This is Part Two of an interview with David Hodges.
Part One may be read at https://nonduality.org/2013/11/23/5093-saturday-november-23-2013-editor-jerry-katz/
First, here is a recent writing by David:
Postulates of Hacker Spirituality
That the self is an illusion
That most of us believe in the reality of the self, to our detriment
That belief in the reality of the self causes suffering
That awareness is all there is
That awareness gets projected and forgets itself
That meditation drives awareness back into itself
That the self is actually feelings, emotions, thoughts, perceptions.
That much of the determinants of our behavior (our choices, our life patterns, our “fate” are not known to us
That there is a finer more subtle order that can be perceived in awareness though most do not take heed of it
That this subtle order contains the gross order
That this subtle order is computational, not caused
That this subtle order’s algorithm is “god”
That this subtle order is sourced from an even more subtle order that contains it
That there are many pathways between the orders
That we as humans combine levels in an evolving way
“All the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind.” -Eckhart Tolle
That awareness is beyond the mind
That the subtle order in awareness is beauty, love, creativity, joy, peace
That by recontextualizing these postulates become self-evident
Interview with David Hodges. Part Two.
Q: Talk about your interest and practice of Yoga. What kind of yoga? Do you still practice? What are its benefits for you?
Well, I am about a month away from being certified as a Yoga teacher. The longest series of classes I ever had was in Iyengar Yoga. The teacher was gifted and I learned a lot. I have also been exposed to Ashtanga, Anasara, and Yin Yoga. But mostly I have been trained in what I would call Kripalu yoga, as many teachers here in the Northeast U.S. are Kripalu trained.
To me, spirituality arises from the body and the emotions. Yoga frees energy (prana, or chi, or kundalini) and gets it moving. Often when I am doing yoga I revisit that state where ego disappears and then the yoga is just doing itself. (I call this state “up-time”). I often have had what you might call mystical experiences during yoga, or visions, but I don’t have to make a big deal about those. They come and they go. I like the physical benefits of being more flexible and more balanced also.
Q: Your move to Vermont, the construction of a home, the creation of a communal way of life, is fascinating. What inspired Outermost Village Green? What does it take to manifest such a vision? How does the vision of the community compare to the reality so far?
This is a huge topic. I’ll limit my answers to a NonDual perspective since I have written about this stuff in other venues. I was aware of communes in the 60’s and 70’s and even visited a few but had no desire to live in one. This changed years later during the period of my awakening. My heart opened to others the more I realized that my own self was nothing special. And then, after Realization sank into me, I began longing for a deeper connection to people, and the result of the longing was the manifestation of community.
You ask, “What does it take to manifest such a vision”? There’s no magic formula but it didn’t happen for me until I found one other person with the same desire and commitment as me. She is one of my best friends, and during the whole process of founding the community neither one of us wavered in our commitment. That made it possible. It wasn’t me and it wasn’t her. It was manifested via our partnership
Q: I like the collection of books that inspired and guided you in your “journey into community.” What are a few nuggets from them you could pass along?
— The importance of weekly community meetings
— The importance of consensus decision making. Majority votes turn some members into losers and we don’t want that. So consensus has to be found for every major decision.
— Everyone contributes. Everyone is recognized with attention.No one is a loser. each finds his or her own mission.
— If someone shows initiative, that has to be rewarded. Community supports the individual, as much as the individual supports community.
— The importance of not taking in people out of pity. People in community need to have strong lives and they have to be centered, they can’t be in need of rescuing or they can pull the whole community down. Caveat: there are some communities whose mission is to help people in need. That’s different. So you have to be hard-headed. I had to ask one guy to leave because he was kind of a well-meaning deadbeat. It was a good decision and I don’t regret it.
— There are phases that people go through in starting to live in community: First is inspiration and excitement and idealism. Then comes the phase where you start to see people as they are and the community as it is and disillusionment sinks in. There might also be times when you feel everyone is in on something that excludes you, and you feel on the outs. Finally you get past it and somehow become part of the flow, and that’s when you find true community.
Q: What is surprising you most about this journey to community?
I guess I could say that what is surprising me the most is how difficult (but worthwhile) some of the adjustments have been that I have had to make. I didn’t expect to be turned inside out but I was. There has been huge spiritual benefit in that. It was like a death and rebirth. What has made it easier is that I have not had to defend some false nothing of my self.
