Iain: Hello and welcome again to Conscious TV. I’m Iain McNay and today our guest in the studio is Scott Kiloby. Hi Scott.
Scott: Welcome, thanks.
Iain: And Scott is one of those people that’s been requested a lot on Conscious TV over the last couple of years, his name comes up on emails every now and again. So we finally tracked him down on a fleeting visit to the UK, and he’s in the studio obviously with me now.
And he’s quite a character because not only has he written a couple of books, one here Love’s Quiet Revolution: The End of the Spiritual Search which is available, and another one called Reflections of the One Life. But you also work, Scott, as a lawyer in America and you’re a musician and lots of other things. So you’re very active in the world as well. So, I’m just going to ask you to start with just a bit about your childhood, how it was?
Scott: Um, yeah, childhood, middle class family in America in the midwest. You know, Dad was a hard working hardware store owner, Mom did various businesses. Uh, as a child was basically smothered with all sorts of anything that I wanted. Any kind of material items, it was really, you know, I can’t say that my childhood was a thing of suffering at all. But as I grew up there was a growing sense of like feeling of alienation. I happen to be gay that’s one thing and living in the midwest in America, that sort of made me, I think it was like the first turn in the story that was like, you know, there’s something about the reality that gets presented that might just not be the way that it is, because my mind was functioning in a certain way, or the story of Scott was functioning a certain way and I was being told from the outside that that way was either wrong or whatever and that created, I think, probably some sort of seeking started back then, which turned…. I mean I had a fairly happy childhood but then of course discovered drugs when I was around fourteen or fifteen and very quickly got into addiction and stayed in that sort of addictive cycle for… until I was about thirty-four. Lots of things happened in there.
Iain: That’s a long time.
Scott: Yeah, lots of things happened, sure. At some point became a musician, played in bands, eventually went to law school, um, just sort of life story stuff, you know, and became an attorney, still using drugs, still heavily using drugs through law school even using drugs and drinking a lot and really, really on a course of disaster. I mean really just heading towards disaster. Just more and more drugs, more and more being completely immersed in escaping actually, escaping.
Iain: So why were you trying to escape, what were you trying to escape from?
Scott: I don’t… you know… life, actually… in a way. I was trying to escape from the… I was trying… I guess how do I say that? I was trying to find something that was not there, something felt off but I don’t know if I can put a word to that. I don’t know if I can say it was this, I can just say, it was like this. I don’t know that I could have vocalized it back then and I don’t know that I can vocalize it now, but it was a sense that there’s something wrong with me or something wrong with the world or that…. Whatever it is that I am doesn’t fit with the world or I’m not sure how it fits with the world and it was easier to just sort of medicate that and numb it and sort of block it out completely than to try to learn how to integrate that. I could never really integrate it completely. And I—
[Iain starts to speak but Scott talks over him with a tone of urgency.]
Another thing is that I just physically became addicted, I mean, physically, the brain or whatever happened, you know, at some point it wasn’t like I was choosing to escape, it was like a rat in a cage. If you feed the thing cocaine enough it just keeps doing it and doing it and doing it and you’re in a cycle where it’s not a matter of why am I escaping. It’s that I have no choice at this point. I have to take the drugs at this point in order just to live and be in the world [laughs] every day.
Iain: It becomes a habit, doesn’t it?
Iain: I know there’s one point in the book you actually say you felt like an alien and you’d landed on the wrong planet.
Scott: Yeah. Yeah, very, very, uh…. Very, very sensitive, very, um…. I don’t know how to say it. I didn’t, just very, yeah, very sort of uncomfortable with who I am and didn’t know who I was and was sort of looking for that. Nothing seemed to give me the answer to that. It was the sense of being very self-conscious, very self-conscious, conscious of myself and who I am, very introverted and that sort of just led its own, in its own way to taking a lot of drugs [laughs], to deal with it that way.
Iain: So you found the twelve step program at some point and that seemed to improve things up to a point.
Scott: Yeah, I mean in the story the twelve step program was very, very important, and I don’t, I won’t name the program, because we’re not really supposed to do that on a public level, but it was a program that was designed to help people get off drugs and then get in with a support system. That was very, very helpful to actually just remove the drug from my system, remove me from those people and places where I used drugs with and sort of put me in a different attitude around other people that would support me and then that gave me the freedom to try to understand living still as the sense of being Scott in the story, that strong sense of separation. But now without being able to use the drugs to medicate feelings and to escape. So it was… that was a whole new sort of experience [laughs], because I didn’t have my crutch, I didn’t have my drugs which just started a whole ’nother kind of search.
Iain: So it started a kind of spiritual search looking at a greater depth.
Iain: And then you talk again in your book about you started to read Adyashanti, Krishnamurti, Byron Katie and other people, so this was happening but there was still this nagging feeling you talk about that you still didn’t feel complete, it still wasn’t it.
Scott: And you know, back then I couldn’t have told you that that’s what it was. I couldn’t have vocalized that. You know, because when I look back it sounds like I have this Monday morning quarterback sort of insight to that, but the living of that in the sense of being in separation because it’s so normal because it’s never questioned I can’t tell you that I had that in my mind that I felt like a separate person or that I was looking for wholeness or anything like that. I couldn’t formulate it that way. But certainly there was this intense seeking energy towards something. I didn’t know what it was but it was just this continuous drive towards something, apparently because something was missing or something was with a sense of lack or however you want to say that.
