Episode 14: Love Beyond Your Story with Jim Dreaver
This week, we talk to the remarkable Jim Dreaver, who does every listener a service by moving us past our individual stories. Does it mean anything to you when I say it is possible to love someone "through" themselves to something else? You could call that something else could be their core, their divine masculine or feminine essence, their highest self, their highest intention or, if you like, God. Deep loving, I believe, grows from the ability to love another through - or beyond - their personality. To stay locked into your story, or your partner's story is a recipe for dissatisfaction and nit-picking. Listen to Jim, deeply grounded in the advaita tradition, and see if you agree. Then let me know what you think…
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Gilad: Hi. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Fearless Lover. My name is Adam Gilad and you’re on Personal Life Media where we explore life personally and [livelily] in all its deepest and most interesting aspects.
Dreaver: So my work is really about awakening to our true nature which is enlightenment or self-realization and realizing that we are not the story, we are the consciousness, the awareness, the presence that creates the stories, that creates the experience of being in this body, mind and personality.
Maybe we tell ourselves the story of we’re afraid to open up to people. We’re afraid of being our authentic selves and that story creates the emotion of fear. The story between the ears creates the emotion and the body of fear, the contraction in the gut, the kind of paralysis of movement. And when we see that we’re not the story, we are the awareness that is always present, right here, right now, the more we see that, the more the story fades away and the more fear leaves us.
Gilad: My guest this week is a very interesting man, goes by the name of Jim Dreaver. And he’s had a long journey, originally I believe from New Zealand. Is that correct?
Dreaver: Correct. Yes.
Gilad: All the way from New Zealand to enlightenment. And I believe that’s at least 50 miles. First let me welcome you, Jim.
Dreaver: Thank you. Adam.
Gilad: You’re welcome. I’d like to jump right into this because what you do is very deep stuff and so let’s just jump right into the depth. How’s that?
Gilad: So you come out of a tradition – you’ve had a very interesting journey. I’d like you to talk about what that journey was briefly. You’ve met a couple of very powerful teachers who have given you very deep insights into the nature of how fear and particularly, I believe from my understanding, how fear attached to the stories we tell about ourselves holds us back from living a life of presence and love. Can you respond to that in one minute or maybe a minute and a half?
Dreaver: Okay. Fear rises because of the stories we tell ourselves. And I was on a journey of enlightenment for many, many years. I had this enlightenment experience many years ago, in 1977 which started me on my journey and that’s when I wanted to wake up fully. The stories are… enlightenment is about seeing that everything between our ears is unreal, thoughts are unreal, pictures are unreal, beliefs are unreal, stories are unreal. But we are always present as this awareness that is looking through our eyes and feeling with our heart. When we know ourselves as pure awareness, pure consciousness manifesting in this body-mind-self well then we’re free and we can use stories and tell stories and share stories but we’re no longer bound by them. So long as we believe we are the story that gives rise to fear and that allows us to, prevents us from loving unconditionally.
Gilad: I’d love for you to give an example of how the stories we tell about ourselves bring fear.
Dreaver: For example, maybe we tell ourselves the story of we’re afraid to open up to people. We’re afraid of being our authentic selves and that story creates the emotion of fear. The story between the ears creates the emotion and the body of fear, the contraction in the gut, the kind of paralysis of movement. And when we see that we’re not the story, we are the awareness that is always present, right here, right now, the more we see that, the more the story fades away and the more fear leaves us and we just live in our authentic being, right here, right now..
Gilad: It’s the great goal. Let me ask you a question. May be a strange question but it comes from my understanding of the statement life begins at 40. My sense is that why that is true is that I think we spend the first half of our lives building our story, really trying to establish who we are and trying to establish what our egoic presence is in the world and kind of defending it and molding it and crafting it and then you get to roughly around 40 and you say, “Okay. So what?” So for younger listeners of this show, what would you say about that? About isn’t it important first, and I’m asking this because I’m curious about your answer, isn’t it important first to establish some kind of story that you can move out from?
Dreaver: Yes and no. Yes in a sense that it’s important to establish a story and a strong sense of ego and self. But the more we educate our young people to realize they’re not their story, they’re always and only the awareness that creates the story, then the more we raise children in freedom. In fact I have a section in my book End Your Story Begin Your Life about this called Raising Children with Love and my own son is 23 and he’s been raised in a very conscious way because I was his dad and yet he still has stories and he has fewer and fewer of them that he’s attached to. He realizes that he’s creating the stories as he goes along. So I didn’t wake up until I was 49 so that gives the truth to your statement ‘life begins at 40’. But I was getting freer and freer as I went along, from the age of 26 actually when I started on my spiritual quest. It would be interesting to see what a world would look like if we raised children in this conscious way to not be afraid, to be their authentic selves.
Gilad: To access something beyond their particular story. Although the excitement of youth is really, you know, constructing yourself like a Lego set.
