What is Conscious Living?

Friends Being With Friends
Friends Being With Friends

Conscious Living is a description of what happens when the true nature of reality is fully recognized and then this recognition is actualized in the living of day to day life. Conscious Living is the apparent individual fully recognizing that they and everything and everyone else are equal expressions of the totality of being. This recognition is all inclusive. When actually realized, this is Wisdom, i.e. I am a wave in the ocean of life and so is everything and everyone else. There is only the ocean of life and it is all inclusive.

This Wisdom naturally leads to the expression of Joyful Compassion, which is the natural love and acceptance of everyone and everything as an equal expression of the One, including oneself.

Wisdom and Compassion naturally lead to skillful and effective Action in the world as it has been seen that One is only interacting with One’s Self. Conscious Living is the actualization of realization expressed as wisdom, compassion and skillful action in this life and this world as it is. Conscious Living is naturally a playful, loving, skillful and joyful expression of life as it is now.


The Awakened Heart Center

An evolutionary leap is happening within humanity!

This leap is causing much fear, chaos and confusion within our cultures, spiritual systems and ourselves. It is difficult for many people to understand what is happening and to know where to stand. Much of humanity is regressing into fear and desperation instead of evolving into love and creativity.

The great Tantrik tradition of the evolutionary power of Consciousness, or Kundalini Shakti, helps us understand what is happening in the world today. According to this system, the evolution of human consciousness occurs when the resting Kundalini awakens in the first chakra ( chakra = center of consciousness) in the base of the body and unfolds through the subtle spinal line (the sushumna) awakening dormant capacities within the other chakras, including the fourth chakra awareness, “God dwells within me as me” and “God dwells as each other.” This awareness is the beginning of unconditional love and human cooperation instead of aggression and competition

Each ascending chakra includes and yet transcends the previous ones.

The primal function of the first three chakras is about the survival, reproduction and the thriving of “I”, “Me”, “Mine,” the encapsulated sense of being a separate self. The basic driver of these chakras is fear. Fear runs the show. It does not feel safe for fear not to run the show because we are afraid of what would then happen to us. Everything would be out of our control!

THE FIRST CHAKRA is about basic SURVIVAL, getting the essential needs of food, shelter and protection met so the biological being survives. FEAR drives this center. We fear “the other.” More guns are better! PARANOIA is often predominate at this chakra. We tend to fear anyone that is not like us.

After we survive, the next impulse is to reproduce, or the sexual impulse.This impulse arises in THE SECOND CHAKRA located near the reproductive organs. This SEXUAL IMPULSE is not a simple one. So much of society is a function of this chakra manifesting as the ever-changing fashions of clothing, hair, shoes, food, drugs, alcohol, cars, sexual/gender issues, religious repression of sexuality, pornography, and the whole angst of being a teenager. Most of us know the impulses of this chakra very well. The concern of, “looking good,” and “keeping up appearances,”  is this impulse. And then there are the multi-billion dollar industries everywhere that help us think we can look better and be sexier if we just buy and use…! If you want to get very rich, very quickly, create a product that feeds this chakra! JUDGEMENT of self and others, and DESIRE drive this center. We often do things so others will LOOK AT ME!

Now that we have survived and reproduced, the next impulse is to control ourselves, others and our environment. This is THE THIRD CHAKRA, our center of POWER, CONTROL, and COMPETITION manifesting mainly as DOMINATION OR SUBMISSION. This is about winning or losing. A tribe is formed out of our surviving family and relatives and we go out and get as much as we can in terms of food, possessions, territory, sexual partners, etc. If we are not successful, we are subjugated by those who are, the winners. For most of us, this currently manifests as being an employee or boss to others. FEAR, JUDGEMENT, COMPETITION, and DESIRE drive this center. Your boss may threaten you with, “YOU’RE FIRED!” You don’t want to get fired, do you?  Because then you won’t have any money or health insurance. So you’d better behave the way your boss wants  you to. We are essentially slaves. Or you may be the one who is Top Dog at the top of the heap. And you know there will always be someone trying to take your place.  So watch out!

Most of human consciousness is encapsulated within these first three chakras. If you have a conversation with somebody, watch TV, look at the magazines on the news stand, pay attention to religion, politics, or spend much time surfing the internet, you will quickly see that most of the issues that concern human consciouness arise within these first three chakras. Most of our language is conversation about the concerns of these chakras.

Politics and politicians, with very few exceptions, are all about these first three chakras.

There is a psychic knot (granthi) in the area of the diaphragm above the first three chakras. This knot tends to lock most of our evolutionary intelligence, the Kundalini, into the lower chakras. This knot tightens as we get caught into identifying with the dramas (karmas) of life and society. It is why so many people have difficulty taking full, deep breaths as when you actually breath fully, the spiritual power starts moving and all sorts of strange and uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that have been successfully repressed begin to surface into our awareness. Better not to breath or feel. Freeze your diaphragm, the spiritual muscle! Lets keep all of our inner demons suppressed and repressed. Got to look good and keep up appearances if we are to be a successful part of the herd!

Becoming more aware is always stepping from the known into the unknown. Fear and confusion may very well arise. The first three chakras suggest we stay in well charted territory. Our mind, religion and society, which are products of these chakras, totally agree.

When the knot of self-contraction in the area of the diaphragm begins to release, Kundalini moves through into the FOURTH CHAKRA, or THE SPIRITUAL HEART. As our heart awakens, our consciousness undergoes a profound transformation. Although the concerns of the first three chakras remain present, a more powerful and yet apparently confusing impulse arises. It is LOVING KINDNESS AND ACCEPTANCE. Life is no longer about “ME!”, but becomes about “WE!” All of us! And not just about other human beings, but plants, animals, environment, and yes, trees, whales, gays, extra- terrestrial beings, the whole manifest universe. Everything and everyone is interdependent and interconnected. In fact different expressions of Being.

