05 July 2012

From Margot Ridler:

Dear Ed,

Michael Hall just let me know that you have posted our email conversations on your Blog and that they created quite a commotion.  Since I am not on Facebook, and do not usually read enlightenment stuff on line, had no idea.  I would like to say a few things to everyone if that would be ok with you.  Thank you in advance for being so kind and posting this:  

First of all, the emails were 'private' emails to Ed.  Kind of calls for help and clarification - to assist me in understanding what has been and is still happening with me because I am so far off the map as far as what the typical enlightenment/awakening stuff goes.  That Ed would post them for public viewing, I had no idea.  It is totally fine, of course, as apparently they got quite a lot of people jumping off their seats - which is always a good thing!  
Until one fateful day in December 2005, I was very happily living my life, offering wonderful healing work for 15 years, helping people improve their "I".  Then one day, I saw that there was nothing to the I which was a huge blow to my system as I had dedicated years of study and work to improving my own and other people's I.  After that, within 6 months, my entire life had crumbled until there was nothing left, including no more I.  

Now, losing everything in the outer world - including all financial, material and social safety, stability and security - and on top of that, one's sense of I - creates a huge predicament, especially for someone who has never heard about awakening or enlightenment and has no one to guide her and/or ask for clarification and help.  

I did not choose to be ejected from regular life.  I fought it tooth and nail, believe me.  But nothing I did could stop what seemingly wanted to happen - which was, to send this empty shell of Margot Ridler traveling around third world countries, with no money, not knowing a single person anywhere there, no clue as to why I was to go and not speaking a word of the local language. 

Plus, I was completely void of the faculty that previously could choose, want, wish for, decide, envision.  There was nothing operational anymore inside.  In fact, there was no more inside.  There was just This (I called it nothingness back then) doing Its thing - living life as It wanted as It had rubbed out most of the Margot programming that would have stood in the way before with the usual fears, judgments, oppositions and negations.  

This was on the one hand, completely insane - because how does one do life without the ability to choose, decide, wish, hope, want?  And on the other hand, it was an amazing blessing.  Because to live life without ever knowing anything - and with no structures to hold one in place to provide continuity, stability, predictability and safety - to be moved from nothingness, with nothingness, as nothingness - is magical beyond comprehension as anything is possible and can happen at any moment. (This is, of course, true for all people at all times, except the usual life set up does not allow for much wiggle room.) 

Whenever terror and fear would wane throughout a day (and they were constant companions for a good three years) there was this immense aliveness pulsating through the body (not correct, as there was no more sense of a body - sorry - so hard to explain.)  But there was just aliveness, aliveness, aliveness - and still is to this day.  Everything was and is seen as delicious and delightful.  

Even the attempted murder I was present for the other day.  My presence and the presence of another person (so it seemed anyway) assisted the man to eventually stop his attacking.  My body had gone into shock and was trembling quite heavily but there was no sense of this should not have happened or any sense of anger or rage or even fear.  There was complete clarity and a calm doing as I helped the blood soaked victim to tend to his wounds, called for help and then stayed with him until the ambulance boat came.  

There was power and strength and clarity present (all words to describe what can't be described - don't pay attention to the words - try to get a feel of what the words are conveying.)  A moving and doing without any thought but fully alive, fully present, fully there (all just words - don't get hung up on them - see if you can feel into it.)  

Now, you see, I was 2 1/2 years into living this way when I first heard about no self, no I.  I thought, well, this sounds like what is happening to me.  And from then on, I began to piece together, one piece at a time, a seeming puzzle that brought me to the whole awakening and enlightenment thing through the back door.  That is why in the past, have checked plenty of times with others to see what's what.  Had no idea if what was happening to me was actually what spiritual seekers are seeking and spiritual teachers are teaching - because to me there was nothing spiritual about any of it.  To me it was always all about life living life.  

