Volume 4, Number 2, First Half,1997

Bringing Enlightenment Into Life

By Edrid

One thing people want to know is how to keep the enlightenment experience they got at an Intensive. "How do I bring my enlightenment back into my life?"

The experiences I’ve had at Intensives have touched me very deeply. When I began taking them in 1968, I would find that a few weeks or months after taking one, some of the truth I experienced would slip away. I’d have doubts about the authenticity of the experience, and, eventually, I’d be back in "normal" life, at least to a degree.

My state would change—I’d lose the high and come down. I would not be able to articulate something that at the Intensive seemed very clear at the time. If someone asked me, "OK, so who are you?" I’d stumble around and look for something in my head, trying to "get myself" so I could present the truth. Or that sort of thing. Yet I remembered that at some point at the Intensive, my nature, the nature of life, or the nature of another was clear. More than just clear—Miraculous! Divine! Amazing! And so so so so TRUE! I knew I had touched something very special.

The nature of a problem is wanting to be where you are not and not knowing how to get there, and so the Intensives created a problem for me. After going to an Intensive I had a problem because it awakened in me the desire to live truth in each moment. My desire for an on-going union with the Divine rose up strongly and I was confused, not knowing how to bring that about.

Years ago, I heard "apathy" defined as giving up asking for what you want because you know you can’t have it. Intensives clearly showed to me that I could have something I very dearly wanted and so I was no longer apathetic—I was asking for it. Sometimes I would go into a painful separation-from-truth crisis. I know I’m not alone in this. Many people who have gone to Intensives have reported the same sort of thing. It’s not special to Intensives. I’ve read the literature and this is a common report whenever one begins "The Journey".

An enlightenment experience is an experience of ultimate truth. If you get an actual enlightenment experience, there is something about it that is permanent because truth is truth. Once you realize something, you can’t really un-realize it. And it is "coming at you all the time". Actually, there is nothing else to come at you because the truth is what is and that's that. So truth presents itself to you continually, as it is doing right now.

The truth reinforces itself because it is the only thing that is.


An enlightenment experience also leaves an impression in the mind that remains behind. The direct experience itself subsides (one’s attention goes off truth because it is just too much to take), but the impression remains. It's content is similar to the enlightenment, but not the same. It is more like a translation of the experience into the context of our mental concepts and feelings.

When we put our attention on this enlightenment residue, we are tricked into thinking that this lingering impression somehow represents the actual self, life, another, or love that is absolute. But it is just enlightenment residue in the mind, just like a snapshot of your vacation isn't really your vacation.

On the other hand, it can be very helpful to have this enlightenment residue, because at least it is closer to truth than what you had before. It still may be vibrating with the excitement and wonderful awe felt in that moment of realization. Nevertheless, it tends to subside.

It subsides because the residual impression almost always gets overlaid with some false thinking. Attaching false impressions, feelings, or ideas to an enlightenment experience is innocent and natural. (There is no blame implied.) However, the result is that you begin to feel that you lost the truth. What you lose, however, is your clear representation of it in your mind and feelings.

By clinging to the mental or emotional impressions created by the experience, you feel that you have lost what you gained. This begets a new cycle of longing for truth.

So, if this makes any sense to you, (and I'm trying not to cling to the idea that it will), it would make sense that what we take for the enlightenment would dim over time and we would again want "the real thing."

The real question, then, is not "how do I hold on to my experience?", or even, "how do I bring this experience back into my life?", but, "what do I have to do to live in such a way that I touch absolute truth again and again in my life?" "How do I remain at the source?"

So here it is: to bring enlightenment into your life, you have to bring into your life the same spiritual practices that bring about enlightenment experiences. You can't expect that if you drop the very thing that was effective in bringing about your enlightenment experience, you would continue to have that experience. In fact, it's likely that you will go back to experiencing life pretty much as you did before the experience.

What practice to do? The Enlightenment Intensive is designed around a natural, observable architecture of life. There is you and there is the other. There is life "between" you. The illusion of separation from others (and the consequent way we act out the illusion) dissolves when there is an increase of understanding between us.

