Review of What Am I? A Study in Non-Volitional Living, by Galen Sharp
Review by Jerry Katz
Galen Sharp blends Zen, quantum theory, the teachings of Douglas Harding and Wei Wu Wei (Terence Gray), but never does any one of those teachings dominate his landscape. It’s always the exercises, the Reality Meditations, that are up front, making the reader the real subject of the book. The question, What am I?, is for the reader to investigate. It’s always that question that’s in the forefront of this book, not the author or his sources.
This book is a workout for your process of attention. It’s an attention gymnasium. There’s lots of exercise equipment in the form of the Reality Meditations. There are also ubiquitous reminders of why you are at this gym: to find out what you are.
A few quotations from the book give you a further sense of what to expect:
“Moving into reality has nothing to do with strict disciplines, or religion, or New Age pseudoscience. It is not learning something new and mystical, but looking openly at what is here-and-now and discovering it for yourself. It is something you can do as you go about your normal daily round. You don’t have to change anything about yourself or our life.”
“True liberation requires no effort and no willpower, no special principles you have to remember to apply. It causes no guilt and requires no faith. It requires nothing but watching — simply your attention. That is precisely why nothing else has really worked for you. Everything happens by itself.”
“It all boils down to where your thoughts come from and where your actions come from. Is any of it really from you or your ‘doing?’ How could it be? Can you see how the ‘loss’ of ownership of these things is actually liberation?”
“We will soon be forced to move from the dualistic Newtonian world model to the true nondual reality.”
“This New Reality must be personally witnessed, personally explored and observed deeply and thoroughly in your own experience to manifest in actuality.”
Galen Sharp is a teacher who stands his own ground, well-seasoned within a world of nonduality that barely knows him. But I’ve known about Galen Sharp through his writings since almost the day I went online in 1997 and began looking up stuff on nonduality. At the time there was one website which stood as a model for my own vision of an internet nonduality. It was Peter’s (I never knew his last name) now defunct sentient.org. (Use the Wayback Machine to enjoy past versions of the site.) Galen Sharp was one of a handful of featured authors/self-realized beings. In that way he was, and remains, legendary.
Galen Sharp offers a view of nonduality no other current teacher can offer. This is a seasoned view from someone who has seen it all and been a part of it all. Galen has been immersed in the teachings on nonduality for over thirty years. He studied personally with the legendary Wei Wu Wei, was friends with Peter, knew Douglas Harding, and even met Paul Reps. To use a generational analogy, if Galen Sharp were part of the Beat Generation he would have been best friends with Kerouac and Ginsburg. I highly recommend getting to know Galen Sharp, but mainly yourself, through this book that I know you’ll love.