September 2009


Drop of waterLast week I had dinner with a wonderful man named Peter Baumann.  Peter is best known to the world as the keyboard player for the 1970’s German group Tangerine Dream, and later founded the label Private Music.  But in the last years, Peter has turned his attention completely towards the investigation of personal and collective awakening.  He founded the Baumann Institute in 2004 to fund research to discover what is occurring in the neurologically, the psychology and the biology in a moment of radical Awakening.

We had dinner in a small Italian restaurant in San Francisco, the kind that, as soon as you walk in the door, America is left far behind, and you are in Europe.  During our dinner Peter and I talked about what — if anything — is a reliable measurable indicator of awakening.  Is there any external characteristic which people share in common in the realization of their deeper nature?  We each came up with several candidates, and perhaps I will share those with you in another blog post.  But for today, I want to report to you the very first one on Peter’s list, which was to be comfortable with paradox.  The conceptual mind wants to come to fixed conclusions about things.  “We have no choice, it is all predetermined.  Everything is happening on its own.”  That is one philosophical belief.  “We have total choice and responsibility in everything we have ever create in our world.”  Another philosophical belief.  This is what the mind does, it wants to reduce something down to a formula: the Truth.

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Here is a passage from my 2005 Bestseller, “The Translucent Revolution.”

translucent earth
In 1990 Václav Havel, the playwright who became president of the Czech Republic in 1993, told a joint session of the U.S. Congress, “Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better . . . and the catastrophe towards which this world is headed — the ecological, social, demographic, or general breakdown of civilization — will be unavoidable.”

We live at a pivotal time in human history. The dominant Iago trance state has never been so pervasive: economically, environmentally, politically, in the expression of religious fundamentalism — you name it; we have never been poised so perilously on the edge of the cliff. Read back over the list of Iago qualities defined in chapter 1; they define the state of today’s world. Certainly there has been greater cruelty, inequality, and imperialism in our history, but it has always been localized to a despotic regime here or an invasion there. Hitler, Genghis Khan, and Stalin may have yearned for global domination, but their insanity was isolated. Today the Iago cancer has become systemic rather than localized. The dominant paradigm affects everyone, seeming perpetrator and victim alike. We are all in this together. At the same time, every writer, teacher, researcher, and translucenton- the-street I have spoken with is aware of a countervailing “emerging paradigm,” with the potential to transform every sphere of life in every part of the world. The birth pangs of Homo lucidus may sometimes cause us to yearn for the familiar, but for most people it is too late. The head of the new human being has pushed through, and its first cries are already in the air. We are riding the crest of a worldwide wave whose consequences are unimaginable, and which holds perhaps the only real basis for optimism for our planet and its inhabitants. We can sense the possibility of a quality of life that has seldom been dreamed of. If we fail to take advantage of this opportunity, our present habits may well destroy us.

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Jesus cell phoneIt’s been about eighteen years since my teacher H.W.L. Poonja asked me to teach awakening in the West.  At the beginning, when I first returned to Seattle in 1992, very few people would have a direct experience of being spaciousness, of being presence.  At that time, most people were primarily identified with being “seekers.”  They would project “enlightenment” onto a teacher or onto their own future, but it wasn’t accepted as part of their own now.  During the last eighteen years things have changed dramatically.  Not only in my experience, but others who spread awakening are reporting the same thing.  I’ve heard from Eckhart Tolle, Michael Beckwith, Jean Houston, Ram Dass and hundreds of other teachers that we are together witnessing an epidemic of awakening all over the planet.  It’s becoming easier and easier to relax back into your natural state and to know yourself to be limitless, the source of everything you experience.

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awakeningmending

Here is a passage from my 2005 Bestseller, “The Translucent Revolution.”

To surrender to this demand, we must be willing to look at the “broken zones” of our personality with honesty and courage. In the last decades, several new approaches have evolved that address this calling. These are not paths to psychological healing. They are also not spiritual paths to enlightenment in the traditional sense. Rather, to some extent they all rest on a degree of awakening to be effective. They are skillful means to bring wakefulness into full embodiment.
Until recently, spiritual teaching presented an either/or choice. It was thought that if you were trying to fix, mend, heal, or release tension from your personality, you were identified with it, in a state of delusion. Awakening, in the traditional view, meant that you had seen through the personality as fictitious, and therefore you no longer touched it. This view has resulted in many people with some degree of genuine awakening but who also carry horrendous dysfunctional habits. They obstinately refuse to look at them, because to do so would display “identification.”

I’m not seeking anything.  I’m done.  There’s nothing more to be sought.  And yet…there is this ongoing process of clarification, or embodiment, or deepening, which could last a lifetime.  I know myself to be limitless, timeless presence, yet this presence is transforming and purifying this vehicle.
-Stephen Bodian

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intimacy2

I’ve been greatly blessed in my life by being with with many great teachers.  I was close for many years to H.W.L. Poonja (people called him Papaji), and it was he who initially asked me to be a teacher of awakening.  I had some fantastic visits with Urgyen Tulku Rimpoche who was at that time the lineage holder for the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  But my greatest teacher, my greatest guru by far, has been my marriage with my wife Chameli.  It has rooted out habit patterns which no other teacher has managed to do.  This marriage has been a portal to a depth of love and spaciousness that nothing else has come close to.

It has not always been this way.  After Poonja first asked me to teach I returned to the west and conducted “Satsang” for many years.  It’s easy in a context like that, when people gather together to meditate and to receive teaching, to experience a kind of “Big Love”, a love for everyone and everything.  Your heart is open, and you know things to be perfect just as they are.  The challenge I found at that time, which turned out to be true for many other teachers as well, was not at the Satsang meetings, but at home in ordinary human relationships.  The Big Love, the love you feel for everyone, is easy.  It’s the small love, the love you feel for people close to you where we experience our habits of control, closing down, criticism and judgment.  And so it was that I found myself in my early forties traveling the world as a spiritual teacher, but not being able to hold my own marriage together.

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leapjoy

This is a practice from my latest book: “Leap Before You Look.” This practice is chosen from the section “Feeling Practices.”

For this practice,

You will need to make a compilation

Of many different kinds of music.

Make a playlist on your iPod or computer.

Find some music that is soft and soothing,

Some which is angry and defiant.

Find some that has a strong vibrant beat of sexual energy,

And some which is soft and devotional.

Find music to evoke every kind of feeling:

Grief, longing, rage, joy, passion, and resentment.

Your compilation should be about 30 to 45 minutes altogether.

Now, go to your room, switch off the phone, make sure you are undisturbed,

Play the music.

Enter into each of these feelings one by one.

You can dance, you can cry, you can call out in longing.

Use your whole body to express each feeling.

Make sounds.

Let the music guide you into each wave of feeling,

Free of any reason why.

When it is finished, lie down for several minutes and feel your body.

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