Competition is now replaced by cooperation. The fundamental question of the first three chakras, “What’s in this for me?” is now replaced with an awareness of the unity of all life. It becomes completely obvious that we are all interdependent and interconnected with everything and every being, like different waves in the eternal ocean of being. “I” am all of us! We are all reflections of each other.

As the heart awakens, the loving kindness that arises extends to those still completely hooked by the first three chakras. They are loved, included and accepted as they are. The irony is that loving kindness, cooperation and acceptance is not on the territorial maps of the lower chakras and is thus experienced as very threatening and irrational. The response is fear-based and manifests as judgement, indignity, anger, rage, and attack! It does not feel safe to be kind and loving, especially to those who are not of our tribe!

When we are attacked, it is very easy for those of us not stable in the heart to contract back into fear and aggression and attack back. This simply creates more fear, violence and chaos. It does not solve anything.

It is the problem, not the solution.

The old ways of the human are dying and they are not dying easily. They are dying with resistance, fear and hatred. Religion, politics, economics, sexuality and society as many of us have known them, are rapidly disappearing. True evolution is a movement into the new and unknown. How could it be otherwise? But the driver of this evolutionary impulse is LOVING KINDNESS. It is an expression of our higher truth. This is a time for great faith in this powerful shift. The human mind is mostly a product of the lower chakras and it will not know what to do! It will experience fear, anxiety, depression and confusion as it tries to make the new fit an old map that has not worked.

There is hope and guidance. For millennia, there have been some who have evolved beyond the first three chakras to awaken in the heart and even beyond. They have left us sign posts, but these sign posts have all too often been interpreted by the programming of the first three chakras so we end up with more of the same. Fortunately, there are always people alive on earth awake in the heart. They offer us a simple truth. Our mind will all too often defend its territory against this truth with the latest conspiracy theory or responses such as, “Yeah, but… “, or “What if…. ”

The way of the awakened heart is simple. It is living from loving kindness, compassion,  acceptance, cooperation and joy. It is fearless. It does not make any sense to the lower chakras as it seems there is nothing here for them.

One living example of the awakened heart is Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. When asked what his religion is, he replied, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

Are we able to say the same thing? Can we overcome our fear and confusion, accept the invitation of evolution, and allow this loving intelligence to flow into our hearts and awaken loving kindness for ourselves and for all beings everywhere?

It is not too late. It can happen now. Relax, breathe, open your Heart and it will happen.

Love Is The Answer. It is effortless. And all inclusive.

The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there, and roam. ~ Bhagawan Nityananda


“YOU” As the Siddhi of Non-dual Tantrik Awareness

IMG_1909First, the usual disclaimer that these words are simply pointers towards something beyond mind, beyond words, beyond the relative and yet also includes mind, words and the relative. Not two. These words have the power to awaken an intuitive realization of something true about life, true about you, that is well worth living and being. I am pointing towards this possibility that is here and always present, and am willing to clarify it, but am not willing to argue about it nor defend it. This pointing is descriptive, not prescriptive, although it is fun to have a prescription now and again. So consider this.

Tantrik realization is the direct recognition that the dual and the non-dual, the relative and the absolute, the unborn and the born, the enlightened and the deluded, you and all that is not you, are One and the same. There is no difference.

For some of us there comes a time when the normally accepted goals and purposes of life no longer make sense. We begin to deeply question what life is all about, if anything at all. This questioning is usually triggered by some sort of suffering in our lives, even the suffering of having it all- health, wealth, love and fame–and discovering we still feel empty or incomplete. When this questioning begins, we discover there are all sorts of answers available everywhere. Religious institutions, metaphysical systems, new age teachings, gurus, cults, philosophy and science all have answers for us. Based on our natural disposition, we will be inclined towards one set of answers or another. Our search for our answer begins by looking out there beyond ourselves into the world of belief, knowledge, theories, practices, rituals, books, teachers, therapists, and what-have-you.

If we are lucky, someone will point out that no matter what answers we may find or path we may follow, the whole process and problem of life is predicated on this sense of a “me” separate from everything else. “Me” or “I” is the common denominator of everything that happens in our life. Without “me,” there is no awareness, no life, no experience, no thoughts, and no problems!

So now the investigation of “what is this “me” or “I” ?” begins, since everything in life is predicated on this “me” or “I”. I am going to assume that everyone who is reading this has done this investigation, so I won’t have to bore you or me to death by describing all the details of this investigation. Very simply, you look at the looker and become conscious of this that is aware of the “I” sense and everything else. Done sincerely, it is discovered that Consciousness is the context of all experience, including the experience of “me” or “I”. It is seen that Consciousness is aware and that is All. As Itself, It has no form or attributes and yet is aware of Itself as all forms and attributes. Consciousness is all inclusive in its awareness. It is aware of everything and nothing. Everything and nothing are not two in the context of Consciousness, as both are equal expressions of Consciousness.

Without Consciousness nothing exists. Nothing exists because of Consciousness. (Pay attention to what you just read!)

Non-dual Tantra is all inclusive and allows everything to be as it is, as there is only Consciousness Being Aware of Itself as the contents of Its own awareness. This Consciousness freely includes Itself as the apparent dual nature of relative experience and of an apparent “me” separate from everything else.

