On March 11, 2011 we had the wonderful privilege and opportunity to interview best-selling author and stand-up philosopher Tim Freke, who is also leading the April guided meditation for The Satiama Meditation Community. The following is a transcript of our amazing conversation with him.
Satiama: Good morning. This is Karen Stuth, one of the co-owners of Satiama and I have with me this morning author and stand up philosopher, Tim Freke, who has written many best-selling books, is an authority on spirituality and a passionate voice for the collective awakening. His publications offer ground-breaking ideas and inspiration presence and I personally have enjoyed reading two of them during the last month, ‘Lucid Living’ and ‘How Long Is Now?’ Good morning, Tim. How are you this morning?
Tim Freke: Good morning. I’m good. Thank you.
Satiama: What a privilege and an honor to have you with us this morning. And we also have the honor this month to have Tim leading the Satiama meditation community in a special meditation that he’s creating especially for the community which we’ll talk about toward the end of this interview, but Tim, I’d like to jump right in and ask you to tell us what exactly is ‘Lucid Living?’
Tim Freke: Well, Lucid Living is a term I actually coined to describe the deep awake state, the state of awakening. And because I wanted to find a way of describing it which would really open up for people so they could experience it more easily themselves and to me, what happens is we come into this awakened state and you see that it is very similar to lucid dreaming except it’s now, and that’s why I call it lucid living. When you’re in a dream, you think that the world is what it appears to be. You think you’re just the person you appear to be in the dream, but really you’re much more than that. Really, you’re the dreamer and the whole of your dream is arising within awareness, within what you are and in that way you’re one with the whole dream. Lucid awakening is the same, but now. You see that you have a deeper nature, that what you are is the awareness within which your life is arising like a dream and you are one with life.
Satiama: And you use the term ‘lucid dreaming.’ Do you use that in a way that distinguishes it from regular dreaming?
Tim Freke: Sorry, yeah. I should explain that, Karen. When I say lucid dreaming, it’s a term which is more commonly said, which means consciously dreaming. You are dreaming, but you know you’re dreaming. You know, when you’re dreaming and you don’t know you’re dreaming, you think you’re in a world and then when you dream lucidly, you realize that in a sense, the world is in you. That you are the whole dream. That you’re everything and everyone and that there is a deeper part of you than the part that appears in the dream. Well, this awakening is like that now. When you live unconsciously, you just see that you’re the person you appear to be and living the life and going through the dramas of your unfolding story, but when you come into this awakened state, this deep awake state, you see that your deeper nature – your deep self is like the life dreamer. It’s the awareness in which the dream of life is arising and that you’re not separate from the dream. It’s an expression of what you are.
Satiama: And so would it be fair to say that lucid living is living your life as your observer self?
Tim Freke: Yes, but it’s more than that. You know, it is that. But there is something a bit cold about that for me. There’s something – you’re in danger of thinking there’s a little, tiny man in your head that is going to go, ‘Now I’m observing. I’m observing.’ It’s not like that. It’s an all embracing sense that you’re this spacious awareness, this presence which is embracing everything and that this is big love. You know, as you come into this state of oneness, there is a profound love, because love is how oneness feels. When you see through the separateness with your lover or your child or your friend, you experience oneness and you experience the love and when you know you’re one with all, there is a profound love for all, just because it is for life. And so this is love. So it’s much more than just being kind of detached witness. It actually leads to what I call engaged enlightenment. You actually because of the love, you enter into life as well as be this presence which is everywhere and always and that’s why I like this image of lucid living because in the dream, you’re in it, but it’s in you. You can see that paradox. You’re both the person in the dream, through them you’re experiencing the dream but you’re also the dreamer. You’re not the dreamer at all. The dream is in you and there is a paradox there and it’s like that, I think, with life also. There’s a paradox that on the one hand, I’m just this human being and I have all the challenges that a human being faces and that’s reality. And on the other hand, as well, not instead, I can come to this place where I know my deeper self and it is not in time. It’s actually everywhere and always and it is embracing everything as one. To know both of those, not reject one for the other, but know both is what I mean by lucid living.
Satiama: And you have begun to answer my next question, but I’d like for you to talk about this a bit more. What we obtain by being deep awake or why is that experience important to us as humans or in our spiritual development?
