“Do read this book if you are seeking. It keeps it simple, yet utterly profound.”—Scott Kiloby, author of Love’s Quiet Revolution
I Am That I Am began as a journal, written at the suggestion of author Francis Bennett’s spiritual director. It was intended to help Francis clarify and explore the shift in perception that had occurred to him—not only for his own sake, but for those who might seek his spiritual guidance in the future.
This deceptively simple book brings a unique freshness and humanity to the meeting of Christianity with Eastern investigation of the nature of the self. As Francis says, “Who I am is happiness and bliss ... don’t take my word for any of this. You can experiment with this on your own and discover for yourself whether or not these claims are true. This little book may be able to assist you in conducting just such an experiment in your own life. That is certainly my hope in writing it.”
Francis “Fran” Bennett was an ordinary, sociable young man who answered the call to a life of spiritual adventure as a contemplative in the monastery of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly known as Trappists. Thomas Merton, the pioneering Christian mystic of the twentieth century, was Bennett’s inspiration, and it was Merton’s influence that led Bennett to explore the deepest reality of being, within the frameworks of Christianity, Buddhism, and Advaita Vedanta or non-duality.
Bennett worked with the sick and dying in parishes, hospitals, and hospices after he moved away from the monastic life. In 2010, while in the middle of mass, there came what Bennett describes as “a radical perceptual shift in consciousness” that made it clear that the pure awareness at the heart of all is no different from the presence of God.
In recent years Bennett transitioned to female. It was a milestone in her personal quest for deep authenticity. As a retreat leader and spiritual director she emphasized the importance of being, in her words, fully human, fully divine. Fran Bennett died in January 2022 (www.fullcircleawakening.com).
“I gave this review of Francis Dale Bennett's book I Am That I AM: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self without being solicited to give a review. I think it is a marvelously simple but radical book. Anyone can read this and feel into the direct experience of what he is saying, whether one is a long term spiritual seeker, someone raised in a Christian church, or someone right off the street who has never looked into these things. There is a flow of simplicity and clarity in the pages that made it very readable. I didn't have to stop and ask myself what he meant by certain words. I could see he was using words very lightly, inviting the reader into an always, already present freedom, peeling apart many of the self-beliefs and beliefs about reality that keep so many people spinning their wheels in this lifetime.
“Francis's background as a Catholic monk makes this book even more delicious to me. He has the ability to speak to those in the Christian Church in a way that is fresh and transforming.
“Do read this book if you are seeking. It keeps it simple, yet utterly profound.”