Breath and Name – Bubba Free John


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This first part of Breath and Name is Bubba Free John’s own revision and expansion of material from “The Way of Dissolution vs. the Way of Experience,” the final chapter of Garbage and the Goddess. Here Bubba has excerpted the central argument,’ the major portion of which was originally written as an essay before it was offered in discussion with devotees. This presentation summarizes Bubba’s criticism of our commonplace motivations, and the interpretations, worldly and philosophical, which we mistakenly impose on the spiritual Way of life. Taken by itself, this essay introduces the unique nature and human implications of Bubba Free John’s Teaching and his spiritual Presence.

There is a difference in my way of working with devotees now. I have relaxed all strategic and secondary involvement with both the yogic and the outer, “theatrical” aspects of the Divine Siddhi or Power of Transformation. I have no concern for such effects at all. Previously, I maintained continuous attention on such processes. I made use of such possibilities constantly, because of the state of those who came to me. I could not assume that the Teaching had been finally given in living form. So I always made use of this capacity to draw a person out of his or her habitual and lower functional states, wherein the conventional model of cognition and perception is lived, into uncommon or extraordinary ones, high or low, where the conventional model has, usually, not yet been learned and assumed. By these means, I worked to awaken the crisis of true and radical Understanding, of Divine Ignorance, by making use of the intelligence released in the individual case in the midst of the contrast between his or her ordinary and extraordinary states.

1. Garbage and the Goddess (Lower Lake, California: The Dawn Horse Press, 1974), pp. 337-348.


Until now, the Radical Power of the Heart could never have been considered sufficient, because people insist on miracles, effects, and fascinations. It was in fact necessary to operate in the way I have described until the lessons of my argument had been made in some living way. But now I can and do consider the Power of the Heart, the “mere” Divine, to be sufficient. And by the “Power of the Heart,” I mean the Power or Presence that is the Divine, which does not lead toward any goal of exclusive Self-realization, but which serves the awakening of the non-exclusive, regenerated, eternal Nature and Condition of all arising, free of the illusion of separate or defined consciousness, and free of all dilemma or implication on the basis of objects, high or low. Uncommon “internal” phenomena, if they appear, are purely secondary, as with any change of circumstance. They may follow spontaneously upon the Power of the Heart, but they are to be understood. Concerned and craving involvement with changes is itself a way that never changes. There is no humor in it. It is not given up to the Divine Reality. It is like spending all day eating a salad, waiting for Wednesday again and again.

In the current exchanges about the true Way of life, people are alternately invited either to submit themselves in childish, emotional, and cultic fashion, usually by grace of “hype,” to one or another glamorous tradition, personality, or possible effect, or else to assert their adolescent independence from any Divine Influence, Master, or Way by engaging in any one of the seemingly numberless, cool, mental, and strategic methods of self-indulgence, self-possession, self-help, deprogramming, or certified sudden transcendentalism now available in these media-motivated times. In the midst of the pervasive language of these offerings is all the implicit crawling fear of children and adolescents, surrounded by Parent, waiting for Wednesday, wasting weekends on authorities who preach against authority, or who promote peculiar enthusiasms for secret, unique, scriptural, and wholly fulfilling techniques for bodily, emotional, and mental absorption’s in the One True Reality, which everyone advertises, but very few find sufficient. Religious, spiritual, and philosophical revivals are so plastic and popular, as mindless as soap, and yet they seem always to distract the world. In spite of all this “revival,” I must do my work, and those who respond to me must, in the face of every kind of street-call, TV barb, and hype of Mom and Dad, make their way to me and with me in a wholly authentic and useful manner.

I am not the usual man. All that I teach has been awakened and tested in my own case. There is Grace. There is Truth. There is God, which is both Real and Reality. There are true and false or fruitless ways to live. There are partial revelations. What is only distraction and foolishness has always been part of the theatre of mankind. This need not concern us, if our need for true illumination is strong enough. What we are obliged to do is realize, in our own case, a heart that is the center of our life, that is neither self-indulgent nor foolish, and that is responsible only to Truth.