Iain: Yeah, I think, many of us have that in the world, you know, we know that what we have in life, we may be doing quite well and we’ve been quite successful in our careers and have a good relationship but something is still missing. And I would say that searching is a certain intelligence in so far as we’re still looking ’cause we know we haven’t got it rather than saying, “Well, I have to accept this. That’s all there is.”
Scott: Yeah, I think that that’s true. The human condition is that, uh… is that, there is… and I, and when you ask people, you know, “what are you looking for,” oftentimes they’ll say something. Lot of times they don’t even know what they’re looking for, they’re just looking, it’s just that energy of looking and seeking as if something is missing and it’s certainly very prevalent anywhere you go acrost… I’ve seen it in every culture that I’ve talked to, it just seems to be something about the human condition. But of course the beauty of that is that if you begin to look in a certain way you can find the end of that sense that something is wrong and that’s what the whole nondual search was really about, you know.
Iain: So you had the experience when you were driving in the car one day. Do you want to describe what actually happened there?
Scott: Yeah, it was an experience, as far as experiences go, you know, at the time it seemed really, really important. Now it’s taken within perspective of what it was. But I’ll tell you is that, uh, it was just, uh, there had been an intense period of sort of enquiry, of looking into the… what was… what I am, what this is, this reality, sort of. And there had been sort of this intense kind of real pleasurable energy in my body just for about a week and a half. It was a very… right here in the chest, it was very, like very pleasurable sense. I didn’t know what it was but… um… driving in the car it was the sense, the total sense of separation just sort of melted away for a second and just a complete sense of separation melted away and there’s nothing that could be said about it. It was just a sense of, of the sense of me kind of melting away, of not being there. And, um, you know, it was an experience and it passed as an experience but I think, that along with some other experiences something was falling away or being seen through.
Iain: And did it seem significant at the time?
Scott: Yes. It absolutely did because you take yourself to be a certain way or you take reality to be a certain way and in those moments it gets completely challenged and undermined. And yet there’s no words for it but in a sense when the mind comes in to look at it, it says that something has changed there, something… the perception has changed now. But I didn’t have teachers who could tell me, “This is what that was.” You know, I didn’t have a teacher with me so I would have to consult a book or try to make sense of it on my own. I did the best that I could, you know, but anyway.
Iain: Yeah, ’cause there’s something from your book I wrote down. At that point you felt “the universe had downloaded insight into being.” That’s a pretty deep statement.
Scott: Yeah, but it was like the absence of… that particular experience was just like the absence of all of the divisions that the mind had been buying into between this and that and this religion and that religion and this philosophy and that philosophy and this world view and that world view. Those lines just weren’t there any more and it was like… I just said it was like the universe downloaded, but that’s just a metaphor for the experience of the absence of separation, the knowing of non-separation. So the absence of those boundary lines was insight but… I know you don’t mean it that way, but it’s not like I had this insight, it was like there was an insight of the lack of divisions, the lack of conceptual boundaries, that’s where the insight came from.
Iain: So how did the beginning of lack of boundaries affect you, Scott?
Scott: Hm. As those get seen through, it becomes harder and harder to think of myself as something living in time, for one thing. It becomes harder and harder to see myself as something separate in space. So it’s those things that are getting challenged there. So the sense of something in time like that there are separate events within a story that make up an identity which is then a separate being [laughs], that’s what’s getting challenged there. And all the things that made me up, which were the way that I would define myself as a member of this group, define myself as Scott with this story, with this characteristic, with this world view, that gets challenged actually. So the self that’s hiding or that’s constructing itself for holding itself up behind those views within those boxes is being challenged, you see. It’s not just the story of me that’s being challenged, it’s all of the branches of that tree, it’s everything.
Iain: Which is reality, isn’t it?
Scott: It’s reality. Absolutely.
Iain: Very fundamental.
Iain: And was that a process that you could completely accept or was there fear and anxiety involved at times?
Scott: Certainly fear and anxiety. It wasn’t an overwhelming sense of ongoing fear and anxiety but there were moments when anxiety and fear would just rush up into the body. And you know how the mind does things, it tries to create all sorts of things, of dreaming of physical death or what’s going to happen to me or whatever, but I think that with the anxiety it was just to let that be as it was without trying to label or understand it in any way and not trying to escape in any way, you know. There’s no mental understanding that you can place on anxiety or fear that really does anything with anxiety or fear. Because all the mind does is it tries to go back into divisions, into the intellect, because it tries to place some understanding on that, but the fear that was coming up was like the glue that had been holding that sense of self together. It had been there the whole time, operating in the story, you know, making the Scott character seek something because something was missing, fear something because of doom in the future and that had always been there. But the thinking mind, the identity, the thinking Scott had… we devise all these ways of not having to actually experience that anxiety is how I saw it. So the tendency was not to go back into thought to try to understand that but to let the anxiety be as it is. And then so when you let something be as it is without trying to understand it, without trying to go back into divisions that the mind places up, then I think that the anxiety releases itself, it releases itself, because the sense of self releases itself.