The Siddhi of Consciousness is Its power to recognize Its own true nature and at the very same time Its own creative play as the apparently limited forms expressed as duality. This power is Chit Kundalini Shakti. It is the pre-set alarm clock that wakes Consciousness up out of the dream of separation and yet at the same time allows Consciousness to be free and lucid within the dream of separation. After-all, dreamer or no dreamer, form or formless, relative or absolute, there is only Consciousness. This is recognition is true moksha, or the freedom of Consciousness to be as It is.

When Consciousness seems only identified as a separate individual “me” in a universe of “other than me”, the Kundalini, or power of Consciousness to know Itself, is asleep and Consciousness is hypnotized into identification with and separation in the form it is freely manifesting as.

When seeking begins within the “me”, Kundalini is beginning to awaken Consciousness from the dream of separation. This awakening can appear to be sudden or gradual, caused or uncaused. There appears to be a sudden or gradual collapse of Consciousness identifying with the forms, dreams and dimensions it has created. Perfect freedom then recognizes Itself as always already having been perfectly free.

It also recognizes that a perfect expression of its perfect freedom is the dream character, the “me” and all of “my” delusions and dreams, desires and aversions. Everything and nothing are all It. It is all Chit Kundalini Shakti. It is Consciousness at rest and Consciousness at play, Consciousness without form and Consciousness as form, dual and non-dual, One and the same. It is you, being who you are as you are. You are the Siddhi of Non-dual Tantrik Awareness. Simply Be as you are.

As Wayne Liquorman says, “You can’t do this wrong.”

Only Shiva


For Baba Muktananda

Don’t speak to me of Liberation

O great yogis who hide in caves

afraid of this silly world.

Mother Maya has you in her clutches

now more than ever.

If your eyes were clear

you’d never speak of such nonsense as

bondage and liberation,

life and death,

the wheel of samsara.


Walk with me

and see things as they are.

Do not be afraid of wine, women, and children.

Drop your desire to be holy or great.

Drop your desire for enlightenment and liberation.

Drop everything finally for all

and rest in the Natural State.

Then you will see

you have always been free

and all of your antics and anxieties

are mere dribble from a fool’s mouth.

There is only Shiva.



I was very fortunate as a young child, but it took me many years to realize why. I was what would be called neurodivergent, in today’s world. I did not begin speaking until I was old enough to have my parents pretty worried about it. Family legend has it that one evening we were all sitting around the dinner table and my parents were discussing what they should do about the fact that I couldn’t talk. My brother, who is almost three years older than I am, piped up and told them that in fact I could and did talk, but only to him. They found this hard to believe, so Mike grabbed my bowl of ice cream (I love ice cream) and wouldn’t give it back to me until I asked for it. Which I did. My parents were stunned. It was the first time they had ever heard me speak.

I am also dyslexic. One definition of dyslexia is difficulty in interpreting words, letters, and other symbols. The key word here is “interpret.” Interpret according to what criteria? Interpreting something is a way of making that something fit into the neat box of our personal/social conditioning. When we begin to interpret, we are stepping away from the actual reality of the moment into our conditioning.

Being neurodivergent, I wasn’t exactly a whiz in school. I was not good at being hypnotized. As my mother loved to point out, things would come in one ear and go right out the other. The programming was not working, not because I was fighting it, but because it just didn’t seem to have anything to grasp onto.

At an appropriate age, my brother proved to me that our father was Santa Claus by showing me that all of the little gifts that we left for Santa were hidden away in my father’s den closet. Well, I can’t say I was very disillusioned, as I had always found the whole thing a little hard to buy in the first place. I may have been LD, but I wasn’t stupid, so I never said anything. I loved getting gifts as much as anyone. Years later, my parents finally figured out that we had stopped believing in Santa quite a while back.

By this time in our lives, Mike and I were made to attend church and Sunday school for awhile. And there were a bunch of grown-up, supposedly intelligent and successful adults believing in stuff like a judgmental and wrathful God, who was also loving and forgiving, but only if you did exactly what you were supposed to and believed exactly what you were told to. It took me some time to realize that they really believed all of this stuff was true. More than that, they really believed that we should believe it, too. That really scared me. My question then, and still, is: “How do you know?” Their answer: “We believe!” Well, if I’m going to “believe” in something, I’m going to “believe” in Santa Claus. Simpler story. Nicer guy.

Being neurodivergent, I had learning problems. My poor mother was very concerned about this and began telling me on a regular basis that I had better get through college or I’d be a ditch digger for the rest of my life. (Actually, digging ditches isn’t so bad. Part of what I did as a Conscientious Objector during the Vietnam war was dig ditches out in the woods. You had job security, as no one wanted your job. And the supervisors seldom bothered you, as they didn’t want to have to jump down into the ditch and show you how to do a better job!) My mother finally succeeded in getting me worried about all of this and so I read self-help books, learned self-hypnosis, hung around with very smart girls (a practice I continue to this day), and basically tried to “learn” to give a whole bunch of meaning and significance to things that, on first glance, certainly did not appear to have much meaning or significance at all.

Basically, what I was learning to do was cathect.

The word “cathect” comes from psychoanalytic theory. It means to invest our libidinal energy (creative life force and emotional energy), consciously or unconsciously, into projecting meaning and significance to particular ideas, events, objects, or people.

I eventually began to learn to give significance and meaning to money, education, status, cars, houses, political parties, certain people, and, above all else, spiritual and religious teachings and the gurus that offered them. The good news, although I didn’t know it at the time, was that I am LD.

Since I was now seeking significance and meaning in life, I naturally turned to the spiritual path. One of my first teachers was a very powerful and charismatic guru. He walked the talk as being in his presence did trigger radical mystical states of consciousness, many of which brought about profound transformations.

