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August 14, 2009


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Yes, the 'I am Enlightened' thing is dangerous. The trouble with it is that the person concerned is generally blatantly Unenlightened to those who know them and irritating to those who have to put up with that bleat. Does anyone know any Clear Scientologists? Any long term Satsangis who are trying to impress the young, new initiate or seeker?

We're trying to help an alchoholic and so just before reading this post I came across Wikipedia's AA definition and was interested to read their Counter- Enlightenment Philosophy!


A self-involved nonsduaist, how unusual, they're all bacisally ungrounded narcissts at base. If there is no I or self how could he possibly claim that "I know everything and nobody else knows anything". I mean apart from the satement being highly unlikely and unprovable, its actually hypocrtical to his nondual belief system.

The guy is deluded, like so many of these new-age 'gurus' whose only draw is a manipulative turn of phrase - anyone this arrogant in claiming to know everything is off with the fairies and living in neverneverland.

George writes:
"A self-involved nonsduaist, how unusual, they're all bacisally ungrounded narcissts at base."

--All? Every single one? Do you know this?

"If there is no I or self how could he possibly claim that "I know everything and nobody else knows anything". I mean apart from the satement being highly unlikely and unprovable, its actually hypocrtical to his nondual belief system."

--Perception of non-duality does not preclude apparent dualistic communication because that is the nature of language. Perhaps you would be more satisfied if he just let out a fart? That would be sufficient for me (at a distance) because I understand non-duality. But others need an introduction to get an idea that something exists. One does the best with the tools at their disposal. The problem with language and conceptualizing is the reason why many sages remain silent or do not say much.

"The guy is deluded, like so many of these new-age 'gurus' whose only draw is a manipulative turn of phrase - anyone this arrogant in claiming to know everything is off with the fairies and living in neverneverland."

--How do you know he is deluded? We can never know what a person's actual perception is or how that influences the way they function. There are no rules.

I am God. I can't prove it, but prove I'm not. You are God, but I can't prove it to you. You must see for yourself.

Either what Jed writes resonates with you or not. I read his book and enjoyed it, but I understand why people criticise it. His second book was not as good, in my opinion, and raises more questions about his authenticity. But who knows? Only Jed.

On a dog walk just now, when I have my best insights, these thoughts about Jed came to mind:

He assumed a fictional identity in writing his book. However, the central thrust of his Jedism teachings is that we are not our roles. Our real self, or non-self if you like, is something different from who we take ourselves to be: father, wife, doctor, plumber, Democrat, Republican, whatever.

Yet Jed chose to add on to his set of roles by taking on the role of an enlightened teacher whose mission in life is to help other people see what an illusion they're living in.

There is a "Jed McKenna" somewhere who wrote this book. That person is real, in the sense of existing physically and having a worldly past.

Just as we all do. Sure, it is fun to take on different identities. I gather this is what Second LIfe is all about (I've never visited that site -- people play at being someone they aren't in "real" life).

In this case, everyone knows that everyone else has taken on a role. So the game is known to be a game. Sometimes, though, a "real" person on the Internet is taken in by a "fake" person, meaning one who is hiding behind a false identity.

If that person is a child, or someone else who can easily be taken advantage of, then this is wrong. Which is pretty much how I feel about what Jed has done with the book. It isn't transparently obvious that his book is fictional. Lots of people probably believe that a real person named Jed McKenna has an ashram of sorts in Iowa, as described.

Since Jed's oft-stated goal is to strip away what is false until only truth remains, it seems to me to be a step backward to write a book that is full of fictions. Of course, some people will feel, "Since nothing in this world of maya is true, neither is this book."

Well, OK. But then if we're not supposed to get sucked into maya, why should Jed's book be taken seriously? Basically he's saying, "Don't trust any spiritual teaching. Except mine."Yet other teachings at least have non-fictional teachers.

A neophyte may be taken in by the character "Jed" and his story of an ashram full of groupies, but if you have experience in these matters, you can take the good and ignore the "BS" if, indeed, it is BS. Some writers take a lot of liberties to present their case, as did Castaneda. But if you get some benefit from reading them, so what? Enjoy and move on to the next one.

I agree with Brian. This guy Jed is a fraud. Period. Why? Well because he claims that eveyone else is living in an illusion, but yet he himself presents even more illusion. Its absurd. He's just out to make some money, selling books and whatever to suckers. He is not the only onme in the world who is awake. In fact, all his posing and fictious baloney shows that he isn't. Its not all that complicated. If he can't simply be honest, then everything he says is questionable. If his enlightenment is real, then it will shine forth and be revealed through truthfulness, not through fictions and illusions and lies. The gy is just an arrogant egotistical jackass whose claims depend entirely upon putting eveyone else down. Kind of like Werner Erhard was.

Don't be fooled by hollow words and faccy talk. This guy is no more "enlightened" than anybody. Enlightenment is a myth. I could say and write all the same things and even more and better than this phony Jed character, but I just wouldn't bother. I don;t believe in selling people a bunch of misleading crap. There is nothing to tell anyone. No one needs "enlightenment". Everyone is already fine just the way they are. As Sri Ramana once said: Just "BE AS YOU ARE".

So this guy Jed is merely a charlatan, nothing more. Don't be a sucker.


The above is a spiritual teachers rating service website. Jed Mckenna received 2 stars out of 4, which according to the author of the website he is "interesting and possibly of help to you."

Spiritual teacher?

A person I know claims Enlightenment and maintains a beautific expression, cannot receive advice but only gives it. This person cannot even control their weight.


"Perhaps you would be more satisfied if he just let out a fart?"