Iain: But did you know that at the time?
Scott: No…. No.
Iain: You see I’m trying to pull out of you certain information, because I know there’s people that may be watching that have these experiences. They can be terrifying for them. So I would be interested in knowing how you not only handled it but how you perceived it at the time.
Scott: You know, how I perceived it at the time is, “Oh God.” [Laughs]. “I am scared of what’s happening to me.” It’s still me, it’s like, “What’s happening to me?” Thankfully I had read some books and been exposed to some teachings which talked about it and so gave some sort of guidance. A lot of it was just sort of trusting. Trusting, not knowing. It’s like trusting the Absolute of not going back into having to know what was happening.
Iain: That’s a big step.
Scott: That’s a big one. That’s a big one. But I think that everything up into my life, when you talked about the story, had told me that going back into the mind, going back into the story — that wasn’t working. Whatever that was wasn’t working. You see in other words, ‘working’, what I mean is, there’s an assumption that by going back into, you know, relying on the dualistic mind and separation that somehow that’s going to bring about completion. And through twenty years of using drugs and looking for myself everywhere I had all the evidence that I needed, that that was not going to work. So something else had to be trusted.
Iain: You had no option in a way.
Iain: You wanted other ways to approach it.
Scott: All the other ways had been exhausted in their own way.
Iain: So you then had a second quite significant experience I think five or six months later. Again you were driving in the car and you started, I think, from remembering in your book, you talked about sparks, you felt there were sparks all over your body?
Scott: Um-hum. That was just the beginning of, and again, it was just an experience. I know you’ve heard this before, it’s just experienced and although we talk about it, it’s fine to talk about, but the point being is that what gets seen in these moments is the absence of the separate self and so that, when we talk about nonduality, it is more than just an experience. And I know you’ve heard that before, but it’s important to say that.
Yeah, so I was in the car and it was just a sense of like something lighting up. Something was lighting up, you know. Just an experience of that or the way that’s interpreted. So then I’m home and I’m lying on my bed and the thought came to me that consciousness just wants to see itself. But I didn’t know what that meant. And I had never really used the word consciousness before that. That was not a word and I still don’t use that word, but that came up and then I just would walk around the room and there is no way to find division, there is no way to see that I was here and the sense of me here and the wall there as something separate, was completely seen through. Or the floor or the idea of the streetlight or—
Iain: [Interrupting.] So when you say it was seen through, what do you mean by that?
Scott: It was the absence of a structure, is the way I see it. It’s the absence of a conceptual structure. One way of saying it. In other words, this all feels like a bunch of separate things, totally separate things. In our reality we have every reason to rely on it because it looks that way in every single way. We don’t understand the degree to which the mind is doing that, we don’t understand that. And it’s rarely ever questioned, so in that moment not only was it questioned intellectually, it wasn’t questioned intellectually, it fell away. It absolutely fell away, so that all of the sense that there’s a boundary between things…. There wasn’t even an experience of awareness, we often say awareness, it wasn’t an experience of consciousness. It didn’t feel like there was an awareness aware of anything. It was the absence even of that structure.
Iain: So there was a level of conditioning and belief that fell away and something else was revealed. Would you say that was…?
Scott: You could say it that way.
Scott: Yeah. But it’s more like the absence of—
Iain: [Interrupting.] Deeper truth was revealed.
Scott: Yeah. Yeah, the absence of all divisions really, of absolute… all divisions… even the line between life and death and time and timelessness and all that which is sort of seen through in that moment. And there was a lot of laughter and lot of just laying on the floor laughing at this silliness of it all.
Iain: You also talked in the book that at that point all thoughts stopped for a time.
Scott: Yeah. And I think that’s what it is, it’s the conceptual structure which is the thinking mind and how it creates and maintains the idea of separate objects. That goes for a second, for however long. It just goes. And there aren’t any concepts arising. So there is nothing you can say about the experience, it’s the absence of that whole structure. On every way, every way you could conceive it. Up, down, awareness, appearances. There were no awareness and appearances. There was no Scott, there was no wall. Anyway you can see that they were broken down in every way so it was a complete non-conceptual experience.
Iain: And then the next day you wake up and you’re still a lawyer? And you still have to earn a living?
Iain: So…. But it must seem strange [both laugh] being a lawyer you know.
Scott: You know what? I’ll say this: it absolutely does actually. Now I think a reason that people don’t say that when they’re talking about nonduality is because you don’t want to give a care [?], like that this is not a self-improvement game, I think we can go ahead and say that up front. Because… when we… there’s so much self-improvement stuff out there. Or how can you better your this or better this that, become a better attorney, become a better relationship. When we talk about the… change on the level of the story or the level of being an attorney, the mind will hear that as, “Oh, there’s something in it for me.” This is actually the absence of… there’s nothing in it for me, there’s nothing in this for me. It’s the absolute end of that. That looks different on the level of appearances because all of the suffering that was coming from the idea that, as an example, that I need something from you or that I need something from the practice of the law to make me the image of being an attorney something in the eyes of someone else or that I need to be a famous musician or that I need to… that if people don’t listen to me that something is wrong. So it’s the absence of that, so that’s obviously gonna change—
Iain: [Interrupting.] Absence of desire by the sound of it from what you are—
Scott: Yeah, for the personal self, the absence of desire from the personal. Yeah. So it looks very different on the level of appearance but in some ways it’s completely the same because, you know, someone says, “What’s your name?” And I still say Scott, you know. That looks exactly the same as it did the day before, it looks exactly the same. It’s not experienced the same though.