But really, I couldn't care less.  I was not seeking it to begin with.  I was after freedom in my life and with my professional work - and was doing it via digging into our programming.  That the final freedom consisted of life without an I, I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams.  Have therefore, no vested interest in the whole enlightenment gig as spiritual seekers and some teachers have.  Am just an odd-ball within a very structured, well-oiled and well-working enlightenment machinery.  That is why my words shook so many of you up.  Am not fitting the mold and you don't know what to do with what I am saying.  It's coming out of left field.

There seems to be this sense that I am putting other paths down and/or am against meditation.  And that I am prideful of what is/has been happening to me.  This could not be further from the truth.   Am not seeing what happened to me as special in any way.  In fact, see it as incredibly hard and would not wish it upon anyone to be stripped the way I have been.  But - it places me in a singular position because when you live the way I have lived for six years, you will have to face what most people will never come up against.  And that's where my question, what does awake really mean? come from.  It's a very valid question from where I stand.  Why it created so much huff and puff I really do not understand.  It seems to me that everyone would want to know the answer.  I am still checking in to see what's what - that's why I wrote to Ed.  When is one all done?  As far as I am concerned, the day the body dies.  Until then, life will continue to throw us wrenches and hammers and screw drivers to keep taking the programming apart so that life can continue to move through ever more freely.  Ed would you agree with this?  

Most (if not all) spiritual seekers believe, I think, that awakening is the end-all and it is my understanding from the bit I have researched and read that this is also what a lot of teachers are conveying.  

Fully awake, as far as what I have deducted from my process, means awake in all aspects of one's life.  One cannot know how awake one really is when faced with certain life scenarios if they have not come to pass.  Am sure meditation is very helpful for many people and may facilitate awakening.  Am not questioning that at all.  The question I put out is how awake - and in how many areas of one's life? because only life can bring one face to face with certain programming, especially the deep-seated programming of safety, security, survival, family attachment, loyalty, money, etc.  It's easy to say am awake/enlightened while life goes on as usual.  Sure, everyone has their own share of problems in life to deal with.  But one can never know how free one really is from programming until faced with various life scenarios that bring them right up to the surface and smack one in the face.  

To me, program-free living is what it's all about.  An awakening experience may blow out a whole bunch of programming (for some more than for others) - but there is usually plenty left.  One can easily get tripped up at this juncture thinking that one is done.  And for those who have not had an awakening, one can so easily miss the grand opportunity life delivers in so many moments of each day where one can rip one's own face off.  24/7, life offers us the possibility to deconstruct our programming - because really, enlightenment is nothing other than the realization that the nothingness that is sought by spiritual seekers is always right there in each and every moment - yet not experienced because of the endless automatic programming, mind chatter and emotions running rampant.  

Ed said in one of his responses you are not providing a carrot that would lead anyone to follow your advice.  And two days later, a new friend asked me the same thing.  She said, what's the path you are telling people to follow?  Have had no thought about it thus far - but here is what came to me today:  I'd say, don't chase enlightenment.  You have no clue what it is anyway.  You might have all these various ideas in your heads as far as what enlightenment is.  But that's just what they are:  ideas.   Enlightenment is not what you think it is.  Your mind can't imagine what life is like with no I.  It can paint plenty pretty pictures so that you keep running after it - and all the while, you miss out on living life.  The way I look at most seekers is that they are all chasing something they have absolutely no clue about what it actually is.  

To me, that is really sad.  20, 30, 40 years of seeking - that's a lot of time and consumed energy.  I'd say, go after freedom of programming, after aliveness, after living fully in each moment.  That is worth dedicating your precious energy toward and that is actually something you can work toward achieving.  I am sure that meditation is a great tool for this.  If enlightenment is to happen, it will happen.  Guaranteed.  Look at me, it came to me and I did not even know it existed, nor wanted it.  (What a blow that is to the nicely oiled and well-established enlightenment machinery....!)