In the Enlightenment Intensive dyad, two people, facing each other, take turns saying what is true (for them) to the other. What they say comes out of contemplation of truth, not just from random mental activity or external events. It is said with an intent for true understanding between them —heart to heart. They look at each other and face the actuality of the other sitting across from them.

The listener just listens, without judging, evaluating, or trip-laying, respecting the uniqueness of the other. Both fully invest their attention in that moment with each other. Both are present with and for each other. They both are willing to face what comes up between them and stick with it until there is understanding.

They take turns when communicating—they are considerate. They speak the truth, and endeavor to get to the core of it. They are one-pointed, not scattered, and persist at opening up their consciousness to the truth. They flow their communication to each other, breaking through blocks when they arise. They reveal what has never been revealed before. And even though they trust, it is not naïve trust because they know the other just might do anything. Working together like this, after three days, one gets down to Truth.

Carried over into life outside of the formality of the Intensive, the same principles can evolve your life in the same way. What works in the Intensive works in life.

You do the thing that actually works for you. In fact, one may need several "contemplative arts" to evolve in a well-rounded way. You might want to do Zazen to steady and clear up your mind, Vipassana to improve your being present in the here and now, body work to remove the body as a barrier to living, counseling therapy to clear up past upsets, or other practices to clear your mind and stabilize your emotions so that you can keep the dyad going in your life.

I'm not suggesting that you sit down and do formal dyads with your boss, with questions and 5-minute bells. The dyad is a specialized activity. In an Intensive, or during Clearing exercises, we set up small groups, isolated from the normal flux of day-to-day life, and do what we might think of as "formal" dyads, with particular well-chosen questions, formal cycles, and so forth. Some people find these very helpful. (If they work for you, by all means, do them!) But you can also carry the underlying principles of the dyad into your daily interactions. There are core principles in the dyad, just as in the classical disciplines of Zen, Yoga, and the rest, that are effective in bringing you to truth. By continuing to do those core activities, you continue to make progress. This, I believe, is the key to bringing enlightenment into your life.

Be warned, though, that the dyad focuses on interpersonal contact as the place where truth is realized. This path may not be a peaceful one. It brings up crises, upsets, and upheavals. This does not mean that the path is not sound. Mystics in every tradition experience the "dark night of the soul." As Master Subramuniya recently wrote in the March 97 issue of Hinduism Today, "Meditation can be more than you bargained for. On the path to enlightenment, every part of one's nature has to be faced and reconciled."

Enlightenment practices must happen independent of what is going on in your life. If life rules you, you will soon stop your practice. If your practice is independent of the conditions in your life, you can persist. This means that you just decide to do it for no reason and you do it no matter what.

The Metaphysics of the Dyad

Let’s go a little deeper with the dyad. Direct contact with another is at the heart of the dyad process—revealing your true nature to another and receiving their true nature. This is the heart of the philosophy that spawned the Enlightenment Intensive. When the Intensive was invented, there was a "metaphysical view" at its core. It was often articulated in a "creation myth". A creation myth is a story of the creation of the universe.

(There are two meanings to the word "myth". One meaning is something that people believe in that is not true. "It is a myth" means that the thing is not true. Its other meaning is a story that expresses basic principles or beliefs that would otherwise be hard to communicate. A creation myth, for example, helps us visualize something that we don't actually know for sure, but rings true to us on "some level".)

Try this one out:

In the beginning, before the creation of matter, mass, space, energy, time, objects, and so forth, all of us potentially existed. We didn't actually exist, but we could exist.

Our underlying nature was to relate. On a whim, without prior cause, we asked, "Is there another?" Not in words, of course. We just opened to that possibility.

We instantly made contact with the other. It was quite a shock, and we recoiled, creating apparent separation. In that initial contact each "existed" for the other. (Existence as a something implies a self and an other, a relationship.)

What followed was the evolution of the relationships between all individuals. Step-by-step and stage-by-stage, relationships evolved towards more contact, and, at the same time, more complexity. Patterns of connectedness and unconnectedness propagated in self-organizing waves. In this process, we related to each other as material objects, as things, as matter. Our relationships evolved as the physical world.

The underlying desire for realizing the other, and being realized (love) moved evolution forward, and was expressed eventually as living beings having the desire and intention to complete their relationships with others. Further evolution brings us to a critical point, where this truth can be realized by the likes of you and me.

