J. C Amberchele has a great story. He’s a lifer, as they say in the US, serving for a pretty serious crime in one hell of a serious prison. He grew up ultra tough, by his own admission, schooled in the ethos of John Wayne. He became a criminal, a junkie, and a con man. And then it all fell apart….

In prison J C Amberchele – or whatever his real name actually is – came across Douglas Harding’s ‘Headless Way.’ And in the long series of revelations this discovery provoked, he began to see the great cosmic joke in the life he’d been leading with all its cover ups, pretense and distractions. He began to see that the person he’d been trying to protect didn’t’ actually exist….

What follows is a fascinating, occasionally brilliant book in the lineage of Douglas Harding. If you can get beyond the cover (which is truly a shocker! ) you’ll find the heartfelt confessions of a man whose had more reason than most to question the fundamentals of self-identity. Childhood was all about performance, learning to be a ‘good boy’, a ‘sport’, a kid like all the others and yet better, more distinct, he writes. What it was really about was building a false identity, one that said I was this body and these thoughts, and object for myself when prior to that I had been naturally (and unconsciously) Aware Open Space and all it contained.

Amberchele writes well and, so I’ve discovered, has written a novel to boot which must be worth a read. He’s frank about his life in prison – no picnic despite the change in perspective non duality has brought him.

At the most basic level nothing has changed because nothing ever happened, he writes. But I have to add that at the level of this life story, the story is transformed. For instance, taking seriously what I find when I simultaneously ‘in’ see and ‘out’ see, relationships radically changed. You walk into the room and I can clearly see that I disappear in your favour, that I cannot but give way to allow you into my space, that I am not here to confront or be afraid of you. As pure awareness I am permeated by you and even more remarkably, I see that you appear in me as one of my appearances. Who is there to dominate whom? Who is there to defend? How can I even describe such a relationship except to say that Subjectivity is relating to Itself, and for no reason other than to see just this?

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