David Welch: Ananda Giri we are interested in exploring what it means to awaken.
I was wondering if you might share a few words of wisdom upon this subject.
Ananda Giri: The way we understand awakening at One World Academy is…Long Period of Silence.
DAVID: I love that answer. It’s just total silence. What else can you say about awakening? Nothing?
ANANDA GIRI: That’s true.
DAVID: But, if you had to say something?
ANANDA GIRI: One has to experience awakening, but if you have to put it in words, I think it is a complete transformation in the way you relate to yourself, to others, and to the whole earth itself and even beyond. Right now, there’s a portion of it coming to us. There’s some kind of division at every level. When this relationship is transformed—the relationship you share with others in the world—your actions become very different, meaning, you have realized that you do not and can not exist on your own. You are a part of the whole process. You realize you are not a separate individual. You realize you are a part of everything and that everything is a part of you. Not just as information, but through direct experience.
You know, every time you breathe, the whole universe is at work. Literally, the whole universe is at work…the trees are at work…the earth is at work…the sun is at work…the stars are at work. And when you look at yourself and ask the question, Who Am I? You will know you are the result of all these beautiful people that are a part of your life. You’re defined by those incredible moments of love, care, affection, friendship, generosity, that shape you. You can’t separate yourself from those people, you can’t separate yourself from those moments. Those moments have become you. Those people have become you. When you see this clearly, through direct experience, then there is a transformation in your thinking and in your actions. Neither your thinking nor your action is thereafter isolated to yourself or limited to yourself. They include the developing of heart because at this point you no longer see yourself as separate from the others. You no longer see your well-being as different or separate from the well-being of heart.
I think that is the realization and that is the knowing we need to have to create a beautiful heart. That to us is awakening. When such a transformation has happened in your consciousness, when there is no more separation, no more you and me, no more I and others…and as long as there is that sense of separation…as long as you believe it and function from the perception and understanding that I am separate, then all you care about is yourself. All that matters to you is your pleasures, your achievements, your significance, your identity, your safety, your security, and you won’t mind hurting others to protect yourself, not just physically…not just harm to the physical—physically protecting yourself—that is necessary, but emotionally, psychologically. Like one of our founders of One World Academy would say, “awakening is to move from obsessive, self-centered thinking, to inclusive thinking,” and that transformation cannot happen if you did not have a direct experience of what it is to be that.
I was sharing with you yesterday about the experience of this 14-year-old boy who attended the “Being Limitless Seminar” last weekend in New York. All those years he felt and functioned from this view that I’m different, I’m separate, but he understood at some level we’re all connected. It was hard for him to relate to the world that way. But after he had his experience where he became the earth himself, he felt as oneness with the Mother Earth. Like I said, that is not the best one. After he had that experience during one of the meditations and the practices, and as he stepped off onto the street walking back to his home, he said, “nobody was a stranger to me on the street.” My relationship with the world is forever transformed. And it’s true, he cannot live in the world the way he related to it for the previous 14 years. He sees things differently. It’s like a new pair of eyes. That is awakening and nobody’s a stranger to you. When you know the other is you, the other is a part of your new heart. Awakening means a new consciousness…a new consciousness where all divisions have ceased to exist. And such a consciousness—a transformed consciousness—can only be the fruit of liberated wisdom and direct experience coming together. Experience alone may not be sufficient to cause the transformation. You also need the liberated wisdom. And that’s why at One World Academy, we give importance to both these aspects of transformation…equal importance.
DAVID: Can you describe a little bit more about those two?
ANANDA GIRI: Yes. Liberated wisdom means the world is actually self-explanatory because that requires liberated wisdom. Wisdom that actually sets you free. Not a wisdom that supports yet another concept. Or…not a wisdom that gives you momentary comfort—like if someone came and asked, “I’m experiencing suffering within—what could be the cause of my suffering?” If I were to tell the person, “you’re suffering because of something you did in a past life…it’s karma, all is divinely built, all is meant to be, it’s a blessing…” or whatever. Some would consider it wisdom, but the questions is, is that wisdom actually liberating you or is it just providing you some moment of comfort. Is it actually setting you free? Or is it providing a concept to which you can cling onto? And if it can’t be free itself, you feel the pain, you tell yourself, “no, it was meant to be, I’m just paying for what I did in a past life.”
