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:

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!

Who Am I?


WHO or WHAT am I? This is the fundamental question.

Am I my body? Am I my thoughts? Am I my emotions?

Am I my beliefs, concepts, programs, experiences, attitudes,

or philosophy?

“I” as the ego is a program of interrelated thoughts, beliefs, experiences, interpretations, and memories that forms the internal cognitive map that tells us who we are, who others are, what the world is all about, and what will happen next. To make the world fit our map, we learn to have very selective perceptions that reinforce our map.

Our ego’s survival is based on maintaining this map. Our ego is a fear-based, self-perpetuating survival mechanism that perceives change as very threatening to it. Our ego is very invested in maintaining its comfort zone within its map and so it subtly sabotages all true spiritual awareness by turning it into religious belief, which is in the domain of the ego’s map.

To truly awaken to Truth, we must release the known—our path, our map, and our “I”— and leap into the unknowable. There is no way to prepare for this or to be ready to do this. The ego will make sure of that!

Become quiet. Turn your attention towards your “I.” When looked for, “I” cannot be found. Then Truth is recognized as being always already present. Unborn Deathless Free.

The True Guru Is Nothing but an Annoying Alarm Clock

true_guruWe are asleep, entranced by the mind’s narcissistic fascination with itself. Our existence is an endless labyrinth of experience, belief, conditioning and memories that continually reinforce each other, creating the illusion of an actual “me” that exists within the body/mind instrument, unique and separate from all else.

The voice inside your head that is constantly talking to itself is this “me.” If you listen carefully to what it is saying, you will realize that it is constantly talking about itself, its past, its future, its experiences, hopes and fears. It is always recreating and propping up the “myth of me.” It is very concerned with itself. Whether it is saying good or bad things about itself doesn’t matter. What does matter is to see its total obsession with itself. Most thinking is the “me” thinking about itself. Without a “me” to think about, there is silence.

This “me” has an agenda. Its agenda is for itself to survive and thrive, to maintain the “myth of me.” By thinking, it is constantly propping itself up as it struggles against the ruthless rules of reality. Some “mes” are very good at this. They learn quickly and play the game effectively. They become successful in life, happy, healthy, rich and famous. Then they realize they are going to die anyway. And so their search for a greater meaning for “me” begins

Other “mes” continue to struggle throughout life, often becoming tired, depressed and filled with despair. These “mes” may turn to New Age teachings, psychology, religion or spirituality to find greater meaning and significance in life. Their idea is to create a better “me” by getting rid of all the bad thoughts, beliefs and feelings and replacing them with a whole host of good thoughts, beliefs and feelings. They want to become a new and improved “me,” even an immortal “me!”

There are thousands of teachers and teachings in the world that will help the “me” to do just that. These teachers know what the “me’s” problem is. You have negative thoughts, you are too fat, you don’t believe in Jesus, you don’t know the law of attraction, you create your own bad karma, you need to reincarnate as soon as possible, you are only at stage 3 of the 7 stages of whatever, the hemispheres of your brain need to be synchronized, you haven’t studied the profound teachings of…, you need to link up with the Mother Ship, you don’t have enough algae in your diet, you need a new mantra, you need to change your name as it isn’t in harmony with your soul’s frequency vibration, you haven’t received initiation, you need colonic cleansing, your genes need rethreading, and on and on and on. And there are books, videos and tapes to support the new trance of the new “me.”

And then there is the True Guru.

The True Guru is just an annoying alarm clock, waking the “me” from its trance of obsession and separation.

The True Guru is not a teacher, although s/he may teach all sorts of nonsense. The True Guru is a disturbing influence in the life of a “me,” undermining everything the “me” believes and holds to be true. The True Guru especially undermines the “myth” of the separate “me.” The “me” often resents the True Guru, calling it disillusioning, negative and fatalistic, and yet the “me” is attracted to the Guru like a moth is to a candle flame.

Sometimes the True Guru appears in a kind and gentle form. This Guru is like an alarm clock that plays gentle, soothing music and has a snooze button. The “me” awakens slowly, going in and out of the dream of separation. Sometimes the “me” hits the snooze button and seems to go back into the dream. This may last for a few days or even a few years, but sooner or later, the dream of separation cannot maintain itself and the “me” returns to the Guru.

Sometimes the True Guru manifests in a ruthless form. This Guru is like a loud, clanging alarm clock that is just out of reach. The only way to shut this Guru up is to wake up now!

The True Guru in any guise is a threat to the “me’s” most cherished beliefs and assumptions. The True Guru sees through all beliefs and systems and so questions everything, including the very existence of a unique and separate “me.”