Plus, enlightenment always comes as a gift.  You can't will it or make it happen.  

...and on a more sobering note - enlightenment means death to your I.  You can't know to what degree enlightenment will create death all around "you" and actually destroys "your" life.  Look at Eckhart Tolle - his life got rebuilt into something completely new and different from what it was before.  But at first, he lost everything!  Look at UG Krishnamurti.  Look at Bernadette Roberts.  Look at the author of the Jed McKenna books.  Look at Roshi Jun Po Denis Kelly and many others.  And me, too.  If you are not willing, in the depths of your being, to die and lose your entire life as it is, there is no chance in heaven or hell that awakening can ever come your way because your very impulse to hold on to what you are and what you've got are the mechanisms that keep what is really ever going on from your view.

You all have heard a thousand times about programming and ego and nothingness - but where does it go when you hear it?  Into your mind.  And what happens then?  All kinds of ideas and concepts are formed as to what enlightenment is, awakening is, the ego is, the I is, etc.  But it's mind that's gotta go.  So hearing and reading just enforces mind structures.  

All my best to all of you!  You are all in good hands with Ed!  Warmest regards!  

From Ed:

This is Margot's story and understanding.  This too was my initial awakening experience, but there is so much more!  So much more, and also less in the sense of letting all beliefs and concepts and conditioning go.  But there comes a time when you are so empty, God comes and fills you with love and bliss.


  1. even more scaaary than what she wrote before...

  2. Margot sounds quite bitter that this terrible tragedy has befallen her. Fair enough, it wasn't sought or asked for. It seems she is stuck in a halfway house, ready to be filled up with God, yet too resentful and full of self pity, to let God in. Ramana, Robert, Tolle, never sought what befell them yet in their own ways they stabilised. Maybe Margot has taken her first step to that by contacting Ed.

    1. Yes, this sort of scenario sounds plausible meaning some semblance of "normality" or stability is in the cards for her. After all, lying within chaos there is order. I can personally attest to that myself because following a serious crisis in my health(both physical and mental) in my mid 20's, by some miracle I wound up with the kind of work I do(which was "logically" the right kind of vocation based on my past talents and curiosity)yet I didn't even realize it back then. It came down to the right timing and "I" would be the first to acknowledge it wasn't "I" who had a conscious hand in that.


    2. How do you get that she sees it as a tragedy when she says she would have it no other way?

      You go on to further justify your presumptions without considering any other possibility at all.

      So whose bitterness are you actually feeling?

  3. dear ed, what you are doing is really wonderful! i am not much into reading about enlightenment stuff but from the bit i have read on your website a while ago (when i first contacted you) i felt an infinity with you right away. i very much appreciated that you posted our conversations. i am sure they helped a lot of people. and that they ruffled some feathers - - even better. that's the only way one can keep deconstructing what one has not seen yet, when the feathers are being ruffled and one gets all huffy and puffy. that was nice to see that our conversations could do that! there are so many ideas out there that are false which really are detrimental to people, i feel. you are right there in people's faces with what you are saying, challenging them, informing them and guiding them. that's all very very needed and a great service!

    warm hug.


    1. "Affinity" not "infinity"

    2. "Affinity" not "infinity"

      Oh come on. That is such a petty cop-out. Why not say what you really feel?

    3. No feelings. Just a small clarification. What's eating you?

    4. Nothing was/or is eating me; don't try to deflect the question with a question. It was just a petty response, period; that out of reading a very open, honest letter--of some 2500 or so words-- the only response it [apparently] illicited in you was to correct a typo?

      Petty - definition - Of little or no importance; characterized by an undue concern for trivial matters; small-minded; marked by a lack of generosity, especially in trifling matters, etc, etc.

      "No feelings"...Bull-shit.

      "Just a small clarification"...Ha-Ha-Ha!

      Sorry, but you've hardly changed my opinion.

      Petty stands.

