To My First Teacher

January 12. Full moon. The birthday of my First Teacher. I bow down.

By his ancient grace, and not through any effort or wisdom of my own, I tasted from an inward grail the precious nectar of Pure Awareness, the boon for which I came into this world.

Through the gift of Transcendental Meditation, I learned by direct experience that Awareness is not thought. Awareness is the substance of the universe.

Conceptual thinking is only one tool by which Awareness extends its domain of wonder into worlds of energy and form. But Awareness itself is beyond thought, as the blue sky is beyond the clouds.

I attended schools both public and private, college and university, yet through all my so-called "education" I never met one teacher who could teach me how to transcend the mind.

The whole educational system was a trap of conceptual thinking, based on the contraction, not the expansion, of Awareness. This kept the student unrealized, unfulfilled, caught in the net of one ideology after another, without ever experiencing the vast ocean of Being, the boundless space where all ideas arise and dissolve like photons in the void.

Then I met a little laughing brown-skinned man from Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas, who was the incarnation of joy. With a single whisper, he opened the way to the infinite, beyond thought. He taught me how to experience what books and professors never teach: the Radiance I Am. And he showed me that this Radiance is the very Light from which the universe is made.

Awareness manifests this world out of its own mirror-like clarity in order to experience itself as an other, and so, through the contrast of opposites, to experience its Self.

To behold the divine Self intimately in another is to love: to "love thy neighbor as thy Self." And this unity of beholding fulfills both the way of Bhakti, and the way of Vedanta. It is the overflowing cup of waylessness, devotion in non-duality, non-duality in devotion.

By the grace of Maharishi's teaching I tasted the subtle essence of that Love which pervades both subject and object, the current of power that runs through every photon and star, the sap of this flowering cosmos: my own Pure Awareness.

Now, 47 years after I first sat at his feet, I still bow down in gratitude and say, "Jai Guru Dev." All gratitude to my First Teacher.

Here is a memory. It was 1970, at a long teacher-training course. A little group of us were sitting with him after a lecture. One asked, "How can I experience what you experience?"

Maharishi giggled, then spontaneously made up this little parable... "The wave asked the sea: Could I be like you? The sea replied: It's easy, just settle down."

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