Like many of us, I’ve had deep questions about the meaning of life since childhood. I have a strong interest and love of the earth and society but my interest in what is beyond this life runs even deeper. I started seeking answers to these questions in my late teens and early 20s. Out of this search, I became passionately drawn to Nonduality and the many traditions that honor nondualism - particularly Advaita Vedanta and Tantra. Nondual simply means “not-two” and points to the sacred wisdom that Consciousness is our essential nature - it contains everything and is the essential substance of everything.
Early in my adult life, I realized it is possible to know Consciousness directly and recognize our eternal and infinite nature. Now I know this path leads to authentic peace, love, and happiness.
Advaita is the Vedic or Sanskrit word for Nondual. Vedanta is an ancient spiritual tradition, based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India. So Advaita Vedanta simply refers to the nondual tradition of India and the sacred Hindu texts such as Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Brahmasutra. These texts, particularly the Bhagavad-Gita and Upanishads have been translated for the Western reader, although many find them dense and challenging to get through. It is very possible to directly understand and integrate this wisdom without reading the traditional texts. At the end of this section is a list of books that are relatively accessible to the western reader.
Advaita Vedanta is the path of the mystic - one who seeks through inner contemplation - and is all about inner reflection or self inquiry and transcendence practices such as meditation. Advaita Vedanta is often referred to as the “direct-path” in spiritual awakening circles because it is primarily interested in knowing yourself beyond separation.
I love the purity of the Advaita Vedanta nondual path because it is extremely effective for initiating spiritual awakening or enlightenment. Though this path does not traditionally guide people beyond awakening or have techniques for integrating nondual realizations into complex everyday human experiences.
I love the all inclusive nature of the Tantric Traditions. Tantra refers to another group of sacred Indian texts practiced in esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Many of these texts are still only in the sanskrit language so my relationship to Tantra is not from reading these texts. Tantric practices are embedded in Western culture in many ways - yoga, Ayurvedic health and healing, Chakras and energy centers.
While Advaita Vedanta helps us transcend the world of form and separation, Tantra show us that liberation is possible within the world. Tantra embraces the human experience and teaches how to experience nonduality in life rather than beyond it. Tantra offers spiritual awakening practices that engage us in relationship, in attachment, in becoming a vital human being with the truth of Consciousness shining through.
I am able to engage and assist with a vast range of spiritual-awakening phases or processes. Essentially, I form spiritual friendships and mentor friends through a process of awakening - from initial self-realization, into a spiritual-awakening process, and into embodiment and integration of nondual wisdom - a luminous and enlightened expression of life. I have a post describing these various "phases" in much more detail here.
Here’s a short list of my favorite Advaita Vedanta and Tantra teachers and their books:
Sally Kempton - Awakening Shakti
Rupert Spira - The Nature of Consciousness, The Transparency of Things, & The Presence Volumes
Christopher Wallis - Tantra Illuminated
Bonnie Greenwell - Energies of Transformation
Miranda Shaw - Passionate Enlightenment
Reginald Ray - Touching Enlightenment, The Secret of the Vajra World & Indestructible Truth
Georg Feuerstein - Tantra: Path of Ecstasy
Ramana Maharshi - Be As You Are
Nisargadatta Maharaj - I Am That