LMAO, very amusing, at least it would be a more sincere and consistent than the stream of bs emanating from his other orifice.

Sorry Tucson was just a bit of forthright opinion on my part, i should be more tolerant, but what sort of arrogance proclaims to know everything? i abbhor deluded arrogant charlatans like this.

What on earth are you arguing about.
Look at the humble telescope. IT is amazing
Amazing. IT is pure awe. Pointed at a dark patch of space, it presented it as both dark and full of light, as if stable and movin all at once, as if alive and dead. What is presence, what is it being the present? The images we received were from a very distant past. The images of the Jurassic period still and always will travel within the universe, now not yesteday. Good video. I recommend after this arthur's clarke on fractals on you tube.

"McKenna" is fond of quoting Nietzsche. I have a Nietzche quote for him: "I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you." He either believes that fiction somehow expresses truth, or he's running an intentional con to make money. Whatever, he can't help it.

Hey Guys,

I ll impersonate Jed for you guys...

wassup ?

Right on tucsoN... Ya'll are an illusion. I am an illusion.

That's the great truth... but many prefer the dream.

I have made you up to entertain me. I thank you and appreciate the entertainment that you have provided.

You may enjoy Robert Scheinfeld's work if ya do want to hear it...

"Now, just because Jed McKenna has made up stuff about his life, this doesn't mean that he has made up his enlightenment. However, the questions I asked above still remain.

Over and over, Jed talks about himself in the fashion below. It may sound tongue-in-cheek, but believe me, he wants us to believe him.

The difference between us isn't that I'm enlightened and you're not. The difference is that I know it and you don't. I possess selfless awareness and you don't... I basically believe that I know everything and nobody else knows anything... The greatest men and women who have ever lived are just children on a playground to me.

Jed's "trip" (as we used to say in the '60's) is demolishing everyone else's view of reality but his own."

- Brian, maybe I'm wrong about this but I don't see why someone who's likely writing under a fictious name would really be trying to convince anyone to believe him. What would the payoff be? It's not like you can contact him and say "Wow! Really loved your book, man!" or "Screw you, McKenna! You're a fraud!"

I think that was the purpose for remaining anonymous to begin with, not to try to convince everyone how great or enlightened he is, but to write for people who want to know that they can find out the same thing for themselves, should they choose to.

I get the impression you think he's saying that "The difference between you and me is that I KNOW I'm enlightened and you have NO CLUE that I am", while I think what he's saying is that because of the process he went through he sees everything as it is now; something we all could do if we dropped all our "baggage" and went through our own process of "unseeing what isn't". That he's reached the point where he no longer believes "adult" stories which are viewed as akin to children's beliefs in Santa Claus. Most other people haven't reached it.

"He's got a way with words, and almost surely he's making up the conversations in his book anyway, so not surprisingly enlightened Jed comes out on top of every meaning-of-life dialogue in "Spiritual Enlightenment." (Spoiler alert: there isn't one -- a meaning of life.)

There's a lot of fawning praise of the book on Amazon. So I zipped right to the minority 1-star reviews. Quite a bit of thoughtful skepticism here. Such as:

Which brings up the interesting question, when he became enlightened, how did he know his other state-of-being was to be called "enlightenment". And not, for instance, "satori", "nirvana", "at-one-ness", "super-acidity", what have you?

The original words from which the word "enlightenment" was created: "nirvana" or "nibbana" and "satori" etc have been lost for thousands of years, so how did McKenna arrive at this state and said "Ah, this is the state of 'enlightenment'". How did he know it was not a state of permanent foobarisment?

In fact, he makes such strong and fine distinctions, that one wonders if there is a hidden school somewhere that maintains the old traditions: "That was spiritual awakening, not non-dualism, McKenna. Drop down and give me twenty! Now let's work on mystical one-ness for the next hour."

This reader review encapsulates the main problem I have with Jedism, or any "ism" that claims it's followers possess a clearer view of ultimate reality than the rest of us deluded fools.

We're expected to accept some guy's (rarely, gal's) claim of enlightenment without any evidence that he has achieved it -- or even often, as in Jed's case, that there is any way to describe a state of enlightenment."

- I've seen a lot of people who express their cynicism about Jed's claim of enlightenment in just this way, but in certain sections of the book (and books, if you go past the first one) he does make an attempt to at least help you get that he's not really talking about "Jed the person". Plus, he also states that when he had finished his own process he had absolutely ZERO concept of what enlightenment was. It was only years after the fact that he came to realize what he'd been through. I quote:

'When I myself went through this experience I knew it was immense. I knew it was uncommon in the extreme. I knew it was the surpreme accomplishment beside which all others paled to insignificance. I could look at or listen to any person and know instantly that they hadn't been through it. And yet, I wasn't to know for years that it was enlightenment.'

So it wasn't like he got to that point and said in fortune cookie fashion, "Ah-so, Grasshopper....so this is the state of Enlightenment."

And as far as evidence...I think it's a bit paradoxical to even demand such a thing. If it's not something you've come to realize yourself (and I don't mean just you personally, but ANYONE in the same boat), how the heck are you gonna know what it is when you see it?

Sorry, I know this was long because I quoted some of your article and I would comment more, but this has been long enough already. Should you be interested in discussing ideas at all, I can be reached through the e-mail address provided.

Eric, thanks for your thoughts. I sort of see where you're coming from, but my skepticism about Jed remains.

As I said in this post, if he has made up stories about his life, and doesn't use his real name, then why should we believe the stories he tells about his supposed enlightenment?

