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Oneness Deeksha Experiences

 

Please send us your Experiences with Oneness Blessing/ Deeksha, so we can put them on the website. Sharing is an important part of the process. It helps you integrate what you have experienced, and it also helps those with whom you share.

Experiences vary and may be strong, subtle or even delayed until days later. One may experience a tingling sensation in the head, blissful feelings running through the whole body or perhaps nothing at all. Whatever the experience, it is certain that the process of Awakening has begun, a process custom designed for each person's nature which will lead gradually (or sometimes suddenly) to Full Awakening to Oneness.

Click one of the links below for:

Michael's Video: http://www.vimeo.com/9269114

Experiences of Oneness Blessing/Deeksha

Experiences of the 21 Day Process

Experiences of the Advanced Deepening Course

To read still more experiences of Deeksha visit: Experiences on Oneness University Website

 

 

 

An Experience of Oneness Blessing Received in Answer to Prayer

 

"I want to share something that happened last night... I prayed ... and ...asked to receive the Oneness Blessing ...At first I experienced a lot of mind chatter, however, as I surrendered , I felt that I had been lifted to a True place of Bliss and Spiritual Ecstasy!  I felt light, tingly and full of immense JOY!  I could not feel the boundary of where my body ended and everything in my surrounding area began.  It was the most Wonderful feeling!  I stayed in this state of Peace for quite some time or so it felt that way, as the white light of love and purity enveloped me and I fell into a deep slumber... I felt your Oneness Blessing and I am truly Grateful!  I am tremendously excited about learning more and embarking on this Journey of Enlightenment!  Thank You! ...I look forward to attending your Oneness Blessing next Thursday...

With much heartfelt Gratitude & Love, J______"

 

My Oneness Process:

An End to Personal Suffering,

the Dawn of Causeless Joy

 

By Rev. Dr. Michael Milner

21 Day Process Participant

I have been on the Spiritual Path for more than 35 years, and now, my life is VERY sweet. But for 15 years I SUFFERED! During that time I lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to me. The hardest part was the destruction of my ideas about my “self” and about the Divine. I believed that I was a saintly enlightened being, serving God and others with unselfish, unconditional love. For years I had been filled with the Divine Light, and I had no idea there was so much “selfishness” remaining, so many assumptions. Then, 15 years ago, the Light was eclipsed, I was plunged into the Dark Night and I saw the naked truth about myself. It wasn’t pretty.

This is my story: At age 17, I had a mystical awakening. Time stopped, I seemed to die, Light flooded my consciousness, and in an instant, I saw the past, present and future all at once. I saw other worlds and passed into the Light. It lasted for what seemed like hundreds of years, and then suddenly, to my surprise, I was back in my body and time started again. I retained only a small portion of what I had seen and realized then that the human brain and body in its present state cannot contain the energy of Full Awakening to Oneness.

A year later I became a direct disciple of the Chinese Taoist Grand Master & lineage holder of Tao Ahn Pai (Taoist Elixir Style) who taught me Taoist Meditation and Internal Alchemy. It raised my Kundalini to the crown of my head and down the front of the body to the base of the spine in a feedback loop, like the Ouroboros, the snake swallowing its tail. It felt like a million volts went through me, the world dissolved, and I held the universe in my hands as a Golden Ball of pure energy. I could not sleep for 6 months. All my senses were heightened. I could hear things at a great distance. I began to see auras and many other things. I experienced reality as a constantly changing sea of energy, and I learned to heal with my energy. In meditation, I passed out of my body and my thoughts. Looking back, I saw that I was not my body and I was not my thoughts. Looking forward, I dissolved into the luminous void, the ocean of pure consciousness. I became a Taoist Priest and studied the Internal Arts. But, the suffering “self” remained.