Werner Erhard says, “Most of our notions about the world come from a set of assumptions which we take for granted, and which, for the most part, we don’t examine or question. We bring these assumptions to the table as a given. They are so much a part of who we are that it is difficult for us to separate ourselves from them enough to be able to talk about them. We do not think these assumptions — we think from them.”

The True Guru exposes and deconstructs these notions and assumptions, even the notion and assumption of spirituality, which is just another prop for the “myth of me.” The main notion and assumption that is brought to the table and exposed is this assumption of a unique and separate “me,” which all of the other myths and assumptions are based upon.

The True Guru may appear ridiculous. S/he says and does just about anything to awaken the “me” from the dream of separation. And yet the True Guru has no agenda, teaching, or point of view. The Guru may be very inconsistent and constantly contradicting itself. This doesn’t bother the Guru in the least as Gurus are not concerned with being right or proving anything. This paradox and lack of a consistent teaching drives the “me” a little crazy. The Guru doesn’t make any sense to the “me’s” mind. And yet this is actually the cure for the “me’s” delusions and illusions about itself.

The “me” wants to understand the True Guru’s teaching. There is nothing to understand. The True Guru is simply resting in the complete obviousness of what is always present, always true and always available. This is called satsang. For the “me” to see this, it has to get over itself and be silent. If the “me” stays  in satsang, it will awaken from the dream of separation

The good news—or bad news—is that the True Guru is always present and ringing loudly! The True Guru is This reality itself. This is It.

The Superphysics of the Satsang Effect


Lila: The Play of Consciousness

The entire manifest universe is a play of patterns of conscious energy. Everything is one with and an expression of everything else. We, as human beings, are energetic beings. Our bodies, thoughts, emotions, environments and relationships are all energy systems interacting with and influencing each other all of the time. We are always receiving and transmitting patterns of intelligent energy within ourselves and to everyone and everything else.

If we want to live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives, it is very useful to have some understanding of the play of these energy systems, and the power of satsang.

Basically the entire manifest universe, including us, is intelligent energy vibrating at different frequencies. These frequencies manifest with different qualities, or “gunas,” of which there are three.

SATTVA GUNA is pure, harmonious, balanced, clear, transparent, good, true and expresses as BEING (versus doing). A sattvic lake would be calm, still and clear with no waves. You could easily see down into the depths to the very bottom. A sattvic person is relaxed, calm, open, loving, simple and transparent. A human being.

As energy fields contract, they vibrate more vigorously. This is RAJAS GUNA. Rajas is kinetic, active, busy, passionate, chaotic and DOING (versus being). A rajasic lake would be stormy with lots of waves. Everything would be in motion and the water would be stirred up. It would be difficult to see very deeply, as what you do see is distorted by constant motion. A rajasic person is busy, intense, hectic, demanding and egoic. In the United States, most people tend to be rajasic, as our social systems are rajasic. Rajasic people are human doings.

When energy fully contracts, it becomes frozen and is Tamas Guna. Tamas is INERT (versus being or doing), ignorant and opaque. The lake is now mud. A passed-out heroin addict is in a tamasic state. A couch potato is a tamasic person. Tamas and sattva gunas can easily be confused for each other. Westerners tend to perceive a yogin lying around, apparently doing nothing, as lazy, worthless or tamasic when in fact they may be extremely sattvic with the light of consciousness flowing through them and out to others.

All of the gunas constantly interact and dissolve within each other, so we all have some of the qualities of each guna. However, within an individual, one quality tends to dominate, so we can say a person is predominately a sattvic, rajasic or tamasic person.

Everything that exists has the qualities of the gunas. People, buildings, places, books, music, movies, jobs, exercise, food, thoughts, feelings, bodies, TV shows, websites and everything that exists tends to be either sattvic, rajasic or tamasic. A meditation hall is sattvic. A shopping center tends to be rajasic. An opium den is tamasic. Too much Rajasic or Tamasic energy often feed the Pain Body.

Many Rajasic and Tamasic people are not very aware of the energies flowing all around us and through us. As a person become more sattvic, they become more and more aware of energy. Many can feel it flowing within them and around them. Some people and places are much more vibrant with the Radiant Life Force than others.  Some people can actually see it. In a meditation hall it may be seen as shimmering blue.