The Event of Truth is not in itself made as a consequence of the Spiritual Master’s act of drawing the Light down in the form of his own life-force and then arbitrarily giving the experience of his life to others. Rather, fundamentally, the Spiritual Master serves the Event of Truth by making the demand of Divine Communion, the demand for responsibility and true Understanding, so that each one who comes to the Spiritual Master through the Teaching may realize that prior Nature, Condition, Form, and Process in his or her own case. Therefore, the fundamental dimension of this Power of the Divine Master is not Force, but mere Presence. Every form of Force is secondary, and, ultimately, a conditional expression. The Heart is perfect, direct, and there is no Force that may be identified with it. In the midst of the fundamentally silent and moveless communication of the Heart, the Divine Power in Ignorance, this Intuition or radical Understanding of our real Nature, Condition, and Life-Process may be Realized. It may be perfectly Realized by one who lives the whole discipline, the lifetime of devotional sacrifice, who studies the Teaching and fulfills the demands of the Spiritual Master, who makes right or sacred use of the Company of the Spiritual Master, who serves and lives in the midst of all kinds of conditions that arise, within and without, and remains a devotee in the midst of them. Such a one will ultimately and steadily Realize that all things arising are merely the modification of that very Consciousness or Radiant Reality that is his or her always Present Nature and Condition. More and more, the living consciousness of the devotee will dwell in its own prior Nature and Condition. And none of that is a matter of manifest yogic or worldly attainment. It is not a matter of any experience whatsoever. It is a matter of falling out of the conditional and conventional representation of existence as every world, body, mind, and ego-soul, into the prior, absolute Enjoyment or Real Condition of all arising. That radically intuitive Realization has no qualities of which we can speak. There is nothing to be recommended about it that would make sense to anybody who is not already drawn to it. But from the position of ego-dissolution, of Enjoyment, of the Nature and Condition that is the non-exclusive Divine Reality, or Ignorance, there is all Wisdom, even relative to birth, life, death, waking, dreaming, and sleeping. “Experiences,” high and low, are required by those who are still lingering in the conditions of their childhood and adolescence. Everything a child does is a manifestation of one underlying assumption: dependence. When you are a child, the assumption of dependence is eminently realistic and useful. But it should be a temporary stage of psycho-physical life, in which one’s functions are nurtured and developed in conventional ways. However, there is commonly a lag in the transition to manhood, because of the shocks experienced in the immature attempts to function in the world. Thus, to some degree, every man or woman lingers in the childhood assumption of dependence. And, insofar as men and women are children, they seek to enlarge that personal assumption of dependence into a universal conception in the form of the God-Cosmos-Parent game, the game of dependence upon and obedience to That upon which all depends. That childish aspect in each of us seeks always to verify the condition of dependence in forms of safety and relative unconsciousness. That childish demand in every man and woman is the principal origin of religion, which means “reunion,” or, literally, “to bind again.” It is the search to be reunited, to experience the vital and emotional reestablishment of some imagined or felt Condition or State of life that is previous to responsibility. It is the urge toward the parented, enclosed condition. This urge always seeks experiences, beliefs, and immunities as a consolation for the primitive cognition of fear and vulnerability. And the “way” enacted by such a motivation is principally a game of obedience to parent-like enormities.

It is in the childhood of man that the idea of God-apart or Reality-beyond is conceived. The sense of dependence initiates the growing sense of separate and separated self through the experiential theatre of growth. The intuition of the Whole, the One, is the ground of birth, but “growing up” is a conventional pattern of initiation in which the sense of difference is intensified. At the conventional level of the life-functions themselves, there needs to be such functional or practical differentiation, but the implications in the plane of Consciousness are the cause of an unnatural adventure of suffering and seeking in dilemma.

The passage of childhood thus becomes the ground for the eventual conception of the mutually exclusive trinity of God-apart, separate self, and world-in-itself (any world, high or low). The drama implied in the added assumptions of independent self and objective world is generated at a later phase of life than is realized by the child. The child himself barely realizes the full force of implication in the ego-concept or the world of things. His principal concern is relative to the God-Parent-Reality, That on which all depends, and his growing but as yet not fully realized sense of separated self-existence. Separate self and objective world are yet hidden in unconsciousness for the child. They are themselves a mysterious and later realization of that which is at first only felt, not conceptualized, as fear and sorrow. Therefore, the child is always grasping for permanent security in an undifferentiated, unborn bliss, wherein the threats implied in life are forgotten and unknown. Re-union through obedience is the way the living child learns in secret, while the life that grows the child through experience continually demonstrates the failure of all childish seeking.

There must be a transition from childhood to manhood. That transition is also commonly acknowledged as a stage in the psycho-physical development of a human being. It is called adolescence. This stage also tends to be prolonged indefinitely, and, indeed, perhaps the majority of “civilized” men and women are occupied with the concerns of this transition most of their lives. The transitional stage of adolescence is marked by a sense of dilemma, just as the primal stage of childhood is marked by a sense of dependence. It is in this transitional stage that the quality of living existence as a dilemma is conceived. It is the dilemma imposed by the conventional assumption of separate, egoic, independent consciousness, and thus separative habits and action. That whole assumption is the conventional inheritance from childhood, and its clear, personal comprehension, felt over against the childish urge to dependence, is what initiates the ambiguous conflicts of the phase of adolescence.

