15 June 2011

Transcript: June 11 Satsang:

I want you to join me in taking a look inside of yourself. Can you close your eyes and follow me?

When I look inside of myself the first thing I see is emptiness. By this I mean I see pure visual space that contains everything in the body including the organs, muscles, bones, but few which I feel. I feel sensations and circulating energies inside. This space opens up and contains everything around me, the entire contents of the room and its sounds. The space is self-illumined, meaning although it is dark, the space itself is lighted and expands everywhere.

Besides that, where I imagine my legs to be, I feel energies rising from my toes into my calves and then up into my thighs. I feel energies originating in the abdomen rising into the muscles in my back and shoulders, into my face and head, and into my arms and hands out to the fingers, then radiating into space.

From that same space in my abdomen, into my heart I feel a flowing of love, filling the heart area then radiating out into the world. My face is flushed with these energies and my body feels like a powder keg.

Throughout that empty space, both inside the body and out, is my sense of presence, my sense of being alive, of being sentient, of being aware. This is the so-called I am. This is what we need to meditate on, the I am in all its aspects and colors and permutations. The I am contains the totality of our existence.

However, there is something else to, there the witness of all of this, of the sensations, of the void. Sometimes the witness feels like a me, sometimes just impersonal watching.

There are two positions I can take with respect to this witness, that Nisargadatta calls the absolute. The first is to look at it and witness it as an object, in which case it just becomes another part of the I am. The other position is to fall back into the witness, and become it. When we do this, suddenly the world appears extremely vividly without an awareness of the witness, because the witness has become the world, its identity is the world.

Lastly, we can go deep into meditation, falling deeply, until our head gets hard as a rock, thinking stops, then it feels as if we are going to sleep. Then everything disappears including self-awareness. We are entirely unaware of our own existence or of the world. The next moment again we become the witness, and the world appears, or sometimes our body opens up and we become the entirety of the world, just oneness.

However we are aware that during that moment when we and the world were not conscious, we still were, we still existed as something. But that something was not in this universe but was beyond that. It's not a direct cognition because it's not part of consciousness; it is before consciousness, and we know we are that, untouched by the world, emotions or anything.

When I was at mount Baldy, and we sat silently, body and mind would disappear and we would become totality of the world around us as oneness. Sometimes when a bird or an airplane flew overhead, we felt ourselves flying over the landscape identified with the bird or airplane. Sometimes after deep meditation when we were walking in the courtyard, when we saw a tree, boundaries would disappear and would become that tree.

As I have said many times it is all a matter of identification, and what you identify with, even if you don't choose the identities, and the identities choose you. In other words, you can become anything and everything.

Sometimes you are a person with personal problems, sometimes you are the samadhi state, sometimes you are an action figure driving a car, sometimes you become a cloud. All the time, with the slightest provocation, you can become empty space, and if you want, you can identify with love itself and find a resting place there, as love.

Sometimes, and this was Robert's definition of awakening, you could be in a place we can call ‘you’, and you witness the coming and going of the various states of consciousness.

You pass from sleep into dreams without "you" being affected; the sense of you does not change at all. You watch the dream state arise as witnessed by you, and then you see the waking state moving into replacing the dream, and neither state has touched you who are beyond both.

Sometimes you can pass from waking into the sleep state, and again it does not affect you, you are beyond everything. Untouched. Ultimate freedom.

Then comes the knowledge that you are that which is entirely beyond consciousness of the world, and that you witness the coming and going of the world and of the various states from beyond the world. You are the knowledge that you are beyond everything, the absolute, the witness, beyond even the I am.

So what does all this mean? There are so many things you can be, so many places you can go, so many emotions to experience, so many voids to experience, so many sensations, so much love, so many personal identities. What do these experiences and knowledge do for you?

First and foremost they free you from the places where you are stuck as a person, in a place or situation. You can accept many identities, many situations, many experiences without hardly leaving your house. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom.

If you go into the void or into the witness, you can gain freedom from emotions and pressures and stress. If you go into emotions, you gain intensity and freedom from boredom. If you identify with love, you can be a lover, or become love itself. Freedom.

But I wanted to address an important problem that affects many of you out there who are in relationship with another.

If you both pursue the same path, that is wonderful, and your resonating energies can make your path so much easier.

But some of you have differing and apparently conflicting paths. But they are only conflicting if you rigidly hold onto one method or one dogma, such as Advaita, or the bhakti approaches.

Let me read from this letter addressed to me and my response to her.


Dear Edji,

I have been doing marvelously.  Everyday another layer of the onion peels away, so to speak.  It is really amazing.  Thank you so much for your sage council to find my sense of self and don’t budge and to trust my own experience.  After so many years of seeking verification through books and myriad other “outer” sources, it has been refreshing and revelatory to finally trust the guidance that continuously wells up from the Guru within my own Heart.

I do, however, continue to find myself faced with an issue that has been plaguing me for quite some time now.  I am a bit sheepish about asking for your advice concerning this issue not only in light of the comments I just made, but also because I know the Guru is not a marriage counselor and I do not wish to put you in such a precarious position.

Nevertheless, because I do not know anyone else I can turn to for advice on this matter, anyone else who would understand the context of sadhana that frames it, and because my wife has repeatedly implored me to see if you, as my Guru, can shed any light on the situation, I have decided to place the issue before you.

