Saturday, February 2, 2013

Authorship Thinning into No-thing

When anything is said or written, where does it come from, and who says or writes it? Who can claim authorship, and how verifiable is that claim? The answer on a conventional level would seem to be so very obvious: “Well, I said it; I am the author!” But like all things that seem so obvious, there is another way of looking at this, and it is a fortunate person who is led to ask these deeper questions and to keep asking them until the “obviousness” of the usual answer becomes less certain.

In order to look into this inquiry deeply, we need not formulate any grand philosophy; we only need to closely observe our own experience. In any given moment, when a person becomes very settled, rested and still, when they want nothing and know nothing and are freed of the need to defend or defeat, then an authorless place is allowed to appear. From that authorless place, one is not speaking from memory or relating the present to the past. The complete reliance on the here-and-now in that immediate time, place and circumstance invokes an intelligence from which the ever-new can appear.

The speaker in that case would be hearing what is being spoken as if it were spoken by someone else; the speaker would be the first one instructed by what is being spoken. That is to say, the speaker is being educated and enlivened by what they themselves are speaking---how extraordinary! One cannot actually identify the source, as what is being expressed is not limited to the personality of the one expressing it. This need not sound odd to anyone of us who has ever found speech or writing occurring completely spontaneously and openly, without preparation or goal.

This authorless expression is not something that is cultivated, contrived or aspired to. It may seem to be a rare thing only because of our lifelong allegiance to the rumblings of the mind: the thoughts, emotions, experiences and stories that have seemed to be so very real for us. When we relax our hold a bit and allow all of these things to be as they are, we then allow this intelligence to reveal itself that is not bounded by the thoughts, emotions and experiences. The mirage created by thought is seen through, and once we are no longer transfixed by the mirage, something quite marvelous occurs.

For short moments, many times we continue to allow this authorless place to become unconcealed. This movement of unconcealing may happen sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but this doesn’t matter. We persist, never letting loose of our genuine enthusiasm and courageousness. We are sustained over and over again by the brilliant practice of short moments many times, the skillful means of a loving teacher and a direct teaching, and the support of a community of fellow discoverers.

We gain more and more confidence through our own direct experience that this authorless place is ever present and ever sustaining and is not something that we need to earn or acquire. When words are authorless, then the perceived gap between speaker and listener is given up, and no one is a stranger. Authorship thins into no thing or no person in particular, and what seemed impossible for a person before is now gloriously possible.


  1. oh so well said, excellent thank you

  2. Hi Scott
    Someone just brought to my attention this insightful essay you've written on authorship. I can relate very much to what you say here:

    "The speaker in that case would be hearing what is being spoken as if it were spoken by someone else; the speaker would be the first one instructed by what is being spoken."

    This has happened many times in my experience and each time has brought wonderment at the magic of authorless expression.

    What you wrote at the beginning of your essay, however, raises an important question that came up for me while I was involved with the Great Freedom/Balanced View teaching and organisation.

    If authorship cannot be verified, what entitled Candice to copyright many elements of the BV teaching, eg: 'short moments many times'? I don't know if it's common knowledge that Candice copyrighted many terms in her teaching but I've seen the copyrights listed on a bona fide copyright website. Are you aware that the instruction, like many elements of the Great Freedom teaching, actually originated in Tibetan Dzogchen? Long before Great Freedom was even founded as a teaching and organisation, a number of books about Tibetan Dzogchen had been published in English. These books, eg: Tsoknyi Rinpoche's "Carefree Dignity", Tulku Urgyen's "As It Is" etc.... contained specific instructions such as 'short moments many times', instructions that have existed for many hundreds of years in the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition. If the Tibetan masters haven't sought to copyright these instructions, what entitles Candice to do so? And more importantly, if, as you clearly state, authorship cannot be verified, on what basis can Candice seek to copyright any element of a teaching that has arisen from that "authorless place"?

    with all respect and love

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Thanks so very much for your respectful and helpful reply. I am actually not aware of the copyright issues that you have just brought up, so these are new things for me. The issues surrounding the Dzogchen teaching are something that I have previously heard of, but as I have not pursued the issue specifically, I would not be able to comment in any meaningful way until I have looked into it properly.
      I would have to say that the intention of my blog article was pointed in quite a different direction, such that these issues you have written about are an entirely different matter. My intention was to point to the capacity in ourselves to be completely at ease, to such an extent that something can emerge through us which does not have to do with memory or which is not a personal expression. The issues that you are pointing are not what I was trying to express in the essay. These are more organizational matters which are a wholly other realm of concern.
      I want to keep pointing my attention back to my own experience and how I can become more and more clear, and for myself the side issues are not my main focus. Yes, others are quite concerned in some cases about these organizational things, but it is just not where the blog article was pointed. In any case, despite my relative ignorance concerning the issues that you brought up (and I truly don't know much; I am quite sincere in that), I do feel that I have a clear intent in terms of keeping my focus on what will benefit me the most. Thanks again, dear Elaine. Scott

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  4. i wanted to remove my first comment as it feels uneccessary and a bit harsh. however there is no possibility to do so on this site ... so I just offer my apology for the harshness and perhpas you can delete it x

  5. Dear Scott,

    Thank you for sharing this. There are so many goodies.

    The last sentence in each paragraph just jumped out to me. Each one are evidence of this training and all of which I experience more and more everyday and all of which I did not think was possible. I only am grateful for this new view the one I did not know existed and opens and opens and opens as long as I am open,humble enough to admit I don't know, because I don't know and am glad I don't know. Life has become fun, exciting and spontaneous. I read it , it talks to me how I've always wanted to be talked to, exalted, perfect, beautiful, powerful, magnificent creatures and a community that will only reveal that as themselves and only see that in me. Thank you all!

    Much love and respect,

  6. Thank you Scott,

    what a treat to read your beautiful words of truth. What you describe with words I have experienced
    my whole life while playing/ creating music. It all stems from the same " authorless " place.

    / Kalle

  7. Hi Scott, this was a pleasure to read. I instantly became inspired and wrote part of a novel that is living in me and just won't give up. Within freedom of limitations the words just flowed. Thank you very much for this blog. It is something I can continue to return to for inspiration.

  8. Thankyou scott...very inspiring...much love saahas