If this myth is to be useful, it must suggest what we are to do. The dyad represents this myth in a nutshell, boiled down to basics. Absolute existence contacts absolute existence, completing life in an ultimate sense. Sitting across from one another, one asks the other, "who are you?" This is the echo of that original urge that in this myth began time and the universe.

Communication is at the heart of the dyad. In the metaphysics of relationship, a thought is a shift in relationship between individuals. Getting that thought across to another joins you in a moment of pure understanding. Understanding dissolves the apparent separateness; it is a state closer to the original primordial state of union. Or, perhaps, understanding moves you forward to some new destination, of completed relationship, each incremental step being something that has never happened before in the history of the universe.

When you observe people interacting, however, you see that they often both want to "outflow" at the same time. Since neither listens, not much understanding occurs, and a great deal of time is spent sorting out the confusions that both outflowing at the same time brings about. So the natural rule for a dyad is to take turns. One person sends a thought across to the other and the other listens until there is understanding between them. This is much more effective than both trying to communicate at once.

When receiving a communication, one just gets it, without passing judgment or putting a consequence on the communication. By just receiving and not adding mindstuff to the message, you are in a truly receptive state and the other feels understood. If one person opens up, and the other adds a lot of stuff on it or even zaps him for it, well, that pretty much shuts down the flow between them.

So we just listen and understand. We don't have to agree with what the other is saying, but we listen and understand. This completes something and promotes an open flow between us. This flow allows more and more communication and we grow closer.

The myth suggests that when we talk to another, what is really going on behind the scenes is that we are trying to convey our nature to the other. In terms of the creation myth, this is really the point of everything we say. So we must be clear in what that nature is, and we must be clear that how we are being and what we are saying accurately expresses our true nature. If we are self-enlightened, we know what we are trying to say. If we are confused about our nature, we say things that we later realize aren't useful in improving our relationship with others. That is the value of enlightenment.

To make the dyads work in life, we develop certain practices. Here are some that you can practice in your daily life:

One-pointedness. When you focus one-pointedly on what is going on between you and another, you won’t feel dispersed or scattered. You can cultivate being one-pointed, having a single focus on what you are doing.

Being present. Practice being present in the here and now, not tangled up in your mind. Vipassana is one of the great Buddhist practices that emphasizes being present.

Facing Others. Put your attention on another—right on them as a conscious being. You can cultivate a steadiness in being present with your attention on the actual other, not on their mind, personality, or your reactions to what they are doing or saying.

Going for the truth. Just go for the truth. Get good at that. How is it really?

Listening. Set out to hear what the other actually says. Listen with all of your attention. Do not pass judgment on what another says. Just hear it as what they are saying. You can understand what they say without having to agree with them. Minimize your feedback of judgments about what the other says. Invite openness, prepare a safe place for them to tell you their truth.

Communicating. Say what is true for you. Avoid telling lies or contorting things just to be liked or to control others.

Reveal yourself to others.

Finishing communication cycles. Be conscious of the cycles as they unfold and make sure that they are complete. The cycle is: something to communicate arises, intend to communicate it. Do the communicating. Receive the acknowledgment that you communicated. Stop sending.

No trip laying. Respect the independent thought of the other. Don't force your ideas on the other. (You can ignore this article or this whole newsletter if you want.)

Don't interrupt. Listen more than you talk. When you listen, just listen.

Be available for relationship with others. Allow them to come into your life, hear what they have to say, and get who they are.

All these things come out of contemplating the creation myth and practicing the dyad. It's what we do when trying to open the path between individuals, improve communication, increase the expression of love, and come into a state of understanding with others.

So that, in essence, is the advice I have to give. Live the dyad as you learn it in an Intensive. Do the best you can, persist, and you will be living your enlightenment.

Direct Experience of What I Am

By John Michael

The Intensive was Mastered by Edda over Labor Day weekend of 1991. In the third day of the Intensive I was distracted with a thought that another participant wasn’t doing the technique correctly. I went to Edda and told her what was on mind. She said that one was doing the technique correctly and asked me what I was doing. She asked if I was starting the contemplation with what was most real about myself. I said I was by focusing on a sense of myself in my heart region. Then she said "As long as that’s what is most obvious to you, you can work with that."