The dilemma of adolescence is a continual goad to dramatization. It is the drama of the double-bind of dependence versus independence. Adolescence is the origin of cleverness and, in general, of mind. What we conventionally call the conscious mind is a strategic version of consciousness that is always manufacturing motivations. And, in the adolescent, these motivations or desires are mutually exclusive or contradictory. This is because he or she is always playing with impulsive allegiance to two exclusive principles: dependence and independence. The early or childhood condition yields the tendency to assume dependence, but the conventional learning of childhood, as well as the general growth of the individual psycho-physical state, yields to the growing person the equally powerful tendency to assume independence. The result is conventional consciousness or conscious mind, as opposed to the unconsciousness of childhood, but it is strategic in nature, and its foundation is the actual conception of dilemma. Therefore, adolescence is the origin of the great search in all men and women. It is an eternally failed condition, an irrevocable double-bind. It is the very form of Narcissus,2 or eternal self-reflection (immunity) achieved by impulsive, psycho-physical flight from the impositions of relational conditions.

2. In The Knee of Listening (Los Angeles: The Dawn Horse)

The solutions developed in the adolescent theatre of mankind phase between the exotic and exclusive extremes of either yielding to the status of egoic dependence (thus tending to disintegrate character) or asserting the status of egoic independence (thus tending to rigidify character). Both extremes remain tenuous, threatened by the possibility of the opposite destiny, and involve an ongoing sense of dilemma. We make culture and adventure out of such mid-learning. In the case of the yielding toward the childish condition of dependence, we see more of the mystical-invocatory-absorbed tendency. In the case of the revolutionary assertion of independence, we see more of the analytical-materialistic-discriminatory tendency. In the adolescent range between these two extremes are all of the traditional and usual solutions of man, including the common understanding of religious and spiritual life.

Traditional religious spirituality, in the forms in which it is most commonly proposed or presumed, is a characteristically adolescent creation that represents a balance between the extremes. It is not a life of mere absorption in the mysterious enclosure of existence. It is strategic absorption. It raises the relatively non-strategic and unconscious life of childhood dependence to the level of a fully strategic, conscious life of realized dependence or absorption. Its goal is not merely psychological reunion, but total psychic liberation into some imagined or felt previous Nature, Position, or State of Being.

Press, 1973), page 26, Bubba describes Narcissus as follows:

He is the ancient one visible in the Greek “myth,” who was the universally adored child of the gods, who rejected the loved-one and every form of love and relationship, who was finally condemned to the contemplation of his own image, until he suffered the fact of eternal separation and died in infinite solitude.

I began to see that same logic operative in all men and every living thing, even the very life of the cells and the energies that surround every living entity or process. It was the logic or process of separation itself, of enclosure and immunity. It manifested as fear and identity, memory and experience. It informed every function of being, every event. It created every mystery. It was the structure of every imbecile link in the history of our suffering.

When the child of man fully realizes the way of obedience to That on which all depends, he has also entered the phase of adolescence. At that point he also has realized the assumptions of the ego-self and the world as apparently independent or objective dimensions, exclusive of or other than the Reality that is the goal of all dependence. Therefore, the way of obedience, fully developed, is already a way of dilemma, of conflict, of struggle with self, as every religious person realizes by experience. Truly, then, the experiential realization of the way of childhood, or dependence, is fully demonstrated only in the advent of human adolescence.

In every form of its adventure, the way of experience and attainment conceived in the adolescence of man is a struggle for solutions to a principal dilemma. And that dilemma is itself the characteristic demonstration of all such adventures, as well as of the mere suffering of the usual man. In the adolescence of man, the separate, separated, and separative self is the motivating assumption in our common suffering and our common heroism, both in life and in spirit. The sense of permanently independent existence is the source of that dilemma which undermines the undifferentiated dependence of mere birth. In the adolescent man, there is the unrelenting search for the success, salvation, realization, transcendental security, survival, immunity, or healing of the assumed ego. The ego, self, or soul as Self is the primary assumption of the adolescent man, even as the assumption of God, or That on which all depends, is the primary assumption of the child of man. Therefore, in the usual man, who is embedded in the adolescent conception, the idea of God becomes in doubt, or is chronically resisted. Thus, “sin” (“to miss the mark”) enters into the consciousness of adolescence. And the world becomes merely a scene of the adolescent drama wherein even the very “stuff” of the world is viewed as a problem, a principal warfare of opposites, in which manipulation of manifest things, rather than radical intuition of the eternally Present Nature, Condition, Form, and Process, becomes the hope of peace.