Highly Sensitive People, (HSPs are about 18% of the human population. It is a genetic trait.) have very sattvic neuroendrocrine systems. They are negatively affected by powerful rajasic/tamasic activities, smells, fragrances, sounds, colors, lighting, people, situations, chemicals, environments, etc., and become overwhelmed and even very sick if they are not able to get into a more sattvic setting. In a situation where an HSP is feeling totally overwhelmed, a rajasic or tamasic person may not notice anything or may even turn up the energy for more stimulation. HSPs are often judged by others as being too sensitive, too easily overwhelmed. Their sensitivity may in fact be an evolutionary step as humans become more aware. It is totally OK to be an HSP.

As living, dynamic energy fields, we are constantly transmitting who and what we are to ourselves and to the world. We are attractor fields. This transmission affects our genetic codes, cells, body, psychic and spiritual systems, and everyone and everything around us. We have all had the experience of being with a tamasic person who is like an energy vampire sucking the life force right out of us, leaving us feeling depressed, tired and drained. And we have all had the pleasure of being with a sattvic person who completely energizes us, cheers us up and leaves us feeling glad to be alive.

The true purpose of yogic physicalpsychospiritual practices (sadhana) is not to “get enlightened,” as there is nothing we have to “do” to “be” what we always already are – except maybe relax a little.  The purpose of sadhana is the conscious, sane and healthy management of the various energy systems of our multidimensional human instrument so we are a clear, pure, loving (sattvic) expression of life, and are able to utilize our full potential and capacity of being. This means managing our gunas from the perspective of what is appropriate and happening now. Sometimes we meditate and are sattvic. Sometimes we work hard and are rajasic. And sometimes it is just fine to be a couch potato for a while, veg out in front of the TV and be tamasic.

 We are all always transmitting our relative truths to everything and everyone, including ourselves. A Sattvic Person transmits love, peace and harmony. A Rajasic Person transmits ego, struggle, competition, being “right” and making others “wrong”, intensity, and doing more.  A Tamasic Person transmits lethargy, ignorance and dullness. Remember, we have the qualities of each within us. We are attractor fields. Like attracts like.

The Middle Way – Balance Is the Key

A true guru (sat guru) is one who is free of identification with the gunas. Their human instrument still exists in the realm of the gunas and is affected by the energy of the gunas, but “their” awareness has transcended the gunas and is free of any obstructions in consciousness. They rest in vast absolute silence, and this silence flows through them out to others with the qualities of love, truth, being and joy.

The true guru has no agenda. They are not “doing” anything. They are like an empty flute through which the breath of freedom flows. Satchidananda. The Joy of Conscious Being.

Bhagawan Nityananda, Anandamayi Ma , Neem Karolia Baba and Ramana Maharshi spent much of their time in silence. Just Being. And yet the transmission of grace through their human form was incredible, palpable and gave many the direct experience of their absolute nature. Many lives were completely transformed for the better.  By doing nothing, just Being, everything is realized.

By being with a true guru, looking at their photo, hearing their voice, using their mantra, having an object with their energy in it or just by thinking about them, we may tune into the freedom of the Guru Tattva, resonate with it, merge with it and Be in satsang. Even, if like Jesus, a guru is no longer in form, we can still tune into their morphic field and receive the transmission of grace from the absolute. Form is Formless.

The separate egoic knot of tension and resistance in a human being dissolves in the energy field of a true guru as there is no resistance to it. It is accepted with unconditional love. This is the secret and power of satsang. Love and acceptance. As the egoic knot dissolves, unconditional love, peace and joy appear.

For beings who are ready for the egoic knot to dissolve, this is a true and profound blessing. For those egos that aren’t yet ready to dissolve, satsang can be a terrifying experience of apparent death and the dissolution. The “me-mind”  feels like it is losing control and disappearing into an endless abyss. As such satsang is avoided, attacked and criticized by well-defended egos. Throughout human history so many great beings like Jesus and Socrates have been destroyed by those threatened by their freedom.

As relative embodied beings, we want to be aware of the energy of the gunas so we can wisely manage them and live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. As Absolute Being we want to be aware that what we really are is prior to all gunas and always already free. Since the unborn is free of all gunas, it has been called empty, void, formless, nothingness. And yet this nothingness is the Mother of all beings and all things. It is Nothing Being Everything. Formless is form.

Our basic mistake as humans is that we seek our happiness, fulfillment and meaning in the play of the gunas. There is no happiness, fulfillment and meaning in the play of the gunas. Their very nature is change and impermanence. But once we recognize our true un-born nature, then this play of the gunas, this Play of Consciousness becomes our playground. LilaWe do not seek meaning, truth and love within the play of the gunas.  We bring meaning, truth and love into them. This is satsang. You are the sat guru. Be still and know.