Premature Claims to Awakening

Yes, awakening happens.

Yes, awakening includes not identifying with thought, emotion, sensation.

Yes, awakening can involve subtle to powerful shifts in perceptions about the nature of reality and separation.

Yes, awakening is about seeing no self.

No, there is not one static event or state called awakening that everyone arrives at in some magical moment, never suffers again, and then holds hands in bliss, light and love eternally singing Cumbaya. Life is way too fluid to neatly fit into those kinds of static myths. That’s the stuff of spiritual poems that are written during spiritual highs. Notice that you often don’t see spiritual poems about the lows of spiritual awakening. It just doesn’t sell.

I can’t be an authority on all things related to awakening. I can only speak from my experience, so that’s what I will do. My experience includes my own unfolding and the thousands of people I have worked with and stayed in contact with through the years. Many of them are teachers.

Mostly, what gets passed off as awakening is a certain shifting that happens, where one sees that they are not the concepts in their heads. In awareness styled awakenings (there are different awakenings that look and feel differently in different traditions – awareness styled is just one),

…the shift usually involves some sort of non-conceptual realization of awareness, being, presence or no self that seems to be an end point at first. It can be a sudden or gradual shifting but people generally report this kind of change in perception.

Things are seen to come and go within awareness inseparably or things seem to come and go but there is no self to be found (again, different teachings style the words and the realization differently). This head awakening, no matter how it is described, is often taken to be the Holy Grail. Some teachings are more sophisticated in the way they speak of this kind of realization, calling it liberation. Liberation is a strong word. I reserve that only for the kind of realizations that warrant such a tagline. And many of those claiming liberation do so prematurely. Remember the “rush to judgment” in the OJ Simpson case? A rush to awakening is the same kind of dire desire to be done, to firmly place on one’s resume “I have realized X and now there is nothing else to see or do.” It’s like shoving a flag in the ground on the moon’s surface. Out of wishful thinking, we think we can claim this territory. But usually it is the mind trying to claim the territory. Our actual experience reveals otherwise, but we often can’t see it at first.

In chakra terms, the head awakening is the opening of the crown and/or the mind’s eye chakra. Because this opening reveals a profound seeing that separate things, including a separate self, are not really there, it is easy to see why the proclamation of “I’m done” feels so appropriate at that juncture. In many ways, one is done – done with seeking as a self in time and in thought. But this is only a head awakening. Even in a head awakening, it can feel as if the body is open and transparent at first. But given time, areas of the body that are dense with the feeling of separation start to become conscious. This head awakening gets passed off as the Full Monte prematurely.

We want so much to be done after years of seeking or suffering. It’s no wonder we want a head awakening to be the whole enchilada. But mostly, it is a half-baked enchilada. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve worked with in sessions and at the Kiloby Center who had an initial awakening which was followed by addictions, obsessions, relationship and money issues, anxiety or depression years later.

The good news is that once the head awakening happens, the rest of the unfolding no longer has to be about seeking a future event (which is often how people approach the head awakening, as something that “will happen to me”). The “me” is made into toast at some point, revealing a lack of an inherent self and its time-bound story. There are plenty of teachings and methods that bring about that “no self” initial awakening. They are helpful and yet they are limited to the extent that they say that one is done when the head awakens.

There are at least two other big areas to be navigated after a head awakening. One is the body and another is the baggage of mental concepts around awakening itself. Let’s start with the mental concepts. In my experience, there is a desire in many people to grasp mentally what has been realized. There are elaborate conceptual frameworks devised to “make sense” of awakening, just as this writing is a conceptual framework. Nothing wrong with having a conceptual framework, until it becomes the new mental prison.  Just as there is a rush to a head awakening, there is often a rush to neatly place the realization into certain conceptual boxes. There are many boxes. All the buzz words you hear in awakening circles can be imprisoning boxes including:

“we create our own reality,” “everything is just a concept,” “nothing is true,” “life is a divine mystery,” “oneness is the ultimate truth,” “no self,” “awareness,” “I AM,” “all there is, is THIS,” “The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao,” “The Middle Way.”

Again, there is nothing wrong with boxes. They can be quite helpful in communication and quite cozy for the mind. But inevitably, when the box is mistaken for moment-by-moment living of the realization, everything that has been realized is reduced to some ideas and memories. People then speak and act from the memory or the ideas about awakening, rather than seeing awakening as a living, breathing, constantly unfolding moment-by-moment adventure. The archetype for this is the spiritual teacher who sits in front of the room proclaiming full realization while being addicted to sweets or involved with sex scandals or control issues in his/her personal life.

People can spend years after a head awakening endlessly identifying with all sorts of mental stuff around the awakening. This is the time when people desire to be teachers. I went through it. It’s really very innocent and comes from good intentions. But what gets passed off is only what a teacher has realized, nothing more.  And many times what gets passed off are ideas about static, fixed things that are taken to be objectively true and real. Spiritual experiences and realizations get concretized into doctrine or dogma or “this is the only way” type thinking.