I went into my next dyad aware of pain in my back which I had tried to suppress from my consciousness for the past three days. Now I began my turn acknowledging that I have pain in my back and that I refuse to identify with it as what I am. That was the start of an opening which culminated in a miracle of love for me. From then on in most of my turns I’d report about the pain in my back. Each time that I allowed my awareness to face the pain it would diminish. At one point I said, "What I am is afraid to experience the pain. I’m afraid of being overwhelmed with pain." Another time I reported: "I have so much stuff going on in my back it would take a miracle for it to be cleared up enough so that I could have a direct experience of what I am." I though I would need a couple weeks to work through it. This is what was what was showing up for me during the first forty minute session after speaking with Edda.

In my next forty minute session I got to "What I am is open to experiencing the pain in my back." I began contemplating on my pain while intending to directly experience the truth of it and what appeared in my consciousness was "love". I told my partner: "There’s love in my back" and then I began to cry and as I was crying all the pain left my back and now my back was full of love. The love consumed all my fear of pain. I opened my arms and gave myself to completely experiencing the love in my back. I wanted to get up and leap for joy! With the exception of standing up once I stayed seated and continued presenting to my partner my experience. My partner was deeply moved witnessing my experience. He had the question: "Tell me what another is." In his next turn he said, "Another is amazing, another is powerful, another is loving, another is a miracle."

Experience / No Experience

by Pitaka

Christmas day is a bit of a rush, off to the airport directly from dinner and gift opening with children and grandchildren. On arrival in LA. being met by a warm, mostly silent monk is refreshing. Once at Mt. Baldy, the freshness is even more crisp feeling: a "white Christmas". After receiving a few basic instructions, I am given a small cabin alone which is for the first three days of orientation. After getting through this stage, if I do, then Roshi formally accepts me as his student and gives a koan (a Zen question). Am wide awake most of the night.

Day 1, 3:45 woke to the sound of footsteps on the hard snow outside, a bell ringing at the doorway, and the light, switched on by a hand reaching in. I know there are 15 minutes to get to the Zendo (sitting temple). Brush, wash, comb, robes over longjohns, wool socks, rubber boots, hat, mittens, neck scarf, umbrella and up the icy hill. At the Zendo, remembering when and where to bow, feeling what it means, finding the correct seat, posture, letting the breath and heart slow down, settling in. At some point in the first period, this body started to refuse. It's been a long time since formal posture has been required of it. The whining voice inside says, "How long, how much longer do I have to stay here?" The inner voice of authority says, "Forever, you have to stay here forever!" With a silent chuckle the resistance melts away, there is just the present, candle light, textures, contrasting temperatures, breath. There are four 25-minute periods of Zazen (sitting), with standing and walking Kinhin (active Zazen), in between. The walking Kinhin is outdoors, done in a line in the order of seating, so going out and coming in occurs smoothly. There are about 30 of us walking in a nice crunchy rhythm.

The day felt a week long by dinner time. Scrubbed dining hall walls alone, ate in the kitchen with the Tenzo (cook) and his helpers. Joined the others for afternoon tea, which is a chatty social time. Evening Zazen schedule is the same. Then we're off to bed by 9pm. Sleep is no problem.

Day 2 brings a surprise. Roshi is going to begin Sanzen (formal interview) with me today, not on day 4. I hear others asking why so soon? The day's schedule is the same except that after dinner I go to receive instruction in Sanzen protocol. The instructor says I should not use my Buddhist name. His take on Tathagata is that it is like saying "I am God." I insist that I haven't been called Christie for many years except for a legal purpose. After some discussion, it is approved. Next is Zazen, then time for the introduction to Joshu Sasaki Roshi. The monk goes in with me and I am touched to tears by words spoken about my true nature (everyone's). Then Roshi and I are left alone. What goes on in the Sanzen room and with one's koan is not meant for public sharing, but I can say that I received all of it with gratitude and some excitement. I stretch my attention to include the koan and carry on while now contemplating as steadily as possible through work, walking, sitting, meals, bowing, shower, and sleep.