Anybody can write fiction about amazing accomplishments. Why, I climbed Mt. Everest yesterday in bare feet without extra oxygen! (But I choose not to provide any evidence of my ascent; you'll just to believe me).

So I can't take this book as anything other than a work of fiction unless a non-fictional Jed shows up.


Sure, I think I understand what you're saying as well. And I don't think Jed would discourage your skepticism in the least. This is just my opinion (and as such, as worthless as anyone else's), but I think anyone who's really worth their salt, regardless if they provide their real autobiographical information or not, would tell people exactly what Jed does, which is: "Come see for yourself."

I think in all fairness, that's all anyone could really say. I don't know if there's anything someone could point to in a dualistic world and say, "Here, here's my evidence of having attained non-dualistic realization." And as for appearing in person, I think he says enough to make it clear that he takes himself to be as fictional of a character as he sees everyone else, and therefore probably considers giving his "real" name, location, etc., a moot point, not to mention he does also state he prefers privacy. A contradiction, I know, but he does say something to the effect of, "It's all contradictions."

By the way, I think it's interesting I happened to come across your article almost a year from the day you wrote it, as well as not too long ago also buying your book "Return to the One". I didn't realize at first who the author (of this article)was at first until I did some digging and found your name, then realized you were the author of the book as well. I'm not even close to finishing it yet, but look forward to doing so.

It's a moot point whether Jed McKenna is truth or fiction. What matters is whether YOU are truth or fiction. What happens to Julie and Lisa is happening to me, and I would have been screwed if it wasn't for these books. I only "get it" because of the other things I had read. If your out there Jed, here's to ya. ∆˙

McKenna's first book could be reduced to 30 pages in which he explains his "autolysis" method of discovering "Who (or what) Am I?" This method of writing seems straight out of Adyashanti's teachings. However, unlike McKenna, Adyashanti's body of work, including his tapes, gives you more explanation on how to do it.

McKenna says that only a handful of people in history have achieved what he has achieved. In other words, don't bother. It won't happen for you. The most we can hope for is to become wise "adults" by opting out of the rat race and learning to "go with the flow."

I'm truly tired of the melodramatcs in the third book. I'm not finished with Spiritual Warfare, but I'll bet you he doesn't give any more guidance on what to do once you abandon your life and commitments. I'll also bet you that, if seen for what it is, the rat race can be used as "grist for the mill" until another situation presents itself. Abandoning the life you have created does not automatically lead away from delusion into clarity. However, the friend who gave me the books told me that McKenna has inspired readers to do just that.

The book seems to be cribbed from other sources. I would think the Universe could do a better job. I think I'll stick with Adya. I prefer teachers who tell you to "go find out for yourself" in a more constructive and instructive manner (and stick around for questions when you get stuck or regress). However, if you need to be abused before you start your journey, McKenna is for you.

"I prefer teachers who tell you to "go find out for yourself" in a more constructive and instructive manner (and stick around for questions when you get stuck or regress)."

---What would this 'finding out' per the instructions of a 'more' constructive teacher be? So, I get stuck, then what would these c & a teachers be able to offer?
How does one know they are regressing? That is, regressing from what?

Good one Roger.

I like:

"How does one know they are regressing? That is, regressing from what?"

Who? What? Where?

Dear Brian,

In keeping with the discussion of Jed McKenna, I wanted to offer you my newest book, now available as a free ebook, which talks a lot about Jed. The title is "Butterflies Are Free To Fly: A New and Radical Approach to Spiritual Evolution" and you can download a free pdf file at http://www.butterfliesfree.com . I would be very interested in your book review... Thanks.
Stephen Davis

You should all see the movie 'The invention of lying'. That comedy held a lot of truth to me. Like the people in the movie I am not often or even capable of lying. The main character discovers that in such a world you can say things and everyone believes you. It starts very innocent when his mother dies. He says 'mam there is an afterlife' yust to comfort her. Now because lying is not invented yet the people that hear this assume it to be truth. Therefore he becomes the new messiah. He tries to answer all the question and soon he is a theologian teacher with very funny explanations of the obvious impossible :)
What I learned? Learn to ly and know that most people do but it can be fun nonetheless.

For all those focused on Jed, you've missed the entire point of the books. Ultimately, they are not about Jed at all. The are an offering of a technology that you can use to increase your awareness, come into the fullness of your own unillusioned adulthood, and perhaps even attain truth realization if there is such a thing.
It doesn't matter who Jed is or any of his particular details, though they made for interesting reading. Throw away the teachers, including Jed, grow up and do your own work!

Amen to that, Diane. People are inflamed by the acerbic writing (taken as a personal attack on their ego) and are attacking the author, skipping the message. If the author and his stories / settings are fictional, does that mean the message is? (The message being the route to 'truth-awareness'). From my experiences I think not.

For example:
-Process of autolysis: Yes, definitely
-Desire to be detached from other people: Yes
-The 'universe' making things known to you: Load of crap (more like an acceptance of cause and effect and unseen probabilites)
-Dream-World: Yes, to an extent, since everything is filtered by our senses and processed in our brains. I think Stephen Hawking (who I'd listen to any day over McKenna) mentions this in his book 'Grand Design'.

So either you get it or you don't. Either way it provokes a reaction and garners followers or sceptics. It's not for everyone depending on what you're after or what you've experienced in life.

Now, here me out, I'm not new age/spiritual/religious/superstitious or whatever. I actually think them to be a load of BS for the insecure to gain security (placebo effect). Or they're like a social club to switch from one kind of conformity to another. Herd mentality to follow groups.