Iain: But how is it to then go in a courtroom and you’re a lawyer and you’re living in a nondual world, you see things without boundaries and yet, here you are working in a very dualistic way of, “Is the guy guilty, should he go to jail?” How is that for you in terms of how you work and how you make decisions and…
Scott: It was like a play that was being taken very seriously. But for me it wasn’t taken that way anymore. So it was like, you go and just play the play. You play the play because it’s uh… I remember, the first time that I walked into the courtroom I just laughed because of the idea of thinking that there’s this character that thinks he’s a judge and then there’s this character that thinks that they’re the prosecutor and that I’m supposed to be… and then there’s a person who thinks that they’re a criminal defendant. And the whole idea was just laughable actually because it’s not true, it’s not actually true at all. But you know this is the other part of this whole thing is that this is the way that I talk about this message is that that it’s not… you go on playing the play, the play just goes on, isn’t it beautiful, the play goes on and it goes on in every way that it appeared to go on before with lawyers and judges and people fighting. What’s different is that the dualities aren’t bought into in the same way. You know, you don’t think that there’s somebody who’s right, you don’t think that somebody is…. Lots of things get undermined in this, you know. But the play goes on in every way. In every single way it goes on. And to me that’s where the fun of this whole thing is, to me it’s not a place where you’re so absent from the world, because the whole line between like something called awareness and the world was seen through, it’s like the play goes on. That’s awareness. The play goes on. That’s it. Consciousness is in the play, it’s in the cont— that’s the content, is it. And we just play these things, we just play this thing, and here we are in an interview now, you know.
Iain: We’re having a play here.
Scott: We’re having a play here.
Iain: Yeah. But does it change the feelings that come through you for the criminal and the victim or whatever we call these people that are part of the play?
Scott: There was first almost like a sense that I could have detached from the whole thing. Like a sense that there can be a sense of apathy that comes in because you sort of see that it’s just not real. This is not real, there was that sense and I think that people kinda fall into that belief system. But if you kinda let that thing just go through, it’s just a belief system or it’s just like a detachment kind of thing and it still feels… and you just play. Yeah, yes, it changes things in terms of, “Do feelings still arise?” Yes, they still arise. But it’s like they arise within a space, and so that the feelings can’t hook into anything. So they don’t hook into the story. So if I’m in the courtroom and the judge admonishes me or something or I may in that moment have a lot of energy behind what I’m trying to say and get frustrated it might be you know some sort of energy that comes up and then it comes up and it’s released, it’s not carried over into the next moment, you know, because it’s like just appearing in space and then disappearing into the next…. I mean it’s not being carried over to the next moment.
Iain: Do you think people see you differently from where you were before these changes? Did reality change for you?
Scott: Probably, probably yes. I mean certain people close to me have said things. From the appearance purposes it’s, “Oh, Scott you’re so much more peaceful.” They’ll say that. They’ll say things like, “You’re more peaceful.” They think it’s a person who has become peaceful or something. They look at it. It’s not the way that it’s actually experienced. But how it appears by certain traits. You know they’ll say…. They’ll assign the traits to the person. Because we think in terms of the person that’s accomplished something. They become peaceful. But it’s not experienced as that. It’s like the absence of that [laughs] which appears as peace so they’ll say things like that. Or other things, however they interpret that, you know.
Iain: So they feel something good has happened to you and you’re a happier person.
Iain: And do you still get angry and frustrated if you feel there’s injustice, is there something here [taps right side of his chest], something there [points toward Scott], that’s still affected?
Scott: This is really good because… not in the way that it was before because a lot of it before was like, “This makes me angry because I know… because I’m right about this, because I know something.” It came from like self-righteousness, a different kind of thing. It was like, like “I know what’s best for everybody, I have all the answers,” that kind of arrogance that we carry around. That thinks that when we look at the world it’s actually real in the way that it’s appearing for us. So a lot of my beliefs were about just building up the self sense like if there was an injustice, it was about…. There was a lot of self in all that. A lot of sense of me in all that, you know. So now it’s more like a sense of, it’s very hard to explain, but it doesn’t feel like detachment and it feels like great compassion actually and love for this whole thing, whatever this is, this magnificent thing that’s happening here. And to think of myself as something, that doesn’t feel compassion for something else is not actually true to what has been realized. So it’s just a turn of phrase, it’s not to turn away from what actually has been seen, actually.
Iain: I just thought of a song by Jackson Brown called Lawyers in Love because it’s very rare you hear a lawyer use the word love. Actually in your book you talk about love quite a lot. You talk about it as something that’s actually what’s left after everything drops away.
Scott: Yeah, a lot of people don’t talk about that and you know what? I understand why. Because it is a confusion, because people think that it’s a kind of love that we normally associate which is “I love you.” I, the story of me loves the story of you. That kind of love is fine, it goes on in the world too but a lot of that becomes because the story of you enhances the story of me. You see, so I need you as an other to know who I am. Without you I can’t be anybody, so I need you and it becomes very possessive, you know. Like if you go away, I lose myself. Therefore I have to possess you in some way.
