#5225 – Interview with Dr. Gary Tzu

Edited by Jerry Katz

photo: Gary Tzu

Interview on Nonduality Talk radio with Dr. Gary Tzu:

Download link: http://nonduality.net/4june2014_garytzu.mp3

Gary is Director of the Addictions Counselling Program at University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, where he is an Associate Professor. He is also a counselor, a conference organizer, and founder, publisher and editor of Paradoxica: Journal of Nondual Psychology. We talk about Gary’s new book, Awakening in the Paradox of Darkness.


Here’s descriptive listing of tracks with time cues:

0:00 – 7:58 Introduction to Dr. Gary Tzu. Gary defines nondual and talks about his experience of seeking and its death.

7:58 – 9:46 Gary expands on the nature of seeking and the burning out of hope.

9:46 – 12:34 Imitating teachers, nondual ideals, and other byproducts of awakening.

12:34 – 15:38 Gary talks about building relationship with people through intense connectiveness. Paradoxica Conference being held June 12-13, 2014.

15:38 – 25:07 The grey realm, being stuck in limbo, the positive thinking sinkhole, managing the intensity of existence, having a secret life. False core drivers. Sitting in the nothingness with total presence rather than trying to manage the intensity of nothingness.

25:07 – 31:04 Taking risks in day to day living is essentially dying unto the moment and allowing nondual energy to flow. Avoiding those risks and living a convenience store life. Nondual teachers avoiding risk taking. Sharing your emerging understanding as risk taking. Gary taking risks of sharing nondual understanding within the context of a traditional university. Writing a text book on nondual psychology.

31:04 – 36:26 Mandee Moon joins the show. The Black Realm of Terror as a portal to nondual awakening. “I am the terror itself.” Light of existence revealing itself out of the total blackness of terror. Panic attacks and existence. We don’t realize we’re living in fear.

36:26 – 42:00 Gary talks about his clients’ awareness of the nondual and the invitation for the ego to have its death. Therapists have to work through their own trauma before doing nondual trauma work with others otherwise they will get lost in the trauma of the client. Childhood sexual abuse briefly discussed.

42:00 – 44:15 Healing and nondual awakening compared. Gary’s degree programs and counseling requiring nondual awakening and deconstruction of the expert stance.

44:15 – 49:11 Other deep darknesses that may have to be faced, such as birth trauma, experience of hell realms, past life traumas. These traumas can deconstruct and dissolve into vastness.

49:11 – 55:12 Celebrating existence, enjoying the energy of nondual awakening. “The dangerousness of existence is accepted.” The wisdom of insecurity. Accepting the wildness of existence. The desire for nondual teacherhood. Desire as rejection of the present moment. Danger of spiritual bypassing. Building idleness into daily life. Conclusion of interview.

55:12 – 57:37 Mandee and Jerry chat about Gary’s bringing nonduality into his university. Final words. Music by Prosad, I Am Free.



Here are my interviewer’s notes, which summarize the main sections of the book and include some of questions asked:

— Your book is astonishing dissection of darkness. Please give us a general statement of what your book is about and in addition the adjective nondual is used throughout the book, such as nondual awakening, nondual portals, nondual ideals, so please define nondual or nonduality for us as well.

— The book begins with revelations about the death of the seeker. Then it explores various realms of darkness, fear, and trauma, and how to work through them, using the example of your life and those of people you’ve counseled. Finally the book ends with embracing the mystery and just being. Let’s talk about these themes of darkness. There was your own seeking and its death. Would you talk about that?

PART ONE Death of the Seeker

  • I became aware that my desire for awakening had been an obstacle .
  • We have to let go of our addictive pattern of always turning to the mind for something to grab onto.
  • People on the quest for spirituality and awakening often spend so much time trying to imitate spiritual ideals like loving-kindness and compassion.
  • In my own journey, at a certain point, I realized there was no answer for my seeking. There was no remedy and no way out. … a “fuck it” came out of the depths of my being, and I relaxed.

— Let’s look at some of the realms of darkness and fear you write about. The grey realm has some fascinating psychological manifestation. Would you tell us what the gray realm is and talk about the secret life people have. How do we work through the grey realm?