One morning after a particularly awkward attempt at communication with Roshi, he laughed and said, "Clinging to freedom!" This is it, just what I'd come for. The contradiction hit the nail on the head! Slays everything I brought here (hoping for help with). Throughout the evening, while periodically laughing, a subtle and important blessing takes place. Without the special states that have always accompanied the direct experience before, very "plain" awareness which potentially includes all states, which is different at the same time from that troublesome non-truth (delusion-duality) or non-direct experience returning. Thought or no thought, feelings etc. pass through "this", no problem either way.

Now I hear Gangaji. My first and ongoing true teacher. Her many attempts to get this across to me all flood in, her voice is inside, nearly everything she's said to me over the years passes through me for hours, and for the first time ever, there is complete understanding of it all.

Ah, Life

by Edrid

I ran out of coffee filters. It was about noon on a Saturday, as I recall, and I thought I'd better go into Palo Alto and get some. I have this morning ritual where I have a hot cup of coffee, a pastry, and the morning paper, at the kitchen table, early in the morning, with the sun just rising through the window. It is an old standby for me, a bit of simple leisure time that I love.

So I hop in my car and head for Starbucks in Palo Alto. But the town is so crowded I can't find a parking place. I search and search, and in the process, I lose my cool and get really irritated and frustrated. It takes a long time, but I finally find a place, but I am steaming a little by then.

In Starbucks I am attracted to the colorful displays, the people, and the smell of hot coffee. To soothe my temper, I decide to have a decaf latte. As I wait in line, I am looking at the people and the way all the goodies are packaged for sale. I pass by the pastry case and see a really nice looking cinnamon roll, plump and fresh.

When I get to the counter I order the latte and go for the cinnamon roll.

Back at the car I am balancing the cinnamon roll and coffee in one hand and opening the door. I think to myself, "I have to be careful not to spill the coffee." But as I begin to squeeze into the seat, my elbow bumps the door post and the coffee splashes onto my arm. Startled, I start to fall awkwardly into the car, my attention rivets on the coffee, I'm trying not to spill it all over the seat, and the pastry slips from my hand and falls to the floor where I promptly step on it with my foot, and then I slump into the car seat.

Fortunately, not too much coffee spills. I count my blessings. The pastry is not too squashed either. It was in a bag, so it didn't get dirty, just a little dilapidated.

I drive home, drinking and munching and reflecting how stupid that whole thing was. Just as I pull into the driveway I remember — I forgot the coffee filters.

At that moment a beautiful tranquillity sweeps over me. I am sort of blown away, and there is no fight left in me. I just sit there, chuckle just a little, and realize how stupid I am. Stupid is fine, though, because I am not fighting it.

I am enlightened. I marvel how enlightenment is so cleverly constructed so that it looks exactly like regular life in which I am an idiot.

Based on the children's song,

By Nishkala

Everybody loves me
Everybody loves me.
Nobody hates me.
Guess I've been confused.

Open my head up;
Take my brain out;
Turn it around
And it'll be infused

With Truth, with Love, with God up above,
With God below and inside.
Now that I've seen the way that It is,
There no further reason to hide
My Love, my love, my Love, my love
There's no further reason to hide.
Open my head up;
Take my brain out;
Turn it around, don't divide.

We loosely talk of Self-realization, for lack of a better term. But how can one realize or make real that which alone is real? All we need to do is give up our habit of regarding as real that which is unreal. All religious practices are meant solely to help us do this. When we stop regarding the unreal as real, then reality alone will remain, and we will be that.

Quotes from Ramana Maharshi

People often say that a liberated Master should go out and preach his message to the people. How can anyone be a master, they argue, as long as there is misery by his side? This is true. But who is a liberated Master? Does he see misery beside him? They want to determine the state of a master without realizing the state themselves. From the standpoint of the Master their contention amounts to this: A man dreams a dream in which he finds several people. On waking up he asks, "Have the dream people woken up?" How ridiculous!

In the same way, a good man says, "It doesn't matter if I never get liberation. Or let me be the last man to get it so that I may help all others to be liberated before I am." Wonderful. Imagine a dreamer saying, "May all these dream people wake up before I do." The dreamer is no more absurd than this amiable philosopher.

A Love Experience

By Shirley Isaacson (from a letter to Edrid)

Last weekend I did an intensive with Zeene in N.M.