Iain: It’s the feeling of lack.
Scott: The feeling of lack.
Iain: That’s what— When a relationship splits up somebody feels [unintelligible] there’s a death or something, it’s a lack somehow. It’s something missing.
Scott: Coming from separation.
Iain: Yeah, that’s right.
Scott: From separation. And so we do little things to each other, like in our relationships in that sense there is something that you… “Tell me that I’m right. Tell me that I’m good. Tell me that I’m loving. Be the person that I think that you are, that I want you to be, so that I can be the person that I want myself to be. And you control my love in that way. Everybody else controls my love because if you leave, if you do something that threatens what I think of you and me then you’re threatening me.” You see? So it’s the best that we can do under those circumstances because we’re trying to love unconditionally but we can’t. We don’t know how in separation because it always comes back to the me, the sense of lack. So when that falls away one could turn away from what’s being realized and say something like, “There’s nobody and there is no one,” which is true in one sense but it can be a way to turn away from what’s actually been seen. This is the way I talk about it. What’s actually been seen is the lack of separation. It’s not some fancy phrase that there is no one. Or all there is, is oneness. It’s not a fancy phrase or belief system or a philosophy. What’s actually been realized is something magnificent actually, something extraordinary which is that now the possibility of unconditional love — that’s actually possible, if you don’t turn away from it, which, because now you and I can be in relationship but I don’t want anything from you. I don’t have to possess you. I can actually be interested in just being with you or with somebody else just for the sake of being with you without demanding something from you. And then we explore that in our lives and here we are on earth having that experiment [laughs].
Iain: But is there a Scott personality running sometimes that sometimes feels a lack or feels a tinge of jealousy or is that something that’s completely gone now?
Scott: It’s just almost completely gone now. There may every now and then be something but it’s so rare that nothing even comes up in my memory. For a while there was some stuff that was coming up, you know, just some stuff like old things of the story of like remnants of memories of whatever coming up. But what I’m saying is if you, it’s not a person who stays true to the realization. It’s not that. It’s not like what I’m saying [is that] you have to stay true to the realization, but it’s like, what has actually been seen here is that there is no one here in terms of separate people. Okay. So when that arises of a Scott is there an ability to see, a capacity to see that, that for what it is, which is a conceptual self that doesn’t have the kind of existence that it appears to have and when you see it that way you see that it’s thought for one thing and that it’s a self-centered conceptual self. It’s focused on itself. When you see that for what it is you see right through it in that moment. In the moment that it would appear it would just be seen right through again. And eventually it just stops appearing. [Laughs.] Because you see that it’s not coming from what’s been realized, you know.
Iain: So would you say there was a period of integration, there was a time where things were changing and adjusting and you feel that it’s now complete, if that word integration is correct, is complete now?
Scott: Very dangerous to ever say ‘complete’ because there could be an arrogance behind that in terms of…. One thing I’ve seen is that, when you say you’ve arrived, what if in the next moment you’re buying into some belief that actually just goes back into separation, but so suddenly that you believe you’ve already arrived, so you’re not going to look at that. Its like the self structure will come back in a second, you know. It’s very subtle stuff. I don’t… ‘arriving’ is not the word, is there an arising here [?], you see what I mean? This is alive, this is aliveness. So there’s no one who can arrive at it. And that would just be a belief that somebody has arrived. So it’s not that.
Is there an integration? Um… I wouldn’t use the word integration but it’s more like continuing to be…. It’s so funny to talk about it but it’s being completely open to see the ways in which…. There’s a living in a divided way. And the mind will come back and pretend like this is that, just seeing that…. That’s the integration is, it’s no longer buying into all those divisions that might come up and there are many, many, many mine fields that can come up after a seeing. And I’ve seen a lot of ’em and I see a lot of them in others who either acknowledge them or do not, and um, so it’s not an arrival, it’s like an alive seeing. That’s all I can say about it, you know.
Iain: Yeah. So I’m trying to kind of probe to understand this a little bit more and maybe I’m not going to but I’m still going to try. The way I hear it is like awareness is maybe watching — maybe that’s the wrong word — but awareness is aware when the mind comes in and tries to bring back the old Scott or bring back something that’s automatic or unconscious, is that right?
Scott: In some ways the story of Scott and the idea of Scott is harmless at this point. Even if it came back in it wouldn’t be like it was real, like a real separate object. So it’s not even that, it’s not even like shooting anything down or keeping anything down. Everything is flowing. There’s nothing, there’s no sense that I have to keep concepts out or anything like that. It’s not as if I have to keep a quiet mind, anything like that. The quiet mind is what it is, it’s the absence of conceptualization, that’s all that it is. When you see the concept when you see what concepts are, that they’re seeming to point to separate things. When you see it that way they’re harmless actually. And so there’s no… so… I don’t remember your question actually [laughs], but, uh… so…
The fact that a thought comes up and says that this is a table and I am Scott doesn’t make it a table and Scott. You see what I mean? It’s just thought. It’s all that it is, completely harmless at that point. If it comes up that I think that this is a table and it really is that with an independent nature, completely, and I’m Scott, now something feels divided about my experience because I take these thoughts to be pointing to real objects that are existing independently. That’s where the suffering comes from. But if the thought just arises ‘table’ and ‘Scott’ but it’s sort of seen through as like a transparent thought, it’s just transparent, it doesn’t make it separation, then… what do you say about that? I mean, the whole world goes on. But not in the way that it did before.
