Tony Parsons was born in London in 1933. At the age of 20 he discovered “the secret” of his intrinsic nature — unlimited awareness. Until 1996, Tony only shared this sudden but natural revelation with friends. Since 1996, Parsons has been meeting with larger audiences and leading retreats throughout Europe. He has written a number of books, and maintains an online presence. His writings and talks have generated a lot of controversy among the traditionalists of the spiritual world, but he remains quite popular as a speaker and teacher.
Tony Parsons facilitates investigation and discussion on the nature of non-dualism. The fundamental principle of his work is to define the non-dual and impersonal nature of reality and to expose the dichotomy of the dualistic belief in a progressive path leading to spiritual attainment. The origins of this non-dual communication can apparently be found many centuries ago in the teachings of Lao Tzu, Advaita Vedanta through the teachings of Shankara, Gaudapada and others, Dzogchen Buddhism through the teachings of Longchempa, Mahamudra and others, together with the original precepts of Zen Buddhism with the teacher Huang Po.
The expression of the non-dual perception can also be found in Christian mysticism. More recently the teachings of Meister Eckhart, U G Krishnamurti, Ramesh Balsekar, Wei Wu Wei and Alan Watts can be said to be broadly out of the non-dual principle. However, Tony Parsons also includes in his communications recent scientific discoveries that have been made by neuroscientists and biologists which further reinforce and support the non-dual perception. There is also an emphasis in his work on the way in which physicists are now reaching the same conclusions about our reality as religious mystics have been expressing over many centuries. So, although this message has its origins in seemingly recognised traditional teachings, it also embraces recent scientific discoveries which further confirms its authenticity as an enlightening and comprehensive communication.
Tony Parsons went through various regimes in efforts to enlighten himself. He started on religion — Christianity. Then he tried therapy, meditation etc. All these efforts were apparently of no avail. Then one day he was suddenly awakened while walking across a park in London. In his first book, “Open Secret”, he describes the experience and its impact:
“One day I was walking across a park in a suburb of London. I noticed as I walked that my mind was totally occupied with expectations about future events that might or might not happen. I seemed to choose to let go of these projections and simply be with my walking. I noticed that each footstep was totally unique in feel and pressure, and that it was there one moment and gone the next, never to be repeated in the same way again.
As all of this was happening there was a transition from me watching my walking to simply the presence of walking. What happened then is simply beyond description. I can only inadequately say in words that total stillness and presence seemed to descend over everything. All and everything became timeless and I no longer existed. I vanished and there was no longer an experiencer.
Oneness with all and everything was what happened. I can’t say I was at one because I had disappeared. I can only say that oneness with all and everything was what happened, and an overwhelming love filled every part. Together with this there came a total comprehension of the whole. All of this happened in a timeless flash, which seemed eternal.
Contained within and directly following this happening occurred a revelation so magnificent and revolutionary in its nature that I had to sit down on the grass in order to take in its consequence. What I saw was simple and obvious in one way but completely untranslatable in another. It was as if I had been given an answer that had no question. I had been shown a secret that is open secret; and that all and everything that is known or unknown contains and reflects this open secret. Nature, people, birth and death, and our struggles, our fears and our desires are all contained within and reflect unconditional love.
I felt I had been suddenly overtaken and everything took on a new sense. I looked at grass, trees, dogs and people, moving as before, but now I not only recognised their essence but I was their essence, as they were mine. It was in another way as if everything, including me, was enveloped in a deep and all-encompassing love, and in a strange way it seemed that what I saw was also somehow nothing special…it is the norm that is not usually perceived.
Why me and why now? How could I have deserved to receive such a gift for nothing in return? I was certainly not pure in the biblical sense, or so my mind told me. I had not lived a disciplined life of meditation or of spiritual dedication of any kind. This illumination had occurred without any effort on my part! I had apparently chosen to watch my walking in a very easy and natural way, and then this treasure had emerged.
I also came to recognise that this apparent gift had always been available and always would be. That was the most wonderful realisation of all! That utterly regardless of where, when or how I was, this presence was ready to emerge and embrace me. And this treasure was to be re-discovered not through arduous and seemingly significant practices and rituals. Not at all. This wonderful all-encompassing treasure was available within the essence of a footstep, in the sound of a tractor, in my feeling of boredom, in the sitting of a cat, in feelings of pain and rejection, on a mountaintop, or in the middle of Balham High Street. Anywhere and everywhere I am totally surrounded and embraced in stillness, unconditional love and oneness.