They encouraged people to do what or who and said okay for me to do love. No one there had done the love question before.

I had this experience: Wobbly on top of my head, energy growing in my back, with lightning like energy up my spine from above my waist and then flowing love in my chest and neck. I felt light energy connected above me. And so connected with nature and animals.

I did not feel the great love that I expected and I thought that this was only a psychic experience. I now feel much love for nature and not much more than I did before for people.

I remembered you saying to me love comes in pieces. The pedals open one by one. I am wondering if this is what you mean and that I am in the process of opening those pedals one by one and I have opened one.

Since no one at the intensive had done a love intensive, I felt little support and was not so connected to the others because they were so into the feeling of love and looking into each others eyes and hugging and I was not into that. I felt more clear and straightforward — clear inside me.

I will continue the love question until I get it all -or just get it.

Truth Calls

By John Shannon

My chariot and I are on the road.
Wild animals howl from the surrounding forest.
I and my horses are tired, but must go on.
The Truth is calling to me...
Or is it I who calls to the Truth?
Wait—there is no chariot, no horses, no road, no forest, no animals...
Only Truth.
It is I who calls myself.


By Edrid

This is the result of a little research project.

Nirvana is a Sanskrit word which is often translated as "perfect stillness". It has many other meanings, such as liberation, eternal bliss, tranquil extinction, extinction of individual existence, unconditioned, no rebirth, calm joy, etc. It is usually described as transmigration to "extinction", or "crossing over to extinction", but the meaning given to "extinction" varies from source to source.

The roots of the word add some light: "Nir" means none, and "vana" means blow (push the breath out), so "nir" + "vana" means to cease blowing. (It begs us to remark, "If you are not in Nirvana, you are blowing it!") In Yoga, the effort of creation is often identified with the breath, so the breath that forces the creation of life subsides until there is stillness, and this is Nirvana.

The Buddhists have at least four kinds of Nirvana:

1. Nirvana of pure, clear self-nature

2. Nirvana with residue

3. Nirvana without residue

4. Nirvana of no dwelling

Nirvana of pure, clear, self-nature

This is commonly possessed by all individual sentient beings all the time. It is not subject to birth and death, nor increase and decrease. This Nirvana is experienced as one dwells in the pure, clear self-nature. If you are all caught up with a false self, you don't consciously experience this Nirvana.

Nirvana with residue

The cause, but not all the effect (Karma), of the problem nature of life is removed. You stop causing trouble for yourself and others, but the body is still subject to birth and death. Those beings dwelling in this state are called "Arhats".

Contemplating "the obstacle of afflictions" causes the afflictions to cease to be obstacles, leading to this Nirvana. (When an affliction is not an obstacle, it is no longer an affliction.) Note that obstacle of not knowing the Dharma (spiritual truth) must be extinguished for attainment of the "Nirvana with residue" state.

Nirvana without residue

Both the cause and effect of reincarnation are extinguished, both afflictions and what is known (Dharma) are extinguished. All kinds of suffering are eternally in stillness. There is no further residue, nor are there the underlying seeds that brings one out of Nirvana. Beings dwelling in this state are called "Bodhisattvas".

Nirvana of no dwelling

With wisdom and compassion, those who do not dwell in birth and death, nor in Nirvana, continue to "cross living beings over" forever. They have no life, no self, they just do the work without "being" a doer.

The following is not one of the Nirvanas, but it is a spiritual state worth noting.

No Strife Samadhi

Strife means debating and fighting. No Strife Samadhi comes about through right concentration/meditation. After cultivating and attaining this Samadhi, one will not argue or be angry with others as one does not view any differentiation between self and other.

The Meaning of Sex

By Tudka

After last year’s annual intensive, I was left with an experience of such power and clarity that I found myself in a new and wonderful state. Hoping to understand and thereby hold this state, I approached a psychologist and engaged her in a series of dialogues and guided visions. We began each session with a simple concept, and let that develop into a vision, pausing for questions along the way. The following I labeled "Vision 3 - Sex" in my notes. Perhaps you will see something in it, too.