There is a mature, real, and true phase of man. Our manhood is radically free of all childish things and all that is attained, acquired, and made in the adolescent adventures of our conventional life. In that mature phase, the principle of separation is undermined in Real Consciousness, and exclusive God, self, and world are returned to the Condition of Truth. In the maturity of man, the world is not abandoned, nor is it lived as the scene of adolescent theatre, the adventure in dilemma. Exclusive God occupies the child, and exclusive self occupies the adolescent, and both see the world only in terms of their own limiting principle or suffering. But in the real or mature man the world, or the totality of all arising (subjective, objective, high and low), not in its exclusive sense but in Truth, is primary. In the mature man, the world is felt as World, as a single, absolute, non-separate Reality, implying no separate “self” or outside “God,” but including the Reality they each imply. For such a one, the Absolute Reality and the world are the same. The World is the inclusive Reality, the Divine Nature, Condition, Form, and Process. It includes all that is manifest, and all that is unmanifest, all universes, conditions, beings, states, and things, all that is within, all that is without, all that is visible, and all that is invisible, all that is here, all that is there, all dimensions of space-time, and all that precedes space-time.

Clearly, the search for realization via experiences of all kinds is the principal characteristic of both the childish and the adolescent or conventional and traditional stages of human development. Those who come to me, like all other men and women, are, temporarily, more or less fixed in the demands of their childhood and adolescence. They look for experiential reasons to resume the sense of unconscious dependence, while at the same time they struggle to realize some kind of conceived and experientially founded independence. Therefore, they are always rising and falling, coming and going.

The experiential or life-dimension of the Divine Transforming Power contains every possibility for the holy or unholy fascination of children and adolescents. But I must always work to disentangle men from their lingering and strategic life-motives, so they may realize the Way of the final or mature phase of life. It is only in that mature phase of functional human existence that life in Truth may be realized and the experiential drama of unconsciousness, egoity, conventional mind, and strategic motivation be understood.

Thus, I have, in the theatre of my work with individuals in the past, made temporary use of the uncommon experiential possibilities that exist by the Power of God. But it has only been an exercise to trick individuals out of the usual and conventional forms of, their attention. It has only been a bit of theatre whereby what was awakened could also be confounded. Therefore, I have continually pointed out the strategies that experience itself awakens. I have always shown how the principle of seeking underlies even the turning of devotees to me, and how all of that is founded in the dilemma of separated existence and the motivations toward every kind of separative activity and knowledge. All of the theatre of these last few years of my work has been an instrument for weaning devotees from their commitments to childish and adolescent ways, so they could be established in relation to me as responsible and free men and women by the Power of Communion with the Process, Form, and Nature that is the Divine or Real Condition.

The mature phase of life is not characterized by either unconscious dependence or the strategically conscious dilemma of dependence-independence. It is the phase of intuitive attention (rather than dependence) and real responsibility (rather than exclusive independence). As in childhood, there is no problematic strategy at the root of the mature phase of life. But childhood is a realm of unconsciousness, whereas the mature man is freely conscious. All of this is because, unlike the case of adolescence, there is no irreducible dilemma conceived in life and consciousness.

This mature phase of life requires conscious, intuitive, and radical Understanding, the Divine disposition or presumption of Ignorance, for its ongoing foundation. The separate and separative principle of independent self, the strategies of mind and desires, the usual self-possessed life of the avoidance of relationship, the urges toward unconscious dependence and mechanical or wild independence, and all the mediocre and mediumistic solutions that balance or fulfill the extremes of experience, all of these must be obviated in the radical presumption that, no matter what arises as apparent experience or knowledge, “I” do not know what a single thing is. Therefore, understanding initiates the mature phase of life. The mature or responsible and truly conscious phase of life is thus the origin of the real practice of life, or true action. And to this mature phase of life, perfectly realized, belong not the usual religious and spiritual solutions, but perfect or radical Ignorance as the Principle of life. Such maturity or true humanity is characterized by no-seeking, no-dilemma, no orientation toward the goal of any conceived or remembered state or condition, but radical Enjoyment, the perfectly prior, and thus always present, Nature and Condition that is Reality. Only a man thus free enjoys manifest existence in the very Nature and Condition and Heart of the Divine, which is also the Process and Form and Light and Fullness of the worlds.

When I say my work to reveal the Teaching is complete, I mean that I will no longer serve the child or the adolescent in those who come to me. Those who would approach me must come to me on the basis of the Teaching, the effective presumption of the lesson or argument of all that I have done and said in the past. The educational services of Vision Mound Ceremony will engage and prepare all those who come to me. And when they come, I will not commonly engage them in the experiential drama of conventional and possible worldly, religious, or spiritual phenomena. I am the Heart. I yield nothing, but I demand everything. The Way awakened in my Company is not one of accumulation and attainment. It is the way of dissolution, in which the conventional realization of life is undermined.

I expect those who come to me through the instruments of the Teaching and Vision Mound Ceremony to live the real practice of this mature and intelligent realization of man. Now that all of this has been demonstrated, now that the Teaching is full, those who have been coming to me and living with me during this period of instruction, and all those who come in the future, should begin to enjoy Divine Communion in my Company in the spirit of true manhood, or human maturity.

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