The Scam of the Nonduality Community: Why I Left Teaching and Why I’m Coming Back

I grew up with trauma followed by 20 years of addiction to drugs and alcohol. Once I stopped abusing the drugs and alcohol, I looked for the answer to this most basic question: 

“is it possible to live in this life without suffering?”

Most spiritual and therapeutic techniques I tried through the years made very little impact. I tried a lot of different things including positive thinking strategies, the Secret, 12 steps, religion and various forms of counseling and therapy. No matter the approach or modality, something just always felt off. These approaches either felt too “woo woo” or just plain ineffective. I’m not doubting that these various methods have helped others. They surely have. I simply couldn’t spend much time with these methods because they felt too intellectual, or not experiential enough. They just kept me in my head- and couldn’t penetrate deeply enough into my conditioning and my suffering. So slowly, each one was abandoned. There was only one approach, one practice that truly impacted the course of my life: “nondual teachings”.  And ironically, if I use those words without the context of my own experience, they may sound the most “woo woo” of all! But they were the only thing that truly resonated with me. All that was left was the possibility of “awakening” touted by the nondual teachings. 

But what does that mean? I get it. Those words can sound like pseudo spirituality, or at best even pseudo science. But if we take away those connotations and assumptions, we are left with something practical, powerful, and radically different than anything else I’ve encountered to “wake up” out of human suffering.

So let me break it down a little:

What do I mean by ‘nondual realization’?

I often say during talks that nondual realization isn’t “woo woo.” It’s an actual shift in experience and consciousness. It allowed me to see that the incessant thinking that dominated the majority of my mental landscape for so long had nothing to do with who I was. My true ‘self’, if there is one, is the presence- the stillness in which those thoughts arise. Nondual realization changed my relationship to thought entirely. I say this so that people will not dismiss these teachings or put them in the same compartment as other spiritual methods that are “woo woo” or ineffective. When the realization dawned on me, the impact was not just profound and powerful.  It literally changed the course of my life. I left the practice of law. I left everything that no longer felt authentic for me.  And I just began expressing myself from this newly realized nondual state. At first, it was just about expressing, the way a songwriter writes a melody over a chord structure.  But it wasn’t long before I realized that, in expressing my own experience, I could also help others who were suffering like I once had suffered.  

What do I mean by ‘awakening’?

That phrase can conjure up all sorts of ideas and impressions. Sometimes when we hear someone talking about being ‘awake’ or ‘enlightened’, the energy just radiates an air of superiority and ego. By ‘awakening’, what I actually mean is so much simpler than that. It just means seeing that the ego is not me and living in the present moment, instead of in my head all the time. The simplicity of this is so beautiful- and yet the actual experience of being in the present moment radically flies in the face of our conditioning. We are taught to identify with our thoughts on such a core level that to truly break free of that habit is life changing.   

So what was it like to start ‘waking up’?

I wasn’t yet fully facing the fact that, as I was helping others, there were issues still arising for me that had not been resolved through the realization of presence.  I had been such a good student of the teachings from the moment I was introduced to them. Everyday, all day, in the beginning, I was resting in awareness, noticing thoughts coming and going without indulging or believing them.  I was feeling emotions directly, without thoughts on them. I did everything the teachings told me to do. And it worked! I can honestly say that the shift that happened in 2007 has stuck with me to this day. Even as I sit here writing this, presence feels like the foundation of my experience. I am living in the here and now. 

When the Nondual Teachings Stopped Helping

But in the here and now, I noticed that certain thought patterns, triggers and addictive behaviors were holding on for dear life. New triggers were emerging too. Old trauma was resurfacing. I spent three years in a ferocious sex addiction, AFTER the awakening. And I told no one about it. I didn’t mention it in meetings, in books or even to friends. Shame kept me living alone with all of this. After all, if I am a nondual teacher, how could I possibly explain all of this?  How could all of this be happening AFTER the awakening? Did I miss something? Am I not really awake? Those were all questions that arose at one point or another. 

The truth is, the shift into presence was really just a beginning. It was the beginning of seeing everything within my conditioning that had been hidden and unconscious all my life. Yet, when I looked around for teachings that helped me understand this post-awakening process, I found very little help. In fact, most teachers seemed to shy away from even speaking about anything related to post-awakening issues. And some seemed to even lead people to believe that there is no such thing as a post-awakening process or embodiment. Obviously, then nondual teachings became almost useless to me. I turned away from them completely. Presence had become my experience. But that’s all those teachings could help me with. Most of the teachings were completely silent on trauma, addiction, etc.   

Don’t get me wrong! After the shift, the suffering in my life decreased tremendously. The quiet stillness has remained the whole time. But certain triggers did not go away in that shift. I felt somewhat alone in trying to figure out where to find the answers to the post-awakening issues.  No one seemed to want to talk about it.  

