I was given this greatest opportunity … of all opportunities … … to be a human being. ~ Henry Shukman

Human, opening, nothing

Henry Shukman shares his direct experience of dying without dying which opened his awareness to the amazing gift of being a human being. This post overviews the short video clip from the full length feature film on a conversation between Henry Shukman and Chris Hebard about Zen and more. Dialogue from the video is in italics.

You can download a FREE copy of the “never before seen full movie,” One Bright Pearl: A Conversation About Zen and Awakening, by signing up for our newsletter.

Who is it that is breathing?
What is the space between breath, seer, seeing, hearing?
What is this bright light shining?

These questions open this intimate conversation between Henry Shukman and Chris Hebard about Henry’s profound awakening experience….

Everything was gone — everything in-between erased, it was like a boot kicking at the lamp that illuminated everything….It’s truly miraculous, in the end, that anything exists, at all.

nothing, awareness, being

Chris asks this key question about Henry’s experience…

What reports this if not awareness itself?

Henry responds…

It’s a fair question, but I believe that if you’ve been through this experience, you don’t need to ask it.

Everything has been different since then…It was like an axe fell on the crown of my head and everything vanished…all the other experiences I’d had of this ilk, there was still some kind of witness. Not in this one. There was no seer, no seeing, there was nothing to see….it was truly nothing.

It’s really a death, the nearest description is that I died. In one sense I did die…I can’t really understand it. I can’t really even think about it, but I can speak from it.

rebirth, death, awakeningHenry now lives from this reborn or perhaps more accurately, this unborn awareness….

I feel as if that moment is still going on and is still here in every moment of my life. It changed everything. That’s when that war ended. It’s all been different since then.

When I read the Zen masters, now, ever since that moment, they’ve glowed. I know what they are talking about. Prior to that I could get it, at times I could be right in it, but it wasn’t the same.

I believe this is the great gift, I believe this is the pivot, the fulcrum, the turning point of a human lifetime.

I know that some kind of incalculable, inconceivable shift is possible for us — and it changes everything. I was given this greatest opportunity … of all opportunities … … to be a human being.

Again, you can download a FREE copy of the “never before seen full movie,” One Bright Pearl: A Conversation About Zen and Awakening, by signing up for our newsletter.


This clip and the upcoming film is a Stillness Speaks production in association with Mountain Cloud Zen Center. It is produced by Chris Hebard and Henry Shukman. Filmographer (including video editing) is Jonathan Mugford (who can be contacted @ jonathan.mugford@gmail.com).

Video clip copyright holder is Stillness SpeaksPruett Media, and it is freely made available to Mountain Cloud Zen Center

Images (edited with logo) 1) and Featured) Open minded, CC by-SA 2.0  2) From the land, CC by 2.0  3) TranspersonalityCC by-SA 2.0. All images are by Eddi van W at Flickr.com.
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