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Ultimate Cure
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From the Introduction to The Ultimate Cure:

“Once you have had this glimpse of Reality, that you and the universe are indeed One, it starts to free you in all kinds of ways. You begin to realize that you are more than your body, mind, and emotions, more than your personality, more than the role you play in life. You begin to intuit that you are bigger than any fear, problem, or conflict you may experience.

You live more and more with the awareness that there is something authentic and beautiful within you, something timeless that is the source both of your own Being and of creation itself. And that awareness guides you in your life. You live with greater clarity, certainty, purpose. You realize, finally, what you are here for, what your work is.”

"This is something most marvelous if you can come upon it."
—J. Krishnamurti

For many years now I have been leading workshops on healing and spirituality. Each time I teach, I myself am healed and renewed by the experience. There is often an extraordinary presence in the room, a palpable energy of love and Grace. Somehow, in its own magical way, this energy—which, for want of a better name, I call spirit, or "the Energy"—touches us individually in the ways we need most and brings us together, uniting us in our hearts, minds, and souls.

The workshops have grown out of my own healing journey, which began in 1975, with a health crisis, when I thought I was having a heart attack. The incident put me in such a state of anxiety that for months I was afraid to go to sleep at night for fear I would lose control over my breathing and die. Eventually I discovered that it was not an organic heart problem but stress. I needed to learn to slow down and to get out of my head, where I had lived for too many years. I needed to come down into my feelings, my emotions, my body.

I began studying yoga, meditation, and Zen—the elusive art of living in the present. I did a lot of reading—Krishnamurti, Herman Hesse, Alan Watts, Fritz Perls, Aldous Huxley. Much later I went to personal growth workshops and spiritual retreats. I explored psychotherapy as a growth tool. I also had several spiritual teachers who came from the Eastern tradition, where the emphasis is not on beliefs and dogma about spirituality but on the direct experience of it.

Then, two years after that crisis, in the summer of 1977, I woke up early one morning and everything in my mind—thoughts, images, the residue of the night's dreams—dropped away. Suddenly I found myself in the most extraordinary state of clarity and stillness I had ever known. It was as if a veil had been lifted from my consciousness and I was seeing Reality for the very first time. What I saw was that everything was perfect as it was and that I was loved by God, by creation. There was no sense of separateness from anything, just a profound awareness of the fundamental unity, beauty, and sacredness of life.

Although I did not have words for it at the time I realized that, in some way, I had touched the source of all healing. I had been blessed with a taste of enlightenment, of what the Zen writer, D. T. Suzuki, called "The lightning-and-thunder discovery that the universe and oneself are not remote and apart, but an intimate, palpitating Whole."

As a result of that experience, many changes have taken place in my life and my relationship with that Reality, the beauty and simplicity that is at the heart of life, has deepened and expanded. Where before I always had a lot of self-doubt and was unclear about my direction in life, now I feel much more connected to something universal, something inexhaustible that is a continuing source of nourishment and inspiration to me, no matter what problem or difficulty I may be experiencing. My purpose in writing this book is to help you come to this discovery within yourself—or, if you are already in touch with it, to offer guidance in deepening the experience. Then the love and wholeness that is your real nature can become more embodied and integrated in your daily life.

Very often we get scared by the prospect of inner work, of looking too deeply into ourselves. We may be afraid of the demons we will discover, or the changes we may have to make in our lives. Yet we cannot create change if we are afraid of change. And the demons themselves are actually illusions, perpetuated by myth and belief, by our refusal to look. The truth is that the experience of awakening is within reach of all of us. It begins to happen naturally as we learn to let go of our ego attachments, our concepts about "how" to live, and make the choice to be more present in our lives, more attuned to the subtle energy—the loving presence—that is behind reality.

It helps, too, if you can accept the view that the experience of spiritual well-being is indeed your natural state and that there is in fact nothing spiritually to "attain." Much of the information in this book is to help you re-orient your thinking so that you can begin to trust, to accept the truth of this proposition. Once you stop striving for some ideal of spiritual perfection, there is an immense unburdening that begins to happen. The ego, in giving up its struggle for control, for some idealized state of lasting peace and security, finally grows quiet. In that quiet space opens up and light—the illumination that has so long been sought—begins to pour in.