I see the round, globular shape of breasts, the curve of hips, the flow of belly and navel, the soft, loose lips of a vagina, bulging vulva and bush. I feel the light moisture of soft, smooth skin. The body rotates back and away from the vertical to the horizontal; the legs are raised, bent; the thighs leading me downward to the opening. The air is warm, humid, the scent of a woman fills my nostrils and hangs wonderfully about me in the air.

The body recedes, the vagina enlarges, and I am standing in the opening of a cave about 3 times my own height. The walls are wet, slippery, rounded and fleshy. I can make the skin around the opening remind me of a vagina, but I when I relax I see mostly that I am simply at the Opening, and the tunnel curves slightly up and away into the darkness within. It is the Flesh, the World. It is Female.

The opening is now so small that I must drop everything I have carried with me before I can pass. I decide to enter, and I begin to accelerate slowly into and through the tunnel. I gain greater and greater speed until I penetrate clear though and come out the other side. I am not surprised when I realize that the "other" side is really this side and I feel myself collide with myself from the back and emerge into myself where I began.

I am outside, I am separate, I am sad, I am Male. I wish to rejoin the Female, so this time instead of penetrating through the center I merge with all of It and become It. Ah, the warmth, the happiness, the feeling of being whole and safe and wrapped securely within the infinite Being. Now I feel something passing though me, the Light, the Love, the Consciousness. I feel like a long tunnel, full of clear emptiness, with small flashes of light shooting though me, like flashes of light on a stick waved back and forth in the beams of sunlight coming though holes in a barn.

I think about what has just happened, and I think of the male sperm. It must surrender its individual identity to join with the female egg, and be annihilated in the creation of a new being.

I see a being, a fetus 3 to 5 weeks old. He has eyes and hands, and a face. My face. It doesn’t look the face I see in the mirror, but it is most definitely my face. It is male. It cannot be female. Not this time. I look closer, and I see that there is another, a female. She also has my face, and is facing away from the first, but is joined at the back, sharing the spinal column with the boy. He is solid, flesh and blood. She is translucent, her body is filled with light, and her head glows as brightly as the sun. He is real, the actual one. She is potential, but not to be. Not in this lifetime.

I imagine the union of these two beings, and I am given a human form, glowing with golden-yellow light, descending slowly through a deep blue sky. It is both male and female and sits cross-legged in the air. It has no face, but when I put my own face there, it fits perfectly! I realize that everyone’s face fits there, perfectly. I open my eyes and close them again. I am shocked to be able to simply see this one whom I have seen before, just by wishing to do so!

Tears of joy and gratitude form in my eyes. I have just reviewed creation. I see men building, carving, pounding, writing. I see murder and war and bodies being cut to pieces with sharp blades. I see mountains being shaped and oceans being thrown about. I suddenly see that creation and destruction are the same, that they always come into being together.

The Female is the flesh, the body, the world, the very universe, the source and the material of all being. She is everything, She is the origin and the destiny.

The Male is the thought, the word, the creating and the doing, the cause of all being. He is nothing, yet He is the spark that sets everything in motion.


or...how I was Inspired to Serve Awakening Beings

by Pitaka

The idea to give an intensive for people living with HIV/AIDS was conceived as a result of my own first direct experience of Truth at an Intensive in Berkeley California in 1978.

Outside a private home somewhere in that city hopefully still stands a huge sprawling tree. This is not just any tree, but perhaps it could have been. In my experience, which is evoked time and time again as I recall the sight of my beloved tree, it gushes with Love as a radiant streaming of a delicious "substance" flowing out to all beings, unconditionally, indiscriminately, with and for no reason at all. In this quality of "contact", for lack of a better word, the world opened up, exposing to me the underlying nature of itself, the mysterious "substance" beneath the appearance of objects, all of life and space.

What happened to my perception and experience as this "opening" occurred was that" my body" was no longer a separate object, but "fused" because the "space" was revealed as not empty nor as a gap between objects. No where was this absent. "It" went on forever in all "directions". (In this context, the words are utterly meaningless, so please pardon the many in quotes.) "I" was (and am) "contained" in an endless womb with no boundaries. This was clearly life/tangible love/existence without end. This could never cease to be since it alone exists.

