30 June 2016

A Path to Awakening Without the Physical Presence of a Guru

I awakened to who I was in 1995 because I was with Robert.

It was not due to his teachings, which appeared to me as disorganized and filled with Hindu folklore, along with his talk of a pervading consciousness and nothingness that did the trick.

It was due to his presence.

People love to read Robert's teachings or listen to his voice because they find it comforting. His teachings comport with other new age teachings and the Vedas and therefore "resonates" with people who read a lot, and they provide the hope of salvation from suffering and pain.

Personally, I don't like the way Robert taught. He spoke of his own experience of the world often, his essential teachings, but he gave far more emphasis to stories and Hindu folklore about karma,reincarnation, the need to destroy the mind and to be  quiet, non-reactive to the world.  That is, he seemed to say, act like him being quiet and non-reactive and awakening will come.

But he never laid out a clear map of passing from body/mind identification, and reaching the understanding that everything was consciousness, and that you are the totality of your experience of consciousness, which he and Ramana called Brahman.

Too many people got lost in a depressive preoccupation with emptiness and quietness which Robert never clearly distinguished from nothingness. Emptiness--space--itself is an observable, part of the nature of consciousness, as is time, while nothingness lacks even these qualities and is beyond consciousness. Preoccupation with emptiness will get you nowhere, while preoccupation with nothingness is an essential quality of sadhana.

People did not awaken around Robert because of his teachings, but because of his presence, his physical presence. In his presence, you "felt" or intuited his experiential state beyond space and time.  The nothingness of which he spoke had a living presence which you could feel.

HOWEVER, there are actual verbal teachings that can help you awaken, other than the most important advice to focus on your own experience. Why Robert did not teach this way, nor Ramana for that matter, I have no idea.  

There is a way of teaching about Robert's world other than his request to imitate him, his silence and nom-reactivity, a way that convinces the mind that its ideas of who and what a human is, and what is real and what is not real, causes a total overthrow of that person's spiritual ignorance and reorients them in consciousness-centeredness as opposed to body-centeredness.

The first step is to realize you are not your body, and the first step here is just to hear that you are not your body. If you are not your body, then what are you? Ponder this question over and over.

Take a close look at your life, your experiences, and you will understand that "you," whatever that is, experience and witness "your" body by means of "your"consciousness. Consciousness is your instrument to observe both your body and the world. This is far different from using your mind to philosophically explore a world of concepts about self, consciousness, and the world.

If you look and feel closely at your experience of your body and the world, you will find somewhere within that totality a sense, or a truth that you exist, that you are.  Sometimes this appears to be an obvious truth not worth stating, but you would be surprised how few people actually feel a sense of existence and a sense of I or I Am. This I Am sense is what gives you a feeling of individuality and the sense that you are alive.

At some point through the practice of attending to your sense of I Am, and through accepting and loving that I Am, expands it into a sense of presence, and at some moment you may explosively experience that I Am as revealing her nature to you in her full glory as the divine Shakti. Shakti arises in you as pure light and spirit, as an explosion of inner energy, bliss, love and a cleansing, purifying grace, and you witness your own essence as Shakti, both divine and human at the same time.

Then for months or years you feel her inside "you" as body, inside "you" as consciousness, as a divine presence, incredibly active and flowing from within and through you into the world. This is realizing yourself as the Manifest Self, as spirit, bliss, consciousness. This was Ramana's awakening and also Robert's.  For some, the experience conveys the truth that there is no me, there is only Shakti.  For others, it is like a partnership between the divine and you as a human, even though those who experience Shakti this way, the partnership is only apparent.  Shakti and you are not two.

This self-realization experience allows you to realize one day that you are not your body, you are consciousness that witnesses your body as one specific and localized "object" within the totality of your awareness, the totality of your manifest consciousness.

You are beginning to enter your freedom from identification with your physical body and move towards identifying with the totality of your consciousness.

But careful observation of that consciousness over the next months or years does something. Eventually even Consciousness no longer appears real. 

Consciousness comes and goes. It alternates between waking, dream, and sleep. Various energies pervade it, alcohol and drugs distort it, and it disappears along with the I Am sensation and your sense of presence in deep sleep.

