Tim Freke Q&A: The Mystery Experience and “Waking up to the Wonder of Life”

• December 8, 2012 • Comments (0)

Tim Freke Q&A

By Will Gethin

Popularly known as ‘The Stand Up Philosopher’ Tim Freke is a cutting edge explorer of world wisdom, spiritual awakening, humanity and what it means to be truly alive and in love with life.

Aged 12, he had a profound spontaneous awakening experience which radically changed his perception of life, setting him off on an intense spiritual quest exploring drugs and altered states, magic and The Kabala, gurus and awakening techniques, and navigating the world’s many mystical traditions. As a musician, he worked with pioneers of global consciousness like Ram Dass, Terence McKenna and Colombian Kogi shamans, producing dance tracks transmitting their positive messages.

He has written 30 books, including his recent piece de resistance – ‘The Mystery Experience’ – a phenomenally wise and fresh approach to spiritual awakening, which he calls “WAKING UP TO THE WOW” of life, the focus of the following Q&A. He also runs retreats, providing the chance for an experiential taste of The Mystery Experience.

The Mystery Experience lucidly clarifies the whole notion of “oneness” and what Tim calls “the deep self” and how this fits in with our personal identity of the “separate self” – which unlike most traditional spiritual teachers, Tim encourages us to recognise and inhabit rather than refute.

His theory is that life is a paradox and that opposites coexist and complement each other, as represented by Taoism’s Yin-Yang symbol. He suggests that to understand the deep paradox of life we need to think ‘paralogically’, so that we can see things from opposite perspectives at the same time. Then we will see that we are both “all one“ and individual beings. And when we realise that we are both separate and not-separate from each other this is an experience of profound connection Tim calls ‘deep love’.


I understand that you can help others access a deep awake state, not at will, but by using certain techniques which help to create the right conditions for it to happen?

I guide others to the deep awake state by creating the conditions conducive to deep awake state spontaneously arising. Then I lead people in practising simple ‘I to I connecting’ techniques to give them the opportunity to become conscious of the deep self within themselves and within others. As the deep awake state becomes familiar it is easier to enter at will. But like entering the deep sleep state it is more to do with letting go into the state than making the state happen.

How would you describe this deep awake state?

In the deep awake state I feel really present and sensually alive. There is a profound sense of oneness that underlies the apparent separateness. And most important of all I find myself immersed in a wonderful all-embracing, unconditional love. I call this ‘The Mystery Experience’ because words are not adequate to describe what happens. I also call it the ‘WOW’ because it makes me really appreciate the wonder of life.

Is it always the same?

In one way the deep awake state is always the same, yet always a new and a wonderful surprise. It feels familiar like coming home. Yet each time I go deeply into this state there is more to discover. And my experience is coloured by the particular place I am and who I am with, and what is happening in the story of my life at the time.

Is it really that simple for everyone to do?

I have seen so many people experience a profound awakening that I am convinced that the deep awake state is naturally available to everyone. At any point in someone’s life-journey this may be easier or more difficult. But it can and does happen if we are open to it.

What percentage of people on your Mystery Experience retreats roughly would you say experience a deep awake state during the weekend?

I’d say 90% of people who come to a Mystery Experience retreat find themselves immersed in the deep love that characterises the deep awake state. For many this a life-transforming moment. For some it is revisiting an awakened state they have previously experienced. For others it is a glimpse of a new way of being, which is the beginning of a journey that will take them deeper. Sometimes someone can experience some sort of inner resistance and feel unable to let go into The Mystery Experience, because of where they happen to be on their life-journey at that time, and I feel it is important to respect this. Nevertheless they find my Mystery Experience retreats a valuable adventure, which take them forward on their journey. I want to create a safe space in which we can relax into opening to the deep knowing beyond words, so my retreats are not confrontational.

What are the core positive benefits of the deep awake state and do they spill out into your everyday life?

When I am deep awake I find myself ‘loving being’ and ‘being loving’. There is a profound sense of essential safely, which enables me to fully engage with the adventure of my life. The natural fears that arise from acknowledging my human vulnerability don’t disappear. But I feel a deep faith in the goodness of existence that enables me to live more courageously and embrace the joy and suffering of life.

When I step out of my story into the mystery I live creatively, so I can find new ways of looking at the challenges I face in my everyday life. I can transcend my habitual responses and chose to act from the deep self. When I feel the deep love, my relationships with others are more intimate and compassionate. I am able to appreciate those around me and share the wonder of being on the journey of life together.

Are there any potential dangers or negative side effects for some people in accessing this state? Is it safe for everyone?

Entering the deep awake state and becoming immersed in the oneness and deep love is a wonderful experience, which in itself is entirely positive. However, to integrate this experience of the ‘deep self’ into our everyday life requires a strong foundation, and this means having a healthy sense of being a unique, separate individual. In rare cases if someone is struggling with maintaining a healthy ‘ego’ the experience of awakening can later cause psychological problems. I strongly emphasise the importance of the separate self because I feel that if the ‘ego’ is valued it is much less likely to have any negative reactions to a sudden awakening to the deep self.