Over the years, I did extensive biofeedback training, yoga and meditation and spent time with numerous masters, mystics and shamans. I experienced Samadhi many times. I was initiated into the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu tradition by Kalu Rinpoche. When Swami Muktananda gave me Shaktipat, my breathing stopped, my heart chakra exploded in brilliant light, and a voice within me said that God had always been within me as my True Self. I dissolved into the Om and passed into Nirvikalpa Samadhi. That was 35 years ago… After that, I wandered thousands of miles as a barefoot ascetic in a white robe, celibate, vegan, and vowed to poverty. I enjoyed a high state of consciousness, but nevertheless the suffering “self” still remained.

In 1978, I was taken up in the Spirit and met Jesus Christ face to face. He laid his hands on me and filled me with His Divine Spirit. He called me to serve Him and showed me wonderful things. I became an ordained minister, taught in a number of countries, healed the sick, experienced many miracles and gifts of the Spirit, founded churches and schools of ministry and ordained numerous ministers. Later, I became a Roman Catholic Franciscan and eventually a Free Catholic Franciscan Bishop. I am the chairman and co-founder of the International Free Catholic Communion, a spiritual home for people who, for various reasons, are alienated from institutional religion and the mainstream Church.

For 25 years, my passion has been healing, teaching and guiding people on the path of Spiritual Growth and Contemplative Prayer (or Christian Meditation). I have also continued to teach Taoist Meditation and Qigong for 35 years.

My life was full of Light, Spiritual Blessings and fulfillment. I never dreamed of what was about to happen. When I least expected it, my life began to simply fall apart. Everything went wrong. I was plunged into the Dark Night of the Soul, and for 15 years I SUFFERED as my ideas about myself and God were shattered! For a number of years, I was bitter. I raged and struggled. But, gradually I learned to accept “what is”: my own ugliness and suffering, to embrace it and to simply rest in silence and emptiness. I never expected the suffering to come to an end, but at least I began to be at peace with it in the present moment.

Then the miracle of transformation began! A friend of mine who was familiar with the Oneness Movement and had received Oneness Blessing a number of times came to my home in Clearwater, Florida for a visit (It just happened to be Sri Bhagavan’s birthday). He told me about an Avatar in India who is able to transfer the permanent state of Awakening to Oneness through Oneness Blessing (also known as Oneness Deeksha), an intelligent energy which produces a profound neurobiological transformation in the brain. I said, “If that’s true, there is no distance in the Spirit, and a Divine Being like that has no limitations. Let’s pray and ask this Avatar to send us Oneness Blessing right now!” Although there was no initiated Blessing Giver present, when my friend invoked the Divine Presence by chanting the moola mantra 3 times, instantly Bhagavan and Amma sent their Grace. The Divine Presence was poured out on us. I was lifted into a divine state of consciousness for 20 minutes or so and then plunged into the depths of the unconscious where I could feel the Divine bringing to awareness and beginning to heal the causes of my suffering! I knew it was absolutely unique the way the Oneness Blessing energy lifted me into a higher state and then plunged me back into my base state, as well as the very tangible effect on my parietal lobes. It was just what I needed. But I wanted to make sure that what we had experienced was really Oneness Blessing. Since I couldn’t find any Oneness Blessing Givers in my area, I contacted Sri Raniji. She let me know that she would be in Florida in a few weeks. I attended both of her workshops and received Oneness Blessing numerous times. It was definitely the same “Presence” we had experienced in my living room. The unique quality of it was unmistakable.

It’s not that this was some new Divine Presence in my life. I had lived with the awareness of the indwelling of God for many years. What was unique was the way the Oneness Blessing Energy went to work rewiring the brain, slowing down the senses, de-clutching the mind and deeply healing the unconscious.

In the weeks and months that followed there were many miracles and visible signs of the effects of Oneness Blessing. Bhagavan began to visit me in visions and speak to me in my heart. With much love and an amazing sense of humor he began to tell me that he already knew me quite well, that he was going to free me and Fully Awaken me to Oneness, healing me deep within, and that I would be coming to India. As I continued to receive Oneness Blessings every week, bad habits and addictions began to simply fall away. My parietal lobes felt “fried” most of the time, but that was fine, because annoying thoughts and feelings couldn’t “stick” to me like they used to. My “Process” had already begun. A 12 minute Taoist breathing exercise I have done for many years every morning before meditation suddenly began to take 25 minutes for the same number of breaths. My breathing rate was cut in half! There were so many changes! Then, one day, the unthinkable happened.