    5. A self-righteous, combative, and mean-spirited response. Why do you think your opinion, thus expressed, is worth giving?

    6. You are right. My response WAS all of the above. It was my own reaction to what I perceived as a rather petty and cold response to a woman's open and vulnerable expression of her experience. Mostly because I personally suffered the disregard of being 'systematically' humiliated, as a form of punishing control.

      That created a "hot button" in me, and I lash out when I perceive someone's words as being a form of disregard or marginalization, especially towards a woman.

      This has been further complicated due to the anger I felt towards myself from having 'accepted' such abuse in the first place! The abuser is out of my life, and I have very recently been given a perfect mantra to dispel the effects of my self-judgment... obviously, I have not been using it enough! [Though I AM using it with great resolve as I write this.]

      As for a less loaded response to Anon#1:

      "You just read a vulnerable 2500 word expression of this woman's profound experience, and your only response is to point out a typo? As her actual meaning was utterly clear, it makes your 'correction' seem petty if not aggressive. Why DID you feel so compelled to write this?"


      On the other hand, minus the "hot-button," I might have very well written nothing at all.

      Thank you.

    7. Well, the "typo" was in a short response among comments to her long post. I didn't feel I was making a response to her whole narrative. But it was indeed odd that I pointed it out. Just did it without thinking much and clicked it. Then, of course, coudn't take it back. The two words had somehow seemed interesting. Actually I found Margot's long story fascinating and touching.

      I'm sorry you've had such suffering in your life. Remember always that You are not your personal story. Peace.

    8. I appreciate your response. I could feel you; felt you writing this reply; felt I was you. It made me smile. My smile or your smile I do not know.

      More and more this is my experience, that all I see "outside" me is actually arising "inside" me. At which point, the perception of inside/outside disappears. It all has its own apparent timeless free-flow.

      No, there is no personal story, except for watching the old ones passing on a screen. Like a retired actor watching all his/or her movies one last time. I frequently just let them flow here, seeing them as they really are--just stories--and belonging to no one. In Ed's company, they fade to nothing.

      Do YOU realize that you showed a lot of YourSelf in this last post? [It doesn't require a lot of words.] I am just curious. Because I see you. And--once again--you make me smile. Glad you hung in there so it could come to this place...

    9. I'm glad, too. And smiling, too. Let's just say it's OUR smile.

    10. Margot were you born in Waldhausen?

  4. My older son came back from daycare today, an alternative to his Montessori school when they are off, and told me "They served meat and I didn't eat it. We don't hurt animals." Then his 3 year old brother said "We hug and kiss", they both hugged each other and started repeating it again and again "we hug and kiss". My kids are enlightened and I am so proud of them.

    I think there is hope for this world. I think one day we will stop seeking enlightenment and we'll hug and kiss each other again and again.

    Janet B.

    1. Lovely story Janet. Thank you. Looks like little buddha's.

      Yesterday Tibetan people celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lamas 77th birthday. He is a living example of loving all sentient beings, telling the world he is just a simple monk.

      Heart warming.


  5. I am surprised to read that some people consider Margot's commentary "bitter." I didn't get that sense at all. It just sounds very matter of fact. It sounds realistic based on her evolution. Maybe she didn't discuss "bliss" from loss of the I or maybe she doesn't experience Truth that way. I think she has balls of steel and she makes a ton of sense to me. It's also great to read Ed's response... There is way more to a person's experience than can be conveyed in words.

  6. @ April: Wow, I agree, I didn't see bitterness at all in her report of her life, or that she sees it as a "tragedy". Isn't it funny how people read the same exact words and pick up something exactly opposite? Not defending my interpretation as the "right" one necessarily. Just giving me a little chuckle this evening. Blessings on all of us.

  7. I really liked Margot's letter. Her first one sent me for just a "little ride"...was probably in shock for about a week. But it all soaked in deeper as the days passed. Really stirred up the spiritual programming and sucked the life out of the intense [egoic] attachment I've had to past awakening experiences, etc. Stirred up other unconscious stuff too.