  • PART TWO The Grey Realm: Stuck in Limbo
  • We can feel inadequate and grey inside, and we have our little addictive rituals to overcome our insufficiency . All of these grey realm issues are just invitations to plunge into all of life and embrace existence head on rather than hiding out .
  • The Positive Thinking Sinkhole: We see that it is the discriminatory mind with all of its preferences, choices and judgments that keeps us in emotional hell—keeps us suffering.
  • what does it mean and what are the implications of being frozen in complaints
  • This is when a person is functioning, in many ways, at a beingness level, but at the same time has a secret life, in which he or she plunges into addictive behaviours. Case study. What does this require?
  • I have noticed that, if a person stops taking risks in the day-to-day aspect of living, it impacts the non-dual energy flowing through them; it is almost like the person becomes a hoarder—rather than a sharer—of energy
  • the only way to work this through is to accept the lostness and unmotivated state with no judgment and plunge into nothingness by resolving the gap between the illusionary “I” and the nothingness itself.

— The realm of the blues includes romantic love and waiting for enlightenment. Ask about example and how to work through it.

  • PART THREE Hanging On: The Realm of the Blues
  • We believe in our perspective of separateness, and we try to resolve it by looking to the other to save us.
  • These holes originated during childhood, partly as a result of traumatic experiences or conflicts with the environment. As we move into adulthood, we bring our wounds from childhood . We have all such wounds, which we try to medicate with some type of addictive process.
  • People can slip into a perpetual waiting mode for years, even decades. They typically report some variation of, I am waiting for something to happen [esp. Enlightenment
  • PART FOUR The Black Realm of Terror: Fear and Trauma
  • non-dual awakening so energizes and magnifies the whole system of awareness
  • I discovered that avoidance was far worse than the actual emotions.
  • to me, as a non-dual therapist, it is almost a good sign when I hear a person is having panic attacks. We can only deal with something if it is in our awareness.
  • The key is accepting the reality of death in each moment .
  • warning to therapists: beginning therapists can get lost in the belly of the client.

Some people might be surpised that you talk about realms of past life trauma, birthing trauma, and hell realm trauma.

  • PART FIVE Veiled Darkness: Diving into the Deep Dark Realms
  • Past Life Trauma: Finding the Missing Key: one day we can even see that past, present and future are contained in the now . So, all of this past healing is really a healing of this moment .
  • Intra-uterine Trauma: The Pain of Being Born: People can re-experience the birthing process as well as other cosmological themes of existence through Grof’s Holotropic Breathwork Therapy .
  • Hell Realm Trauma: From Enduring Terror to Finding the Light Within the Darkness. a key theme is that you are hanging on, desperate to survive no matter what.

Finally things turn around

  • PART SIX Embracing the Bedazzling Mystery
  • What is called for, now, is to come down and share our awakening and all encompassing love with everything in life: with our friends, family, institutions, communities, and the whole globe. Always transcending ourselves as we realize this journey never stops, we joyously embrace this wondrous existence, and celebrate this infinite bedazzling mystery .
  • The dangerousness of existence is accepted. It is a fact of existence. Existence is celebrated in this moment with the realization that there is nothing to grab onto for the next moment. Death could show up at any time, and I am ready .
  • Talk about the urge that led you to where you are. For me, my fall from grace was tied up with heightened energy to be on the edge of discovery, on the very frontier of human consciousness, helping shape the next step in human consciousness development. The learning process goes on and on as we integrate our lessons and give back to the community and keep opening up to the vaster planes of existence .
  • Seeing through the Desire for Non-dual Teacherhood: The way I look at it these days is that the mind with all of its expectations is dropped moment to moment . Expectations are misery, so cut the root .
  • Rather than escaping the world by retreating into an idealized transcendent state, the sharing of our non-dual awakening needs to bring us back into the world.
  • The true medicine for suffering lies in awakening to reality and “what is” as we realize there is no such thing as a permanent self, for in actuality no one exists,

Awakening in the Paradox of Darkness, by Dr. Gary Tzu


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