He claimed his mission in the West was to bring about a meditation revolution. I already knew the tremendous value of meditation, so I was all for it. My fantasy was that as disciples we would sit at his feet for hours a day in profound states of samadhi, so I spent two summers at his ashram training to be a teacher and meditation center leader and spending as much time in his presence as I could.

What we actually did at his ashram was spend hours a day chanting our brains loose. One of the chants we did every morning for about an hour and a half (it seemed like an eternity to me) was about the glory of the guru. According to this chant, the guru is not a human, but the grace-bestowing power of God. The guru is God. In fact, the guru is greater than God. The guru, with infinite power and wisdom, has taken human form as this little old Indian man, and if we had any sense at all, we would worship the very ground he walks on. And so we did!

Cathect. Cathect. Cathect. The chanting was a crash course in cathecting, given every day when we were barely awake! We were learning to cathect all sorts of meaning and significance onto the guru. Fortunately, I was LD and it didn’t really take. I in no way disparage the incredible value I received from this man and his teachings, but over time I began to see that most spiritual teachers and teachings were waking us from one trance only to put us to sleep in another.

Disciples cathect on gurus. Catholics cathect on crucifixes. Buddhist cathect on Buddha statues.  Teenagers cathect on rock stars. Adults cathect on movie stars. Infatuated couples cathect on each other. Patients cathect on therapists. Therapists cathect on patients. Readers cathect on books. Citizens of a country cathect on their flag.

When the cathexis ends, usually so does the relationship.

I definitely learned to cathect on books. When I was in the second grade, I had to go to a special private school in Connecticut to learn how to read. Once I learned to read, I came to love books. All of the secret answers to the universe were hidden in books, if you could just find the right ones. I knew it. Over the years, I read thousands of books. Most of them were spiritual books. I read them from cover to cover, underlining everything, and then read them again, this time using a red pen to underline the even more significant passages. Books were great treasures. I loved bookstores. In fact, I met my wife, Bonnie, in the wonderful bookstore she owned. I didn’t cathect on her. I clearly saw her as the absolutely perfect and beautiful being she is.

For many years I continued to go to gurus, spiritual teachers and spiritual retreats. Eventually, I became a spiritual teacher. As a spiritual teacher, the heat was on. People came to me wanting to hear some comforting interpretation of some supposed truth. Initially, I taught what I had been taught. I “knew” an incredible variety of techniques, methods, teachings and information that I had received directly from the hands of great gurus. I had the spiritual energy thing going. It really worked. People just loved this stuff! It was cool and neat and fun and certainly gave us all something comforting to believe in. Some people actually experienced my spiritual “powers.” Some suspected I might actually be a “guru.” People began to cathect on me. If I had had any sense, I’d have taken the ball and run with it.

Well, the problem was, being LD and all, I began to notice that if I didn’t keep propping up all of this spiritual stuff all the time with an incredible investment of  practice, thought, concepts, belief and energy, it kept falling apart. This made me very suspicious!

How true is something if you have to believe in it in order for it to be true?

How true is something if you have to keep propping it up all the time in order for it to be true?

These questions were like a koan or depth charge that sunk to the very depths of my being and exploded.

I realized that if something is true, I don’t have to believe in it, because it is true. I only have to believe in things that aren’t true.

Suddenly I stopped believing in anything.

Suddenly, “I” spontaneously stopped propping up all of “my” beliefs and philosophies. The bottom fell out. The entire universe as I had known it collapsed.

“Me,” as I had known “me” to be, disappeared.

The world stopped. Cathexis stopped.

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” ~ Philip K. Dick

As cathexis ended, it was discovered that the one thing that had been cathected the most was this idea and image of a separate and unique “me!” When cathexis ended, the experience of a separate “me” ended. This cathected “me” idea was the source of all other cathexis.

When it is said that you create your own reality what is really being said is that the creative intelligence that has become identified with a “me” is now cathecting an entire universe to prop “me” up. When “I” give meaning and significance to something, it becomes the mirror that reflects meaning and significance back to “me.” “My” thoughts, “my” feelings, “my” experiences, “my” guru, “my” car, “my” religion, “my” country, “my” beliefs, “my” opinions,  “my” husband or wife. It makes “me” appear more real.

The human being, or the human instrument, begins its programming long before it is born into this world. First, it is full of genetic material that gives it so many of its natural dispositions, not only physically, but also in terms of personality and life tendencies. For example, one is born with a tendency to be either an introverted or an extraverted personality. This immediately makes a difference in how one interacts with others and perceives the world.

Also, while in the womb, the growing fetus is influenced by the mother’s blood chemistry. If she smokes, drinks, uses cocaine or other substances, healthy or unhealthy, so does the baby. This influences the baby’s neuroendocrine development. The baby is born with certain chemical preferences already in the system.

Hypnotic regression has demonstrated that the external emotional/psychological environment of the mother profoundly influences the developing baby. If the expecting parents fight and scream at each other, not only is the baby flooded with adrenaline, cortisol and other powerful stress chemicals, but the negative energy of the screaming is felt and internalized by the baby. And if the parents laugh a lot, love the baby, talk to it, have it listen to beautiful, joyful music, and send it lots of loving energy, this will have a very positive effect on its development.

And so the human instrument is born already well programmed with certain tendencies and inclinations. Then it is given a name. As soon as the human instrument identifies with the name (Hi, I’m Richard), the name becomes the box, the “me,” that holds its unique and separate identity. “I” am a girl or a boy, smart or dumb, good-looking or homely, Catholic or Muslim, American or Australian, spiritual or material, rich or poor, entitled or undeserving, confident or insecure.