However... due to my circumstances over the past ten years, I have to say that I can identify with most of what's in Mckenna's three books... My own gradual 'autolysis' which I originally just attributed to me becoming more wise, disillusioned and analytical. I don't claim to be anywhere close to 'enlightened' without ego but whatever shifts I'm going through are mostly involuntary. I'm sure there are plenty of others who have suffered in their lives that has prompted them to undertake a complete mental shift. Voluntarily, 'enlightenment' seems just like a pointless alternative state of mind. McKenna also says it's pointless. Having that mindset to escape from 'the dream world', I wonder where he got his money to fund his idleness (at least before the books went on sale). He likens 'truth-awareness' to being a dog... but if we were all 'enlightened' it seems like we'd still be living in caves without the curiosity and hunger to invent and evolve. We'd devolve without regard for survival of the species.

Therefore, I don't know anything about this author but, despite being a scientifically minded sceptic, I think there's truth in his book. Either way, you have to decide, filter and follow your own path.

My own BS over. Am I fictional too?

I see a theme in some of this, and in many textual discussions of spirituality. That theme is: "I'm empty of the falsity and see that 'I' is not real, but you seem full of it and therefore must think you're real, and I'll treat you the way I think false realities should be treated (but am I forgetting that this is a yet another false reality for the purposes of being righter than thou?)"

in shorter form: I get to whack you as much as I want with my Zen stick, but if you try to whack me back, I don't really exist.

Like when kids are playing laser fingers and they use their imaginary force field to deflect imaginary lasers. Nah-nah, can't hurt me, I'm empty.

To me, this is why Buddhism teaches compassion. A big heart to go with that empty head.

To me, it seems careless to put down words on paper like "I have it and you don't" because... Well, in the end, aren't you just casting more stuff at the same black hole as you now think you are?

In some cases, I think that people have profound spiritual experiences and come to filter though their own cognitive/verbal systems. They want to talk about it, and those who don't describe reality in exactly the same terms are outside/lacking the special knowledge that apparently only they or some small group possess. Kind of like they can see their own emptiness, but they don't see it as readily in others, perhaps due to habits of cognition... Thinkers/feelers, introverts/extraverts, sensates/intuitives... that kind of thing.

Seems to me a really good teacher would see where their student was at, and contact them there, rather than trying to break their students down to the point where they'll submit to the teacher.

My heart goes out to you if you are a square peg and your teacher is trying to make you a round one so you can finally tell them what they want to hear.

Pedro, thanks for the thoughtful, well-written comment. You spoke of issues that I've been aware of myself, but couldn't articulate as well as you did.

I enjoy Zen literature and philosophy. But this whole "I'll give you thirty blows with a stick if you speak, and thirty if you don't" thing strikes me (so to speak) as strangely theatrical and seemingly useless.

That is, as mind games played between gullible, fawning students and teachers who claim to know the truth but can't demonstrate they're any different than the unenlightened without their stick.

Plus, like you said, if challenged they'll say that "they" don't exist. More mind games.

I thoroughly enjoyed your review and I concur...there were just too many blatant contradictions and too much hypocrisy inherent in this story for me to take it very seriously.

I actually wondered at one point, if the author is messing with us. By telling the story of a self-professed enlightened dude, all the while demonstrating how this guy's belief about himself as being so very different from those around him is actually the antithesis of 'being of the light,' the author's actual message could run deeper than it appears at first glance.

"I am enlightened, and most other people are not," is an extremely dualistic perception and one that demands a strong focus upon the "I" within...the "I," or identification with a singular 'self' that supposedly is no longer fully experienced when one reaches the exalted, perceived state of enlightenment.

Furthermore...surely if a state of enlightenment exists that can be described and quantified, this state would include some element of non-judgment/acceptance, heart expansion, compassion and ability to love without condition..? In my own experience, the more I perceive myself as 'being of the light' the more I recognize the unity of all life. My judgment of those around me actually diminishes and I'm much more apt to see just how similar all others are to me.

In his arrival at what he deems to be an 'enlightened state' Jed seems to have moved away from the love, to experience through a state of extreme and unrelenting judgment regarding 'that which is not me.' If this enlightenment, then count me out.

The point that jumps out at this reader is neither obscure nor fringe. If you follow scientific reports you begin to get a clearer picture of what is being said without a lot of drama.
From an early age we are taught that we are an individual person in a world of objects. Subsequently, we make a personal claim to everything from family to career, toys, events. Judging everything and labeling either good, or bad.
This appears to be based upon language creating our apparent personal world. Witness the blind from early age regaining sight but unable to see what the fully sighted and trained can see.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, are we satisfied accepting a brain that was designed by others? And given that, what is reality anyway? Is it the opinions, ideas, beliefs and concepts that we were given?
Jed seems to be simply saying "look at what you believe that you are".

The Jed McKenna books are rewritten stories of real stories that have taken place. For instance; Brett in the third book is a story about Richard Rose with his death and funeral. To uncover who wrote the books you have to try and find matches of the unreal stories with the real stories. A big hint is in the second book with Jed's fetish with the book Moby Dick. Jed's affection towards this book is in the real. In other words, what American spiritual teacher feels this same way as Jed regarding the book Moby Dick? Other hints to consider are what spiritual teacher teaches similar to Jed? Who suggest to watch movies like the Matrix instead of reading spiritual books? Who teaches spiritual autolysis, a spiritual journey utilizing writing? What American spiritual teacher is an east coast guy that has lots of money and maybe skydives? Whoever cares, I wish you good hunting.

Everybody is trying to say that Jed Mckenna should be what their preconceived notions of an enlightened individual should be like.

Everyone is steadfastly believing in the world as commonly experienced, and saying that Jed should conform to this.