The good news is that when one is ready, the boxes can be burned up in the fire of freedom, thrown away like yesterday’s garbage. At that point, what becomes important is the living of the realization itself, rather than the conceptualizing and understanding of it. Conceptualizing goes on, like with this writing. But things are held a lot more lightly and non-seriously. The Living Inquiries were born out of my experience of being first immersed in certain boxes and then turning attention towards the moment-by-moment living and seeing.

The body has its own say in the matter. There are other chakras – not just the crown and mind’s eye. The heart can feel heavy, dense and closed for years after a head awakening. So can the root chakra, the sacral, the stomach and the throat. If you think that none of this matters, watch what happens after a head awakening. You’ll see the continued arising of addictions, anxieties, self-limiting thoughts, grasping after understanding, issues with money, depression, big ego trips, issues with control and jealousy – all of it in one degree or another. I found this out by proclaiming that I was done too early. My issue was the continuation of certain addictions long after the head awakening. In my conversations with other teachers, they reported similar things. It takes a while, sometimes years, after a head awakening to fully see the darker, denser aspects of the body that remain closed. This is why becoming a teacher right after a head awakening is not a great idea. It’s like the blind leading the blind.

If you still don’t believe me, listen to Adyashanti. He speaks eloquently about the post-awakening dilemma. Somewhere between 3 to 7 years after an awakening, the other shoe drops. Everything that was held in the mind and body and that was not seen through in that awakening will come up and bite you in the ass. Its like it all wants to be seen and released. And it can be painful. You can even wonder why you started the awakening process to begin with.

Again, the good news is that the unfolding can continue in the body, if you remain open. Some of the later work I did on the body (and still do) was truly the most liberating of all. When dense areas dissolve or open, it’s life-changing. If you are working with a friend or teacher who stopped at a head awakening, that’s all you will get, unless you break free of that mold and explore the unfolding with an attitude of complete openness. 

Don’t worry, the body awakening part is not about seeking in the same way you were seeking in the beginning. Spiritual seeking comes from mind/head chakras that are closed. The body awakening doesn’t happen through seeking. It happens just from remaining open and working with those energies in skillful ways.

"Working with Dan has been nothing short of transformational. His open heart, honesty about his personal experience and permission to be real and not hide have helped me unlock those qualities in myself. And that has been a total game changer. I've been truly blessed, not only to have him as my KI Facilitator, but also as my mentor. Without a doubt, working with him has helped me to show up authentically, helped sharpen my tools and made me a better facilitator than I would've been on my own. I can't recommend him enough."
Darby Totten
Certified KI Facilitator

Dan McLintock is a Certified Facilitator, Trainer and the Co-Developer of the Kiloby Inquiries method/approach the New Model of Recovery along w Scott Kiloby. 

A Jacksonville, Florida native, Dan graduated Flagler College in 2004 with B.A. in Theatre Arts and English Literature and has played music professionally in bands for over 20 years. But his true passion lies in sharing the context, possibility and practicality of healing, awakening and release. 

Dan has worked one-on-one with clients in and out of the Kiloby Center since 2017 and has an unconditionally loving and earnest approach to healing trauma, dissolving the drivers of addiction/suffering and unhooking long-held toxic beliefs about ourselves, others and the world at large. 

He’s also worked intensively, side-by-side with Scott Kiloby for the past three years to develop the transformative tools of the Kiloby Inquiries as well as the principles and approach of the “New Model of Recovery” rooted in unconditional love and non-judgment. Much of this approach was borne out of Scott and Dan’s work with each other on their own personal traumas as well as their work with clients at the Kiloby Center. 

Scott and Dan have simplified, demystified and condensed some of the principles and practices of eastern/non-dual spirituality into an easily accessible set of tools most anyone can understand, learn and utilize to free themselves from their own suffering. 

What is a Clarity Call?

What is a Clarity Call?

A clarity call is a free 30-minute introductory call with a Certified KI Facilitator. During a clarity call, you can ask any questions you have about KI and see whether a particular facilitator is a good fit for you.

To book a clarity call, select your preferred facilitator (hover over their picture and click the “Meet” button). Then, enter your email and click “Book Your Call.” From there, you’ll be able to select your preferred date and time and schedule your clarity call (please double-check your time zone before booking).

Valerie Vinger is a thriving survivor of life’s painful challenges and growth opportunities. She has worked with 12-step programs and is currently a 13-year stage-III cancer survivor. Her cancer recovery journey started with the traditional “cut, poison, burn” approach but eventually led her down a natural path to healing her body, her pain and suffering, and her buried emotions.

Valerie first stumbled upon Scott Kiloby at a workshop of his in Boulder, Colorado in 2012, which she says is one of the most transformative experiences she’s ever had. She is filled with gratitude for the person she has become through her journey with cancer recovery and with the Inquiries, which she describes as “coming home to myself.” She loves working with people who are ready for relief from their pain and suffering.