Whatever “I” become, I cathect significance and meaning into it, and it becomes “real” to me. A crucifix seen by a devout Catholic exists in a completely different world than a crucifix seen by a traditional Thai Buddhist, who does not cathect a personal deity out into the universe at all. A Catholic and a Buddhist cathect different universes, and tend to believe their universe is the “real” one.

When cathexis ends, all projected meaning and significance disappear. When this happens, if there is still some belief in a separate and unique “me,” existential despair arises. Uh-oh! If there is no significance and meaning in anything, what is the point of “me”? What is the purpose of “my” life? Who am “I”? How should “I” live “my” life? These are the existential questions of despair shouted out of the now apparently empty and meaningless box of “me.” The “me” is now attempting to give meaning and significance to the fact that life has no meaning and significance. This seemingly nihilistic view is simply another philosophical stance the “me”  mind takes to  protect itself.

A lucky “me” will now run right smack into an authentic teacher who will have the honor of delivering the coup de grace. Whack! It’s over.

A healthy “me,” facing existential despair, will go to therapy, join a church, find a “new age” guru, take Prozac, get an advanced degree, and one way or another, learn to cathect again. “I” was so lost, but now “I” have been born again and feel so much better. “I” know who “I” am. “I” have taken initiation. “I” have a new spiritual name. From here on out, “I” shall be known as Sri Avidyananda …, as “I” am now a committed believer in … Pick something. It doesn’t really matter what. Cathect. Cathect. Cathect.

If the process of cathecting somehow comes to a complete stop, the pure awareness that enlivens the human body-mind instrument no longer has a separate “me” to worry about and reflect upon. The being simply is, present and aware. There continues to be a functional cognitive center within the body, but not much occupies its psychic space as it no longer has to keep propping itself up by constantly thinking about itself.

Life creates it, uses it, flows through it, and is it. The being relaxes into life as it wants to be lived. There is no resistance to it being as it is, and no problem, even if it cathects. All the thought that was once necessary to prop up a separate sense of self with its own little world is now gone. There is silence instead. All the life energy once used to hold “me” and “my” world together is now free to dance as it will. And it does.

When the cathecting stopped here, the LD seemed to return big time. This brain now seems to be very allergic to most concepts, stories, beliefs, thought structures, books, magazines, newspapers, news stories, movies, TV shows (with the exception of The Gilmore Girls), Internet information, etc. It can’t and won’t process most of it. Some kind person will lend me a video to view, a book to read, or CD to listen to and the brain just won’t respond.

Cathecting is not wrong, good or bad. It is what the “I” does to give significance, purpose and meaning to its life. Cathecting does seem to cause apparent problems among the apparent “me’s” that actually believe in what they have cathected and then kill, burn, torture, blow up or disparage those “me’s” that have cathected something else out into the vastness. The greatest cathected value is in the separate “me” itself, without which the meaningful world cannot be projected. We love our illusions. We are our illusions. We resist being disillusioned.

The job of a true teacher is to disillusion us. 

This human instrument is learning disabled. It was never been fully programmed. Whatever programming seemed to happen was tenuous, to say the least. My mother would always say, “You have to try harder!” “I” tried, “I” really tried! And it all seemed to work very well for a while. Cathect. Cathect. Cathect.

But when the trying stopped, it all collapsed back into the silence it always already is.

The life scripts and the set of assumptions they are based upon are gone. All philosophical, religious, metaphysical and existential questions are gone. There is no past or future.

Everything that exists, exists now. Everything that happens, happens now. This is it. This is all there ever is.

And if “you” don’t like this, well, cathect something!   ❤️

Satsang and Natural Meditation


In the second half of satsang, we meditate together.

WHEN MEDITATING, it is helpful to sit in a comfortable, upright position, with spine, neck, and head in alignment. Let your breathing be relaxed, deep and diaphragmatic. Feel yourself effortlessly being breathed.

Meditation is being, not doing. 

You don’t meditate. You allow meditation to happen.


It is a Natural, Effortless, All Inclusive Way of Being.

RESTING means you are not attempting to change, manipulate or accomplish anything. You are simply resting, allowing everything to be as it is. There are no problems to be solved.

EFFORTLESS means you are not trying to be anything or anyone, nor make anything happen or not happen. You accept and welcome everything as it is, including yourself and your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

CHOICE-LESS means you don’t have to choose one thought, feeling, or experience over another, nor think or figure anything out.

SILENT means resting as the silence out of which everything arises and to which everything returns. Silence is always present and is the source of all there is. Silence is what is. You are this silence. “Silence is the language of God.” ~ Rumi

AWARENESS allows everything to be as it is.  It is the ultimate context of all and everything. It is the first fact all other facts appear within. You are effortless awareness. This is true under all circumstances. Simply rest as awareness, aware of itself.

If your attention is hijacked by a thought stream flowing into the past or future, simply notice it and gently return your attention to the natural flow of your breath, which is always right here right now. And then once again effortlessly rest as the vast open sky of awareness.

Do Not Follow the Past.

Do not anticipate the future.

Rest as the present moment. 

Leave your mind alone.  ~ Padmasambhava

Resting free and easy without fixation, fabrication or rumination is liberation. ~ Padmasambhava

Guru Rinpoche 

The Joy of Meditation

joyPineStraw Magazine, January 2009

Updated in 2018

We now offer meditation and satsang every Sunday at 11 am via Zoom.
Please see: http://www.theawakenedheartcenter.com/sunday-morning-meditation.html

Everyone is welcome!

When people find out that I have been meditating regularly for over 50 years, they often ask, “Why? What does it do for you?

