I really am living in a new world. And it’s one I’ve been striving extremely hard to give birth to for over twenty years. I became a teacher of enlightenment at the ripe old age of thirty. Ever since then, it seemed obvious to me that unless the uncontainable positivity and inexpressible glory revealed when one experiences higher states of consciousness actually becomes manifest in and through one’s own life and actions, then spiritual experience doesn’t really mean anything in the end. But I soon found this was not as obvious to others as it was to me.
In those early days, I was teaching publicly every night. Each and every evening was a profound and powerful adventure of direct awakening to consciousness itself. One after another, people who came to hear me speak were having the most amazing experiences. As a matter of fact, the atmosphere around me became so spiritually charged that for a while there, I’m embarrassed to say, I actually thought becoming an enlightened human being might be as easy as showing up to see me. At least that’s how it seemed. It really, really did. Alas, like so many other teachers, I soon discovered that for most people, these dramatic experiences were in fact nothing more than mere glimpses of their own higher spiritual potentials. They were ecstatic and bliss-fueled rides to the other side of the rainbow, where all things become possible and one has no doubt that heaven has indeed come to earth. Those were the days . . .
Well, actually, they weren’t. They were extremely exciting and deeply thrilling times. But in the end, they were nothing more than a really good Fourth of July with the best fireworks display you’ve ever seen. And that was because I found, with very few exceptions, that most of those who were around me didn’t want to pay the price to make that other world they were glimpsing a permanent place of occupation. I spent the first five years as a teacher blowing people’s minds and showing them where God lived. I spent the next ten years trying in every possible way to get them to pay the price to make the radical leap from higher-state experiences to genuine spiritual attainment. Ken Wilber puts it beautifully when he says that the task is to transform “higher states into permanent traits.”
I couldn’t have tried harder or put more energy into this ultimately challenging aspiration: To get others to want this as much as I did. To get others to see what I see—not only the glorious potential of a new world, but the urgent necessity to make it manifest, here and now. To have not merely students who are followers or devoted disciples but students who are real life-partners in the grand endeavor of the evolution of our collective interior. More than once I wondered if I was mad or crazy, because it was pretty clear that nobody was seeing the miraculous possibility that I was seeing. I experienced many dark nights of the soul and struggled often with doubt. But then, slowly but surely, what had been up until then only an intuition and an awakened vision that was available to me, started to become available to others.
It took many years before it stabilized. First it would emerge like a tidal wave rushing in, a consciousness that seemed to collectively surge forth, consuming the awareness of all those associated with me. And then, just as quickly as it rushed in, like all waves do it would return back to its source and disappear. And, as hard to believe as it may sound, I would be one of the only people who seemed to remember what had happened. The reason is that Spirit, experienced as consciousness, is a higher and more subtle domain than our ordinary waking state. That’s why it’s so easy to temporarily awaken and see the face of God for oneself and then to not only lose access to that awareness but to even forget that it actually happened.
Over the last two years, to my deepest relief and inexpressible joy, I find I have been released from the torment of all those years. And the reason is that what I was seeing all that time has now emerged and become stable between enough of us to make all the difference in the universe. We’re not coming and going anymore. We’ve arrived. And the reason this means everything to me is that it means we can finally move forward.