Later on I began to wonder how this treasure could be retained. But I have again and again come to see that what I had sought to rediscover can never be achieved or contained. There is nothing I have to do, and the very belief that I have to do anything to deserve this treasure, interrupts its inherent quality.
And this is again the paradox, for the divine instinct is continuously available, simply through the allowing of it. It is always at hand, in an eternal state of readiness…like the constant and faithful lover it is ready to respond to our every call.
When I allow it, it is, when I avoid it, it is.
It requires no effort, demands no standards and holds no preferences.
Being timeless it sees no path to tread, no debt to pay. Because it acknowledges no right or wrong, neither does it recognise judgement or guilt. Its love is absolutely unconditional. It simply watches with clarity, compassion and delight as I move out for my return.
It is my birthright. It is my home. It is already that which I am.”
From the popular video series on contemporary spiritual personalities, “Buddha at the Gas Pump”, Rick Archer writes, as a preliminary to his interview with Tony Parsons:
“The Open Secret message is totally radical and uncompromising. It is a rare and singular expression of absolute non-dualism. It bypasses the mind and speaks directly to the very core of a wisdom that is imminent in all of us. When there is a readiness to hear, all seeking and need for personal endeavor falls away, leaving simply the wonder of what is.
There is no me or you, no seeker, no enlightenment, no disciple and no guru. There is no better or worse, no path, and nothing that has to be achieved. All appearance is source. All that apparently manifests – the world, the life story, the hypnotic dream of separation, the search for home – is the one appearing as two, the nothing appearing as everything, the absolute appearing as the particular.
There is no separate intelligence weaving a destiny, and no choice functioning at any level. Nothing is happening, but this, as it is, invites the apparent seeker to rediscover that which already is…the abiding, uncaused, unchanging, impersonal silence from which unconditional love overflows and celebrates. It is the wonderful mystery.
Tony Parsons has been sharing this “open secret” with people for over ten years. His talks and workshops are highly regarded in England and Western Europe.”
Tony Parson’s website: http://www.theopensecret.com/
From another interview with Tony Parsons on Conscious TV:
Some quotes from Tony Parsons:
“I am not my life story, the mind, the body, feelings, experiences of pain or pleasure, struggle, success or failure. I am not loneliness, stillness, frustration or compassion. I am not even what I think is my purpose, the seeking, the finding, or anything which is called a spiritual experience.
When I do not know what I am I sanctify these experiences, take ownership of them and give them great significance. I believe they mean something which, once understood, will give me answers and provide formulas. But these experiences are only consciousness concealing and revealing itself in order to be recognised. When I discover what I am I discover that I am not existence, I am the presence, which allows existence to be. Existence either blossoms in that presence or reflects back my sense of separation.”
“I am the divine expression exactly as I am, right here, right now. You are the divine expression exactly as you are, right here, right now. It is the divine expression, exactly as it is, right here, right now. Nothing, absolutely nothing, needs to be added or taken away. Nothing is more valid or sacred than anything else. No conditions need to be fulfilled. The infinite is not somewhere else waiting for us to become worthy.
I do not have to experience ‘the dark night of the soul’, or surrender, be purified, or go through any kind of change or process. How can the illusory separate self practise something in order to reveal that it is illusory?
I don’t need to be serious, honest, dishonest, moral or immoral, aesthetic or gross. There are no reference points. The life story that has apparently happened is uniquely and exactly appropriate for each awakening. All is just as it should be, right now. Not because it is a potential for something better, but simply because all that is, is divine expression.
The invitation to discover that there is no-one who needs liberating is constant. There is no need to wait for moments of transformation, to look for the non-doer, permanent bliss, an ego-less state, or a still mind. I don’t even have to wait for grace to descend. For I am, you are, it is already the abiding grace.”
“I’d better warn you right away that I’m not an enlightened person and no person in this room will ever become enlightened. There is no such thing as an enlightened person. It is a contradiction in terms. I would also like to say that what is going on here is not a teaching of any kind. There is nothing that is taught here, because there is no one here who needs to learn anything.”
“Oneness plays the game of being two asleep looking for oneness. When awakening happens, it is only the dropping away of taking twoness seriously; that’s all we’re talking about here . . . This whole thing is as simple as this – all that’s in the way of awakening is a false idea. It really is. It’s a pretence which you’ve been conditioned to believe. And when the idea that you are two drops away, there is oneness.”
