Chapter 6



The Weekend Talks


On Saturday, July 31, Bob gave the first of three publicized weekend talks. People traveled from around the country, while those living near Connecticut, Chicago, and Santa Cruz waited for Bob to visit their areas. Twelve to fifteen people showed up for the first two weekends. The third was unfortunately interrupted by the first of a record four hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004. Those who came were clearly earnest and sincere. They also seemed well versed in non-duality. At the same time, some were probably in the same boat I had been in two weeks earlier—waiting for a dramatic experience that would confirm that liberation, or awakening, had occurred. Some had the same fanciful expectations about liberation that today’s spiritual movements convey—special powers, non-stop bliss, the ability to perform miracles, blah, blah, blah.

A few said they enjoyed periods of freedom or peace, but the experiences were transient. Others had good understanding, but wanted to know how they could stop from occasionally getting “lost” or “caught up” in attachments and desires. Most had read Bob’s book or heard his CDs, which state unequivocally that the search is the problem. They had heard that “what you are seeking, you already are.” But printed words were somehow not enough. So they came to see whether hearing Bob in person would help. In some cases, I believe it did.

I was touched by how many thanked me heartily for bringing Bob to the States. Some even offered donations to help with expenses. When introducing Bob, I advised participants not to leave until all their questions and doubts were answered. I conveyed my brief but profound experience that one could read Bob’s books or hear his CDs as much as they liked, but there was no comparison between that and interacting with him. As far as I could tell, many grasped Bob’s message. Whose search ended and whose did not, I have no clue. But everyone appeared happy and thankful for the weekends.

My favorite talk occurred on the third and final Sunday—one that was almost cancelled due to Hurricane Charley. The storm hit Florida about seventy-five miles south of Longboat Key and would certainly have affected our area had its path not been remarkably narrow. In that regard, we were very fortunate. Nevertheless, we endured several stressful days as Bob and Barb experienced their first hurricane evacuation. We spent one full day trimming trees, securing items on our property, gathering valuables, and re-arranging furniture, in case of flooding. Early the next day, we headed north to Orlando with our five-year-old child, our dog, three visitors—Emmett, Bob, and Barbara—and three cars tightly packed with luggage and belongings. Vashti, with good foresight, had made hotel reservations in Orlando early on, before they were all taken. As fate would have it, when we reached Orlando, radio announcers said the storm was headed straight toward us! So we headed to the East Coast and then drove south to Fort Lauderdale. By the end of the day we had traveled ten or twelve hours, often through heavy rain. All hotels and restaurants were closed, and our first meal other than breakfast came late at night. The only enjoyable feature was that Bob and Barb got to see some of South Florida and meet a few of my relatives. At one point, Bob commented that the event would make for an interesting part of the book I was beginning to consider writing.

The next morning, Saturday, I checked phone messages and was startled to hear that two women had traveled all the way from Arizona, dearly hoping to meet Bob. So we scheduled a talk for Sunday. The meeting was one of my favorites because of the passion evidenced by these two longtime seekers. Their hunger for liberation was palpable, and whereas so many seekers seemed quite passive, they pressed Bob beyond the norm.

What follows are excerpts from all three weekends. On Saturdays, Bob spoke for twenty or thirty minutes and then took questions. Sundays were questions and answers only. Because the discussions were so similar to the material already presented in this book, what follows are brief excerpts. The discussions were profound but the issues nearly identical to the ones Bob answered in his first two weeks. Some of the participants are named. Those whose names are unknown are labeled “V” for visitor. Bob started each of the Saturday talks with the following message.