Everyone is reinforcing what they believe the world to be, and insisting that its inhabitants conform to how they believe the inhabitants should be.

I for one am actively doing my best to examine what I believe, and demolish that which does not past muster. Slow going, and I'm rather attached to being "right", whether that is so or not.

I also have to observe that in the face of the vastness of the universe, my cognitions are rather small, and I'm not sure if they're up to the task of uncovering what is true to any large extent.

I'll let you know how it goes.

I also apparently don't write particularly well, nor know how to use a spell check. Vastness.

[rich, I made the correction. But "vatness" is a cool new word. -- Blogger Brian]

More intelligence in the cells of my fingernails growing and dying to the commands of some unknown potter than in my thought processes.

I have read two of JM's books (1 and 3). I'm now reading book 2. These books were recommended to me by a friend (whom I lost touch for many years) who has seen the truth (he calls it that instead of enlightenment), and his description of it is the same as described in JM's books and the teachings of Richard Rose, and Advaita. Like many people, my idea of enlightenment was about god-consciousness, oneness, love, bliss, etc. But my friend disabused me of that. Fortunately, my shock is not as great as others since I was prepared beforehand by coming across information that the Source/God allows a portion of itself to dream, that even the re-absorption at the end of the day into the source is also part of the dream. What I didn't realise is that the multiuniverses, higher beings, angels, etc. is also part of the dream - they are also not awake. So it makes sense that if we are God/Source and there's only one, then being awake/enlightened means waking up to who you truly are which is the source and the source is not just all about love or bliss, but everything else too. But to fully awake is to negate all these, to be nothing. I don't know any ashrams or satsangs or whatever, in fact I only heard about these terms when I started reading JM's books. All I've done most of my life is just try to be the best that I can be and I'm mainly turned to channelled information for assistance. I'm realising that maybe what I really wanted to be is just to be a Human Adult (as per JM's book 3), and not to be enlightened per se. Going through the process of awakening to truth is VERY VERY HARD. I've had glimpses of it and just imagining myself peeling all the layers and letting go of everything/everyone and it's depressing. So yeah enlightenment is not for everyone, but where people make mistakes over and over again (throughout the history of mankind) is they always look and analyse the finger instead of finding out what the finger is pointing at. People in general can't think for themselves, they need to follow someone else instead of figuring things out for themselves on their own without copying somebody else's footsteps.

"So yeah enlightenment is not for everyone, but where people make mistakes over and over again (throughout the history of mankind) is they always look and analyse the finger instead of finding out what the finger is pointing at."

--Ok, so what is the finger pointing at? Who is it, that this enlightenment is for? And, what is this 'finger' many of those people are analyzing?


man, your comments are sounding a hell of a lot like the old tAo... even more than i do (but who the hell am i anyway?).

well, i guess its got to be because of the way the women down there in Texas hold a beer while they're ridin.

now that i think of it, how about sendin me up a couple of those beer holder babes, just in case. its lookin like its gonna be a hot summer up here in NorCal, and so i'm definitely gonna need a nice beer holder, especially while i'm ridin.

Thanks tAo,

Yes, do enjoy your harley ridin, up there in NorthernCal. Nice thing about the beer holding babe, you can do an analysis of what your 'fingers' would like to do. That is, would your fingers prefer to hold the beer or the holder?
Ha ha,

Complete index to Spiritual Enlightenment The Damnedest Thing, now available. Read sample here http://nonduality.com/setdt_indexsample.pdf

Jed McKenna is RicJed Bach. It seems obvious to me. From a very quick scan of Jed's first book there are many hints. For example Jed is a teacher from Iowa, Donald Shimoda is a Messiah from Iowa. Jed skydives, Richard Bach and Donald Shimoda fly planes. The writing style is also so similar to Richard Bach. I personally don't think the writer of Jed's books is an awakened being, but someone who has grabbed a hotchpotch of awakened being experiences and comments (esp Adya) and woven them into an entertaining story - as Richard Bach he did in Illusions. Either way go to the real enlightened beings for guidance - not someone who hides behind a mask of anonymity.

Very much enjoyed the conversation thus far. Whichever side you come down on about Jed I would recommend you follow his advice-Further. If you meet Jed McKenna on the road, kill him. Nothing ever happened but a story and all concepts need to be abandoned eventually, since all of them are ultimately false.

I find it hard to believe that someone could support the murder and exploitation of animals, and still call himself "Enlightened".

Only those who believe they are a self could concieve of the idea of self righteousness. there are noanimals to murder or exploit or love or cherish. And if animals are 'sacred' what about plants?They would also appear to be living organisms. Who are we to say they are not conscious beings? Did you ever hear the way celery screams as you pull it from it's roots? These are all just stories we tell ourseves so we won't remember that we don't exist.'Jed' admits he's fictional since all of us are. How can one illusion be more or less true than another?

I am struck by the vast difference between Christianity and those religious traditions of the "enlightenment" school of thought. Christianity would dismiss JMcK and those of similar views as, in some way, gnostic, that is, claiming special status as "knowers" of spiritual truths not commonly understood or experienced by the great mass of spiritual seekers. Gnosticism in all of its various guises, is a false path and there are many false paths that only serve the "spiritual master's" ego whilst making bogus claims about having transcended the ego. Such paths degenerate into a cult and perhaps, were never anything more than a cult. The only true path to God is a life of humility and self-sacrifice in the service of humanity, a path that the egomaniacal guru will never take.