Iain: I’m kind of a little bit lost now where I go with this. In a way I’m trying to understand but I get a feeling for it. So when you’re sitting with me here, what’s your reality?
Scott: There is quietness, you could say, there’s like pure spaciousness, you could say that there’s that. And everything in the room that appears [to you?] just like this, the colors, everything, but the sense of separation, the sense that things are existing separately from other things is missing. So there’s no sense of ‘divided’ here, like there’s something here that stops right here and that right over here is not me. That’s not there. And then if I say, well is it over here? No, it’s nowhere, there’s no location for what it is. So it’s the absence of identity, the absence of believing that objects are pointing [?] to… We can go into more depth about that.
Iain: I’d like to know more about that.
Scott: Absolutely. In our present experience… One way we talk about it… In our present experience… Okay. What is this first of all? The mind, the first thing the mind does is it says, “Well, I know what this is.” And it begins labelling. It says “I’m Scott, you’re you, this is a table, that’s a floor, this is space or something, we’re in a TV studio in London,” okay? Every day throughout the day that stuff drops [snaps fingers] away all the time and we don’t even notice it. In other words…
Iain: It’s replaced, isn’t it, by other identifications?
Scott: It’s replaced, for most people it’s replaced by other thoughts. So it’s like this goes away [claps his hands] as a bunch of thoughts and then new thoughts arise. Let’s say, I’m in my kitchen, I’m eating soup, this is my wife, this is my dog and then new concepts arise in all of those old concepts about TV studio, Scott having an interview, are completely gone. Okay? So every day what we take to be real objects are coming and going in awareness. We think this is a totally real thing, but in a flip [claps his hands] of a moment it all goes away. Completely. Everything that’s known about this experience is gone away completely.
Even for a moment, let’s say that you went down to tie your shoe and all that you were doing was tying your shoe, you weren’t thinking, “I am my name with my history, we’re having an interview in the studio.” There’s none of that. There’s just, “Oh my shoe is not tied,” that’s all thats happening. The shoe is untied. In that moment the entire reality that you know with all the conceptual [sic] that you think that you know is not even operating at that moment. But to the self thats not remarkable experience at all. It’s not a remarkable experience to remember, it’s just nothing to remember about it. There’s certainly nothing in it for me when all that drops away. But throughout the day it’s happening to us all the time.
You’re doing laundry whatever you do and there’s no seeker, there’s nobody who’s seeking enlightenment, there’s nobody who’s missing anything. There’s just putting clothes in, the experience of putting clothes in a dryer, and everything that you took to be your story — it’s so important to you — your world view, whether its scientific, philosophical, religious — it’s completely gone in that moment. There’s an assumption that it’s somehow still here, that it’s somehow lurking in the wings, but it’s not actually our experience. It all [snaps his fingers] goes away actually and all that there is, is doing the laundry.
And when we’re done with the laundry we come back in and we recreate the world in our conversations. When we say whatever we say about it, and the world comes back to us through concepts. Some of the traditions that talk about a silent mind, all that they’re explaining to you is that when your mind goes quiet the entire world as you know it goes away. There’s nothing that can be known because the mind is just completely quiet, there’s a deep quietness. So it’s just the experience of nothing. No objects because there are no thoughts arising.
So that’s my experiences that there’s just a deep, deep quietness or you could… whatever you want to say about that, it’s the absence of concepts. Therefore there’s no boundaries, there’s no sense of boundaries because concepts would have to come in for us to…. And then concepts do arise but it’s like they arise within and none other than the space. They don’t have an independent existence and they arise and create things like, “Oh, look, this is a table,” “I’m Scott,” “this is an interview,” “oh yeah, we’re in London,” as if… but just a second ago we forgot that we were in London, you see. If you’re not thinking about London, there’s no London, we don’t know a London, we have to have that thought to have London. So that’s what my experience is like. Right now as we’re talking I forgot that I have a partner and three dogs. Okay? It was totally out of my reality. It’s not like there really is a partner and three dogs out there that is ever my… ever your experience if you are not thinking about it. You see what I mean? If you’re not thinking about it, there’s an assumption that it’s out there in the way that it’s being conceived but it’s never your experience that way. It’s never your experience. It’s only what you’re experiencing is whatever thoughts are arising now. And if no thoughts are arising now there’s no experience of anything.
Iain: It’s interesting. I got this thought that’s just coming now which is we were talking earlier before we started the interview about a new book that will come out soon which is about addiction. My thought is in a way we’re all addicted all the time, aren’t we? Not in an obvious way like alcohol or drugs or sex or whatever. But we’re addicted to kind of thinking things are a certain way. And I’m just wondering what this new book covers. What depth it goes to in terms of addiction?
