When Gangaji and I first came to Budapest in the 1980s, our first impression was of Border Patrol Soldiers with guns and Red Stars on their hats going through our luggage in our train compartment as we crossed the border. (It felt fifties noir at the moment.) So we were totally amazed when our hosts had a small gathering at their flat and we all sang the old hippy song, The River is Flowing together in a circle in their living room.
The River is flowing,
flowing and flowing.
The river is flowing.
Back to the sea.
Oh, Mother carry me
A child I will always be
Oh, Mother carry me
back to the sea.
When we walked into our first meeting at the communist community center, we saw a sweet man with a pony tail playing ragtime piano. I told him he looked like a California hippie. Since then, Akös has translated all my books into Hungarian and has been leading groups and satsang for many years now.
Read more: Budapest report
We are nearing the end of our tour here in Australia. We love the people, the culture and the countryside. The sangha here is deep and true. Many people have reported first being in retreat with Gangaji at her Blue Mountain Retreat fifteen years ago.
A college professor at the Research School of Pacific & Asian Studies of The Australian National University in Canberra was relating to his new wife how he had become radicalized. He mentioned my name, she googled me, and he flew to Sydney for a satsang meeting and dinner. Pete now, Dr. Van Ness then, had been my mentor in charge of my doctoral dissertation at the Graduate School of International Studies in Denver. (Condi Rice was a few years behind me, and he says she was a liberal before she went to the dark side). The last time I saw him in a classroom setting, my name was Elliot Zeldow. I was 23 years old. I walked into the room with a jug of wine and a joint to announce that we were shutting the school down and setting up Woodstock West on the campus lawn. It was spring of 1970, and we were protesting both the trial of Bobby Seal of the Black Panthers and Nixon's announcement of the illegal bombing of Cambodia. ( The shooting of the students at Kent State happened during these nation-wide protests).
Read more: Australia report
Baden Baden, Germany
Sixty of us gathered together to lift the veils. We came in as coaches, trainers, therapists, mothers, printers, pilots and more. We saw through the veils to what is untouched by all identity. We discovered what it is to be a true friend and the power of trance work to reveal and finish the unfinished business that keeps us clinging to our unresolved egoic identity even after many deep and profound realizations.
For me this event was coming full circle in the teaching as well. Before meeting my beloved, Papaji, the bestower of silence and liberator of all souls, I had spent a decade using trance work and the enneagram to facilitate waking up from the trance of personal identity.
Because of the response from the people, I see the usefulness of this work. As a result I will be incorporating Lifting the Veils and beyond into the U.S. Three Year Intensive. This started in August with very good results. Also, after this latest Baden Baden retreat I have been asked to start a Three Year Intensive in Baden Baden that will focus on passing on the insights and skills of this work. This will begin next September.
I could not have imagined being able to resume my teaching schedule in the condition my body was in two years ago. Or even less could I ever have imagined teaching Lifting the Veils.
Read more: Lifting the veils
I have been coming to Europe to teach since 1983. As an outsider I could feel the atmosphere of the different cultures that I passed through. Teaching in Budapest, at a communist youth camp and community center, it was unavoidable to feel the depression and despair that hung in the air throughout the city.
There was a different flavor in the air coming into Germany. It was rigid and uptight in strange ways. The people at the front desk of the hotels were often suspicious and seemed hostile as they checked us in. The atmosphere felt oppressive and we were always glad to move on.
I was scheduled to return to Germany in 2007, but at the last minute it was discovered that my body was racked with disease and two days before flying, I had to cancel. I came last year but my body was still very weak and I only met with a small group of former students for a weekend in Hamburg.
In the ensuing years something that started so small has grown. In the eighties, when I worked with people, they were all focused on fixing their story and having a better life by changing their behaviors or circumstances. They had not heard of the possibility of freedom, or it was a concept that they believed required a lifetime of yoga and hard work. Now, there is awakening everywhere. There are too many teachers of non-duality to count.
Coming back after just three years absence the change is remarkable.
Read more: Awakening Everywhere!
Gangaji and I are in Amsterdam right now. We love it here. Besides loving the people, and the culture, we love the freedom here. The Netherlands is perhaps the most advanced human society at protecting both individual freedom and the democratic public space. As societies perhaps we could all learn from the Dutch.
The deepest cry for freedom arises in all of us. Sometimes it is repressed by our own internal mechanisms. We cover over it and ignore it for security or comfort or for being loved. Yet it is there beating in all hearts.
This cry for freedom has now burst forth in Iran. When we recall the great love poems of freedom from Rumi we are hearing the Persian soul in love with love, freedom and truth. Even at the height of their empire thousands of years ago, they were known as the most tolerant of empires for their time, allowing allied states freedom of religion and cultural identity and freedom to leave the association.
But political freedom as we know it is a most modern phenomenon. I have been reading about Thomas Paine of late, and while he was always a hero for me, I had no idea how much he is responsible for the American Revolution. It was Thomas Paine, at Valley Forge, the lowest point of our revolution who issued the call that, "these are the times that try men's souls." He went on to ask if we were only sunshine patriots and summer soldiers, or were we ready to bear all costs in the defense of freedom.
Read more: Iran's Cry for Freedom
Perhaps in the past our tendency has been to have a concept of ourselves as a peaceful person and then discipline ourselves to try to look or act as we thought a peaceful person should. When we have not lived up to our own concepts or expectations we fight with ourselves. But I am not addressing concepts here or any training of the personality. The possibility I am suggesting is deeper than any concept and can not be learned or imitated. The possibility for each of us is to realize that peace is already alive and present in this moment. When I use the word "peace" I am referring to a quality of intelligent conscious love. When you realize yourself as intelligent conscious love, peace will be a by-product of the direct realization of yourself.
To merely believe that you are intelligent conscious love, or to understand it, misses the point. Believing or understanding requires a concept or thought of yourself. In the noise of thinking this concept you may miss the mind-blowing, direct experience of realization. This direct experience is essential in order for peace to establish its presence in your heart. To realize your true Self directly, with no thought or concept, is to realize what is already free and at peace. Each one of us on Mother Earth, here and now, can realize this directly; each one of us, one by one in our own hearts, can realize the absolute truth. Then peace is actually a by-product of that direct realization.
Read more: How Can We Have World Peace?
May the Light of Awareness and Love Blossom in All Hearts