August Turak wrote the books

it is asked:
how did McKenna arrive at this state and said "Ah, this is the state of 'enlightenment'". How did he know it was not a state of permanent foobarisment?

one way to put the answer:
the premise that "McKenna arrived" is false and thus throws the question into absurdity; no one arrived there; there is no there.

there is only here, and no one is here.

McKenna got that, so now he embodies truth--he doesn't have much say in the matter--but it is damned to always be a partial truth as long as it is embodied... in words, in a body, in a name called enlightenment.

all you can really do at that point is to play with paradox in helpful ways... if you are so inclined.


Suggestion : Test his claims scientifically at the (probably few) points where they impinge upon reality.

E.g. He supposedly claims - "The greatest men and women who have ever lived are just children on a playground to me." - then get him to prove this claim by predicting say the next major advance in super-string theory.


some of those commenting here sharing their opinions on an author most likely they never even read but are so eager to judge and through mud at, are the reason why the others should get hold of the books and decide for themselves

just sayin`

In response to Jim Wright's post (quoted below)

Put these search terms into Google. Happy hunting.

"moby dick" "matrix" "enlightenment" "teacher" -jed -mckenna

Put it between a pair of quotation marks is the same as exact phrase. A minus sign excludes a word from the search.

Posted by: Jim Wright | April 06, 2011 at 10:09 AM

The Jed McKenna books are rewritten stories of real stories that have taken place. For instance; Brett in the third book is a story about Richard Rose with his death and funeral. To uncover who wrote the books you have to try and find matches of the unreal stories with the real stories. A big hint is in the second book with Jed's fetish with the book Moby Dick. Jed's affection towards this book is in the real. In other words, what American spiritual teacher feels this same way as Jed regarding the book Moby Dick? Other hints to consider are what spiritual teacher teaches similar to Jed? Who suggest to watch movies like the Matrix instead of reading spiritual books? Who teaches spiritual autolysis, a spiritual journey utilizing writing? What American spiritual teacher is an east coast guy that has lots of money and maybe skydives? Whoever cares, I wish you good hunting.

The one thing which seems to be missing often, as with the quantum physicist the most simple and subtle as we dive deeper into that subject or the subject of Jed or any other is the " observer effect" without you where is any of this to be. As Allen Watts said if you want space to stop expanding and running away stop chasing it. Call off the search any search and here you are, this witness participant of All!! Perfect

The book's author puts the explanations forward in ways that he means for his readers to use as tools in order to grasp the ideas. The rub is that these tools do not exist. He prefaces all with this explanation. Ultimately there is nothing to understand, so it can't be understood. Richard B.'s above comment works for me.

I think it funny that most of the people writing here seem very outward-oriented and duality-convinced: "let's dissect this Jed McKenna person and show that I am the Knower on the subject that he is not the Knower". LOL. Who is this "I" that has the goods on Jed McKenna? Whos is this "I" that saw through the sham? Where is it located? Jed McKenna isn't the only fictitious character on presentation here. =P

I can't help but offer my comment although I typically refrain.
What difference does it make who or what Jed is? Look at your own egoic reaction and study that. It's not about Jed.
The value of a beautiful forest is not what you think about it. It's how you resonate with it. The real value in what is written Jed's books is not his claim "hey look at me, I'm enlightened", but it is in encouraging one to ask oneself "What is this me that reacts to what I read and think and do and remember?"
If Jed gave all the information about who he is and how you can find him, then we'd all have even more of an opportunity to adore or criticize and the object would be Jed. If we can agree that there is no object anywhere, then the only place to look is inside what whatever it is that you call you.

Rest assured this person is laughing all the way to the bank. Had a friend who became obsessed with "Jed's" books. She believed his two year time scale, and fancied herself an enlightened teacher. She had all the subtlety of an abuser, pet you and complement you, then slamming rude behavior she viewed as ego crushing. It was a real laugh to watch and very transparent, except to her. If one didn't go along with her intrusions she got real nasty, crazy nasty, real fast.

I don't have any comment about Jed McKenna although I read two of his books. I rather enjoyed the first.

This advaita, non-dual stuff is very easy to catch on to intellectually and many people seem to be exploiting that.

However, I think there is something to it even though they say there really isn't anything about it at all (See, even a guy like me can sound like he gets it).

To intellectually understand is one thing and to profoundly, intuitively apprehend it is quite another.

Probably, those who do, if they do, have a tendency not to go around shooting their mouths off about it, but rather go about their business as before, unnoticed except that there may be a bit more psychological ease in their reaction to the passing show of life.

Just guessing.


Good point,

"Probably, those who do, if they do, have a tendency not to go around shooting their mouths off about it, but rather go about their business as before, unnoticed except that there may be a bit more psychological ease in their reaction to the passing show of life."

---It is the Silence, as opposed to the Noise. The Silence is the no-thing-ness, and the Noise is the dualistic minded-ness.

Sounds like more "finger pointing at the moon". Everyone is questioning the finger pointing, and not focusing at the moon, so to speak. It's an expose. His whole point, like the Gita, and Moby-Dick is it's not about him, or the validity of the characters in the book. It's all about the reader. His conversations are with aspects of reader, and if the reader is honest enough there's no denying the gravity of what's being said. "If you think you're reading a dialogue between Jed and another person, you're mistaken". A lot of readers and comments here are epoxied with beliefs and misconceptions, seeing themselves separate from the book. Putting the fictional author under the spotlight instead of the message which is a damning indictment of the current state of this arrested human development. His concepts are airtight and unassailable. This isn't spirituality, "spirituality is a state sanctioned enterprise and not a threat to the status quo..". His books and his approach are bleeding edge, third rail philosophy. He uses a sort of algebraic reduction system with words, he's mathematical with his language. Which is why his description of his reality is so well done. As he always says throughout the book, which nobody has mentioned "Come see for yourself." But it's clear here everyone would rather take the easy route and speculate, validate and study him, rather than start burning.

