28 April 2012

Our California non-profit, We Are Sentience, has two missions: spiritual outreach through satsangs and websites, and feeding and maintaining feral cat colonies in LA.

During 2011, WAS supplied the following for feeding and maintaining approximately 300 cats:

291 16 to 20 lb. bags of dry food, for a total weight of over 4,700 lbs.

8,200 cans of cat food, mostly Friskies.

$2,100 worth of vet fees to spay/neuter and other vet bills

Total expenses on feral cat maintenance and placement $9,007.  This is likely a substantial  underestimate, as many times I’d pick up small and unrecorded amounts on a daily basis from a supermarket.

The balance of donations went to support spiritual outreach which includes website costs, software, etc.

24 April 2012

The Evolution of the Guru

A year ago I posted the below interview between Andrew Cohen, my friend Shankarananda, Chetananda and Brother Charles.  At this time we were in the midst of looking for an LA Ashram location.  I thought these guys were utterly arrogant.

A year later, I have learned so much.  Listen especially to Chetananda.  He is the guy on the left.  Shankaranada is next, then Andrew Cohen, then Brother Charles, who I thought was certifiable.  Yet, even he had something to say that was true.

The guru just wants to share his or her joy and to play, but the people who come have little joy and little playfulness.  They come with expectations which the teacher and others are always failing.

As one of my students said, they think you know everything, including what you want, and they want you to drop that in their lap immediately instead of spending 40 years like I did.

You see, there is a lot of expectations about what a guru is and how they are supposed to act, but students hardly ever put any boundaries on themselves.  They usually don't ask, "What is expected of me?  What is my part and my burden?"

Really, watch it twice and watch it again tomorrow.

22 April 2012

Self-Inquiry with affection and love

I have become convinced over the past year that self-inquiry, practiced only by itself, basically as described by Ramana Maharshi and my own teacher, Robert Adams, is far less effective than simply going within looking for the I-sense, the feeling that I exist, as opposed to looking for the I-thought, or for the place that the I-thought comes and goes to, and then loving that I-sense when it is found. Become devoted to it.

Both Robert and Ramana became self-realized without a method, they never had to struggle blindly as do most of us through a quagmire of differing concepts.  And, through self-realization, they became full of love for the self, and though they taught the need to love the self, it was not made an essential part of self inquiry.

The essence of the I-sense is the experience of the Turiya state of Sat, Chit, and Ananda, existence, knowledge, bliss.

Self-inquiry, self realization is all about finding the source of the I-sense, which is Turiya, Satchitananda.

When Turiya is found, meaning when it is isolated from all the other distracting experiences of appearances, mood, emotion, the body experiences, etc., one rests in bliss.  Bliss and ecstasy permeate all. One rests in oneself, happy and complete.

Then one begins to understand something further: there is nothing other than Turiya, the Self.  The Self, Turiya, interpenetrates and pervades all the other mental and physical states.  There is nothing outside of the Self—YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE OF YOU AT THE DEEPEST LEVEL.

The proof is the bliss that penetrates every fiber of you beingness, your body, your mind, your sense of presence; all are enveloped in bliss, and you see that there is nothing but YOU.  It is all your show, your emotions and moods, your body and mind, your self-created world with your reaction to apparently external events and beings.  It is all you!

Then religious and secular mores vanish, prescriptions and proscriptions vanish. Concepts vanish as they are only the ravings within the mind which can know billions of concepts, billions of theories of life and love, science and magic.  All disappear in the experience of your bliss. All concepts are eaten by your ecstasies.  The heart then knows no boundaries, no limits, no shoulds or should nots.

This is the real beginning of the spiritual adventure, not its culmination or end. Self-realization is the beginning of living in mystery, completely happy, and as Robert and Nisargadatta both said, living absent the sting of misfortunes in the world.  The bite is gone.  Yes, suffering remains everywhere, it is so clear, you see it so clearly, but the bite is gone, mitigated by your own happiness.

One other thing I discovered as perhaps the biggest aid to self-realization, and that is loving and surrendering to a self-realized being, because the identification can sweep you into your own sense of Self.  You recognize the Self-of-All in the “other,” the guru, and absent that, in a passionate other person, for Self is at both ends of the perceiving; the self is both the lover and the beloved.  When you feel deep love, surrender, wanting, and a sense of servitude with and for another, if it persists long enough, you begin to recognize that the love is YOUR love, experienced within you towards the apparent “other.”

The identification caused by loving the apparent other allows the Self to arise in you because that Self, the Turiya state, is attracted to love and worship, and the Self reveals itself to you.

Then comes the magic moment when you realize that the Self you sought so long outwardly and inwardly is you and only you.  You were both the seeker and the sought, now enveloped in bliss. There never was an “other,” there always has been only you.

You see, it is so strange.  Everyone, all over the world seeks love, the love of another or of God.  This is the way the human race is set up, seeking love for and from another.  This is what makes the human race persist.  This is why we want money and possessions and power: to get love.

This is the way the game is set up, so I say, why not use that “fact” to facilitate self-realization?

The terrible, burning, desirous mad love for “another” also summons the Self to show itself to you, to yourself, once you realize that that mad love is really the self, loving itself through fixation on the Self in another. For many people, this is the way to Self-realization and Self-love, by first feeling it by perceiving the Self in another.

So very many people write to me saying they have read Robert Adams or Ramana and having been practicing one year, two years, or ten years and sometimes much longer and they feel stuck.  I tell them to add the bliss of chanting along with sacred music, and sometimes that helps for a while, but often they still complain about being stuck.

So, I tell them to go out for a while and see if they can fall in love with another, a guru, a man or a woman, hopefully of spiritual bent. Love them totally, worship them, surrender to them, but all the while keep one inner eye always open to your own heart and inner sense of presence.  Then you will discover that the love you feel is totally within you.  

It is not that you have created it, but you perceive it as being part of your own nature, always there if you know how and where to look in profound silence.

The “other” is only apparently the “other.”  The other has a separate body, a separate mind, a phenomenally separate life, but their essence, that which is at the heart of their existence is the same Self, the I-Am, that is you. You and the other are one in this ultimate state. The Self is discovered at both ends of the seeking, loving, devotion, surrender.

At this point love of the other serves as a constant reminder of who and what you really are.  The devotion to the other even while aware of the Self within, is one’s constant reminder of one’s own bliss-nature, and what Siddharameshwar called post-realization devotion as a forever-practice of Self-remembrance.

15 April 2012

I am sorry I have not been available to you recently.  I have tried my best to answer emails and Skype contacts, but off and on for several weeks I have been experiencing almost constant ecstatic bliss that is so powerful it just captivates my full attention.  There is such happiness and love that fills my beingness completely.  I thought I had "transcended" these ecstatic states many years ago in order to abide in "ordinary mind," but with the knowledge that 'I' am the witnessing absolute entirely beyond this world of void and form.

However, the so called "Self" has revisited me in a most powerful way, filling "me" with peaceful, resting energy, love and bliss. Like Robert, I just sit hour after hour experiencing the joy within.

Perhaps it is time to start online satsangs again and share this joy and the way to it. 

07 April 2012


I have seen this so many times. It is a watershed in one's spiritual development, when one grows tired of the unending search in various spiritual biographies,  differing teachers and traditions. One feels fed up tasting a little Middle Eastern religion, New Age energy work, Zen koans, Tibetan Mudras  and mantras, healing affirmations and positive thinking, I-am meditations and meditation on the breath, reading about Ramana Maharshi, then Ramakrishna, then Nietzsche and Kant, transcendental meditation, noumena and phenomena. One feels so polluted by 1000 different judgments and concepts about spirituality, gurus, spiritual teachers, spiritual friends, etc., so that one feels utterly poisoned, and one dare not take another bite.

One sees that one has been following a dozen different teachers for five or 10 years, with no real progress. One has been treading the offshore shallows and not gone deep at all into anything, especially into oneself.

You see our path is about Self-Realization, even though that even the Self is eventually transcended.  The Self is the juice of the universe, the potentating agent that makes the universe appear. Objects change; the Self is always the same in one sense as the subject, the knower, even though there is an even higher Knower behind it.

Those whose awakenings have not included self-knowing, self-realization, in my mind lack the richness of love, devotion and surrender, which ultimately is power.  When the Self operates consciously through you, each action carries far more weight than actions by a body/mind who is not self-realized.

There are many paths where the Self is not a goal, and to me, they lack energy, charisma, and true happiness.  For example, most forms of Buddhism emphasize No-Self, which usually is interpreted to mean a personal self just letting “impersonal” activities pour through one’s life, while for the self-realized, all activities are accepted, owned and loved as one’s own.

Therefore spiritual efforts made along some other path than self-realization can only make self-realization more difficult.

So, at some point, somewhere along the line you recognize that your spirituality is really about self discovery, and you also realize this is entirely personal; no one can discover yourself for you; you have to do it yourself.

All the biographies of the great saints, both self-realized or not, as well as all the methods they teach, are their path, not yours.  You may find some sense of commonality reading their biographies, like that of Ramana, but you need to realize you are not Ramana, his way may not suit you at all.

Eventually you need to have faith in yourself, or faith in a guide. All the teachings, concepts about God, surrender, but especially about what the guru is and how are he or she functions, all this must go out the door.  You need to become simple, not complex, focused on the self, not distracted in a dozen different directions.

One must become utterly sick of wasting one's time digging shallow holes in other’s spiritual real estate. One screws up one’s courage and says to oneself, "I have had it. I'm sick of the spiritual marketplace. I know that what I seek is me, the "I am. How do I find that."

You ask yourself, “Does it matter how Ramana or Nisargadatta found themselves? Does it matter what method they recommend?” You say to yourself, I have tried dozens of methods and have read hundreds of books. I am more confused than before I started my search for spiritual knowledge and awakening. I have concepts bouncing around my mind and they all seem equally valid. What am I to do?"

It is this point of maturity that Krishnamurti talks about: The awakening of intelligence, spiritual discrimination. One really stops listening to others about their path of purification, their path of knowledge, their path of meditation, their methodology, their conclusions, their insights. You see for yourself that you have to reject all spiritual concepts and empty your mind. You have to become self-confident and bold, and you say to yourself, "I am through with all of these ideas, concepts, books, and random teachers. No more! I'm done with all of this. From now on I find out only from myself.”

At this point you  are still filled with concepts that you have to discard. Whenever an idea comes up, you need to ask yourself, "Why did I ever believe this? What evidence did I have other than someone said this as their truth in some book or lecture?"

This is like Buddha. For seven years Buddha wandered all over northern India following teachers, reading the Scriptures, practicing different disciplines, Raji yoga, hatha yoga, learning thousands of different spiritual insights learned from others. He became a teacher and had many disciples. Yet he was unhappy. He still was not satisfied. He still did not know which direction to go. He still did not know he was looking for himself.

So he began a long fast to weaken the body so that his mind and spirit could become stronger. He had this concept that if the body was weakened,  the mind and will would be stronger, and he could realize whatever is needed to be realized. He fasted so long and hard that he was very near death. All of his disciples worried about him and beseeched him to eat. Pretty soon he was starving to death. And at one point he realized that his fasting was helping nothing, that his weakened body had also weakened his mind and spirit, and that his life force was leaving his body. So he relented and ate some rice.

After he recovered briefly, he finally came to his senses. He admitted to himself that he had been an utter failure in following everybody else's precepts, methods, understanding, and Scriptures. He realized all this was borrowed knowledge, not his own truth. He realized that only he can discover himself. He couldn't follow someone else's prescription for finding truth.

So, with great determination he sat underneath the Bo tree and vowed  to himself, that if he did not discover the meaning of life, “Why am what I am,” while meditating under the tree, “I will kill myself.”

For three days and three nights he sat underneath the Bo tree meditating. Scriptures do not say what he meditated on. It really is not important. What is important is there was a maturity of intelligence that blossomed in him. He was no longer gullible following any teacher that came along hoping that he had an answer that would satisfy his hunger, or that  The next teacher would have an answer. He saw that that all the methods he had practiced, all the thinking and pondering, all the various meditation types, all the scriptures and hatha yoga postures, had resulted only in confusion and not clarity. He recognized the clarity can only come by stop looking around in the shallows of spiritual knowledge, and instead to go deep within himself relying only on himself. No more purification, only now, immediately, here and now, he had to look into his own soul and find his own truth without books, without guides, without method.

And just before dawn of the fourth day he had his great awakening. Fortunately or unfortunately, his experience is not described, leaving it to the reader to have his or her own experience.

You see, it is also not important what his realization was—for you.  It was his realization.  It was the realization that he needed to come to rest in himself, to find peace, just as Krishnamurti had his own realization, Nisargadatta his, Robert Adams his, and Osho, his.  All were different in a sense, because they were the realizations they needed to come to rest. 

In other words, they didn’t all recognize that the I-thought had no referent, nothing that the word ‘I’ pointed to which is the currently accepted criteria of awakening offered by the neo-Advaitins and some other New Age groups.
However, part of his realization was that any communication that passed between people based on words, was unreal, not truth. All the Scriptures only point vaguely in the direction of the self.  You have to dissolve yourself of any connection with anybody else, any teacher, Ramana, Nisargadatta, Robert, Muzika, and find your own truth.

You have to be ready to dive deep into yourself, no longer tread water in the shallows, but sink to the bottom, go away beneath the mind, shut the mind often go deep inside yourself. Reading does not help you here. Purification does not help you here. Most meditations do not help you here. Just look within at yourself.


On the other hand, there is one other way, and that is to have faith in One Teaching, One Guru whose teachings focus on realizing the Self.  But this is a different story for a different post.  But after wandering aimlessly in various disciplines for over 20 years, I found my one and only teacher, Robert Adams, and awakened by surrendering to him, following him, being close to him,  have constant Darshan with him and his tradition.