The Person Who Called themselves Jed McKenna has Apparently Died

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Not sure if anyone here followed Jed McKenna from his books or the INVISIBLE GURU forum. Yesterday there was an announcement of his "true" identity and today an announcement of his death.

This was today's message.


Yesterday’s message was not sent by Jed, and this one isn’t either.

Jed asked me to post these messages on his behalf. He is no longer here to do it himself.

As you probably know from Jed’s recent messages, he believed he had COVID-19 a couple weeks ago. Then he believed it was just a cold. Then whatever it actually was morphed into pneumonia.

Breathing became increasingly difficult. He spent several days in a hospital, where his condition seemed to be stabilizing. They confirmed that he did not, in fact, have COVID. The pneumonia was not related to the medications he took when he thought he did have COVID. The cause was unclear.

After some days, his breathing became more compromised until he lost the ability to breathe altogether. Interventions did not help. Eventually, he lost the ability, or the will, or both, to animate the body he had apparently been occupying.

Jed was 74 and in great health. He almost never got sick. He practiced qi gong every day, yoga frequently, and rode his bicycle everywhere. He certainly did not seem to be seeking death.

Jed was not, however, averse to dying. On the contrary, he spoke of it often, with great enthusiasm, over the last few years. At times he seemed almost eager to try it out, so to speak. In a recent piece, he wrote:

“Death is a beautiful secret hidden by a lie.
The best place to hide that secret is under the fear and illusion that it is painful.
Such is not the case.”

He knew that he was not the body, nor the mind or personality that accompanied it.

“It is impossible for ‘You’ to die because ‘You’ were never born.
Granted a body, that we tend to call ‘me, my and mine’, has arisen.
But what appears as ‘your’ body is not you,
and you can manage quite well without the thought that it is ‘you’.”

That body, as he wished it to be, was transmuted into smoke and ash, dispersed into the air of the country he loved, and scattered into the Mekong River to feed the fish and merge back into the ecology of things.

For those of you who felt a kinship with Jed from a distance - for those of you who took his classes and were in one-on-one dialogue with him, perhaps for years - for those of you who he helped awaken from the dream, and those of you he helped to take a step along the path - for those of you who didn’t care about him as an individual, but who were moved or freed or supported by his teaching - for all of us who he touched - it is sad that he is gone. It may be shocking or disorienting. Whatever emotions come to you - deeply, or merely as a ripple on the surface - I hope you’ll allow those feelings to come over you full strength, and to move through you, and to change you, as grief always does. Jed never encouraged anyone to “spiritually bypass” their feelings.

Once you feel whatever there is to feel, however, I hope you can return to the bigger truth. What appeared to be Jed cannot die, because it was never born. Behind the apparent phenomena and ephemera that captivate our attention, is the unchanging infinite. Personal history rises to meet timeless awareness. To Jed, that background, beyond the drama, was the only thing that was real.

Jed was reluctant to speak about the moment in which he realized the Truth. When he did talk about it, however, he described a choice point. He said he had the option to leave the dream behind, to sublimate into the background in some way he didn’t really have words to describe. Or he could choose to “come back”, as it were, to continue to play the character of Jed, with an ego and a personality and a role to play in the human dream. He chose to come back for a while, walking with one foot in the infinite, one foot in the dream.

Of the handful of dead gurus Jed had real respect for, I’d place Nisargadatta at the top of the list. Jed’s understanding of death was very much in alignment with Nis, so here’s what Nis has to say on the matter:

“To the Self, the world is but a colorful show,
which it enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over.”

“The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death.
The body will survive as long as it is needed.
It is not important that it should live long.”

Jed will no longer be here to answer your emails or post on the forum or to share day-to-day existence with those of us who spent time with him in person. He is leaving a body of work behind, however, for those of us still here. You can get to know him through that work far more meaningfully than you would have through a conversation with his personality. That hasn’t changed.

I haven’t introduced myself, and I won’t really, except to say to call me Zara. I’ve been collaborating with Jed for the last two years, working with him on a new class that is not yet complete. He requested that I tend to his existing students in his absence. Tomorrow, I’ll post some logistical information for those of you currently in the middle of one of his classes, and with some thoughts about future classes, and the future of this forum.

In the meanwhile, we can be sad together that the person we knew as Jed is gone.

And we can remember together that he is not.

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