"Where there's two or more, there's the herd"

A good friend of mine has been pleading with me to read the Jed books and I have finally given in. (Quick background on me that may be relevant to this discussion: I have spent decades studying and practicing Buddhism and haved lived in several Zen centers.) So I am reading the first book...it is odious! I have to hold my nose while I try to slog through it. My friend is asking me "How do you like it? How do you like it?". What can I say? It is like an awful meal that you bring to your lips to anyway and smile through because you don't want to hurt the feelings of your host. Truly, this guy Jed, fictional, non-fictional, a-fictional, whatever, is smart and to a degree, at least, well-read. He's imbibed every relevant-to-enlightenment saying and is dutifully spitting them out. I don't have a thing against any individual quote and I tend to believe that everyone is enlightened until proven otherwise. But someone who is so fixated on setting himself as the bearer of truth above all others, while pretending that he doesn't care that he's the bearer of truth above all others is simply nauseating. Yes, between his dog and all those things he likes so much to do, including enjoying the rapt attention of so many pretty young women, where is the real compassion? Where is the real humility? He's not enlightened. He's a charlatan. But he gets to make an income through this books and feel important. Good for him.

Where is the real humility?

Sharply analysed

Please know:
( in the sense of 'knowledge' )

One could say : She leaves that to the region makers, reigning heavens deities and angels, archangels and powers with 9 figures IQ
And Lucifer shows where that may come to; licking still its wounds ,

God sees nothing than the sparks of real compassion here and there.
that is compassions and empathies without second thoughts, without agendas

Compassion is LOVE
That what She collects EAGERLY 24/7in innumerable gig bangs,

Reason why the Cherubine was placed before the paridise,door ( the Crown )
The Firewall against indecency and hate , the uric acids coming from non inhibited adrenaline of the animal victims
which closes sufficiently the third eye and the Crown Chakra

With Love, please tell your friend, Sheila

Who are we all to judge whether this Jed Mckenna character is Enlightened or not? Who are we to know what enlightenment even is? Who are we period? Who is anybody? At least Jed makes this pretty clear in the book. He discovered whatever he discovered on his own and so should you and I. Love him or hate him, Jed would agree that that is the only way to do it. Good luck to anyone chasing the elusive butterfly of enlightenment - I'll settle for common sense and my guitar.

Jed McKenna = Adyashanti's alter-ego, so that he may write what needs to be said for those who operate more on an intellect. His Adya charade is for those who operate more on a heart level. Funny thing is, both ways will get you the opposite. start in the intellect, you go through the heart. Start at the heart, you go through the intellect. This intentional cross-fire can only be hatched by someone brilliantly illuminated.

Adyashanti has another style of expressing himself, and in his book 'Open Gate Sangha' he promotes other techniqes (meditation, inquiry and cotemplation, then the autolysing that Jed promotes. Definitly not the same writer.

The bloggers comments and critique of Jed above is a perspective from firmly within the dream state. You can't understand this stuff from there. If
you think you can judge whether or not someone is enlightened without having taken the journey yourself then you are going to be lost for a long time dreaming that you know where you are. Go to LiberationUnleashed.com and be guided through the Gateless Gate to a life changing direct seeing of No Self. This can be the bomb that detonates in your universe. Then read Jed for his insights into 'Further' realisations. The only thing he is not good at conveying is how simple it is to start the journey.

Reading all the comments above is as interesting on a spiritual level as reading Jed's books! I have been a practicing spiritualist for over 50 years and all teachings have their "grains" of truth in them. It is up to us to pick those grains from what may be BS. as so many have noted. I agree with all those who say, try it out for yourself, if you find it hits a profound well of awareness, then go with it. Enlightenment is really up to the individual. With everything about Jed being real. or his characters aside, he sums up some truths that have come down through the ages by those who many hold to be enlightened. He is one comprehensive reader, if nothing else!

Almost finished all 3 books in the trilogy and am in a similar position to many, wondering if this teaching of spiritual autolysis is authentic and valid or just wishful thinking.

Personally, I don't think it matters one tiny bit if Jed is a real man, woman or whatever, but I'm reticent to begin 2 years of journaling under a delusion that it leads somewhere it doesn't. It felt pretty obvious to me that Julie's experience in the book wasn't 'real' and basically a drama made up to illustrate the process. Again no issues there... if the process itself is authentic.

Lots of comments here, lots of arguing on the net ...


Elizabeth says..."I agree with all those who say, try it out for yourself, if you find it hits a profound well of awareness, then go with it. Enlightenment is really up to the individual."

Thumbs up!! And when there's no individual looking, seeking, talking, thinking, wondering, playing, working, kissing, hugging, loving, laughing....you're (you're also) done. JH

Hi Rog,
I gave the method a try and it worked for me. It was a pumpy ride...but in the end...I arrived.

I also claim to know who Jed McKenna is. But I can't talk about it. I'm a free-mason and made an oath to not tell what I know.....(secred hand-shake)...

All I can say is, if you would know who Jed McKenna is, you would not call him arrogant or narccisstic or self-absorbed. You would call him....hmmm...name-calling...

Great Lover! Highly underrated.

And don't try to engage in the Jed McKenna forum. That's just for those who did not get the message.

What is the message? Come and see for yourself.