Consciousness is even less stable and more mortal than your apparent body. It awakens and dies each day at least once. It is fickle, and after a while, even the endless bliss and perceived energies we call Shakti become much like brushing your teeth experiences. Something to be endured even if pleasurable.

And you begin to "see" through consciousness.  It is ever changing, temporal, fickle, and the venue not only for Shakti's play, but also the venue for your experience of discomfort, restlessness, unhappiness, your need to know, and your drive for peace.

All of these things are part of your consciousness, not part of your body, and not part of your mind either, because your mind is experienced and watched in consciousness.  The I Am sensation is in consciousness, mind, suffering, bliss Shakti, your body--all are in and are consciousness, and consciousness is experienced as less and less real.  It begins to appear as a light show, images projected onto a blank space or screen.

But something else is also happening while this is going on.

You have realized you are not your body, and that your body is just experienced in your consciousness, and in all likelihood, consciousness itself has its origin in and through the life of your body. Body creates consciousness, which witnesses and identifies with the body.

You realize that at one time you identified with your body as the entirety of your existence. Then you disidentified with your body, and identified with your consciousness, Shakti, light, energies, bliss and love as your "true" nature. You have had a love affair with the divine, your own consciousness with all of its characteristics and traits.

However, at this time you recognize that you are also the witness of this whole identification/disidentification process. In fact, you are more and more powerfully aware of yourself as the witness standing beyond (or before) both your body and your awareness of self, Shakti, and of the world.

This witness appears to be like a dark void from which the Manifest Consciousness arises each morning. You become aware of yourself as a dark void, a total nothingness that leaps into existence each morning and comes alive. The nothingness which is you comes alive each morning in a new birth when consciousness arises along with the sensation of I Am.

So, you begin to relax into this nothingness, you disappear as body/mind/consciousness into this total nothingness. And, for the first time you recognize that you have come home at last. In this nothingness, no consciousness, no mind, no body, you are in complete peace and happiness being nothing, not thinking, knowing nothing.

At this time you can completely disappear even to yourself in samadhi or into sleep, until once again the world and consciousness emerges from within you as witness for a new birth day. But even when it does emerge, you are aware of the temporality and fickleness of consciousness and realize it is just an appearance, which comes to you who lies entirely and existentially prior to consciousness, untouched by consciousness, and are Unborn.

Body and consciousness--neither are you. You are beyond both. Unborn, not understanding, not knowing, you are entirely beyond existence.

Finally, after long rest in nothingness, you recognize that the reflected consciousness and body are also you, but there is no longer any identification with any of it. Let it do what it wants, what the show wants. While consciousness flickers you still live as a human, nut when it goes, you are untouched.


  1. You speak the same words as Jan Esmann :)

  2. Thank you Sri Edji!
    You said, 'I awakened to who I was in 1995 because I was with Robert'.

    Does this just mean physical presence only?

    Or can a devotee believe in his Guru 100% and also have him in his heart center, living a thousand miles apart and still have an awakening experience? Steve

    1. I think physical presence is necessary at least for some time, then mind-to-mind connection happens or "initiation" happens and then space is not a problem, i believe.

  3. I've often wondered about the physical presence of the guru as catalyst for dramatic change. Among the several retreats I've attended for close to 25 years it has happened modestly if at all with one notable exception. The one time it really happened big time was when I arrived at the retreat in a very agitated state(got lost finding it on top of the discovery it was going to cost a lot more than I'd sent as a deposit). Then for the next few days I chilled out. But I seemed to have been so affected by what this Guru's presentation did having me often laugh uncontrollably and longer than I ever had in ages that a kind of "resonance" resulted in a loss of sense of self lasting several days. I found it to be rather unsettling at times until I eventually got "myself" back intact.

    Can I say with any certainty that the connection established with the Guru created the kind of Shakti that effectively "dissolved" my sense of self? Quite possibly because I was then in a community cut off from the outside world in conjunction with the effect the teaching how on me on a deep level. Yet, it was just an experience, nothing more or less and you could conclude that it attested to the mirage like nature of the personal self if nothing else.