Philip Payson

Status: Student

Age: 63

Location: Freeport, Maine

Can you remember the first time you suspected there was a bigger truth to life, and that this was something you could participate in?

I would have to say that exposure to psychedelic drugs alerted me to the possibility that there was more to Reality than met the eye. There was a definite sense of something alive that animated the physical world.

What traditions, teachers or practices were you involved with previously?

It’s a long list.

At 19 I first started meditating with the TM™ style of meditation. I had a few experiences that convinced me to keep going but I was turned off by the official TM™ culture and I hated how every teaching was kept secret and cost money. I also first started yoga with a book in hand when I was 17.

Long hiatus for 20 years as I worked and raised a family. Then to shake things up I did a traditional vision fast in the desert of Death Valley. From there:

Experiential men’s work (yes there was drumming and running naked in the forest).

Breathwork in several styles: holotropic, integrative, therapeutic, Vivation, re-birthing (I had fun, not sure I made progress).

Yoga in various styles and flavors.

Eckhart Tolle’s books.

Adyashanti CDs and retreats with some synchronistic experiences that coincided with Adya’s one and only trip to Maine.

Kidney cancer and treatment (one year after my sister died of lung cancer, six months after her initial diagnosis).

More yoga retreats, intensives and trainings.

Goenka 10 day silent retreat (blech).

Meditating to Brainwave CDs: Perfect Meditation, Holosync, Brainsync, Hemi-sync,  and kitchen sink.

How did you first hear about working with Alan?

I came across a site on the web called “Open Enlightenment”. It was founded on the desire to have an open conversation about Enlightenment but stripped of all the myths and glamour. The site has since been taken down as the resulting conversation was too rancorous. [Alan: Technically I closed the site because it was built upon a false premise, but the rancorous conversation was certainly a symptom of that.]

I’ve been working with Alan for about five years and attended three of his retreats.

What is your most significant awakening event?

I have had a number of brief glimpses (way too brief in my opinion) that seemed to show me I was onto something, that there was more, that awakening was at least possible perhaps.

Do you find it easy to sit?

I do enjoy meditation although the most recent form of esoteric contemplation is less enjoyable than what I was doing before. I used to happily sit for an hour a day but Alan cut me back to 30 minutes.

What practice are you currently doing?

Esoteric Contemplation “Awakening is a Fire…”

Do you find it easy to do a dialectic?

I find it slightly easier than drilling and filling my own teeth.

Can you remember the first time you really grasped the implications of dialectic contemplation?

Yes. I remember the sense of despair that what I thought was the truth was in fact the exact opposite.

What kind of despair are we talking about?

Well since then I’ve been struggling with a sense of depression that I’ve been wasting my time for the past twenty years. While I have no intention of quitting I do struggle with the despairing attitude that I’m not ‘cut out’ to awaken and that in all likelihood I will die ignorant of my true nature. It’s not a happy place to be.

Can you remember the first time you really grasped the implications of esoteric contemplation?

Not sure I grasp it even now!