Kind regards,

I read a bunch of comments and I'll just say that Jed never once asks the reader to believe him. He invites you too see for yourself. He uses a fake name as a little tip of the hat to what he's saying in his books. None of this is real. It's all a story. Come see for yourself.

The comments which have been added here, together with the words from the Mckenna books, have helped me enormously. Many thanks, folks!

No one could never examine, explore, or figure out is Jed or anyone else enlightened or not. You can only feel it.
Enlightment is a matter of feeling - not understanding.

It doesn't matter to Jed that you don't agree with him, he has no self to agree or disagree with.
You make a choice to examine what is true, or not, but if you do the last step is always to surrender, accept whatever comes, the death of self and observe the self as it dissolves.
There's no way back from no-self, you are alone, unlikely to ever meet another; nothing more need be said or done.

The book is great read from the state of no-self, as it is the no-self in you that he's addressing.
Who is willing to let their self (falsely seen as him/herself) die?
Very, very, very, very, very few, 1 in 10 to 100 million, maybe?
Hence lots of judgements; no-self does not judge, 'whatever is' is OK.

Yes, I too think the Jed McKenna books are fictional. And I disagree with a fair amount of what he purports to be the "truth", including the notion that he's enlightened. Not because I don't think enlightenment exists, but because even if Jed were real, what he's describing isn't true enlightenment in my book.

But this is his book we're talking about, and so he's free to present his case, even to use fiction for that purpose. There's a long history of philosophical and religious thinkers using fiction, myth, and imaginary dialogs to present their ideas. Most of Plato's dialogs with Socrates are probably a fictional representation. That doesn't make the idea presented any less important. Of course, it doesn't make them true either. They live or die depending on how many people resonate with them and find them useful. Even the critics of Jed's books often say they resonate with some of his ideas. And the whole point of philosophical writing is to stimulate discussion about these ideas. So in the sense, the writer has been successful. I would not want him to withdraw his books from circulation merely because most readers have concluded that they are fictional. Or that others have concluded that they are real and changed their lives on that basis. I general, I think it's a valid way to present one's ideas. It uses and addresses the imagination rather than merely the analytical aspects of the mind. That's a good thing in my book, but it doesn't make his ideas immune to criticism. So let's critique the ideas rather than their method of presentation.

Jed's new book review

I'm just finishing the 3rd book in the trilogy...I've found the teachings in the books to be accurate and affirming of my own experience on many levels...the character Jed...does appear to be fictional...and flawed..but perhaps that's part of the message .. the illusion of self is always flawed..yet awakening is still possible..I originally found Jed's lack of humility as "off putting" but recognized that as my own ego lens at play and settled into listening to the pure message..the message is solid..I honestly think anyone interested in truth should read these books..I've already recommended them to several friends..I'm glad I found this blog too....very interesting conversation and discussion..it's heartening to realize that there are so many sincere travelers out there.. Stephen Davis..thank you for the link to your book...I'm thoroughly enjoying it as well.

Is he really a Jedi ?????

Here is the info on real physical Jed. His name is Kenneth. All on the website:


ArchAngels are very enlightened IQ 9 to its power

God s IQ= Zero

She knows only Musical LOVE



Ahh, to be enlightened, possibly I should BUY his book and find out what he knows and what I do not?
Probably his explanation of the meaning of life is really over my head, I suppose that anyone that claims to be enlightened must know something that I do not know which is probably true as it seems the more that I learn the more I realize that don't know anything,
it seems to me that "Enlightenment" would be an ongoing process that could never end, and making those discoveries would be "The meaning of Life",
nevertheless, I am very happy for his enlightenment and hope that he sells many books and helps us cretins discover a little more about what we don't know.

I stumbled into this not sure how. It is very easy to misunderstand Jed Mckenna when you have not gotten even close to see the black hole that is everything that can ever exist. In other words, it is like judging from your perspective of non-elightenment which cannot be more than wrong and useless.
I am not defending Jed, I have no reason to do it. I have seen the black hole right on my face, I am enlightened which is really not a great deal and it is very amazing how we got into thinking we are what we are when we are not. I do not even know why he wrote the book, it is useful for maybe 1% of his readers. We are used to dancing around the black hole and don't know otherwise. It is like when someone believes a lie and realizes that he was wrong, like this but imagine this to a level where EVERYTHING you know is not real or true. It took me 7 years, and the best I can say from those 7 years I would say that from those 7 years, only 2 or even 1 consecutive year was really like doing some work towards nothingness, the other was a waste of time, so to speak... When you see the black hole and get swallowed by it, it is weird but you understand really what everything is, which in my words from my enlightened perspective, I would say it is the absence of everything or anything. Those who say everything it makes no real sense since everything has a meaning, nothing is more like the absence of everything and this is what infinite is. Anyways, I have nothing more to add. Ohh yeah, the way toward enlightenment is of great depression, is not ascending but more like a lot of bad feeling, you name them, despair, sadness, extreme boredom, emptiness, etc. If I were to compare a depressed person, the way they see life with what I was going through while moving towards ''the black hole'' it makes no difference. At one point in reading Jed I was like, wtf this guy, but my ego wanted to reject some of the things I knew the book made me see and I worked so hard to deny them. This is why real enlightened people call about surrender, but these words may contain so many different meanings and can be misleading. Enlightenment is just not dreaming about ''the things of life'' but yet you keep living and enjoy. This is going to sound pradoxical, you enjoy even your personality, of course because you do not regard any importance about what it is said reality is because its jut not real. Believe, that hurt when I saw it, seeing all your loved ones and you and your feelings towards people and things in life just being a lie, that is very very sad. This is why death is so sad, enlightenment is like dying. Pardon my English, not my native language.

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