During a Oneness Blessing teleconference Raniji was teaching about “Suffering”. I was ready to be plunged more deeply into my own suffering, ready to embrace it and experience it more fully. Then Raniji sent Oneness Blessing, and to my utter astonishment, MY PERSONAL SUFFERING DISAPPEARED! To this day it has not returned. I can still hardly believe it. It seems like a dream. I feel the suffering of the world. I share in that. But my personal suffering is gone. There may be conflict or sickness or some other annoyance, but even then I feel causeless peace and joy. Those painful memories, thoughts and aspects of personality have simply lost their “charge”. They just don’t cause suffering any more, because the “person” who suffered, the suffering “self”, is no longer there.

I was so truly deeply happy (I mean VERY VERY HAPPY!) before I ever left for the 21 Day Process that I didn’t really care if nothing else happened while I was in India. I was going to be initiated to give Oneness Blessing, clear more unconscious debris, deepen my state and meet Amma, Bhagavan and the enlightened Guides (monks). I was already the happiest man on earth! What more could I possibly want? But it got even better.

The Guides, the Guides of the Oneness University, are amazing, enlightened, compassionate beings. Because they are enlightened and filled with unconditional love, they are the most skilled and effective spiritual directors I have ever encountered. I felt truly safe, loved, accepted, understood, protected and cared for in their hands. I felt as if they were my family, as if we had always known each other. It was love at first sight! This was the perfect place to let everything go, to let go and let God.

Shortly after the Process began I had a major insight. I realized that my whole spiritual journey had been a long series of “efforts” to “let go”, to “surrender to Grace”. How completely absurd! “Effort” is willful and ego driven, the opposite of “surrender”. I realized that it is not even in my power to surrender. It requires Grace to surrender to Grace. It requires Grace to even call on the Divine Presence. Even that is a gift. So, I just kicked back and relaxed and enjoyed the ride. It is all up to the Divine Presence. I knew that I was absolutely HELPLESS! There was nothing I could do to help the Process, but there was also nothing I could do to hinder it. There is no way to blow it, no way to make a mistake. Everything is part of the Process. The Divine is in complete control. There are no choices, no free will, just the will of the Divine.

I learned that my mind is not my mind. My thoughts are not my thoughts. The Mind is ancient. There is only one. It is the same for everyone, but it does not belong to us. You cannot change it or enlighten it. Bhagavan says that when it strikes you that no change is possible then you are free. In the Process I came to experience by the Grace of God that the Mind can go on being just what it is. I cannot transform it, silence it or make it go away. But by the grace of God, for I cannot make this happen, but by the Grace of God I experience the mind “declutching”. So, while it goes on as it is, I am not bothered by it, and I come to rest in the Presence of God. I call this Spiritual Awareness. The “thought stream” keeps right on flowing by (sometimes even through) me, but they are not “my” thoughts. They don’t bother me. Sometimes they just flow by. Sometimes they fly through my head. But they can’t stick, and I know they aren’t mine. Ah…, the Peace, the profound Silence! No matter what is happening: noise, conflict, thoughts, chaos, whatever… there is still Peace, there is always Silence in the Divine Presence.

I also learned my body is not my body. My body belongs to the Universe of which it is made. It’s not mine, and it’s really on automatic. When I was giving Oneness Blessing to someone after the Process, I asked Amma and Bhagavan if it was time to remove my hands from the receiver’s head. They said “Go ahead and try to move them.” I couldn’t move them at all for the longest time. I just laughed and laughed. It was completely out of my control. Once before the Process Bhagavan dissolved me in the Divine Presence while I was stopped at a traffic light. I couldn’t find my body or the car. I said, “Bhagavan, the light is going to change soon. I need my body.” Just as the light turned green, I was back in my body and it began to drive the car quite well all by itself.

