Let Go, Live Free,* completed in 2008, is a
culmination of 20 years of suffering, seeking and finding what was there all along.
At the heart of his teaching is a three-step
practice: Be present with the suffering, notice the story behind the suffering, and finally, see the truth.
Each year, Jim teaches a five-day work-
shop at the famed Esalen Institute. One
year, one of the attendees was a forty-year-
old woman who had been sexually abused.
Jim told her, “When you see that you are
not a victim of the trauma – which is the
story you have been telling yourself ever
since it happened – but rather the beautiful
aware being who is here right now, every-
thing will change for you.”
It was hard for her, but she tried the prac-
tice. Whenever pain arose, she was asked
to stop and feel her body. “At first, it was
overwhelming,” Jim said. “But as she be-
gan to examine her long-held beliefs – ‘He
ruined my life’ or ‘I’ll never get over this’ –
she began to see how these beliefs had kept
the pain alive.”
Like many spiritual teachers, Jim’s own
path to freedom was sparked by a health
crisis that occurred in 1976 during his last
year of chiropractic school. He experi-
enced chest pains and such severe anxiety
attacks that he was afraid to sleep for fear
he might not wake up.
“I was doing a series of breathing exercises and had somehow gotten it into my
head that if I didn’t continue to consciously
control the flow of my breath, I would stop
breathing altogether,” Jim said.
The ex-rugby player began practicing
Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, and
later, Zen. As his anxiety diminished, his
spiritual exploration deepened, and he
dove into the teachings of Herman Hesse,
Alan Watts, and spiritual philosopher J.
“Krishnamurti was, in many ways, the
ultimate spiritual iconoclast,” Jim said.
“He said the prison of beliefs and concepts
keeps us in bondage and causes all our
suffering. Freedom, he said, lay in being
free of the net of thoughts, of all concepts
about God. Only then would we discover
what was meant by the word ‘God’.”
In 1977, while living in Santa Rosa, Cali-
fornia, Jim had his first taste of enlighten-
ment. He awoke early to sunlight >>