Gangaji and I are in Amsterdam right now. We love it here. Besides loving the people, and the culture, we love the freedom here. The Netherlands is perhaps the most advanced human society at protecting both individual freedom and the democratic public space. As societies perhaps we could all learn from the Dutch.
The deepest cry for freedom arises in all of us. Sometimes it is repressed by our own internal mechanisms. We cover over it and ignore it for security or comfort or for being loved. Yet it is there beating in all hearts.
This cry for freedom has now burst forth in Iran. When we recall the great love poems of freedom from Rumi we are hearing the Persian soul in love with love, freedom and truth. Even at the height of their empire thousands of years ago, they were known as the most tolerant of empires for their time, allowing allied states freedom of religion and cultural identity and freedom to leave the association.
But political freedom as we know it is a most modern phenomenon. I have been reading about Thomas Paine of late, and while he was always a hero for me, I had no idea how much he is responsible for the American Revolution. It was Thomas Paine, at Valley Forge, the lowest point of our revolution who issued the call that, “these are the times that try men’s souls.” He went on to ask if we were only sunshine patriots and summer soldiers, or were we ready to bear all costs in the defense of freedom.
I have been coming to Europe to teach since 1983. As an outsider I could feel the atmosphere of the different cultures that I passed through. Teaching in Budapest, at a communist youth camp and community center, it was unavoidable to feel the depression and despair that hung in the air throughout the city.
There was a different flavor in the air coming into Germany. It was rigid and uptight in strange ways. The people at the front desk of the hotels were often suspicious and seemed hostile as they checked us in. The atmosphere felt oppressive and we were always glad to move on.
I was scheduled to return to Germany in 2007, but at the last minute it was discovered that my body was racked with disease and two days before flying, I had to cancel. I came last year but my body was still very weak and I only met with a small group of former students for a weekend in Hamburg.
In the ensuing years something that started so small has grown. In the eighties, when I worked with people, they were all focused on fixing their story and having a better life by changing their behaviors or circumstances. They had not heard of the possibility of freedom, or it was a concept that they believed required a lifetime of yoga and hard work. Now, there is awakening everywhere. There are too many teachers of non-duality to count.
Coming back after just three years absence the change is remarkable.
May the Light of Awareness and Love Blossom in All Hearts
Lunch With EliThe master fed the servant With simple elegance No wasted words were spoken As he softly plied his dance His presence was so natural No footprint fell to ground More like the early morning Breathing ether into sound
Dearest Eli and Everyone,
No escape :). Last weekend I was literally taken to a sangha where I was asked to give a video-satsang and talk about my insights. Mysteriously a friend of mine called me last week to join him and talk in front of a group of people at the weekend. They usually meet every month but the leader of the group became ill. After this satsang, I really experienced what Papaji said:” I’ve never given satsang, I always only receive satsang.” At the end of the day I got so deeply silent, there was just space, love, peace, oneness, gratitude.
Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night
Early in the morning
before the sun expressed itself
before blackbirds stopped singing
in the dead of night
the bells began to ring
candles on windowsills
pushed the darkness out
gently but relentlessly
and angels marveled at
this sudden illumination
There is no expansiveness more common than the soul
It is the gift of wings when feet are rooted to the soil,
when being is mistaken for limitation,
when something seems irretrievably lost.
Here, in a whirling heart, lives the height of joy.
Even with eyes closed, I can feel its fluttering
the invitation calling a name that belongs to everything.
Even with eyes closed there is nothing I have to do to find you.
When I first met Eli Jaxon-Bear in 2002, I knew very little about the Enneagram and nothing about deep trance work. I had met his wife Gangaji just over a year prior, whose presence and wisdom literally stopped me in my tracks—it was the end of my spiritual search for enlightenment.
After meeting Gangaji, I was skeptical that the Enneagram, or any methodology would offer any real value. Everything that I heard about the Enneagram was that it was great for helping you uncover what career or relationship was right for you, but it had little to do with liberation from egoic suffering.
In late 2002, Gangaji joined Eli’s three-year program, which is a three year commitment that acts as a container for a deep exploration into your true nature. At that time, Eli’s Enneagram retreat was a pre-requisite to joining the program and even though I was still skeptical, I signed-up for the Enneagram retreat and what turned out to be a life changing three-year program.
Article by Carol Wiener
Published in “Enneagram Monthly”, 1995
When I arrived at Eli Jaxon-Bear’s three week retreat in Sedona, Arizona, I didn’t have a lot of expectations. Instead I had a very subtle, dare I say, cockiness that there really wasn’t much of anything I hadn’t already experienced; that there wasn’t anything new under the sun. I had come to that conclusion after twenty-some-odd years of meditation and dabbling in an array of psycho spiritual and emotional arenas. It’s not that I am spiritually jaded – I’d prefer to think of myself as being more of a spiritual connoisseur.
In the past, I had diligently worked on myself, scrubbing my childhood and parental issues fairly clean using the suds of many different modalities. I’d even taken a toothbrush into the corners and crevices of my subconscious, bravely facing any crud that still lurked. I scraped, I peeled. I did whatever it took; I studied and taught yoga, meditation, co-counseling and rebirthing; even sojourned to India. I manifested wealth, relationships and fulfilled desires.
Letter to the editor of Gnosis Magazine, 1996
by Eli Jaxon-Bear
I was very interested to read your interview with Claudio by Om and one of his students. While I strongly support Claudio’s defense of the Enneagram and agree with his assessment of the shallow, arrogant, ignorant way the Enneagram is mainly taught and misused, I also have a few central points of disagreement.
Oscar and Claudio are quite adamant about preserving the transmission and the spiritual context of the work and with this I strongly concur. How that spiritual transmission is best supported is the issue. In my experience any tool that arises in the service of liberation is useful and any tool that arises from an ego-centered desire to get better is ultimately in service of its master. And mysteriously, as in the case of Hui Neng, the woodcutter who spontaneously woke up to become founder of the Sudden School in China, or Ramana Maharshi who worshiped the mountain Arunachala as his beloved Lord, there is no telling who the Beloved chooses or what form the Teacher may take. It is often the least expected who are chosen.
- Eli Jaxon-Bear
- Leela School