So you don’t think that anyone has ever been “enlightened” as you don’t believe a permanently awake state is possible?

I have come to question the concept of complete ‘enlightenment’. It’s not a universal idea. For example it is not found in Taoism or Christianity or Shamanism and so on. It is a specifically Indian idea and I now feel it is unhelpful. For me there is no arriving without also travelling. The polarities always come together.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t some very awake people out there or that we can’t be in the deep awake state more of the time. Rather it means we are on an evolutionary journey without end. And that to become more consciousness always necessitates seeing where we have been less conscious. If we set up an impossible ideal that we ‘should’ embody, it leads to a sense of spiritual failure and that just gets in the way of facing the never-ending flow of challenges that life presents us with to help us grow in love.

All states of consciousness come and go. So even when we are familiar with being deep awake there is still a waxing and waning of the state as energy rises and falls. This is natural. There is no permanent state of awakening. We all need to go deep asleep for example. We can nurture the deep awake state so that we experience it more often and more profoundly, but without clinging to the idea that we should always be in some ultimate, ultra-conscious state.

Does this mean that the longer you can stay in a deep awake state the “more enlightened” you are, all be it not reaching the full unreachable permanent awake state?

Yes. I would be happy to use the word ‘enlightened’ in this way. But with an understanding that life is not linear and that sometimes we go through difficult periods to emerge wiser for the experience. When we face big challenges it is not a sign of spiritual failure. It is a new opportunity on a constantly unfolding journey of waking up to deep love and discovering the wisdom to bring love into the world.

Which teachers in the world now do you feel are the “most enlightened” or evolved? Or is that not possible to judge?

I have no idea. I am grateful to everyone bringing love and wisdom to the world.

What teachers have been your greatest inspiration and why?

Different teachers have influenced me at different times. But the biggest influences have been my friends and fellow explorers of life. Learning together has taught me the most.

What plans do you have for the future?

My plan for my work is simply to share The Mystery Experience with as many people as I can, while I can. How I do that is evolving all the time. I look forward to seeing things unfold.

Or do you even make plans?

In life we need to constantly plan … and also let go and accept what happens … and change our plans. That’s the paradox of our predicament.

Do you believe we are experiencing a mass shift in consciousness at this time in the world? And where will this shift take us, how will the world change?

Things are definitely changing, but I suspect that is always the case. I feel there is the potential for our collective state of consciousness to reach a deeper level, and the whole thrust of evolution is pushing us in that direction. How this will happen and how long it will take is hard to say. I can look at the world one way and things are looking very good. I can look at the world from a different perspective and the challenges we face are enormous. I feel we need to take a ‘paralogical’ approach and be both optimistic and realistic.

What is the secret of happiness?

Deep love. Only deep love fills the hole in the soul. But this love is much more than just a good feeling. It is also being willing to suffer for love. Deep love is big enough to embrace all the joy and suffering of life. Deep love allows us to accept life just as it is … and inspires us to make things better for all.



Tim Freke will be running UK-based Mystery Experience retreats in Glastonbury from 29th till 31st March 2013 and from 31st July till 4th August, 2013 (Summer Holiday 5-Day Retreat).

An article by Will Gethin giving an experiential flavour of one of Tim’s recent Mystery Experience retreats will be published in the next issue of Kindred Spirit magazine (published 27th December), also available in the magazine’s digital edition (downloadable on mobile/iphone, ipad and e-reader, either as individual issues or as a digital subscription).

For further information about Tim Freke and The Mystery Experience visit







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Category: Articles, Conscious Frontiers, Consciousness

Will Gethin

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Since 2004, Will Gethin has worked as a holistic explorer and travel writer, writing articles for the Independent, the Evening Standard and various lifestyle, wellbeing and environmental magazines, including Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Resurgence, Kindred Spirit and Yoga Magazine. In February 2012, he set up Conscious Frontiers, a leading edge communications, speakers and events agency giving voice to the growing movement of people working to propel a shift in consciousness. Inspirational speakers represented by Conscious Frontiers include Peter Owen Jones, Graham Hancock, Dr David Hamilton, Tim Freke, Dr Jude Currivan and Sarah Rozenthuler. Prior to founding Conscious Frontiers, Will also worked as a communications consultant, promoting humanitarian and intercultural organisations like The Isbourne Foundation, IT Schools Africa, The Makhad Trust, Tribe of Doris and Afrika Eye Film Festival. And he founded a Guest Speaker programme at the Isbourne Holistic Centre in 2008, bringing leading edge conscious living authors and presenters like Byron Katie, Graham Hancock, Dr Masaru Emoto and Brandon Bays to Cheltenham to present educational talks and workshops. From 1993-2003, Will worked in music, consumer and arts PR for London agencies, ultimately working as Account Director for Virgin Megastore at Borkowski PR. Will is also a Contributing Editor to Life Arts Media.

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