January 24, 2021
Michael Hall, PhD
From Amazon’s description of Not I, Not Other Than I by Russell Williams (2015) London: O Books.
“Russel Williams is one of the most remarkable enlightened spiritual teachers of our time. After an early life of extreme hardship—leaving school at the age of 11 and becoming an orphan shortly afterwards—he underwent a spiritual awakening at the age of 29. Since the late 1950s, he has been a spiritual teacher, and is still actively teaching now, at the age of 94. (Russell passed away in 2018-MH). Previously, Russel has avoided publicity and never published any writings or transcripts of his talks, preferring to work quietly with small groups. This is the first time any details of his teachings or of his life have appeared in print. This book is partly a record of his teachings, and partly also the story of his extraordinary life. Working with well-known spiritual author Steve Taylor—who has attended Russel’s meetings regularly since the 1990s—Russel has created a profound text which will surely become known as a classic of spiritual literature.
The book interweaves the highly improbable-sounding and adventurous early years of Russel Williams’ life with summaries of the realisations and teachings of his later years. The young Williams had a string of perilous experiences, including finding himself in a lion’s cage, living through the London blitz, saving lives from a small boat during the evacuation of Dunkirk, and so on. Improbable but almost certainly true, Williams passed through a rare intensity of experience that was probably necessary for his subsequent spiritual awakening and later undoubted spiritual authenticity.
The essence of his teaching is a simplicity of experience that does not get into verbalisation at all. Steve says in his introduction:
The teachings are not even actually Buddhist theories, but they are largely consistent with Buddhist teachings about the essential nature of man.
Steve goes on:
This is a fascinating book, which deals well with trying to get over an essentially nonverbal practice. It would be difficult to read it and not come away in some way changed.
Transcript of this interview: http://conscious.tv/text/94.htm
The Genius of Consciousness and the Nonduality of Touch