Interview with Colleen-Joy by Rod H McCallum Jr
Many of us have been seeking for a long time, experimenting with teachings and modalities, in search of finding an ultimate understanding. What is the soul? What is beyond the soul?
This interview and dialogue with Colleen-Joy may shed some light. Colleen-Joy is a loved teacher, author and founder of InnerLifeSkills Master Coaching and the Wisdom Well Meditation method. In her late twenties, she worked with best-selling author and researcher, the late Dr Michael Newton (author of Journey of Souls).
Learn about what she learned and how life-between-life regression work fits into the non-dual spiritual understanding.
Hi Colleen. You were focused on Michael Newton Past Life Regression (PLR) and Life-between-Life Regression (LBL) work for a long time. What was it that got you to push beyond that to non-duality?
Were there signs for you? That’s what happened to me. To me, I see Earth as a plane of duality with form. And I see the LBL as the next plane of duality with no form… To me, duality in all its forms or formlessness is not the ultimate truth. Separation is the illusion, regardless of the plane… Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Maharshi, the list goes on – they all wrote about it… So, how do you see Newton’s work now and how does it fit into your understanding of non-duality?
For many spiritual seekers, there is a sense of progressing, from one clue to the next. And for many a feeling of dissatisfaction and intuitive “this is not quite it yet!” We know we have found an important clue, a piece of the puzzle, but the puzzle seems to be incomplete. When I found a connection to my soul at a young age, it was profoundly important to me. You could say that I fell in love with my soul. My soul, which was what I named the presence of peace and the inner voice of wisdom, guided me. I also had spontaneous memories of past lives and memories of my soul as a ball of light, free of the body, around the age of 18.
I was always concerned that I was going mad… When I read Michael Newton’s book, Journey of Souls in my early 20s I wept with gratitude for the validation and confirmation — I thought: “Maybe I’m not insane after all.” I wrote to Michael, never expecting a reply and, as synchronicity would have it, he replied and then, a few years later, one of my students brought him to South Africa, where I learned LBL work from him. I was able to serve his organisation for a few years in my late 20s and early 30s as a director and assistant trainer. The demands of being a young mother with a sick child kept me from doing more at the time but I will be forever grateful for working with Michael Newton and his team.
Even though knowing my soul and LBL work for others was life-changing for me, I still had that intuitive feeling that this was still not quite it. A sign that kept me seeking was the following. It was a contradiction that I couldn’t resolve. The first was that my mind realised and knew that what I essentially was, never changed. That I was consistently the same presence even when Colleen’s body and mind were young and that I would be the same even when Colleen was old.
I knew also that my soul was once young and was progressing in its maturity. So, this was a contradiction. My soul was changing, learning and growing and yet I knew that the ultimate sense of Self did not change. So, which was I? I asked myself, “How can I be my soul (which I had thought I was) when I know I don’t change. Am I something else? What am I?” With this realisation unresolved I shelved the questions.
So I’m asking you that question, if it is true that the self does not change, then we cannot ultimately be the soul, even though the soul is the nearest thing to what we truly are. When I studied non-duality for the first time 11 years ago – and specifically Advaita Vedanta – it felt like the last few pieces of the puzzle were finally put in place. The changeless self, which is the only true self, is named in non-dual understanding as simple ordinary pure awareness. Uncomplicated. That which is aware. It is openness, changeless, whole and has the characteristics of peace and impersonal love.
I’m going to ask you this important question, one that is called subject-object discernment. My question is, “Can you be aware of your soul?” The answer is yes. Here is the definition of the self. Anything you can be aware OF is not the self. It is made of the self and arises from the self, but YOU are the awareness that is aware. You, not your body, not your mind, not even your soul.
Thoughts are not aware; awareness is aware of thoughts. The body is not aware; awareness is aware of the body. The soul is not aware, it is intelligent, it contains intelligence just like trees, bodies and planets are made of the intelligence of the universe. This intelligence often gets mistaken for awareness. This intelligence is God. God is within the self. God is within awareness. God as life arises spontaneously and unfolds as the universe.
Anything that you can be aware of has an apparent ‘form’. It is called an object of awareness. The objects of awareness are the contents of awareness. The contents of awareness include the body, the mind, soul, source and the universe.
Awareness is not an object. You are not an object.
Whether you have the experience of sitting at your computer or a mind-blowing epiphany where you are shown insights about how the universe works, what is in common with both? The common ground is that you are not the contents of the experience, you are the awareness that makes the experience possible.
The experience along with the insights are occurring in you; your mind is making it possible to translate this knowledge and your body is experiencing the impact of this knowledge as sensations and feelings. But all the while you are the open, present, unchanged awareness in which this is occurring.
A soul is a subtle object. This soul’s job is to gather knowledge. The soul contains a sense of individuality, a sense of existence as an independent separate self. This sense of being a separate self is also imbued to the physical body. The sense of being a separate self is also held as false knowledge, as ignorance in the mind, both the mind of the body as well as the mind of the soul.
It is the soul that becomes enlightened, it is the mind that becomes enlightened. What does it become enlightened to? It becomes enlightened with self-knowledge. Knowledge of the true self. It becomes enlightened by knowing that its origin is you as pure awareness.
You don’t need enlightenment. You are already non-dual awareness. You have never not been non-dual awareness.
The non-dual awareness that your mind reflects, is the same non-dual awareness that the mind of Colleen reflects. Rod’s mind and soul and Colleen’s mind and soul both reflect what our individualised attention points are focused on.
When Rod’s attention is on the self, in Colleen’s intention is on the self, your mind and my mind discover the same self. Discover the wholeness, the love, the peace of pure open ordinary awareness: Non-dual because it is not divided, not even by the mind of Rod and Colleen. Not even by the billions of minds that each reflect whatever their attention is on.
My soul and wisdom taught me that this is the soul’s ultimate function, it houses attention, attention that harvests knowledge.
When the soul is young it reflects poorly. When the soul gains wisdom, it begins to have clarity and accumulates knowledge more accurately. It takes lifetimes for souls to mature to the point that they can reflect knowledge accurately.
So the soul has a very important function: It is what becomes enlightened by self-knowledge. It becomes a clear reflection, the reflection of the true self, which is non-dual awareness.
Arising in awareness and of awareness are the objects and contents of awareness. Many use the metaphor of characters on the screen. The characters and apparent forms on the screen of consciousness depend on consciousness to exist. We are so busy looking at the characters and the scenery on the screen that we miss the screen.
The truth is I’ve never left the space where one is. I’m always there. I’m just dreaming I’m here. Not to say it’s not experienced as real. But I love all of this. I love taking on all these characters.
Yes the truth is you have never left you. You are the space of open pure awareness. You have no location. And you are always there.
As Rupert Spira so beautifully teaches:
“When awareness freely assumes the activity of thinking, it is known as the mind; when it freely assumes the activity of sensing, it is known as the body; and when it freely assumes the activity of perceiving, it is known as the world.”
It dreams that it is a separate self.
Only the mind is capable of dreaming. You are always aware, even aware of the mind that is dreaming.
The dream never touches the self.
Yes, you love all of this. Yes, you love the characters, but you never take them on. They never touch you. There is just love.
What is beyond the Soul is the Self. Is the true you. As Wholeness. As Love. As the Spiritual Home that we’ve never left. Colleen-Joy offers Wisdom Well mentorship, monthly Saturday classes to learn to find and free your inner wisdom visit https://nondualitycourses.com for her free introduction course and guided