“Everything is generated from unconditional love – all of this is only unconditional love manifesting as a wall or a flower or a candle. This is unconditional love, candle-ing. You are unconditional love, Bill-ing or Joe-ing or whatever (that’s to say, that body/mind is). All of that is generated from a totally liberated unconditional love – which is beyond our normal concept of love, which tends to be needy, which tends to want things and need things. This love is totally radiant; it fills everything. But it also is neutral in the sense that it allows everything. It’s a totally liberated love which allows any manifestation. Nothing can be except in that love, including Hitler, or whichever baddy you have in your head. And certainly awakening is totally beyond just the idea of awareness. Certain people teach that awakening is the seeing that there is no doer; that consciousness is all there is. But there’s something that knows that consciousness is all there is … is the lover … is the ultimate … is what you are.”
“This is just about remembering something that maybe we feel we have lost or mislaid. Some people here have remembered – also, quite a lot of people in this room have sensed or glimpsed what they thought was lost. And the nature of what we think is lost is timeless being. It’s totally, utterly simple – the one thing we long for more than anything else is actually totally and utterly simple and immediate and available. And strangely enough, the thing that we long for has never left us. In simple terms, all that happens is that when we are very young children, there is simply being, without a knowing of being; there is simply being. And then someone comes along and says ‘You’re Bill’ or ‘You’re Mary’ – ‘You’re a person’. And in some way or other, the mind – the ‘I’ thought, the identity, the idea that ‘I am a person’ – takes over the energy of being and identifies it as Bill or Mary or whatever. (…) You can close your eyes, if you want to, and sense the energy that you think is ‘you’. It’s like an aliveness … For some people it’s a sense ‘I exist’ … But that energy, that sense of ‘you’ being there, is actually not you. That sense of who you think you are – that sense of aliveness and energy – is being; it’s just being. It never came and it never went away – it’s never left you; it’s always been there. You thought it was you – it’s just pure being. It isn’t who you are – it’s what you are. What you are is simply being, presence, life. You are life, life happening, but it doesn’t happen to anyone. Sitting on that chair isn’t happening to you – sitting on that chair is what’s happening, to no one. There’s just being. You are being – you are divine being. And it’s so amazing because wherever you go, there is being. Whatever you apparently do, there is being. Whatever you apparently don’t do, there is being. There always has been being, whatever you’ve apparently done or not done, however unworthy or neurotic or ignorant or selfish you think you are. All of those qualities arise in what you are, which is being. All there is is being.”
“We’re like waves looking for the ocean. And when the waves hear about a meeting, they say, “Let’s go to that meeting because wise people are there who’ll tell us where the ocean is.” The waves are just the ocean waving. There’s no such thing as an enlightened person who “knows” the ocean. When you cease looking for the ocean, the ocean is seen. As long as there’s a seeker looking for the ocean, the seeker and the ocean seem to remain apart. When the seeking falls away, there is simply ocean.”
“Awakening doesn’t depend on anything. Liberation is beyond understanding; beyond all sense of individuality; beyond any requirement to change, to become something, or to have a still mind. In fact, awakening is the absence of individuality, the dropping of the illusion of separation. When seeking ends and the idea of separation falls away, indescribable oneness remains, which no one has ever been able to express in words. However, this can be said: “No one” becomes liberated or needs to become anything for liberation to take place.
Actually, liberation is a total change of perception, which is utterly simple but quite challenging because of the difficulty we have in dropping the idea that there’s an individual who can experience it. We are so entrenched in the idea that effort brings about results that when we come to discover that which fulfills, that which is whole, and that which we long for, we still believe that we must work to attain it. And this is our difficulty.”
“All there is is life happening, so why would you need to do anything about it when this already is the case? Nothing needs to be any better or worse, you don’t have to walk more slowly in a state of awareness or be more mindful of every footstep. Everything is beautiful just as it is. That’s the end — Bang!”
“No individual sees anything. Being sees this; seeing simply happens, yet no one does the seeing. This is utterly simple and immediate. It’s simply what this is — as it is. Who’s going to learn this? It’s like standing here saying to you “I’m going to teach you how to breath or how to make the blood run in your body.” It’s simply ridiculous. Oneness, Being, can’t be taught. How can anyone teach it? There is no one who needs to do anything; nor is there anything to be done — except to continue to see the false notions as false.”