I am a Minneapolis, MN resident and a native of Minnesota who has been on a spiritual quest for most of my life. Even at an early age, I always was curious about the world and what was true. The search for the Truth and my own curiosity was my motivation when I researched ghosts, ESP, UFOs, etc. for my English papers throughout school. By the time I was in my late teens, the search spread to psychology, philosophy, and spirituality.
When I was about eighteen, I was lucky enough to find and join a meditation group in northern Minnesota. It was an eclectic group and it exposed me to various forms of meditation and healing modalities (like past-life regression, cranial sacral therapy, soul-piece retrieval, homeopathy, chakra balancing, etc.). I also joined the Self-Realization Fellowship after reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” and studied their lessons by mail. I became a ravenous reader of anything in the subject of spirituality. In my last couple years (until graduation) at St. Cloud State University, I studied world religions, Tai Chi Chuan, and Guk Sun Do (a Korean standing chi gong).
After college, I moved to the Twin Cities and I continued to read and hang out with all manner of people interested in various spiritual and metaphysical subjects…learned what I could from them all. I started out going to the meetings of the University of Minnesota’s Society of Pagan, Paranormal, and Magical Studies (club). I was a member of the Rosicrucian Order (AMORC) for a couple years…taking the lessons via mail and going to the meetings at the Essene Chapter in Minneapolis.
Over time, however, I left all groups and I started reading less and less as every new book seemed to be a repeat of what I had already read. As my thirtieth birthday approached, I lost my desire to read these books or even continue the spiritual search. I felt I had acquired all the knowledge needed or seemingly available, but it was not enough. I was not even sure of not even knowing enough for what.
When I was thirty-one, I heard about Eckhart Tolle again and again…three or four times in a month. I had long learned to trust my intuition and investigate whatever keeps appearing in my life. So I decided to check out something by him. I got a copy of a DVD called “The Flowering of Human Consciousness” from the local library. I was quite familiar with the concepts of being present and I thought I was doing it at times, but as Eckhart spoke about inhabiting the body and really feeling what is going on…I actually became present for the first time. Thinking stopped, and in that silence there was only feeling and experiencing what is here and now.
In that moment of profound silence, total stillness and presence seemed to come out of hiding from behind everything. There was no future and no past…just what is – that is sort of timeless. There was no “I” or identification with anything. The senses functioned and so I saw, but there was no seer…no “I”…just seeing. Also, everything I had read about and studied came into sharp focus and there was understanding. It was a direct, sudden realization into what is as it is. There was a clear and deep seeing through the false “I”. At the same time, as it is connected and not separate, there was a clear seeing of the nature of the world.
I had spent years trying to let go of attachments, release myself from fears, self integrate, and basically become better. I saw in that moment that those very actions were in part keeping the illusory “I” alive. In that moment there were no attachments, fears, problems, sorrow, anxiety, suffering, seeking, etc. They never returned.
I have had many past spiritual experiences (like feeling at one with your surroundings during a peak experience or meditation). The experience comes and then goes, but little really changes in understanding or (more importantly) how one lives in day to day life. This was different. This awaking hit me all the way to the bone (so to speak)…and deep in the heart. There was no denying what was realized. Even still there are no attachments, fears, suffering, seeking, etc. The mind is usually fairly quiet now and what thoughts do occur do not fool me (i.e. cause me suffering). I live in a constant state of contentment.
Eckharts’s video mentioned Sri Ramana Maharshi, so I started reading books on nonduality (starting with Ramana). I had never read anything about nonduality prior to that time, but my realization was the same as other nondual teachers and what they said seemed to confirm what I realized and helped give me the words to speak about it. Ramana Maharshi is still my favorite teacher of nonduality and awakening.
For the next several years, I was very active online and took part in many discussions about Enlightenment/Awakening and Nonduality/Advaita. I spoke at a couple times in the Twin Cities at a Unitarian Church and once at the local Theosophical Society. I produced a few videos on YouTube. I also produced a bi-weekly Nonduality audio podcast called “Out of Our Minds”…and I did that for three years. I wrote a couple booklets – EnlightenMyths and an interpretation of the Hsin Hsin Ming. I also held meditation meetings and satsangs in my home. I was one of the main organizers and speakers at the first (and only) Twin Cities Conference on Awakening. I also organized Nonduality Dinners in the Twin Cities so people with an interest could get together over dinner to talk.
Maybe I burned out (so to speak)…I am not sure. I just lost interest in speaking about it. So I decided to stay silent for many years.
In 2017, the interest in speaking about this returned. So I started this blog, started writing articles again, started meeting with people again, and so forth. The future is uncertain. I may continue…I may not…regardless, I remain content.