I don't speak of the ego much. But let's say I do massage it until it dissolves! We offer no practices, no rules and no membership or staged fellowship. The only commitment one has to make is to oneself: to be honest, open and vulnerable. That can be scary but it is the only way to finish the journey.

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The only way to finish the journey

John de Ruiter, Andrew Cohen and me, and a spare under-inflated ego

[Questioner] Just wondering how your soft/gentle approach handles ego. I have been with a teacher, perhaps even the one referred to as "A" in the message you are responding to here, and his teaching was a very big challenge to ego and that seemed to be the whole point. There was a fire and a passion experienced as well as the noble desire to do the right thing which was very thrilling as well as terrifying at times. There was the discovery of a reservoir of strength that enabled me to abandon everything personal; family, possessions, ideas and desires for acceptance and recognition. I experienced states and relationships that were completely unknown to me previously. There was also the deep love and reverence for A. as he lived the example of perfection in action and helped others to rise up out of their small and limited ideas of who they were to meet him in that challenge. It was like living the most incredible adventure imaginable....

I have since been with a teacher who speaks very gently from the depths of Presence and found this to be a much more direct encounter with the deeper state of Consciousness that accepts What Is happening in the field of NOW with no challenge to anything whatsoever. No resistance, no challenge, just pure and gentle awareness of being Conscious NOW. No little me to fight against or sacrifice, but rather the allowing of everything to be as it is...including the rising and falling of thoughts, feelings, and circumstances.

My experience of life is now very peaceful, quiet and ordinary. There is still a thrill, however it is the thrill of feeling alive in every cell of my being and is not dependant on any outer condition. There is the recognition that every form is also alive in this thrill...the cows in the field, the trees, the birds, the whole of Nature springing up in this awake and alive energy of Beingness. Gentle and very sweet awareness of being alive...NOW.

So I am wondering if my previous experience with A. was a necessary one in which the hard shell of ego was penetrated to the point that enabled this very soft and gentle awareness to flower. I am grateful for both teachings but wonder at getting stuck in ideas of striving for perfection that require time and never seem to really take one all the way home. I would like to know from your experience, just what you think of this question.

[Oshana] I loved your letter. It really is so very well put, and really speaks for itself. I cannot comment for sure about why you had a hard exciting teacher and then a softer calmer one and how that all worked for your growth. I do not even know what led to my own awakening.

My first consideration is to ask if there is anything more that you need? I am sure that you would ask if that was so.

I didn't name "A" because the email was slightly critical though it was mostly affectionate towards "A". A is someone who was an Osho Sannyasin and then with Poonja (Papaji).

I could have named "A" to stir up some controversy and thereby generate some attention for my work as your teacher Andrew Cohen has unavoidably done in the past. But I generally feel all teachers arewell-intentioned, and one day I will meet some of them, and I would hope that the meeting is more beautiful than intellectual.

I met Andrew over 10 years ago. After that time I met softer teachers too. Andrew seemed gesturally pugnacious, he would laugh nasally and cackle at certain type of `out of bounds' questions. I hear that he likes watching boxing matches. I felt challenged by him but also lost by his concepts. There seemed little time to speak to him and he seemed to smirk at people's questions. There was a vibe from a notional `security team' around him that seemed to repel people. I later heard of some `persistent' questioners being ejected. I also heard that Andrew has been challenged by other teachers who were with Papaji. As you know I prefer the gentle approach.

I would say that when I met Andrew he had no practices or structure that was `scary'. Now, I hear that there is a structure.

People talk of a powerful energy about Andrew, they say he got it as a gift from Papaji. Whatever is the case - simply that `energy' is more than sufficient to create a huge buzz - regardless of the philosophy being spoken.

I did wonder if all the practices and discussions on Andrew's retreats are just like energetic waiting rooms, since people may require something to do until they get to see the main man - the source.

It may start to seem that I have a strong viewpoint on Andrew - I don't. All teachers are enigmas and have unique expressions. They do their best to help people to get `IT'. Andrew was around in the early days. I felt a power around him but never understood what was going on.

I don't speak of the ego much. But let's say I do massage it, until it dissolves! All this talk of ego and trying to do things just seems to create another ego, and they are all illusory. There was a lot of efforting going on in Andrew's group when I was there, or so it seemed, though I can see some people got into all kinds of states too.

Maybe Andrew helped tire your ego out. I don't know if he would see it that way. As I say I don't really see the ego. I just see if there is a capacity to experience/catch the fullness of Being Alive in all parts of one's Being. I also apply a little shoe-horn and almond oil to stretch that space - it's almost imperceptible unless you are very sensitive.

It sounds like something really great is happening with you and you are just seeking a bit of understanding. I am guessing is your new teacher the latest big splash in the pool - John de Ruiter?

I met John 4 years ago and people still remember the taped conversations that I had with him ("From Endarkenment to Enlightenment" and "The Still Voice"(?) - I don't have either of them) . That was before my Awakening. I did half a longish, 2 hour conversation with John the first night he was in London few months ago. I was hoping to hear Mira, Papaji's wife, talk with John. She didn't so I decided that I wanted to speak and was lucky to be given a chance to have the mic. I raised some questions about statements he had made - partly what I had thought up myself and partly what some people in Mira's entourage had been talking about by way of comparison with Papaji and Advaita. Mira later met John a few days later, I missed it for my sins!

John is also difficult to fully understand. He speaks a lot less than Andrew. Both have powerful energies. Interestingly, in the Total Freedom Dialogue meetings we get quite a few people who have been with John, Osho and Papaji. Why? Because I guess, Freedom and not structure is on offer. We get a few people who have left Andrew. Perhaps, ironically, it is too challenging to be with Andrew and be in a meeting that makes no demands at all.

We don't get many Buddhist and Christians either. We offer no practices, no rules and no membership or staged fellowship. The only commitment one has to make is to oneself: to be honest, open and vulnerable. That can be scary but it is the only way to finish the journey.

I don't know if that answers your questions but it allowed me to say a few things for the record, so thanks.

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