/Signposter.
           
NDM: Do you teach by the way and what method do you use?

Troy of IS:  I continually point (signpost) sincere enquirers to the Great Mystery (The Only). Anything that comes out of someone’s mouth is deconstructed immediately on the spot. All the other pseudo-gurus are merely ‘shooting the shit’. If anyone has sincere questions they can send them to:
troyofis@gmail.com or they can add Troy of IS to Facebook under the Facebook name: Troy Of-Is. There will be You-tube videos in the future. Also, Skype sessions can be arranged (for free) in order to enter into a dialogical enquiry concerning the nature of self, others, reality, and the world, etc., through Facebook. The Signposter will also be releasing a book in the coming years; it is his life’s work and he is currently looking for publishers.


To end with a poem:


Unlimited Ultimacy,

Is Unlimited Un-Knowing

Unlimited Un-Knowing,

Is Eliminated knowledge

For knowledge Eliminated,

Is the Ultimate Enlightenment

Un-Known Enlightenment,

Is Un-Knowing Ultimacy,

For Not-Knowing Anything,

Is to Be Ultimately Enlightened

Now, Then, and Forever,

As Always,

The ‘End’.