Listen, for example, to these words from Ramana Maharshi, a spiritual master who lived in India: "Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Your search for happiness is an unconscious search for your true Self." Jean Klein, who is from Europe and who has been one of my teachers, puts it this way: "True joy is not linked to outside circumstances, it flows directly from within you, from the Self." In the Christian tradition we find the same idea expressed in Jesus's teaching: "The kingdom of God is within you." Or, in the words of St. Francis of Assisi, "What you are looking for is what is looking."

These are powerful words, empowering words. When you read deeply into them, you begin to understand for yourself why the experience of spiritual awakening has been spoken of as the "ultimate cure" for human suffering. And yet what does it actually mean to be awakened? How does it look and feel in everyday life?

For me, Suzuki's definition says it as eloquently as any. Once you have had this glimpse of Reality, that you and the universe are indeed One, it starts to free you in all kinds of ways. You begin to realize that you are more than your body, mind, and emotions, more than your personality, more than the role you play in life. You begin to intuit that you are bigger than any fear, problem, or conflict you may experience. You live more and more with the awareness that there is something authentic and beautiful within you, something timeless that is the source both of your own Being and of creation itself. And that awareness guides you in your life. You live with greater clarity, certainty, purpose. You realize, finally, what you are here for, what your work is.

And regardless of how your awakening manifests in the world, the feeling that accompanies it is always the same: it is one of increasing freedom and joy, a happiness that shines on its own. It truly is a "peace that passes all understanding." In yoga it is called satchitananda, a Sanskrit term which means, "the bliss that comes from the knowledge of one's true Being."

If you look back at your life, you may recall times when you have had this feeling, this sense of infinite well-being—or at least had flashes of it. They are like little enlightenments. They usually come when things quieten down a bit, when you find yourself more present, more aware, more sensitive in the moment. Anything done meditatively or contemplatively—that is, with heightened awareness—helps you get to this place where you are naturally still inside. Thoughts and images drop away and something deeper, the truth of your inner Being, begins to emerge.

This is what frequently happens in the workshops I teach. My goal is to create an environment where people can get a feeling for the spiritual energy that is their true nature. Once the workshop begins my commitment is to be as present as I can be, attuned to the energy that is in the room. I invite the participants into that presence and then we allow the energy to work in its own mysterious way. The things we may do—movement, meditation, various awareness exercises, or simply engaging in open, heartfelt dialogue—are guided by the energy itself, the wisdom of the moment. It is all very natural and right. There is space enough in the room for anything to happen, and everything that happens always seems to be just what is needed.

The workshops are a constant reminder to me of what a beautiful gift it is to take a day or two out of our lives for this kind of exploration of who and what we are. It is always a rich and rewarding experience. It is a coming back Home to ourselves, to our true Selves. And what we discover, most of us, is that my Self and your Self are not so different. At the heart of things, where it matters, we really are One.

In this book I would like to share with you some of the things you might learn and discover were you to actually attend a workshop of mine. Each of the twenty-one chapters that follows represents a tool, an approach you can work with that will support you on the journey back to your Self.
Take the tools, play with them, experiment with them, find out the ways in which they might work for you. Let yourself feel the energy behind my words and you may be surprised at what begins to move within you, what new insights and feelings are awakened.

Many people who attend a workshop leave feeling a sense of centeredness, of clarity and inner peace, that they have not felt in a long time. They feel more on purpose, more directed. They come away with a greater trust in their own knowing. They feel ready to take the next step, to meet the next challenge in their life.

Some, finding all their resistance melting, the chronic tension and anxiety within them dissolving, experience physical and emotional healings. Perhaps for the first time they feel themselves really deeply, or they see something in an entirely different way, so that it opens up a new range of possibilities for them.

