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Ending My Search for Spiritual Truth
by Bob Harwood

I spent 20 years thinking about a wide range of existential questions, but never found a single answer to anything I considered important. At the age of forty, I intuited that mind talk might be making life more stressful than it was, so I started a simple meditation exercise in an attempt to attain some peace of mind.

Within ten days I had a sudden realization and started a new meditative activity of trying to look at the world without naming what was seen. Within two days I had a second major realization--that I had been living in my head for twenty years! I then pursued several different meditative activities, and five months later began falling into deep states of nirvikalpa samadhi, although I didn't know what it was.

A few days afterwards, I had a huge cosmic consciousness experience that catapulted me into a totally different reality and answered several existential questions. I realized that reality was unified, infinite, alive, intelligent, and beyond comprehension. For three days I lived in heaven on earth and lost all interest in anything personal. All I cared about was the welfare of others.

After three days, it felt like something electrical happened, and my old sense of selfhood returned along with the dead flat world that I have lived in prior to the cosmic consciousness event. Although the unity-consciousness state of mind had ended, I felt sure that it would return if there was sufficient internal silence.

I joined a Zen group and for the next fifteen years I went on silent meditation retreats and continued the meditative activity that I now call ATA-T (attending the actual minus thoughts). During that fifteen years every existential question got answered via multiple major realizations--each realization revealing that some idea to which I had been attached was false. Nevertheless, I didn't feel free and didn't know why.

In 1999 I went on a solo mountain-hiking retreat in Colorado. On the fourth day, I went to a Gangaji satsang in Boulder with the absolute certainty that she would recognize me despite there being 300 people there. She did, and I told her about my long search for truth, and that I had come to share my story in hopes that it might help someone else. Afterwards, I was overwhelmed by the love I felt from members of the audience who spoke with me.

The following day I was climbing Mt. Audubon when I was suddenly overcome by a sense of extreme gratitude and I became very emotional. I sat on a big rock ledge looking at the mountains and knew that I was looking at my True Self. I said a prayer of, "Thank you, thank, thank you," and ended by saying "Let me be of service." All interest in anything personal vanished, and after the tears stopped, I stood up feeling empty and strangely buoyant.

A few hours later I happened to look "within" but there was no longer a "within" and there was no longer a "me." Immediately it was realized that there had never been a "me" in the way that I had imagined, and it then became obvious that all there is is Source or Reality. I like to call it "THIS."

On that day I finally understood what I had always wanted to understand, and that ended my spiritual search for truth. I then felt totally free, and that sense of freedom never ended.

In 2015 I attended a retreat with Gangaji at Falling Leaf Lake and got to tell her in person what happened on the day after my meeting with her in 1999.

Today, I love to tell people that all there is is THIS and that everyone and everything IS THIS. There is no separation of any kind except in imagination, and what we ARE cannot be imagined. May all beings discover THIS. 

“This is your resting place, your watering hole. Find what supports you, what includes you, and drink it in. Be nourished. Be enlivened. And when you feel thirsty again, drink some more.” —Gangaji

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