    I want to explain a little of what I mean by that last sentence. My experience is that "unconscious stuff" is not such that you have never seen it before. It will surface in situations that trigger the kinds of powerful feelings that sent it underground in the first place. Such feelings will likely wreak havoc in one's ordinary life--quickly and intensely--before being shoved right back down into the cellar again.

    If you can hold that emotional intensity and not let it slip away, there is the chance of regaining the big chunk of yourSelf that [apparently] got buried in the first place. If the light can shine into that root cellar--my term because it seems to be at the root of "ego"--then a tremendous amount of energy is released for discrimination and deeper conscious surrender.

    I know this all sounds merely "psychological" but we are not free of so-called psychological affects even once there is a permanent awakening. Margot speaks of that in her own way. I saw it in my Gurus, though it took me many, many years to understand what "it" was that I was actually seeing! My trying to bring "it" to the surface in my relationship with my last teacher caused the end of the relationship, because to help me in that way would have meant she would have to see those underground places in herself as well. Nope, that was not gonna happen.

    When it was all over, I wondered, "Well where the fuck does that leave me then?!" This was, initially, a huge shock! [The exclamations are because I sense that this is critical as regards the sustaining or deepening of Awakening.] Are we ever completely FREE if we are not bringing every piece of us into Life? Right now, I would have to say, NO! There could be some kind of proviso I suppose. But. Margot is saying No-I and the deconstruction of bodily-life-programming still continues. I sense so strongly that Freedom is no longer just about apparent ego-death and detachment from "the World," a la Ramana and Robert, for example. If it does not dive back down into the whole of this appearance, then how can it be called a "Final Awakening?" I have seen that the whole appearance is That which I Am, so how can any I be done until it is ALL done...the whole damn thing!?

    I see in myself that there is still much deconstruction to be done. Although there is no way to know what "much" actually means, I feel it is exactly why I was attracted to Ed. MySelf knows exactly what is needed for it to be begin to be [sustainably] expressed through this body-mind. I do not have a single doubt about that!

    As a result, I also see what a hindrance clinging to temporary awakenings and/or blissful experiences can be...the ego just becomes more inflated! And that is NOT what the I Am is interested in!

    I feel that Margot is incredibly lucid in her description. I also feel that those who think she sounds bitter have some "beliefs/hopes" of their own they might be trying to protect, and plenty of unconscious stuff to hold those beliefs and hopes in place. That was certainly what I saw in myself about my scathing commentary on her previously. It was quite a reality jolt.

    Thank you, Ed. I am so looking forward to July 28th and the online Satsangs. And I am also very grateful to Margot for sending this letter.


    1. Ed, could you say more about this sentence you wrote:

      "So much more, and also LESS IN THE SENSE of letting all beliefs and concepts and conditioning go."

      Are you saying that fully seeing the illusion of separate self will completely undercut the need for self-understanding at the human level?

      This feels like a very important statement.

      Thank you.

  8. Maybe Margot is just fucked up crazy. Its a fine line as Robert said to Ed. Fucked up n crazy. What lessons can be drawn from that I wonder?

    1. What???

      What is your point? Is it supposed to be amusing?

      Robert is dead and Ed has in no way implied that Margot is crazy, so don't use either of them to try to justify what is nothing more than a smart-ass comment.

      What lessons can be drawn from that I wonder? Indeed.

  9. Heart of Fire in GOD..consumed in Silence

  10. Dear Consumed,

    Well then, I must bow to your greater wisdom now that you have quoted the Holy Word to me. I surely must have been imagining things when I got a whiff of denigration as you pulled that quote of Robert's out of your, um, hat. Ed must certainly have implied that she was fucked up and crazy in some way that I missed. Especially since you so generously used the phrase twice, and with such obvious respect.

    Please forgive my ignorance.