This was revealed as the actuality of all things which appear and that which sustains their appearance, their "being". This meant that "I" as this could never be separate, that in Reality separation is not an option. I sobbed in gratitude for knowing that regardless of how cut off I had often felt, perhaps from the moment of birth, that this was always an illusion. Everything I had known up to this moment proved to be constructed of combined thought, emotion, imagination, sensory perception, all without substance. My EXPERIENCE was never trustworthy! Although it was all I'd ever had to find my way.

I was flooded with gratitude for the absolute compassion that could never be lost nor earned, nor abandoned. I remember thinking, this is what is meant by eternal life, and the father and I are one. This belongs to every being while we live in ignorance of it, and even a prisoner in solitary confinement has this, no matter what they have done.

A monitor came up to me and said that walking contemplation period was over and it was time to go inside.

It took 3 years of trying to communicate this experience to many people in and out of dyads before someone really got it. Thank you Edrid, I'll love you forever because you were willing and able to understand my communication. That experience gave me a different kind of faith or hope.

Since that transforming day, the third day of my first intensive, (thank you Satish for taking me to Dawn Nelson's student Intensive), I have felt moved to somehow share this with people who are confined, isolated by life circumstances, or living with a terminal illness.


by Robert Dow

When the outside becomes the inside
And the inside becomes the universe
The Truth is here.
In the sound of leaves breathing
Is a celebration
Of the two that is one.
When you can talk and listen at the same time
The Beloved will press up next to you
And whisper great Secrets in your ear.

Cooks Available for Intensives

John Michael called and asked me to announce that he is available to cook for Intensives. You may reach him at 205 Washington Street, Number 17, Grass Valley, CA.

Tony Levell, the de-odder, volunteered to cook when my cook vanished on the first day. He became a fantastic, mindful cook immediately. Edrid. (Tony in Lower Lake: 707 994-7045)

Anniversary Remembrance

A letter from Vajra Modugno

Dear Edrid,

I think it would be quite appropriate to honor Yogeshwar Muni for what he has made available to us all and especially to Swami Kripalu. Like the jewels placed in the hands of a dead man, it seems most has been forgotten and ignored but for myself and I’m sure there must be a few others who truly were graced that these people came through our lives.

Do what you do with this material (Vajra sent several copies of the Vishvamitra newsletter), but as the 20 year anniversary of Kripalu having come here nears, I thought it appropriate to bring it to your attention.

Jai Bhagwan,


(Articles from Vishvamitra, "Friend of the World", Volume 4 Number 1)

Sunday evening, January 8th, 1978, Swami Kripalvananda (Bapuji) arrived at San Francisco International Airport from Amrit Desai’s ashram in Pennsylvania. A group of disciples and well-wishers gave him a warm reception by chanting and performing worship (puja) in his honor. Yogeshwar Muni garlanded Bapuji and led the guru puja and arati ceremony. All sang the arati and disciples presented flowers to welcome Bapuji back to California. Then he was whisked off to Kayavarohana where he settled into Shivadham, the guru’s residence.

Arrival Swami Kripalvananda’s arrival in San Fransisco. Left to right: Krishna Devi, Yogeshwar Muni, Ava Franks, Swami Kripalvananda, Vinit Muni, Kali Shakti Ma.


Early Enlightenment Intensive Poster, Berkeley, California, Circa 1969


Editor’s Column

This marks the beginning of the 4th year for Self & Other. If I had kept up with my publishing schedule, that would mean I had published a dozen issues. Alas, I could not keep that up. Just too much work keeping family and business together. Nevertheless, I am still eager to continue and I appreciate you all being tolerant of my erratic publishing schedule. And thank you all who have contributed articles, stories, accounts of enlightenments, poetry, and financial support.

I like what’s in Self & Other. Its a cool newsletter. I like it because it feels real to me. I like it because it talks about what is dear to me, especially the Enlightenment Intensive. I have found very few publications that try to deal with life and enlightenment so directly.

Accounts of enlightenment experiences or spiritual experiences are the core of this newsletter. That, and useful information about the Enlightenment Intensive process and similar activities. Please send in your experiences to share with our community.

Submit stories or accounts of spiritual
or enlightenment experiences to the newsletter.
Yes! Do it!

Our email address is sao@sandoth.com

© 1997 Ed Riddle (Edrid). Published by Self & Other, 508 Pope Street, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Phone: 415 328-4941.
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