Julianne Eanniello is a Certified Trainer and Facilitator of both the Kiloby Inquiries and the Unfindability Inquiries (formerly called the Living Inquiries). She is also a Certified TRE Practitioner, and the developer of the somatic movement process called Natural Flow Movement. She works with clients all over the world on virtually any topic, including spiritual seeking, stress, anxiety, depression, pain and health related issues, traumatic experiences, repression, relationship issues, and general unhappiness with ourselves and our lives. She does this through online sessions, deepening courses, workshops and facilitator certification training.

About Julianne:

For most of my life I’ve wondered who I am and why I am here. As I was growing up, no one else seemed to be talking about these things, or even thinking about them, so I buried it deep inside and tried my best to fit in the way I was “supposed” to, all the while feeling like there was something desperately wrong with me and that I needed to fix it.

In my early thirties, the death of a young relative left me feeling hopeless and helpless, wondering what is the point of life if we’re all just going to die anyway? This launched me on a search. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, I just knew that there was a longing – a desperate longing for something that actually made sense about life. I learned several alternative spiritual and healing techniques. I meditated. I read books and watched videos. I eventually learned of non-duality teachings, and I read more books, watched more videos, and even sat with several ‘awakened’ teachers. Yet I was still searching, something still felt missing. I was looking for the key that would unlock the mystery of me and of life.

In my early forties, I developed a chronic health condition that left me unable to work for several years, and most days barely able to get out of bed due to extreme fatigue, brain fog and pain. I lost my banking job, and eventually lost my home. I saw a multitude of doctors to try to find out what was wrong with me, and used every tool in my metaphysical and alternative medicine toolkit to try to heal myself. My seeking became even more intense, and I was looking for a way to escape my pain.

In 2009, I met Scott Kiloby. Since I started working with him and doing the Living Inquiries, the seeking for enlightenment has stopped, and the question of ‘who am I’ is no longer relevant. My victim stories around my health started falling away. Once I started looking at my experience through inquiry, everything changed. I stopped chasing something ‘out there.’ I no longer seek some future state of happiness or peace. This is not to say that I don’t have problems, or ever experience pain. Quite the contrary. I still use the inquiries regularly, and now there is much less avoidance or resistance to what I’m experiencing. I experience more and more freedom in the present moment, exactly as it appears.

Having trained with Scott, I was one of the first to be certified as a Senior Living Inquiries Facilitator and Trainer in early 2012. In 2014, I moved to CA and became a business partner with Scott at The Kiloby Center for Recovery, where we worked with people suffering from addiction, anxiety, depression and more for the next 8 years.

I can’t imagine my life without these inquiries. They saved me from myself. If you are still suffering, searching, longing… I encourage you to give this a try.

As a young child I saw a picture of Jesus gazing lovingly at some children around his feet. I immediately longed for the unconditional love I saw in his gaze. At the same time, I was being read fairy tales, like Cinderella, and came to believe that romantic love would satisfy that longing for love.

So, I married my handsome prince at age 19. But then, by age 29, I found myself alone, as a single mother, with four young children. I was devastated and convinced that something was terribly wrong with me, to have ended up in such a predicament. 

I had learned to love and please others, but not how to love and respect myself. I was a “good girl,” and repressed my urges to have my own needs acknowledged and met. A wise teacher later told me, “We need to love everyone, including ourselves.” This was an amazing revelation for me!

Learning to meditate helped immensely to bring moments of peace, while I was sitting still, though I was still being triggered regularly in my relationships. Finally, the Kiloby Inquiries taught me how to turn my attention inside in daily life – towards the trapped thoughts and emotions I’d been running from – so that I could face and release them. It was like some tender, lost children began coming home, to take their rightful place in my inner world. 

I am honored and excited to be able to facilitate these wonderful inquiries for others.

Sumitra lives on the Hawaiian island of Kauai with some of her family. She has four grown children and six grandchildren. For many years she lived and worked in a yoga retreat community in California, and has taught yoga, meditation and Compassionate Communication in addition to facilitating the tools of the Kiloby Inquiries (since 2013).

Sumitra also loves working with couples and others with relationship challenges in a simple (though not always easy) deep listening practice that allows each person to be truly heard and acknowledged.

Alina is a certified KI facilitator & a founder of Presence Alchemy – An advance mindfulness platform dedicated to liberating suffering & limiting core beliefs through Kiloby Inquiries & non-dual awareness. Presence Alchemy was born eight years into Alina’s embodiment journey of an inner shift from ego to wakefulness. Alina works one-on-one with clients, hosts online intensives and training, and organizes local retreats & workshops.
Alec Rodrigues has been certified to facilitate inquiry since 2015 and brings a keen sense of intuition to his work. He believes that in connection, the deepest healing takes place, that the mirror of relationship is the best crucible for transformation. Through rest and inquiry, Alec has found the empowerment to meet others authentically and stop running so damn fast from the seeming “ordinariness” of life.

He currently lives in Washington state with his girlfriend and works as a training assistant for the KI Personal Mentorship Program, where he empowers enrollees by teaching them the KI tools.