Scott: Yeah. The book is called Natural Rest and it’s not just about drugs and alcohol actually. It’s about, it’s about, the idea, really, in a very general sense, it’s about the idea that — you could talk about it a different way — but it’s about the idea that something is missing, that’s the main thing of it, that something is missing. So it deals with that idea and it helps one see through that.
But yeah, you could say addicted to thinking the reality is a certain way. One of the addictions that people have is the belief that they are people with whatever story is attached to that. So it’s a very, very addictive movement. So all through my life I think of myself a certain way and repeat that thought. That thought arises again and again to create the appearance that I am that way. If I say that I’m a horrible person, whatever it is it doesn’t matter, repeat that enough it becomes an addictive quality because it’s a familiarity with that, in the sense of that’s actually how it is. And so that feels comforting and so we know that’s what I am. And there’s an addiction to that, I can continually go to that, go to that again and again and again, and then it becomes like the absence of that would be very scary. The absence of that, whatever that object is that I take to be me, has been there so long or feels so real and solid that when you start talking about it the possibility that it’s not what you are can be very fearful so the addictive quality just comes back, let me just continue to tell that story, let me just continue to think that I’m living in time.
Iain: But you see how does someone get out of that because you had experiences which at the moment are fairly rare, I would say. Okay, you probably wouldn’t use the word experience but I would say you had quantum experiences which somehow jumped Scott the story out of Scott the story. But how, unless you have that, which is quantum, can anyone actually get out of addiction, truly get out of all addiction?
Scott: The way that I wrote this book is that I tried not to write it from an absolute standpoint, because the point is when I got clean off drugs in the story, if you would have told me all there is, is this, that there’s no separation I probably just would’ve went back to taking drugs because it doesn’t register on some level. You know I come off the street, I’ve been taking drugs [laughs], you know, I don’t want to hear what you’re telling me that something so mystical sounding and so far out there that there’s no… I can’t, I can’t… no, I can’t get that.
So I tried to write it from a different point of view and I said, “Look at what’s happening in your present experience. Look, instead of thinking about yourself, is it possible to actually notice a thought, is that even possible? If that’s possible then something new comes into your experience. Instead of engaging the content that you’d been engaging in terms of thought, believing that you are the story that is lacking something. Instead of engaging those thoughts is it even possible to notice the thought in the way that you would notice like a fly buzzing by your face?”
Iain: Yes, this is kind of mindfulness, isn’t it? This is an old Buddhist tradition really that’s talked about a lot these days.
Scott: Yeah. Yup. If it’s possible in your experience that when a thought arises or even an emotion or a sensation like a craving, an addiction craving like I feel like I want something. If it’s possible to actually see that then you’re not that, then you’re actually something that sees it. What is that that sees that? And does it feel lack? Does it feel divided in any way? That which sees it. And first its kind of hard for people because they don’t… it’s like, “I don’t know.” But if you look at your present experience the whole time you see it’s always this way, is that there are things that are appearing: thoughts, emotions, sensations, cravings, experiences. Those things are always happening. But there’s something that’s registering that. And whatever is registering that, is that in the game of time? No, because it takes a thought to know it’s Wednesday. You have to have the thought. Is that a person? No, because I have to have the thought that I’m Scott in order to know I’m Scott. So what is it in the non-conceptual sense that’s here? Is that in time? No. Is that a story? No. It’s not a story. Does it lack something? No. That that’s here in a non-conceptual sense that sees everything arise is not lacking anything at all.
Iain: And this is awareness—
Scott: And we could call it awareness.
Iain: —or consciousness or whatever we call it, yeah.
Scott: But it’s…. Yeah.
Iain: There’s some people who talk about an interim state where there’s an observer. So there’s an observer which is still part of the mind which is watching the thoughts and then of course there’s the question, “Who’s aware of the observer?” It takes you back again a step back.
Scott: Yeah. Yeah, you could say who’s aware of the observer, because everything that you say about this or that you say about the witness or that you say about anything is appearing and disappearing in something that never appears you could say. That’s how it’s experienced, you know, in the witnessing kind of talk. However, you know, just establishing yourself, seeing yourself as awareness, goes a long way in seeing through the addictive cycle, goes a heck of a long way actually.
But what I invite people to do if they’re open at that point is to even see that the duality between the awareness and what appears and that, if people are open for that, that can happen, too. So that you’re not stuck in some witness place where you’re thinking of yourself as awareness or there’s awareness in you. It still creates this duality where there’s awareness aware of something separate from itself.
When the experience of this is like “this is it,” there’s no awareness behind this or inside this or encased in this or it’s not like that. It’s the absence of that belief system. It’s the absence of that duality at the end, which then is freedom, complete freedom from the sense of division in your life. Not only the sense of being a separate person, but also being something like consciousness behind something. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Iain: Because you can also identify with that, can’t you?
Iain: So we have about three or four minutes left. Is there something practical we can — maybe practical is the wrong word — but is there something we can leave people who maybe they’re watching and they’re maybe a little confused but still intrigued and they’re thinking, “What can I take from this, how can I, my life doesn’t work the way it is, how can I move forward?” What would be your suggestion for them?