Others get more in touch with their pain, their conflict. The energy of unconditional love and acceptance in the room helps bring the issues that need to be worked with more to consciousness, where they can be seen and addressed. Those looking for guidance often find out what they need to do next, how best to create the breakthrough that will free them from whatever may be holding them back.

No matter what their personal need or agenda, all come away, to some degree or other, with a sense that they are fundamentally okay as they are. They realize that the healing they seek is not so much about acquiring anything new, as it is learning to discover the depth and fullness that is already within them.

And this is my message to you. You are a beautiful human being. There may be things you need to change, or want to change, outwardly in your life—whether to do with your health, your relationships, your work, your finances, or something else—but inside, in your essence, you are enough, just as you are. It is important to know this, to remember it often. The more you trust it, the more it will become a reality for you. It is a matter of learning to be quiet and still, and beginning to look within yourself—rather than outside—for the love and fulfillment you seek. Do this and sooner or later you will awaken to your own innate wholeness.

You will feel this wholeness as a current of joy, of well-being, flowing in and through you. Whenever you stop and turn to it, it will be there—not as the product of anything you think or do but simply because it is the substance, the very essence, of your Being. Moreover, you will realize that this energy is in everyone and in all things. It is the exquisite pulse—the divine spark—of creation itself.

The more you touch this energy, the more you will find all your deeper questions about life being answered. Your inner doubts and fears will begin to fall away. What will be left will be an increasing sense of ease and well-being in body, mind, and spirit. Times of tension and disturbance will continue to arise in your experience, especially during those moments when you are caught in the ego's grip, in the mental and emotional contraction that is the hallmark of self-will. But even the periods of contraction will be as ripples on the surface of the water. Underneath, in the depths of your Being, that clarity and stillness will be more and more there.

Even if there is a problem that will not go away—a health condition that seems beyond help, or some other limiting circumstance—you will not worry about it so much. You will understand that so long as you are alive, there will always be problems, for such is the nature of human existence. The more connected you are to the healing energy within you, the less of a "problem" such limitations become. You just deal with them in the most intelligent and appropriate way you can.

You will understand you are not your body, and that who you really are does not die. Instead of being afraid of death, you will develop a deep and growing trust in the natural unfolding of life. Dying will be seen as yet another step in this endless journey your soul is on. You will learn to welcome uncertainty, to delight in the mystery, the wonder of existence. Just as it was when you were a child, each day will again begin to feel like a new adventure to you.

With this trust will come self-acceptance, and out of self-acceptance will flow a natural acceptance of others. You will stop wasting your energy in comparing yourself to others. You will see the futility of judging them, of trying to "fix" or change them. You will be happy instead with being yourself, with living your own truth. You will realize that to express yourself in this way is the most valuable gift you can ever give anyone. Truly, it is the beginning of love, and only when there is love can real change come about.

To find out all these things for yourself is the goal of the healing journey. It is an immensely rewarding journey and one you can only make on your own, for you are the healer. The answers to your problems and conflicts lie within you. Others can point the way back to your Self—can inspire you, share with you, support you through difficult times—but no one else can do your inner work for you. You awaken the healing energy within you through your determination to find it. It is, in the end, a choice you make.

If you choose the path of healing and keep listening to your heart, keep bringing your attention back within yourself, you will come upon that energy, I promise. You will discover that it is like a flame burning within you, a bright, steady flame that has always been here. At times you will feel it as a clear, empty joy, and at others as a rich and full sense of Being. It is the eternal "hum" of the universe, vibrating ceaselessly within you and around you. The more you open to it, the more you will feel it—healing you, renewing you, guiding you, sustaining you.

This energy, you will discover, is the source of everything you have been looking for in your life. It really is the ultimate cure for whatever may be ailing you. It is the energy of your aliveness. It is the well-spring of your creativity. It is your passion. It is your joy. It is your ability to think, to dream, to laugh, to feel, and to cry. It is your spiritual essence. It is the love you have longed for all your life. It is who and what you most fundamentally are.

I wish you the best on your journey!

Sebastopol, California
Spring, 1993

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