As I’ve mentioned to you before, sadhana is the number one priority in my life.  Over the past year, I have been engaging in more and more formal sitting meditation.  I do 2-3 hours each morning, another 2 hours in the afternoon, and if possible when my wife is out of town another 1-2 hours in the evening.  The depths to which I’ve been able to plumb my “inner” being during such extended sessions have been really remarkable.  

I must say, however, that I feel a little remiss in calling the length of these meditation sessions “extended” as Himalayan yogis would probably scoff at such minute scraps of time.  Moreover, Michael Langford, in his book, “The Most Rapid and Direct Means to Eternal Bliss,” refers to the many days he spent meditating for 12 hours or more and suggests that if one is serious about reaching the “goal” that one has to quit fooling around and devote all his time to the endeavor.  I so often feel like I somehow should be doing more, but for now this is about as much time as I can find for meditation given that I am married and have a job as a high school teacher.

As you can imagine, my wife has found my meditation practice to be a bit obsessive. Nevertheless, she has been pretty supportive of it.  In fact, she has even said that she doesn’t mind how much time I spend in meditation as long as when I come out of it I am fully present with her.

As you can imagine, in order to most effectively maintain this state of awareness throughout my daily activities, I tend to “see through the drama” of situations and don’t necessarily say or express anything a whole lot. 

Given this focus on my part, my wife’s main complaint is that even after I have emerged from my meditation room, I am still rarely, if ever, fully present with her. She says that I act as if I don’t want to be on this earth, that I am a hermit, and that I have a responsibility as her husband to come out of my shell and engage in a more active relationship with her.  In essence, she says, she is lonely.

She also says that I am very selfish, and that I place my path above hers and only care about taking care of my spiritual needs.

My wife, I should tell you, is a XXXXX who has been initiated as an elder in an YYYYY shamanic tradition, and she also sees auras.  She has blended these three areas of specialty in her work.

This being my wife’s profession, she often engages me in conversations about spirits and energies and chakras and auras and whatnot and how these are in various states of imbalance and so on and so forth.  From my point of view, all of this is merely illusory mind-stuff that 1) I don’t want to get mixed up in, and 2) I don’t see as having any reality or validity outside of the mind’s habitual tendency to give it such.  

During our many discussions about this issue, I have expressed quite directly my feeling that perhaps she and I are not a compatible partnership any longer.  I have told her that if it is true that my spiritual practice is causing her as much pain as she says it is and that I am as selfish as she says I am, then it would be best for both of us if we split up, divorced, went our separate ways. 

The idea of divorcing, however, is completely unacceptable to my wife.  She says it is my responsibility, having taken the vow of marriage, to stay with her no matter what.  She also maintains that if I left her I would be interfering with her life’s purpose and casting her adrift in the world of relationship because 1) she says it’s unlikely she would ever meet anyone else who would understand and accommodate her work, and 2) it would leave her vulnerable in her role as a spiritual teacher to romantic overtures from students/clients with whom it would be immoral for her to have a such relationships.

Besides, she adds, the bottom line is that she loves me.

I love her too, and I don’t want to hurt her, but…

I admit that my practice is intense and that it is my top priority – even more than marriage if it must come down to a choice.  Ideally, however, I would really like to resolve the issue in a way that enables me to meet my wife’s needs, while at the same time neither dampening nor impinging upon my sadhana and perhaps even strengthening it.

From your perspective and experience, is such a solution possible, Edji?


This is an extraordinarily important letter and describes a dilemma so common to couples, where one or both of whom are pursuing spiritual paths. My answer to the writer is as follows:

The short version is that you are a perfectly complementary couple. You need to be able to immerse yourself in the experiences of her world, and vice versa. Together you can build a much larger mansion of openness, intensity and experience, than if you stayed separate and stuck in separate agendas.

      From her spirituality you will gain intensity and the ability to initiate, you will gain flexibility , and practical insight; from yours, she will gain meditation power (samadhi), spiritual insight and stability. It could take each of you longer to achieve the individual ends you each conceive of for yourselves from where you are now---you finding the absolute, and she finding her spiritual heart--but both journeys CAN be enriched and deepened.

In the meantime, those of you who are not couples, or do not have a spiritual counterpart, you have your teacher whoever that is, and within that teacher’s experience, is probably all that you seek, whether it be an experience of the absolute, the void, energies, or being able to witness the coming and going of the states of consciousness from the witness state. All you will find there in the presentation and presence of your teacher. Look into that presence and find what you are looking for. It is there, just look for it, and you will also discover it in yourself.


  1. Dear Edji,

    You say "it is all a matter of identification, and what you identify with, even if you don't choose the identities ..."

    It has become my experience and more frequent observation that when not identified with a particular me, thoughts come and go but one particular thought comes more often. One particular feeling arises more frequently. That is the thought & feeling "I love you". That in a way shows me why the Bhakti approach works. But somehow once the mind is dropped I see that the ocean of all perceptions is supported by Love. Everything that comes in front of me I want to worship and love. I am moved to speculate more but funny enough all I really want to say is "I love you, I love you, I love you all".


  2. Satsang transcripts are very useful to people like me who can't understand spoken english well, so thank you for making them available.