But liberated wisdom means it is wisdom that can actually help you see the truth of your suffering and what could be the truth of that suffering. The truth can only be one thing. It is caused by your own thinking process. And, Krishnaji; have you met with Krishnaji, the founder of One World Academy? He likes to be very specific. He is not just thinking one process, he says it is one self-centered thinking process. To be even more specific, it is obsessive self-centered thinking process. That is the truth of your suffering and if you could look at that truth, then, instead of looking outside, blaming…he/she did it…a person, situation, system or some unseen force for your suffering…you would look within instead of looking outside. You look at an opposition that sets into obsession that is causing you pain. And the beauty is that once we are able to see it, that the very act of seeing sets you free. It liberates you, because truth has that power. Truth has enormous power. It has the power to set you free. Not just for a moment, for a little comfort. That is liberated wisdom. Wisdom that will help you see the truth and by seeing the truth, you experience the freedom within. I just can give you one example that is the nature of liberated wisdom. When you have that liberated wisdom, and then when you have a direct experience, an experience of…to know that you are the others…to know that you are all that exists.
DAVID: This is not intellectual knowing?
ANANDA GIRI: No. That’s why we call it knowing; it’s not understanding.
DAVID: Right, ok, good.
ANANDA GIRI: Because that knowing…your relationship with the world is forever transformed.
DAVID: It’s experiential.
ANANDA GIRI: Yes.
DAVID: It’s feeling…it’s connection.
ANANDA GIRI: It’s knowing…you know it.
ANANDA GIRI: When you step on the street, when you look at those people on the street, they are no longer strangers to you. When you look at the tree, you know the tree is a part of you. You have seen it. You cannot live in that experience all the time. But, when you had a selflessly deep glimpse, when you selflessly dove into that experience, then your perception has changed. And as you keep moving through that experience…every once in awhile, it’s like you’re being magnetized…your perception is…you’re like an iron filing that is being magnetized.
DAVID: So, I’m getting a process of awakening and in different levels of awakening.
ANANDA GIRI: Yes.
DAVID: And, so, what can a person do who wants to awaken? What is the process? What do they do to get to these deeper levels of awakening?
ANANDA GIRI: As I was mentioning earlier, the part we take as one of wisdom, liberated wisdom, and that experience. There are so many principles that will…principles that will help us realize ourselves, teachings that will help us know. For example, in our initial, our…let’s call it Level I Journey/Motion Journey that we do at One World Academy, which is the one we did last weekend. There are four principles: The Principle of Truth, The Principle of Spiritual Connection, The Principle of Expanding Consciousness, The Principle of Web of Life.
DAVID: Devotional life.
ANANDA GIRI: The Principle of Web…web of life.
DAVID: Oh, the web of life.
ANANDA GIRI: Yes. Along with this principle, there are many meditations. And, there is a process, where you actually become that. When you realize that you are all that exists. And it was during that process that a 14-year-old boy had that incredible experience. Then our discourse is called, “The Being Limitless,” where you realize you’re not a limited self, but you’re the limitless consciousness. And the next level, we take them further. It’s called, “The Field of Transformation,” where you learn how to create a field, a field that can impact, that can cause a massive change to the world around you. And for you to be able to go to that place, which means there must be a much deeper transformation of consciousness. That journey was a different thing, the journey through several worlds. The journey to the realm of now, the journey to the realm of spontaneity, and the journey to the realm of spiritual vision, the journey to the realm of wisdom…and it’s like…and the journey to many realms like this where, there again, it’s wisdom and experience. And we have very powerful meditations called Chithra meditations, where you meditate with Krishnaji and Preethaji.
DAVID: Now in Kriya meditation, you have postures?
ANANDA GIRI: Not Kriya…Chithra. We call it Chithra.
DAVID: Ok, can you describe this meditation a little bit more. Or some of them anyway?
ANANDA GIRI: I think it will be hard because these meditations are not so much in the posture itself, it is more like you are meditating in a field that is created. A field that will impact you which is what you learn in these high level courses that we do…where you learn how to create that field.
DAVID: So you have a first, a second level and a….
ANANDA GIRI: And we have the next, which is called “Experience Enlightenment.”
Continued in Part II…
David Welch: is the founder and CEO of Awaken Global Media and Chief Editor of AWAKEN.com. He is the Producer of the award-winning movie “Peaceful Warrior” and a member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild. David is a master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic programming, a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and has a continuous, committed and daily yoga, meditation and Qi gong practice.