In the midst of his career as an artist and photographer, Robert Saltzman suddenly woke up to a new perspective on the true nature of 'me'. That abrupt change of viewpoint, along with a subsequent long illness and slow recovery, changed the course of his life. He left the art world, earned a doctorate in depth psychology and began practicing psychotherapy, a work he describes as "days in a small room, face to face with pain and suffering."
To complement his therapy practice, Robert established a website, www-dr-robert.com, with his answers to questions about psychology, consciousness, and ordinary problems in life, such as relationships, personality disorders, sexuality, mental illness, death and dying, etc. That site became the most popular question-the-psychologist web page on the Internet, and has welcomed over four million visitors.
In 2012 Robert moved his question and answer work to a Facebook page where it continues to this day.
I learn about Robert and his work through a link in a Facebook posting by Eric Gross, the author of 'Liberation from the Lie'. Robert's no-nonsense style immediately strickes a chord. Robert is not a 'teacher', but someone who speaks only from his own experience - as a form of self-expression - of what it is to be an awakened, human animal. What he says in his books and Facebook posts is actually 'common sense': ordinary life, stripped of all frills and nonsense, without second-hand 'knowledge', without non-dual drivel and platitudes. Not sparing a word. Nothing is hidden, there are no agendas. Very refreshing, sobering and confronting. And he doesn't hide his criticism of the 'spiritual business'.
Robert in 'The Ten Thousand Things':
"Every time I think about it or notice it, I find myself here. When I say 'here,' I mean in the visual center of an apparent world of images; in the auditory center of an apparent world of sounds; in the tactile center of an apparent world of texture, etc.. The totality of that sensory information, most of which goes mostly unnoticed, is merged from moment to moment into an experience of "the world. I cannot do that merging any more than I can digest food or circulate blood. I have no choice in this. When I awaken from sleep, the world is there, a seamless fabrication that is not of my making. I also do not know what that world "really" is nor where my experience of it comes from.
Inasmuch as I neither make the world nor, despite the dogmas of religion and spirituality, know anything about its origin, I also do not and cannot know what 'I' - an aspect of that world - am.
So for me, awakening means the end of 'spirituality' in light of the unmistakable understanding that all conjecture on the subject of 'myself' falls short - must fall short - of actually explaining anything. At any given moment, I find myself here as a ready focus of consciousness without ever having chosen to be here, without knowing what I "really" am, and without needing to know. I am well aware that what I see and feel is somehow fabricated, but this is the world I perceive, and so I live, an apparent constituent of this world of mine, in the world and with the world - not in a world of conjectures, assumptions, and furtive ultimateities, but here and now. That is what I mean by 'awakened'.
- Robert Saltzman, The Ten Thousand Things
- Robert Saltzman, Depending On No-Thing