There are many reasons why I meditate, but the one that has kept me going all of these years is that it is fun! There is great joy in regular meditation. It is like going on a wonderful adventure every day. Not only is meditating fun, but in these difficult and challenging times, meditation gives us the capacity to be effectively engaged in our lives in a peaceful and joyful way. We stop taking everything, including ourselves, so seriously. We laugh more easily and are relaxed more often. Struggle decreases and flow increases.

One way to think about meditation is that it is conscious participation in the evolution of our being. Scientific research shows that meditation awakens many wonderful capacities within us that often lie dormant.

Meditation has been researched over 2,000 times in over 500 universities around the world for the past 40 years. One of the more recent studies I participated in was from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The scientific and medical research consistently shows that the regular practice of meditation produces brain wave coherence; stabilizes blood pressure; strengthens the immune system; reduces stress, anxiety, and depression; improves mental functioning; creates a happier, more positive attitude towards life; slows the aging process; dramatically decreases the fear of death; enhances the joy of living; increases self-confidence, creativity, spiritual faith, and awareness; and gives an enhanced sense of the unity of all life. And this is just the short list.

Tami Simon, founder and CEO of Sounds True, the largest and most successful producer of spoken-word spiritual material in America, says, “As a longtime meditator, it has become clear to me that spiritual discoveries — direct experiences of the interconnectedness and sacredness of all life — are self-authenticating. When I meditate on a regular basis, I feel more fulfilled and more in love with life. I have also found that when I meditate regularly, the people around me enjoy being with me more and find me more available for connection.”

Tami’s experience is typical of most meditators. This is why we meditate!

Meditation is simple, but not always easy. From an early age most of us have learned that if we want to get somewhere in life we need to stay focused, have clear goals, and work hard. But if we bring this attitude of effort to our meditation practice we won’t be able to meditate. Meditation occurs in an entirely different domain than the activities of our daily life. Meditation is being, not doing.

Meditation is natural. It is not something we do but something we allow to happen. When we meditate we have to be willing to take our hands off the steering wheel of life for a little while and just let go and allow everything to be as it is. As our minds tend to have multiple control issues about almost everything, this is easier said than done, so we gently focus our attention on one of the most natural, ongoing rhythms of life — our breath. Our breath naturally flows in and flows out all by itself, like a gentle ocean wave.

As we meditate, we relax into this natural rhythm of our breath flowing in and flowing out. Our brain downshifts. As the brain hemispheres integrate and balance, our mind becomes more quiet. The stress and anxiety of our day-to-day life dissolves and a deep sense of peace and well-being permeates every level of our being. The cells of our body begin to vibrate with energy and bliss.

As we let go even more deeply, we simply come to rest as effortless, choiceless, silent awareness. This is meditation. It transforms us completely from the inside out.

As the scientific research on meditation moves into the public domain, more and more people from all walks of life are turning to meditation to find relief from the stress and anxiety of day-to-day living. Not only is the process of meditating very calming and relaxing, but through meditation we discover the unshakeable foundation of peace, love and well-being that is actually the very ground of our being.

 For over 20 years we offered a free, open meditation program every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at  The Awakened Heart Center for Conscious Living in Southern Pines. Initially only a handful of people attended, but over the years more and more came on a regular basis. A wonderful community of loving and caring friends emerged. People were often  surprised to discover their accountant, golfing buddy, riding companion, lawyer, AA sponsor, doctor, gardener, mechanic, soldier, jeweler, daughter, old friend, or minister sitting next to them at the program. Everyone was welcome.

A number of years ago a woman called me about attending the meditation program. She was concerned that meditation may be in conflict with her religious beliefs. She told me she went to church every Sunday and was deeply committed to her faith. I suggested that she attend the meditation program and if at any time she felt uncomfortable with what was going on, she was free to leave. And so she came. Her mouth fell open when she saw her minister and his wife sitting quietly in the meditation room. They had been regulars at the programs for quite some time.

Although many religious and spiritual traditions all over the world have practiced meditation for thousands of years, meditation transcends all traditions. We do not have to believe or accept anything to meditate, nor do we have to give up any beliefs we may cherish. Since I was given my teacher’s blessing to teach in 1976, I have taught meditation to people of every religion and every imaginable background from prisoners to priests. To see the stress and worry in a person’s face dissolve into peace, light, and joy makes teaching meditation a real blessing.

For millions of people, meditation is a powerful and life-transformative daily practice. It brings peace, love and a positive perspective to every aspect of their life. Kurt Krueger, founder and chief instructor at the Institute of Sports Psychology, and coach of world record holders in swimming, had been away from personal training for over 11 years. Nonetheless, he decided to enter the Senior (Masters) Olympics swim competition. He won 11 gold and 5 silver medals. His only preparation? He meditated regularly.

Now is a good time to begin to take the time to turn within, meditate, and discover the peace that passes all understanding that always dwells within you. It is the very essence of your being. And inner peace becomes world peace.

Hamsa: The Natural Mantra of Breath, Prana and Kundalini


The Secret of the Siddhas!

In 1976, Tom’s guru empowered him with this simple, powerful and effective mantra as a way to transmit Shaktipat, the gift of grace that safely awakens the supreme creative intelligence within us known as Kundalini Shakti.

In fact, Kundalini awakens us. We don’t awaken Kundalini.

Awakened Kundalini leads to the direct experience that we are all individuated expressions of Infinite Awareness. The Ocean and Wave are not two.

The great sage Gopi Krishna said, “This mechanism know as Kundalini is the real cause of all genuine spiritual and psychic phenomena, the biological basis of evolution and the development of personality, the secret origin of all esoteric and occult doctirnes, the master key to the unsolved mystery of creation, the inexhaustible source of philosophy, art and science, and the fountainhead of all religious faiths, past, present and future.”