— How much of community life centers around food: growing or raising food, preparing food, sharing food, cleaning up after, hanging out in the kitchen.
— How rewarding it is to work together on projects. Whether it is splitting and stacking firewood, or weeding the garden, or getting the house and grounds ready for a summer party, we work well as a team and I enjoy the camaraderie a lot.
Q: How did your experience in chaotic and unmoderated Nonduality Salon email forum prepare you for your current communal life, if at all?
Online community is quite different from real-life community so I would say it didn’t prepare me. But what NonDuality Salon did teach me was how a so-called spiritual movement could have such a wide umbrella and encompass so many shades of expression. And how most realized people are far more colorful and cranky and ornery and loving than their un-realized counterparts.
Q: Talk about Reddit, Gaming, the online world, and their relationship to NonDuality.
I’ve been an active online participant for 20 years, even before the web came along. I started out in the world of email discussion groups and Usenet. I think the online world teaches us how fluid identity can be. We can adopt many online personae, and we find that our persona can change depending on whether we are on an email list, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. We also find online how easy it is to construct reality. There’s been an explosion of cultural formation since the internet really took off. In gaming, this goes even farther, as we construct an avatar and then that avatar proceeds to have adventures in different kinds of worlds. Gaming has a lot of common culture that is seeping into real-world culture more and more. (Visit http://reddit.com/r/outside for a taste of how gamers talk about “regular” i.e. “outside”, reality).
This brings me to Reddit. This is a place that combines the chaotic, free-wheeling nature of the early NonDuality Salon years with gamification. (In case you haven’t encountered this term, “gamification” is where elements of game culture like earning points, badges, and rewards, are used to make an activity more engaging.) So, on Reddit, you earn karma points by posting links, and you get karma points by commenting. You can also up-vote or down-vote other people’s submissions and comments, which affects their karma score as well. This motivates you to participate more, as there is something magical in watching your karma score rise. A great thing about Reddit is that each sub-Reddit is moderated by volunteer moderators and so the commenting usually avoids flame-wars and such (I myself am the moderator of reddit’s non duality sub-reedit).
I think NonDuality is the perfect spiritual model for the Internet age. The NonDual model of relative vs absolute reality, and the shifting impermanent nature of the self, fits well with people’s modes of being online. Standing in NonDual awareness is a much better stance for the online world, than the dogmatism, rigid belief, I’m OK-You’re Not Ok, and Exceptionalism that characterize a lot of conventional religious life today. The online world’s spiritual practice is that of the hacker. (In this post I talk about spiritual hackers: http://bit.ly/18RgLPG)
Q: What is your vision of the future of humanity?
I love science fiction, so my vision is informed by many sci-fi books. I believe that humanity as a whole is evolving spiritually, and that the overall evolutionary thrust is propelling many to NonDual realizations such as I had. A term that I like for this process is recontextualizing.
Humankind as a whole had to recontextualize their place in the universe after it became accepted knowledge that the earth was not the center of the universe. Similarly, as the knowledge and experience of Nondual oneness spreads, people will recontextualize their identity and their sense of self to a much wider context.
Meanwhile science and technology keep evolving as well. I think that we will reach a stage on Earth where we are ready to leave earth and take to the stars. This will mark our transition from a Type 0 to a Type I civilization (see the Kardashev scale, http://youtu.be/67fPHOYqD3w and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale ). By the time this happens, the overall level of consciousness of humanity, as a result of recontextualizing, will be quite a bit higher (See David R. Hawkins work, esp. “Power vs Force”) With this perspective, I believe that our job (you and me and our tribes communities) is to help this evolution along by undertaking whatever tasks are presented to us that have meaning. In my life path, that task has taken the shape of learning to live in community and harmony with others by dropping family, clan, tribe, or national allegiance in favor of a global, if not galactic, allegiance. In some way, in my visionary moments, I like to think there is a direct line from my little community in Vermont to the lift-off, on some glorious future day, of the first colony destined for the stars.
Q: Big thanks to you David for your clarity and scope of practice and vision.
Outermost Village Green (many more photos):
Nonduality Reddit page:
David on Facebook: