20 June 2013

Sex Guru or Love-Emptiness, Advaita Teacher?

Some people seem to be saying that I emphasize sex too much, or that I have become an energy guru, whatever that means.

Absolutely not.

I am truly a teacher of Advaita as were my own teachers, Robert Adams and Jean Dunn.  However, I also was a Zen monk for 12 years and heavily emphasize the knowing or realizing of emptiness or the Void in its various aspects as part of the awakening process. The original Advaitins of the 11th Century never talked about emptiness or the Void, but Robert did as do all Zen teachers and most Buddhist teachers.

Also, Jean’s teacher, my grandteacher, Nisargadatta, emphasized love and devotion both in his method of following and loving the I Am, but he was was almost a pure Bhakta prior to his awakening in the 1930s.  

He talks about his own practice of love and devotion that led to Self-Realization and attaining Krishna-Consciousness in his little book, “Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization” downloadable from the website http://wearesentience.com. He also talks a little about ecstatic energies and bliss.

Combine this background with my third awakening experience that occurred when I fell in love with another person.  That love was not sexual, it was, for me, loving love itself, becoming love itself, worshipping love and surrender and complete devotion to the other, complete surrender to the other. Nor were the experiences associated with it usually explicitly sexual for me.

This awakening led to a tremendous intensification of my experience of inner light and seeing the flow of love as an inner river of different colors, flowing through my “energy body,” an entity within the Subtle Body which has deep roots in Turiya, which also could be called the love/bliss body, a term used by same gurus, including Adi Da and Esmann, though the latter uses it differently.

There was a growing awareness of myself in utter humility, utter surrender to the ‘other’, both in her person-hood, but also as the Self in her that led to an awareness and then worship of the ‘Self of All’ in me.  That is, I first became aware of the ‘divine self’ in her, even before I was aware of it in me.

With this there was a constant state of feeling utterly humble, utterly surrendered to her, to the divine within her and within me, with increasing intervals of feeling smaller than an ant, smaller than a grit of sand, smaller than a dust mote, utterly worthless, wanting only to support and worship God in her and around me everywhere. 

Along with this feeling event or state, I felt a sublime descent of grace as a golden light, falling like rain within me and around me everywhere, becoming like a golden river descending through my head downwards into my heart and body.

This led to the arising of the Self in me as infinite light and power, arising within me and infusing me with divine energy, revealing in utter clarity my small self as the energy-body within and around my physical body, completely separate from the physical body, yet dependent of the body/mind complex for its existence.  That small energy body self, was also just a splinter of the Infinite Self and was energized by the Infinite Self, joined in total oneness, yet as a separate, individualized expression of the Self of All.

On the other hand, the experience of sexual bliss is entirely unlike the bliss and ecstasies that arise as a result of being deeply in love and deeply devoted to an ‘other’, whether that ‘other’ is human, a god or goddess, an animal, guru, the I Am, or “Shakti.”

However, sex and tantra in general are highly useful in two ways: mobilizing the Kundalini-Shakti, and increasing the love-bonding between two people.

On the other hand, the physical expression of sex may sometimes be detrimental to the increase of an intense yearning for the beloved. If the emphasis is on the direct expression of physical sex, the emphasis may shift to the sex act itself and sexual bliss rather than for love of the other. On the other hand, as I said before, it can enhance love and boding between two people.

In addition, as I shall mention later, mobilizing sexual energies is usually a pre-requisite to an awakening of the Kundalini, but I am not a Kundalini teacher.  For me it is about love, and the mobilizing of the various energies within the Subtle and Physical Body will take care of itself automatically given the presence of enough love.

Now, awakening to the internal energies is a mysterious thing. Is it an actual awakening to various internal energies, or a new awareness of energies that were always there?

When I first began practicing meditation in 1967, I did so with incredible intensity, focusing on finding the origin of the I-thought, which took me deeper and deeper into the inner emptiness.  It was like always “pushing” forward into the darkness, pursuing the receding I-thought, going ever more deeply into the darkness, much like a diver going ever more deeply into ever darkening deep waters.

This resulted in the darkness gradually becoming lighted, revealing the inner light of Consciousness, which after a few months, pervaded the entirety of the inner Void revealed.

Along with this came an arising of the Kundalini in my spine, apparently in the wrong channel, the right channel instead of the central channel. It was an incredibly painful experience with all kinds of visions and sensitivities.  

I began to be able to see in the dark and detect electromagnetic currents and fields around me.  I could feel the life energies of plants and animals around me, and had a strange fear of the full moon.  I also had the illusion of being impregnated and giving birth to a divine light infant.  Every afternoon about 2 pm, I felt summoned inside by my deep Self that pulled me downwards into a huge bright light within that terrified me for I knew it meant death.  There were many other happenings and visions.  But there was no bliss at all.

All of these experiences totally disappeared once I went to Mt. Baldy and studied Zen under Sasaki Roshi.  At that point, something else happened.  After 5 minutes of Zen-style sitting in Padmaasana, my mind totally disappeared along with my body. It felt like my mind transited through a period of non-being altogether, then the mind flushed, like a toilet, and the mind disappeared downwards and away from me. 

Even the experience of an inner emptiness disappeared and the boundary between me and the world disolved and there was only oneness.  I and the world were one, but I was not aware of an I. There was just the world and it was me but without announcing I was it.  That came later after I left the state.

This state happened many thousands of times over the next three or four years along with the continued absence of any further experiences of inner energy states.  Yet, had they really disappeared and were no longer functioning either in my physical body or my small-self, the energy body?  I don’t know.  I was no longer aware of the energy body, inner light, Kundalini, etc.  All these were considered Makyo, or illusory, in Zen, and the Zen style of sitting, and the Zen style or practice seemed to eliminate the energies in any perceivable form.

The reawakening to internal energies that occurred after I fell in love along with the arising of the Self within my experience that became a permanent presence of Self-Awareness-of-Self, made meditation automatic and permanent. The energies and bliss constantly drew the attention of Self to Self.

Now, to bring all this into an Advaita model, or at least the model presented by Siddharameshwar, we observe that he talks about the Absolute as being entirely beyond Consciousness, as what Western philosophy called the 'Noumenal' or the 'Unmanifest'. This is also called the thing in itself and is not as observed. 

We, as the Absolute, cannot observe the Self as the Absolute and make it an object. This is the end of the line of seeking. We cannot witness or make the subject into an object; we can only BE the Absolute, and from that position, witness Consciousness.  

That is, we recognize when we try to witness the subject, that it continually recedes from the witness.  More and more of the unknown becomes known as a growing Void, but one’s own sentient source cannot be revealed.  

Instead we need to relax and fall backwards into the witness, until, very suddenly we become it, and the manifest world appears before us, either as we usually perceive it with a sense of separation, or as I perceived it at Mt. Baldy, as my own boundless manifest presence.

Siddharameshwar warns us that the witness of Consciousness, in order to maintain ‘life’ needed to worship the Manifest, or Consciousness, or else dry up and become dead.

This was my own experience too.  I saw in student after student around Robert and around me, that they “died” to life and as such, became lifeless.  But unlike Robert said, they did not experience increasing bliss or happiness, but only deadness and depression.  

Several of Robert students committed suicide when with him or shortly after leaving him.  Many people have written to me that they too felt depressed and sometimes suicidal after practicing self-inquiry as directed by Robert and Ramana.  That is why I changed the technique of self-inquiry from looking for the source of where the I-thought arose, which as emptiness, to loving the I Am sense, and abiding there with an attitude of openness and wonder about that feeling as opposed to pursuing the I-thought. 

The “lowest level” or “deepest level” of Consciousness was Turiya in Siddharameshwar’s model, also known as the fourth state of Consciousness, whose experience was of “existence-knowledge-bliss,” or pure bliss and happiness.  You have to realize this model is merely a metaphor, and there are no levels of consciousness, but you might say there among all things knowable, there are some phenomena that are more subtle and more hidden by the mind’s illusions.  So Turiya may also be regarded as the our subtle essence, rather than the lowest or deepest level.

You might say that instead of Turiya being regarded as the deepest level of Consciousness, it can also be considered the manifest side of the Absolute, with the other three level of consciousness, the external world of the senses, the Subtle Body, and the Causal Body of the Void, being projections from the Absolute.

However, Zen, Robert Adams, Nisargadatta and Jean Dunn all eschewed such intellectualizations as distractions from the pure experience of the unfolding of our awakenings following a practice of self-inquiry or self-abiding. But intellectual people often require a model in words or images for what they are doing.  Their minds require it, and by dwelling on the knowing, the unfolding is slowed.

None of the real awakening experiences or processes has anything to do with something the mind does, like a practice. In fact, it is the mind that has created all the illusions that prevent us from realizing our deeper Self-nature.  Thus the constant checking of the mind, the constantly revising our understanding of what is happening, continual searching for explanation of what is unfolding or how to unfold better is a continual trap hindering the unfolding.

Thus many teachers recommend going into silence of the mind to allow us to “feel” the Self rather than think about it.

My emphasis is on loving the I Am, which Ramana, Robert, and Nisargadatta point out is the direct highway to the Self, to Turiya, the Mother of Consciousness, Krishna Consciousness.  It is the Self, Turiya, leaking upwards into the Subtle Body and Causal Body, which, in meditation, we can then follow “downwards” to the lowest, or most refined aspects of Consciousness, SatChitAnanada, beingness.

This could be called the manifest side of the Absolute, with the other side being the unobservable subject or witness.

Thus, what I teach is pure Advaita, but with an emphasis of emptiness and love, with an acceptance of using awareness of the energies within, whatever they are called, to drag attention inwards to Self.


  1. Ed, I just want to say that after three or four years of following you, reading every blog post, attending satsangs, talking to you in emails and in person--your message has had a perfect continuity and innocence about it. You have kindly and honestly portrayed to us as best you can your direct experiences of the divine maze as they came with the loving intent of passing on our ability to access those same parts of the maze. Never have I heard from you a real inconsistency or untruth. In fact your honesty has seemed to be at the expense of saving face again and again.
    Absorbing your teachings for all this time has given me something I never had in the realm of seeking and that is a DIRECTION to go in along with the CONVICTION and TRUST that it is the correct direction. As you know, being lost in the spiritual realm is so horrible and time consuming. This is what you have thus far helped me avoid and for that I am eternally grateful. Yes your message has seemed to change a bit, but it hasn't altered my particular practice much at all, only enhanced it and given it more energy. The inward, selfward direction is the same, but has taken on colors of feeling and love instead of just a mental attitude...

    Thank you Ed!


  2. This is the most amazingly convoluted name-dropper's guide to the spiritual galaxy I have ever read.
    Sexuality is something that may or may not be present in an already heightened Kundalini/Shakti atmosphere. Ed, you are mistaking symptoms for causes.
    Just because B is followed A does not imply that B was caused by A. A bell rings and a chicken falls dead; that does not mean the bell killed the chicken.

  3. According to who Waldo? Your realization experience, or someone you have read?

    I know you have bitten of the Kundalini apple, but you thin that is the only way? You just shove aside the Bhaktic approach and explain everything in terms of Shakti because it is a new and apparently totally convincing theory to you?

  4. You see, I find loving someone, loving and welcoming the I Am and other experiences as they arise, far more natural than practicing breathing exercises with visualizations for 15-20 years.

    Remember, Rajiv practiced Kriya yoga for 12 years before writing me, after which he had an awakening experience within three months after letting go of the visualizations and breathing exercises.

    I have outlined my path. If you no longer like it, practice whatever way you want for as many years as you want. There is no need to malign my way unless you have already awakened using a different way, and can prove it faster or superior FOR YOU.

    Read Nisargadatta's Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization to ee the results of a pure Bhaktic approach.

  5. I can't understand, why so many people waste their precious time with continuosly finding or even searching for contradictions, mistakes, etc..
    If they are not in accordance with some teaching or teacher, then they shall ignore them and follow their right teacher or method.

  6. Ed I really enjoyed reading your post. It's an authentic teaching that addresses a lot of pits in the Nisargadatta/Siddharameshwar recorded teaching. You are a contemporary man who has paved the path into this teaching for many of us.

  7. Just a thought here, perhaps relegated to the category of idle speculation: Those who you mention committing suicide did so because of unresolved issues that became unbearable owing to the effect of the meditation enhancing the despair they had. This would suggest that in the way Ken Wilber describes it, those issues would have to be worked out previously then for one to make an optimal transition to meditative practice, else they just remain problematic. And so in that case, it wouldn't have mattered at all if they changed from the more "sterile" emptiness kind of practice to the "loving the I am" practice that you evolved....they'd still be suicidal.


  8. Edji: Several of Robert students committed suicide when with him or shortly after leaving him. Many people have written to me that they too felt depressed and sometimes suicidal after practicing self-inquiry as directed by Robert and Ramana.

    Sadhu Om - The Path of Ramana, Part One: Attending to the first person is equal to committing suicide... (Atma Vichara Patikam, verse 7)


    Edji: That is why I changed the technique of self-inquiry from looking for the source of where the I-thought arose, which as emptiness, to loving the I Am sense, ... My emphasis is on loving the I Am, which Ramana, Robert, and Nisargadatta point out is the direct highway to the Self, ... Thus, what I teach is pure Advaita, ...

    Abe: this sounds contradictary to me! Why would you have to change the technique of self-inquiry to loving the I AM sense, when this is the very technique that Ramana, Robert, and Nisargadatta pointed out is "the direct highway to the Self"?! Also, why would they have taught a different technique which made their students suicidal, when they knew that loving the I AM sense is the superior technique?!

  9. They did not, except for Nisargadatta, teach loving the I Am. That is his alone.