The HAMSA mantra is spiritual power vibrating as a sound structure. 

Hamsa is a liberation (moksha) mantra. It enables the direct recognition of our infinite freedom. It illumines the whole path from beginning to end, the Absolute Being the Relative. It is your very life. 

The Ham-sa mantra is pulsative. It is called ajapa-japa, or the mantra that spontaneously occurs within our breath.  It balances the flow of prana in the Ida and Pingala nadis thus integrating the brain hemispheres, soothing and toning the vagal nerves, and opening the Sushumna nadi, the current of Bliss. It creates profound coherence on every level of our being and the energy fields around us. This safely allows the Kundalini to unfold through the chakras or spiritual centers of consciousness. Many evolutionary capacities awaken and manifest within us and also around us. We recognize our true nature, which is the true nature of all and everything. There is only God. God is Being You.

Ham (pronounced Hong like in “song”) is the pureI AM” or Shiva – Absolute Infinite Awareness at rest.

Sa (pronounced Sauh like in “saw”) isTHAT” or Shakti – Absolute Infinite Awareness at play. All and everything.

Dynamic Stillness

Not two.

All there is, is all inclusive infinite awareness. Awareness is the first fact all other facts appear within.

Kundalini is the Mother of all Yogas including Hatha, Raja, Bhakti, Jnana and Karma yoga.

The Yogic Pathways are like the limbs on the Tree of Life and Kundalini is the sap that feeds them all.


(Additional and more detailed instructions are given by Tom in weekly satsang)

Your breathe flows in and flows out without any effort at all.

Your breathe naturally flows in with the vibration of Hong, pauses a moment, flows back out with the vibration of Sauh, pauses a moment and then flows back in ……

When meditating, it is helpful to sit in a comfortable, upright position, with spine, neck, and head in alignment. It is the creative power of  Kundalini that has humans evolve as upright beings.

Notice that you don’t really breathe. Breathing happens by itself. You are being breathed. Without any effort at all your breath naturally flows in and flows out like a gentle ocean wave. Relax into feeling yourself being breathed by the one breath of God. Let your awareness gently surf the natural flow of your breath, flowing in and flowing out without any effort at all.

Your breath is prana, the radiant life force, and the creative energy of all life. The prana flows in with the soft sound of HONG and flows out with the soft sound of SAUH.

When actually experienced in meditation as the life force, the Hamsa mantra sounds like HONG (like in “song”) with the inhalation, SAUH (sounds like “saw”) with the exhalation.

Gentle awareness of the natural mantra of your breath, Hong-Sauh, helps you relax into meditation. Feel your breath, mantra, and attention merge together into one beautiful, flowing, living current of energy. This current naturally and effortlessly awakens your spiritual power. As this meditative power unfolds, you no longer make an effort to meditate, as meditation now happens spontaneously by itself. You are Being meditated. Let Go and Let God/dess. Let Shiva/Shakti dance!

HAMSA is the natural, effortless and spontaneous awareness of I AM THAT. This awareness is all inclusive. It is the ultimate context of all and everything. You are this effortless awareness. This awareness welcomes everything as it is as everything is its own expression. This awareness is true and present at all times, and in all circumstances and situations. This is Sahaj Samadhi or Awake Presence 24/7.

Siddha Meditation is the recognition that everything you see, touch, hear, smell, taste, imagine, think, dream or in anyway experience is the same Divine Consciousness as your Self.” – Baba Muktananda

As you slip into meditation, let go. Just as a pole vaulter has to let go of the pole to go over the top of the bar, so now let go of all methods as you flow into natural, effortless, spontaneous meditation. You don’t meditate. You allow meditation to happen. You are being meditated. Something wonderful is happening through you as you. Simply rest as effortless, choice-less, silent awareness. Simply Be as you are.

“Some philosophers say the Truth can not be known. Yet the Truth is always experienced, at every moment of our lives.” – Baba Muktananda

“God dwells within you as you” ~ Swami Muktananda

The Four Expressions of Natural Meditation


Truth, Awareness, God is simultaneously immanent and transcendent. Natural (sahaj) Meditation is the spontaneous process of the Infinite Light of Awareness living through you as you (Kundalini.) This Light manifests as Awareness, Love, Joy, Creative Intelligence, and Skillful Action. This happens now. The more you rest as presence, the greater this Light shines through you. There is only this Light.

Kundalini Shakti is the individuated aspect of this Light of Awareness manifesting within you as you. There are four expressions of Natural Meditation.

(Additional and more detailed instructions are given by Tom in weekly satsang)

1. Settling the Mind: Exclusive meditation – focusing to quiet the mind.

Sit upright in a comfortable position with spine, neck and head in proper alignment. It is the creative power of  Kundalini that has humans evolve as upright beings. After completing pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing, Breath of Fire and the Circle of Light), allow your attention to gently focus in the hara (kanda in yogic terms) below the navel and feel yourself being breathed. The belly expands with inhalation and contracts with exhalation. The Kanda is where the Kundalini Shakti rests. Ujjayi breathing with the Hamsa (Hong-Sauh) Mantra can help focus attention. Ham is “I Am” or Shiva, the Absolute Transcendent Awareness. Sa is “This” or Shakti, the immanent manifestation of the play of Consciousness. With each inhalation, hear the sound of HONG – as in song – in the breath. With each exhalation, hear the sound of SAUH – as in saw – in the breath.  If attention wanders, gently bringing it back to the mantra and the breath as this balances the currents of life (prana) within you and allows the Kundalini to safely and naturally unfold. If spontaneous (sahaj) meditation begins to happen, let it happen.