Dreaver: right I know. And that excitement is good. The excitement’s what’s great about young people, they’re excited, they’re building a story. But I think that if they realize early on they are not their stories they grow up with much more freedom and more creativity even because they’re accessing a place that’s beyond the story, the ground of true creative being, true creative inspiration which is in silence. In silence we get these creative ideas that we don’t get when we’re constantly battling with ideas inside our heads.
Gilad: That is true and it’s something that’s very much lost these days with all the media constantly bombarding us. Even when the media isn’t bombarding us, the waves of the media are bombarding us. I mean we live in a stew of microwaves and communications that are…Now in your book, the name of your book again is Stop Telling Your Story, End Your Story Begin Your Life.
Dreaver: Right. And it’s available at www.endyourstory.com. As an e-book. I’m currently working on getting it published as a real book but…
Gilad: I believe e-books are real books in this new world that we live in.
Dreaver: I do too but a lot of people don’t.
Gilad: No. That’s true. Let me ask you a question about children since we got on that for a second. So how do you teach a child? What consciousness practices, remember, the name of this show is the Fearless Lover and we’re looking to how we can really love ourselves, each other, the world, the universe freely. How do you begin that with a child? How do you teach a child to end the story when the story’s just beginning?
Dreaver: I would say that you can just teach them in this moment. Like when you’re with a child or children you can get them to relate from this present time and children of course are actually much more present than adults. The younger the child is, the more present they are. So we kind of start out with a very much in the moment kind of living, like a really young child, one or two, they’re very, very present and life is very magical and they don’t hold onto any stories actually. They’re just constantly in the flow of being. And so that needs to be encouraged. In fact the forms of education, like Waldorf and so on, which seeks to encourage that until a child is much older, seek to keep the magic alive. Being with children is being very present and not getting caught up in the past or the future but being very present is how you do it, how you promote that sense of presence.
Gilad: Your tradition is the Ad vita.
Dreaver: Right, that was the tradition I was schooled in. This is not really Ad vita, this awakening is for everybody. Awakening is seen to not have stories; we’re the luminous consciousness, the awareness that creates the stories. And the more we know that, the more we realize that, the freer we are of the story and then we can have the stories, we can share the stories and the past and share our goals and dreams for the future. But we don’t get lost in the past or the future. We’re always right here, right now.
Gilad: It’s true and obviously there’s a parallel for individuals with spiritual traditions. Every spiritual tradition has its me, has its story, its drama...
Dreaver: Right, it does.
Gilad: fabrication. And yet each in each tradition there’s also a mystical tradition which really kind of struggles to get away from that egoic spiritual tradition whether it’s the Kabalistic tradition in Judaism or Christian mystics or Soopism is in Islam there always seems to be this pull away from story. The real adepts knows this.
Dreaver: They do. In fact I write extensively about that in my book. I talk about religion. Religion is basically the story, it’s the story. And spirituality is experience.
Gilad: Religion is story and spirituality’s experience.
Dreaver: Right. Or as somebody else said, I have this quote in my book, “religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”
Gilad: Like I say, or people who live in heaven. Let’s take a short break. I’d like to come back and apply some of this just very intuitively true and powerful teaching to intimate relationships and love relationships, if that would be okay with you. Does that alright?
Dreaver: Sounds good.
Gilad: Excellent. We’ll be right back. This is Adam Gilad and you’re listening to The Fearless Lover on Personal Life Media.
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Gilad: Welcome back. This is Adam Gilad. You’re listening to the Fearless Lover here on Personal Life Media. Our guest today is Jim Dreaver author of End Your Story Begin Your Life. I love that title by the way. Perfect balance. And we’re talking about the traditions he comes out of, the enlightenment traditions, and how being present in the moment and not being wrapped up in the story of who you are, or more likely who you think you are because every story is a subjective narrative and being able to really free yourself from this is a way to drop fear and allow yourself to love a little more. And we talked a little about how freedom can begin to allow this love and now I’d like to talk, if you would, a little about how to apply this to love relationships or intimate relationships because this seems to be the sticking point for most people. It’s very easy to love in the abstract; it’s very difficult to love them when their underwear’s on the floor. So how does this apply? What practices do you counsel for people in their personal relationships in terms of fearless love and this kind of not being attached to your personal story?
Dreaver: Well I teach a workshop [INAUDIBLE] I’m teaching again on September 7 to 12th of this year. I do a process there with couples that’s very illuminating and revealing. We do this eye gazing exercise where a couple face each other and looks at each other in a very relaxed, non-judgmental, non-threatening way and it brings up a lot of stuff and they get to look at their stuff. Ultimately relationships are all about connection. Connecting from being to being without a story. Just pure being. The most authentic and best relationships are where that connection happens, where it’s really flowing, you’re not connecting out of any story you’re just connecting out of a being-to-being experience. So the practice of eye gazing is a very important one that I use in my workshops for facilitating that connection.
Gilad: So you counsel for couples to do that on their own?
