Listen to Van's talks:
Listen to Van's beautiful flute playing:
Van Nguyen is another person I knew from the community I spent many years in. Actually, truth be told, I had a little karma with Van before he became involved in the Waking Down work with me. Some years ago, as a "missionary" in that organization, I had more or less twisted Van's arm to get further involved--even to the point of humiliating him in front of others. I grimace to think of it even now, but we have long since cleared the air around all that. (We all have our histories, don't we? From that perspective, who could possibly cast the first stone about anything at all?)
Van is a holistic dentist in San Francisco who had been on the circuit of seeking for many years. When a mutual friend told him about my adept work in the summer of 1995, after his initial disbelief, Van knew he had to come find out. He was one of those who came well primed, we might say--having spent years sampling many teachings, transmissions, and practices, he was ready to awaken as what we've come to call "the embodied feeling-witness consciousness." Even so, it amazed him to comprehend that that was exactly what appeared to be happening! His full second birth transition took place just a couple of months later. One of the keys to his making that shift was his deep acceptance, through our conversations, that he did not have to "fix" all the things about his ego and psyche that he knew were damaged and askew. It was such a pleasure to watch him blossom like a hothouse plant!
Recently, at a party commemorating Van's passage into the second birth that late summer of 1995, one of our friends, Elizabeth Cole, praised him in a most beautiful way. She cited the I Ching, or Book of Changes, and said that to her he epitomizes the hexagram of "Modesty." As Elizabeth spoke with eloquent ardor about Van's qualities, I saw she had felt into the very essence of this man. Van can be wild, passionate, intense in his way, but there is a natural reserve and--how shall I say it?--a "room-making" for others that is central to his own core presence in the world. Perhaps these qualities express Asian cultural values that he naturally embodies. But I sense there is far more to the mystery of this man than that.
Van began formally transmitting and teaching around the same time as Rene. He is another adept in our work whom I think many of the Hungry are waiting to find. He has been so attentive to my evolution of the Waking Down Dharma that, on occasion, he has bought to my attention changes I was making in very subtle ways, without yet even really knowing so myself! He is a brilliant teacher on the nature and realization of embodied consciousness, and at the same time such a gentle and patient guide for those who are, like him, survivors of abusive childhoods and other kinds of severe trauma. He's also, as you will soon see in his own contributions here, an ecstatic poet and singer of the marvel of Being.