2. Resting as Effortless, Choice-less, Silent Awareness: Inclusive Meditation: Being – allowing everything to be as it is.

Your hands are now off the steering wheel of life and “you” are not doing anything. Let go of all control and the need to manipulate anything. Welcome everything on every level. There is just the presence of awareness effortlessly and naturally noticing whatever arises. Free attention will spontaneously move within this infinite field of awareness. Simply Be As You Are without any modifications. If spontaneous (sahaj) meditation begins to happen, let it happen.

3. Natural Spontaneous Meditation (sahaj meditation) happens. You are being meditated:

This occurs when the Kundalini Shakti takes over and meditates you. You open and relax completely into the process.  Deep surrender spontaneously happens. This is Divine Love and Intelligence working very deeply within you on every level of your being. This phase of meditation can be called Letting Go and Letting God/dess.

4. Eyes Open or Natural Sahaj Samadhi – the all inclusive awareness of HRIDAYA — The Heart of Conscious Living — I AM Nothing Being Everything:

This is 24/7 meditation based on the awareness that there is only Awareness, Awareness is all there is. Awareness dwells within you as you and as all beings and all things everywhere. You recognize that you, the entire universe and everything in it is the play of the Light of Awareness. You are this. This is as God as it gets.

Some philosophers say the Truth can not be known. Yet the Truth is always experienced, at every moment of our lives.” – Baba Muktananda

“Siddha Meditation is the recognition that everything you see, touch, hear, smell, taste, imagine, think, dream or in anyway experience is the same Divine Consciousness as your Self.” 
– Baba Muktananda

“God dwells within you as you.” – Baba Muktananda

Meditation…It’s Not What You Think!


Henry David Thoreau once said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we know that we have frequently experienced that sense of desperation. It is a very uncomfortable feeling that undermines the myths by which we live our lives. Most of us, when we feel that sense of quiet desperation engulfing us, immediately distract ourselves by turning on the TV, picking up a book, calling a friend, or going to our church or therapist. We run from our desperation back into the safety of our world view, which gives us a sense of meaning and importance in our lives. But sooner or later, perhaps in the dark and quiet hours of the night, the feeling of desperation returns.

If we have the courage to be honest, and if we take the time to just be with ourselves without any distractions, we will find that most of what we think we know about ourselves and life in general we really don’t know; that in fact we have just accepted the beliefs and opinions that have been handed to us by whatever authority figures we have had in our lives. And on some level, we are aware that they don’t know, either. With this realization, our desperation grows. If we don’t know and they don’t know, who does know? This open-minded and courageous inquiry into the truth of our lives is the beginning of true meditation. We don’t know. And this needs to be recognized.

What most of us do is seek the answer to the big question of our lives in some outer arena. We turn to a book, a guru, a new age prophet, or the latest authority on love, life, and enlightenment. We search for a remedy for our desperation. And occasionally we find some novel idea or teacher that soothes us for awhile. But when the novelty wears off, the quiet desperation returns and we are off running in all directions looking for another path, another belief sophisticated enough to drug our intellect, another remedy to the emptiness and meaninglessness of our lives.

We don’t know. And this needs to be recognized.

The beginning of meditation is the end of our outer search for the remedy. It is the recognition that we have only one problem in our lives and that problem is ourselves. Meditation is the end of hiding in our hobbies, religions, food, alcohol, drugs, etc. In meditation, we give up the search and finally just sit with ourselves with nothing else to do. We are simply present. And for most of us, this is a horrifying experience. Few of us are able to just be present with no distractions or fantasies for more than a few moments, because our minds begin to go wild as our egos are exposed. We begin to see how we constantly create the melodrama of our lives.

Now we are sitting quietly, doing nothing but being present with ourselves. And we are thinking. The mind is flooded with thoughts. And as we watch our thoughts, we notice that we always have a favorite subject to think about…ourselves! We are truly self-obsessed! We carefully filter all our experience in life through our mantra of “I, Me, Mine.” We are self-obsessed, and yet we honestly do not have a clue who we really are. Whenever we begin to talk about who we think we are, we are in fact reciting programs and scripts we have received throughout our lives as human robots. The fact that we don’t know who we really are is the source of our desperation, and yet at the very same time, to recognize this fact is the beginning of our true awakening into life.

As we sit in meditation, our mind attempts to figure it all out. Like a complex computer, it scans every experience, every belief, every scrap of knowledge, attempting to find the missing link. And the desperation remains. Our mind, which is who we think we are, is incapable of truly knowing who we are. Because who we are is not our mind nor the beliefs, opinions, concepts, attitudes and prejudices that are the programs of our mind. Our mind grasps and struggles and tightly holds onto itself. It is enchanted with itself and is very dear to itself. But one day, if we continue meditating regularly (to exhaust the mind, if for no other reason), this neurotic process of the mind suddenly stops, at least for a moment.

We simply rest as effortless, choiceness, silent awareness.

And then something absolutely profound and unbelievable occurs that can never be described in words because words are of the mind. We get a glimpse of who and what we really are beyond the mind, beyond the mind’s song of “I, Me, Mine,” beyond our self-obsession. We see or, more accurately, recognize the Truth. Not my truth or your truth or even their truth, but the Truth, beyond any form and belief. And then we know who we are and what our lives are about. Our quiet desperation melts away completely into an unshakable peace and joy that is the very essence of being. We realize that which we had been seeking, we were all along. And we are not our mind, no matter what our mind may think. We are not our personality nor our beliefs. What we are is unborn and unthinkable — and free!