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Daily Archives: November 26, 2011

Did John Butler 12-step me?*

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I was locked in a Tarago with the John Butler Trio, concentrating fiercely. They were playing Newcastle; I was leeching along with my dictaphone. Beneath all the talk of new songs, uranium mines and the importance of cracking the States, I could hear an undercurrent of something – a hidden message of some sorts.

John talked about the importance of being fully present, about putting out his intention and handing over his will.

My ears pricked up. I’d recently started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and I recognised these patterns of speech. Up till that point I’d been about as spiritual as a sock; suddenly I was the empty vessel into which talk of ‘acceptance’, ‘handing it over’ and ‘living in the now’ poured – usually in the form of a rhyme or acronym. Now John was revealing he’d heard them too. I was possum eyed with excitement. He was one of us.

Veering wildly off the interview script, I started throwing in some unusual questions. “Do you have a few drinks before you go on stage?” I asked. “What about after?”

John frowned, perhaps presuming I’d run out of Wiki ammo and was about to ask him his favourite colour. He might, he said, perhaps have a few beers. It was my turn to frown. So that wasn’t it. He must be Narcotics Anonymous.

What I had failed to realise, being a wet-behind-the-ears newb, was that while the foundations of AA may be built upon Jungian theory and cognitive restructuring, in recent years it’s acquired plenty of Eckhart Tolle-isms, mindfulness, and an appreciation of pop spirituality, like The Secret.

As Jung himself wrote to AA founding father Bill Wilson, “‘alcohol’ in Latin is ‘spiritus’ and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as for the most depraving poison.” No wonder the same spiritual path that attracted John – who has often spoken of having an awakening, aged 20 – is adopted by reformed boozehounds who have both lost their religion and had an awakening themselves.

AA wound up being a crash course for me, as I decided to home school myself after being told I was spiritually sick and unlikely to get better… but I’ll never forget that illuminating moment of identification the day I interviewed John.

* No. I snuck a peek at JB’s rider when he was on stage. He’s definitely not a friend of Bill W, but he does read The Secret.


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Puzzlingly, Oprah has never embraced Icke.

I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s description of his awakening in The Power of Now, and it’s strikingly close to David Icke’s, minus the mountain accoutrements.

TOLLE (aged 29)

“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two?” If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
I was so stunned by this strange realisation that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing”, as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It was as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

ICKE (aged 39)

There were magnets pulling my feet to the ground, and then I felt a drill going in the top of my head and through my body, through my feet, into the ground. And then another one coming the other way. And then my arms go out at 45 degrees, for the best part of an hour. This energy coming through me. My body started to shake with it, and I had two very powerful thought-forms pass through my head.

The first one said: They’ll be talking about this 100 years from now.” The other one was: “It will be over when you feel the rain.” This energy just kept coming through me. And I kept going in and out of, if you like, awareness, consciousness, like driving a car and you go: Crikey. Where did the last two miles go?

One of these times when I came back to kind of awareness, I noticed that over the distant mountains there was a light grey mist. It got darker and darker very quickly, pouring rain on the distant mountains.

I watched this storm come out of the mountains. The cloud was a straight line. It was like drawing the curtains across the sky. This thing’s coming towards me, and as it got closer, the sun’s gone. It’s been covered. All the clouds are billowing and I’m seeing faces in the clouds. It didn’t make sense to me, but I saw faces in the clouds.

And then it’s a wall of rain. I’m watching it coming towards me. By this time I’m hanging on, you know, with this energy coming through me. Eventually it hits me – torrential rain – and everything stopped. That’s when I staggered forward and my shoulders were agony and all the rest of it.

Winner: Icke.