Scott: Well, since we were talking about the recovery book there’s all sorts of things in there, you know, because I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t mind using all sorts of tricks, you know, to sort of challenge your reality the way that it is. And one thing… the thing about addictive behavior… it’s this constant perpetual motion towards something, like this seeking, could be towards enlightenment, it could be towards—
Iain: [Interrupting.] You see you talk about that in your first book, that’s also a kind of addiction: seeking. It can be, can’t it?
Scott: It absolutely can be. It is the same egoic movement, it’s the same thing. Although the good thing about that is that there’s a possibility of seeing through the thing. That’s the nice thing I could say about seeking enlightenment, is that there’s the possibility that the seeking gets seen through. So it could be enlightenment, it could be self-improvement, it could be drugs, it could be relationships, sex, material items, whatever the content in it, it doesn’t matter.
I did this with people this weekend is that… asked the question, “What are you seeking?” And make them say it. “Tell me what you’re seeking.” That forces a concept to come up. So now that the concept has come up let’s see this for what it is, so let’s say you’re seeking enlightenment. Okay, well, if you were to find enlightenment how would you experience that, start with the body and mind, how would you experience what you’re calling enlightenment? And people say things like, “Well, I may have this experience or I may have this feeling.” And then we say, “Well, those are temporary things. But what would you really, really get out of that if you really, really…” And you question this, all of a sudden, well, “I would no longer have to seek that. Because if I found that I wouldn’t have to look for it.” And in the absence of seeking after that would be a sense of like it’s, “I’m okay now. Everything… I’m complete now.”
So the next question is, “Now that you found out what it would be like, is the story that you need to go find enlightenment, is that actually providing the rest that you’re looking for? Is that providing the peace, the freedom that you’re looking for?”
Iain: It’s a process of enquiry in a way, isn’t it?
Scott: Yeah. And the answer is, “No it’s not, it’s not actually providing it. It’s actually making it seem like there’s something missing.” So that every time I entertain in the story it feels like something is missing, or there’s enlightenment out there. Or there’s self-improvement or there’s drugs or sex or whatever.
So then the last question is, “Are you open then?” Just as a question to notice that thought any time it arises and just to recognize thought-free presence. Are you open to that? And then easily people sort of there’s a relaxation when they hear that. “Yeah, I think I’m open for that.” And then it’s like, “Oh, so this presence here already feels complete actually, now that I actually look at that or look from that or as that. That actually feels complete. That might be what the word enlightenment is pointing to actually.”
And then, you know, usually, if you do that, once or twice with somebody, a new concept comes out. They’ll say like, “Yeah, but I heard somewhere in a book that it’s like an experience of being home. And I don’t feel home yet.” So we go back to number one [laughs] and say, “Well we see you’re seeking home. So how would you experience home?” “Well, I wouldn’t have to seek home any more.” “You know, well, is the idea that you’re not at home yet, is that providing [laughs] the peace, the freedom, the rest?” “No, it’s not actually.” “Well, are you open to just whenever that arises just to…”
And I also tell people just to experience the emotions and the sensations exactly as they are in the body when you’re resting in thought-free presence. That sort of brings people back to this.
Iain: Okay. That’s probably very helpful for people.
Iain: Thank you Scott, thank you for coming in to talk to us—
Scott: Thank you, my pleasure.
Iain: —on Conscious TV and the book that I’ve read which I really enjoyed is Love’s Quiet Revolution: The End of the Spiritual Search and I can recommend that. And thank you for watching Conscious TV and I hope we see you again soon. Goodbye.
Text copyright © Conscious TV Ltd. Used by permission and transcribed from The End of the Spiritual Search.
Photo from a Youtube video copyright © Science and Nonduality.
Scott Kiloby (b. 1969) teaches and writes about spiritual awakening and healing of addiction. He is an owner or manager of several facilities devoted to recovery from addiction.
Iain McNay is a founder or co-founder of Cherry Red Records and Conscious TV. He lives in Oxfordshire, England.
Scott Kiloby describes how he awakened.
First-person accounts on this site
Interviews on this site.
Pages about sadhana on this site.
Pages about Self-enquiry on this site.
Love’s Quiet Revolution: The End of the Spiritual Search
By Scott Kiloby
William Talada, an Amazon reviewer, writes:
“Emotional suffering forced me into non-dualism six years ago. Since then, I’ve read several dozen books on the subject in order to understand it as a psychological stage of growth and to teach it to others. Scott’s book contains hundreds of insights I’ve experienced that are not mentioned in any other author’s books giving me the assurance he is speaking from personal transformation and not repeating what he has read. He prints a warning on the front cover — “The End of the Spiritual Search” — and I think he just may be able to help many people pull it off!
“‘Unconditional love is what is left after the dream self dissolves.’”
Reflections of the One Life: Daily Pointers to Enlightenment
By Scott Kiloby
E.D. Durrant, an Amazon reviewer, writes:
“This book has given me more profound insights than any other I can think of. Scott has an uncanny knack of providing the perfect answer to queries arising from one reflection in another nearby reflection.
“I have had a persistent interest in non-duality for many years, and this book is outstandingly clear. Some books come at just the right time, but I suspect that this book could be of great value to those with an interest in an in-depth understanding of themselves and others and little or no previous knowledge of nonduality.
This page was published on December 30, 2017 and last revised on December 31, 2017.