Is John Wheeler a Pretender?


Q:
I happened to see a lady's post on Facebook, and I clicked on the YouTube video of John Wheeler. I saw there your comment that John Wheeler is so clear — from a month ago. Not sure how you think this guy is clear, as he says a lot of nonsense like, "You don't have to realize it because you are it." I mean, John Wheeler is among the worst of the neo-advaitist pretenders.

What say you?

A: I don’t think John is a pretender. I think he is the only person who ever really spoke clearly about non-duality, from his own experience, without talking out of both sides of his mouth like all the others do. And Sailor Bob had that same inner clarity, but did not communicate it as well, in my opinion. So John was kind of a gift to that teaching. If that’s what people want!

But you and I both figured out that non-duality is a dead end, and everyone gets to that recognition eventually. Maybe John will get them to the point of disillusionment faster. So maybe if they see my comment, and then find my website, and see that it says “Thoughts from a Recovering Non-Dualist,” they might read a little further and be supported in doubting the non-dual teaching. I mean, I didn’t post it for that reason — it was a sincere comment. After years of phony neo-advaitans, and even James Swartz and Swami Sarvapriyananda muddying the waters, it really blew my mind to hear John again.

I love that you mention the Lord’s Prayer on your Facebook page. I had a funny thing happen — three days in a row, I woke up with a different line of scripture or prayer in my mind. I wasn’t sure what the lines were from, though they were familiar. On the third day I googled and realized the 23rd Psalm (“The Lord is my Shepherd”) had just intruded itself into my awareness! I’ve been saying it every day at least a couple of times. I love it so much. I think God is speaking more loudly to me lately.

So then I looked for books about the Psalms, and found one I’m reading now called
“A Long Obedience in the Same Direction,” by Eugene Peterson. He’s a Christian pastor, and I just love his message and his language and approach. Just the title says it all, really.

I realized also that I’ve clung in the past to approaches that are about finding “freedom.” Looking at it through John’s eyes, the ultimate is this freedom, which we already are, as awareness. The brass ring for non-dualists is the freedom, and seeing they already have that is the point. But it turns out freedom is not even what I want! Freedom from what? Suffering? Faith takes care of all that. I just want to grow in God and in faith, and I wouldn’t want to be free of that desire. If I were totally free of all personal attachment, I would miss out on God’s gift. I would miss out on God’s love. I want the bonds of my faith and my purpose to be intact.

So it’s funny — the whole non-dual fantasy is about something I don’t value, and God doesn’t value. I’m seeing it this way: God is making this sculpture with His hands, patiently sculpting me into what He wants me to be.

I’m enjoying our discussion.