Inquiry to End Bypassing

The inquiries that I and my team of facilitators have developed were the missing piece for me.  Finally, with inquiry, I had a way to observe and let go of the triggers and other suffering that was continuing to arise. Life became a rich exploration once the inquiries were developed. I felt as if I was exploring my conditioning in a whole new way. And with inquiry, I didn’t have to bypass the triggers and traumas anymore. I didn’t have to just try to come back to presence when triggered. I found that coming back to presence in the midst of a trigger was actually making things worse. I felt stuck in presence sometimes, as a way of hiding from life. Instead, with inquiry, I learned to move through my suffering directly, rather than trying to hide back into the false safety of presence. If there is one thing I have learned it is that presence, by itself, is not the answer when it comes to these very sticky issues. Something else has to happen, a different kind of exploration. In inquiry, we explore our conditioning from the eye of presence.  But we don’t use presence as a hiding place or a way to bypass these issues. Going straight into the issues skillfully with inquiry was the answer I had been looking for.  

The Scam of Nondual Teaching

At the same time, I was meeting a lot of other teachers. I was having private conversations with these teachers about their experience after awakening. In some cases, teachers came to me for inquiry on issues that were popping up for them after the awakening. At some point, I caught onto the unintended scam of nondual teachings. It’s an innocent scam. No ill intent. But it’s a scam nonetheless. The scam is that all these teachers, including myself, were and had been dealing with post-awakening issues, but very few were talking about it (with the exception of Adya and a few others). Why was this being hidden from the public? Maybe because the real truth of life doesn’t sell. Maybe people would rather believe the fairy tale that a nondual realization always ends suffering completely and finally. Or maybe all these teachers were just dealing with plain old human shame, the same thing that kept me from sharing about my sex addiction or other issues. Regardless of the reasons for the scam, I saw it so clearly that I left teaching for almost five years. Very few YouTube videos.  One retreat a year. I was literally gone from the scene because the scene felt “off.”  

The ‘Fly on the Ass of Nonduality’

Now I’m back. But I cannot call myself a nondual teacher. What I do, and what my facilitators do, is NOT teaching. It is an exploration, an honest and authentic look and embracing of the human side of all of us. And this exploration is much much broader than what the nondual teachings talk about. It encompasses awareness for sure. But it also reaches into areas that the nondual teachings couldn’t reach for me. Namely, I finally had a way to put to rest the most stubborn patterns and triggers that had been arising after the awakening.  

Instead of being a teacher, I’m more like the fly on the ass of nondualilty. Each time nondual teachers make a promise they can’t deliver, I want to point that out. I want to point out any lies that come from my mouth or from the mouth of other teachers. I am not doing this whistle blowing from a place of anger or upset. I’m coming from my own experience. I bought the lie just like so many others have, the lie that awakening is an event that ends all suffering. I am not here to lead people away from nondual teachings. In fact, the truth is  just the opposite. I’m here to encourage more people to come to these teachings. But as they come, I’m metaphorically standing at the entrance, there to remind them to not believe everything they are hearing or not hearing from teachers. Don’t believe the BS. Yes, nondual realization is a profound and life changing thing. No, it is not the answer to all suffering.  

In this way, I simply want to tell the truth, not only about myself but also about the teachings themselves. The only way I could even begin to tell the truth, as I am doing now, is through inquiry around shame. I looked at what it would be like if everyone knew the truth about my experience. And as the shame came up, it unhooked from me. It set me free to open my mouth, to be the fly on the ass of this scam.  

An Invitation

If you are interested in the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then join me in this exploration. Join me in changing the way we see this whole waking up game. Join me in embracing and sharing about our human experience and how we can use that experience to go even deeper into freedom, intimacy and authenticity. Or you can do what I did for many years:  turn the other cheek, ignore what is being said here and believe in the fairy tale. I am choosing truth over fiction. Living in truth, for me, is not just the barenaked present moment that we experience when no thoughts or feelings are arising. There is truth to be found in what arises within awareness also, in our human experience. These arisings tell us what we are still believing, holding onto or identifying with. This is the real meaning of learning, to observe with the eye of inquiry, and to illuminate and unravel suffering.  

These arisings (triggers, traumas, addictions, etc) are like doorways to real freedom, a freedom that even the nondual teachings cannot speak of, because they do not explore life in the way these inquiries do. That may be the answer to why so many teachings are silent on post-awakening issues. When teachers stop exploring their own experience, they have nothing to teach you. They have stopped being students. They have lost beginner’s mind. And they certainly cannot prepare you for what might happen after the awakening.  

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"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. 

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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.