Dreaver: Right. And when I do workshops I give them the experience, I guide them through it so then they can do it on their own. Really my whole work is about connecting with people in a place of freedom and love. Like really looking in the eyes of another person in a relaxed, non-threatening, friendly way and being open to whatever rises out of that connection.
Gilad: It’s funny. Our brains are so built for story. I mean I’ve done a lot of work in this area; we tend to understand and retain knowledge when it’s put in story form. And when we encounter each other, one of the first things we do is “oh, you remind me of my mother/father/my friend/this girlfriend who betrayed me” whatever it is and we instantly take people out of their being and put them into some relative state. And it blocks us from really seeing who’s opposite us.
Dreaver: Right. Exactly. So my work is really about awakening to our true nature which is enlightenment or self-realization and realizing that we are not the story, we are the consciousness, the awareness, the presence that creates the stories, that creates the experience of being in this body, mind and personality. And the more established we are in our true nature the more we relate to others in a place of pure being, pure consciousness and then they may well remind us of a mother or father or former wife or former husband. These are noted. We note these things but they no longer get in the way of our connection.
Gilad: We don’t confuse them with the divine spark.
Dreaver: Exactly. Beautifully put.
Gilad: It comes from my background in Jewish mysticism. There’s another great expression I love which is loving somebody through themselves. So you go right through the shells of their personality to what’s actually happening, or not happening, inside. Just that pure shared being that you actually are.
Dreaver: Right. And then when we connect from that place, or in that place, then magic happens. This is a place of creativity, true creativity, out of the connection of being everything flows.
Gilad: True. I’m curious just to give our listeners the most value for their time, what other practices do you bring when you work with people. I see you also talk about leadership and creativity. How can we apply those kind of principles to our intimate relationships?
Dreaver: Well, leadership and creativity are all manifestations of again our individual personal connection with who and what we really are. So my emphasis is always on getting people back to square one, you might say, the connection with themselves. And so the basic teaching is that you’re not your story. You’re not any story. You are the consciousness which creates the stories. I have a practice which helps people awaken to and embody that teaching. And the practice is this, it’s very simple. Three step practice. Whenever you’re experiencing stress or suffering or upset you’ve got to learn to welcome it or at least accept it. Now most people when they get stressed, upset, anxious, afraid they want to resist it, deny it, push it away, rationalize it, do everything but embrace it. So that’s the very first step. You’ve got to learn to accept and eventually welcome your suffering. Because suffering is showing you where you’re not yet free. And then step number two, notice the story you’re telling yourself. Behind every reactive emotion there is always a story of some kind. You don’t even actually have to know what the story is you just don’t notice that you’re telling yourself some kind of a story. And step number three, be really present. Be present. Be with the emotion, with the feeling but don’t go into your head about it. Don’t tell yourself a new story. Don’t try and analyze it or figure it out, just be really alert and present.
Gilad: I notice you didn’t say ‘let go of your story”, you just said be aware of it. That’s key.
Dreaver: That’s very key. Notice the story and then just be very present. And in that present, in the present here and now, when you’re just watching the emotion in your body, the feeling in your body but also being very present with your environment, with the wind on your face or the sounds in the room, in that presence something shifts. When you’re no longer telling yourself a story, you’re just being very present, then you’re no longer fueling the contracted emotion and emotion unwinds and comes back into more of an even flow and you experience a state of real ease eventually. Because you’re just present.
Gilad: What I love about your teaching Jim is that it, to me, it really represents the pure essence of so much more complex teachings that are really trying to say what you’re saying. And you have a wonderful way of just getting down to…every time you start speaking it’s intuitively true. I can really feel the truth of what you’re saying and I like how unadorned it is. So thank you for sharing that. Now I’d like to give people who are listening the opportunity to find you and learn a little bit more about your workshop. So you mentioned endyourstory.com is where they can find your book.
Dreaver: Right. And then my personal website is jimdreaver.com. That’s J-I-M-D-R-E-A-V-E-R.com
Gilad: And I’d like to recommend everyone go check both of those out. I have your book, I started reading it and again I find it’s just page after page of wisdom. So I really want to thank you for taking the time to join us. And wonder if there’s anything else you wanted to add about this, if there’s anything else you wanted to say before we sign off.
Dreaver: No, I just think that…I would just like to say that this is everybody’s true nature and everybody is awake, they’ve just forgotten it and they’ve gotten caught up in some story. Maybe it’s a fundamentalist political story or religious story or personal story of shame, guilt, embarrassment, or whatever. Whoever we are it’s always true, we are not our stories, we are the consciousness, the awareness, the presence that creates the stories and the more we get in touch with this, our true nature, the freer we are and the more we can love unconditionally and passionately and we can live creatively.
Gilad: Jim, thank you so much, it’s really beautifully stated. Everybody, it’s endyourstory.com. We’ve been talking to Jim Dreaver. Jim, thank you. Yeah. Thank you. This is Adam Gilad. You’ve been listening to The Fearless Lover where we research every week how we can love this life, each other, ourselves more and more fearlessly as we continue this journey. Thanks again Jim and goodbye everybody.
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