Tim Freke: Well, you know, there is an awful lot of suffering when we’re caught up in separateness. When we just think we’re the separate self, there is a kind of what I call the SOS. The ‘suffering of separateness.’ It’s very a very lonely place to be. There is a lot of pain, isolation, fear. All those things which we all know too well. And when you come into this lucid state, that doesn’t go in one way. It’s like life is still life, with all of its polarities. And everything is perfect suddenly. It’s not like that. It’s more like this all embracing love which loves it as it is and to have that, it fulfills the joy and mitigates the suffering. You’re in a place where you can feel alive. You don’t have to become numb. You don’t have to back off from life. You can actually dare to live. So for me, the most important thing we get is this love and this engagement. It’s this ability to enter in, ironically, from knowing the deep self which isn’t in at all – which is actually outside of life which like a dreamer is outside the dream. So you see that paradox and when you get that paradox, it’s what I call enlivenment. You come to life. You remember you’re alive. When we’re so far, we just go unconscious. We don’t even notice what is going on. I mean, we don’t notice the deep self most of the time. But when you become more conscious, there is a great sense of liberation and the ability to engage with the unfolding drama.
Satiama: When we are born as babies, when we first enter the world, are we deep awake at that time and then lose that state or is this something that from day one we’re working toward to obtain?
Tim Freke: That’s a great question, Karen, because we really see the paradox with that. It’s because to become conscious, we have to enter into separateness because separateness in a discrimination is what makes us conscious. Everything I’m conscious of here and now as I’m talking to you is because I’m discriminating it from everything else. You know, I can see around me the floor as opposed to the rest of the ceiling or the outside or the inside or me and the other. Everything is being broken up to make me conscious of it. So what I see with babies is that they’re like Buddha’s. They’re like little Buddha’s but they don’t know it. You know from the outside you can feel it – this oceanic oneness when you look into a baby’s eyes. It’s incredible. Looking into my baby’s eyes when she was just born was just awesome and yet she herself is in that state unconsciously. It’s an unconscious oneness and what has happened is we make the journey into consciousness which is great, because we become conscious but the price we pay is that it covers over or it obscures the oneness and what the job of spiritual awakening is then to see through the separateness to the oneness so we make the journey, if you like, from unconscious oneness as a baby through conscious separateness as an adult to the goal of realization, if you like, which is conscious oneness which is where we’re living lucidly. We suppose it is separate. Of course it is. That’s what makes us conscious but through it, behind it you know this oneness.
Satiama: Now I know a lot of our listeners are going to be asking themselves or wish I would ask this next question which people frequently want to know of authors and that is how did you arrive at knowing this or how did your personal development or spiritual journey bring you to know, understand and write a book like ‘Lucid Living?’
Tim Freke: Well, that’s a big question as you’ll know from having read how long it is now. That’s partly what that book is about. The first thing is there is absolutely nothing special about me, about Tim Freke. I am my life and I’m not some enlightened uber being. I don’t believe in such things. I used to, but not anymore. For me, it’s about realizing something that is there for all of us and available to all of us. The way that I’ve come to that is through experiencing that over and over again and it started when I was very young.
For some reason, I always found life deeply mysterious and when I was 12 years old, I had this spontaneous deep awake experience, this incredible love, this overwhelming oneness and I knew that I tapped into something in which all the questions I had as a child were suddenly resolved into some sort of knowing in which I could never put into words and then the rest of my life has been about what happened then and how can I experience that again? And how can I experience that deeper? And how can I share that with others? And now it’s led into this place where I’ve written a large number of books on the spiritual traditions of the world and then my own books and now my real priority is to get together with people for a weekend to do what I call the mystery experience, which is to actually come together and experience this together. So you know. You know for yourself. When you know, you know. There is no missing it. You feel it. It goes right down to your body. You can feel it in every cell of your body and the greatest joy for me now is from that seed from when I was 12 through to now when I’m considerably older is ah, I’m now sharing this with others and learning more about myself as I go along. It’s something we’re doing together. We’re waking up to this together.
Tim Freke’s best-selling books, Lucid Living and How Long Is Now? are available in our online store at Satiama.com. To register and join The Satiama Meditation Community and enjoy this monthly free meditation community, click here.