David Deida likes to be the radical; to appear edgy and provocative. Every teacher has a personality and some learn to use it to reinforce their message. Others learn to assume personalities and increase the breadth of their message. The personality is a wrapper and what we really need to intuit is how deep the teacher can go. What is their level of understanding and being?
Deida was unknown to me until a reader of this site sent me an essay she wrote about him. She was impressed by his “presence” yet worried that his teaching methods were putting him in danger of a lawsuit. If you get too edgy you might wind up in jail.
Presence and charisma are often confused as the same. Charisma is the ability to sway another person to our point of view; the ability to “win friends and influence people.” Presence is a measure of the emptiness of our self. Presence can be communicated without words or appearance. It is the feeling tone of a person; how connected they are to their source.
My impression of David Deida is that he is a showman. Like any good facilitator, he is skilled in the entertaining presentation of the obvious. After listening to three of his lectures and reading Instant Enlightenment, I conclude that:
- The core of his message is that sex/pleasure is a route to “opening to God.”
- “Opening to God” equates to becoming the awareness that watches experience.
- The majority of people involved in his work are interested in improving their intimate relationships.
Instant Enlightenment is his latest book and a short read. Deida’s experience of enlightenment equates with Richard Rose’s Process Observer or discovery of an anterior observer of our experience. It is not a final answer, but a step along the way. Deida doesn’t seem to understand that an experience of oneness is ultimately just another experience and spends a lot of time with this sort of dialogue:
First, intentionally visualize or feel whatever most opens your heart, softens your belly, and relaxes your mind. For instance, making passionate love with an enlightened lover as if your bodies were emanations of bliss-light. Then, allow this visualization to dissolve in uncontrived feeling, like water unswirling in an ocean of love’s openness, alive as the entire space of now.
I think Deida the man is looking for a better way to live in this world, rather than ultimate answers. Nothing wrong with that, but I think he will be disappointed in the end. I would not recommend playing for long with the fire of sex and money:
Sex and money are our least enlightened domains, the areas tainted with the most residues. Therefore, few people can do this exercise without a lingering “charge” of emotional complication.
Often, the best ways to discover the enlightened use of sex and money is to break the usual rules in the least risky ways, in order to find out where sexual obstructions and financial blocks reside within you.
Yet here and there, he drops a few deeply profound thoughts that make me wonder why he bothers with the expensive seminars and sex books:
Your life does not need to be noticed. At death, your present life will vanish, like a dream fading away, noticed or not.
Whether you notice anything or not, the openness that holds sleeping, dreaming, and waking is always here. In the stress of noticing their lives, most men and women try to needlessly re-create the ever-present openness they intuit. They try to simulate this openness through great sex or fine chocolate, watching TV or reading spiritual books.
But this openness is always here, holding the place where you can fall to sleep, or dream, or notice your slice of the waking world. Learn to trust this space where everything happens, regardless of what you do or don’t notice.
Then, when things aren’t noticed? like in sleep or as death fades your life? openness without objects will feel as home as it always is.
So two stars it is for David Deida. He just might help you if you’re hung up in relationship issues, but I advise you to move on before you get sidetracked.