So then, who am I? The answer to that one is really quite entertaining. As the Oneness Blessing energy slowed down my senses, I saw that what I understood to be my “self” was actually a parade of non-contiguous personalities arising and then vanishing into the Divine Presence. The only permanent thing is the Divine Presence itself. These personalities are just images, bits of memory with an emotional charge. As they lose their charge, by the Grace of God, they are really funny to watch as they arise and disappear, one after another, sometimes several at the same time. There is the craving personality, the self-conscious one, the shy one, the outgoing one, the guilty one, the confident one, the scheming one, etc. etc. In the space between them and underlying them I simply enjoy being absorbed in the Divine Presence. When I am absorbed in the Divine Presence there is no “self”!

One participant who experienced this said that realizing there is no “self” to be enlightened IS enlightenment. Then, here’s the next question. If there is no “self” to be enlightened, who is watching the personalities arise and dissolve? Who is the One that is aware of and enjoying the Divine Presence if there is no “self”? This was the really big revelation for me, the high point of my whole 21 Day Process! By sheer Grace I experienced profoundly that it is the Divine Presence in me experiencing its-Self! The Divine Presence is awakening in me, becoming aware of its-Self in me, experiencing and enjoying its-Self in me and in all Creation! God is falling in love with God in me! It’s the ultimate romance! God and Man are two ends of the same reality, two ends of the same Experience. You could actually say that there is no Experience-r or Experience-d, only the Experiencing, only Divine Awareness. At this point there was a shift in my experience of the Divine. I began to profoundly experience God as my Father. My Father and I are One. I am convinced that this is what Christ Himself experienced!

Nothing exists outside of the Divine Presence. God is all there is. Even conflict and struggle is God. All is God. God, God, God, God, God! That’s all there is, all there was, and all there will ever be!

Then there was the Oneness Blessing Givers initiation. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Maha Deeksha! Bliss, thunder and lightning! This is what we came for! One Being, many people. The Oneness Family! I’m home! This simply must be experienced. No words will suffice. Thank you Amma Bhagavan!!! May Golden Oneness Blessing waves of the Divine Presence sweep the world and make us all One, make all hearts flower. OM Shanti Shanti Shanti.

3 days after the 21 Day Process ended I was fortunate to have a personal Darshan with Amma. This was pure Grace since it was Ganesh’s birthday and Amma was not giving Darshan to any Westerners. As I knelt touching her feet, to my surprise, she smiled, looked into my eyes and spoke freely, asking me where I was from, about the 21 Day Process and how long I would be staying in India. I thanked her for everything she and Bhagavan have done. I told her of my desire to deepen, to give my life in service, and of my vision to start a Oneness Center in the US (Tampa Bay area). I told her that I need her blessing and financial grace in order to do so. She said “Yes. Yes.” and gave me her blessing. Then, to my utter astonishment, because I didn’t ask for it, Amma added “I am giving you the Power. From this day forward, I will always be with you and my Power will flow through you...” After the Darshan I felt a quantum shift in my being and in the power flowing through my life. Since then, I’ve given Oneness Blessing to over 2 thousand people right here in India. The more I give, the stronger it becomes. I wonder what will happen when I get home.

There is just so much more to tell, but this testimony would turn into a book: the wonderful people I’ve met from all over the world, our visit to the Oneness Temple, meditations with the Cosmic Beings, many special super-powerful Oneness Blessings, group Darshans with Amma and Bhagavan, and Anandaloka 1 where I have been staying in a thatched roof hut since the 21 Day Process ended and where several times we have listened to Bhagavan teach for hours. During the last few weeks at Anandaloka 1, right before our very eyes, Bhagavan has given literally hundreds of indigenous Indian people "Mukthi", the gift of Liberation from the interference of the Mind and of Awakening to Oneness. Jaya Bhagavan!

I am just so happy! So VERY VERY VERY HAPPY! All I can say is: Thank you Amma Bhagavan!!! Thank you for causeless love, joy and peace! May my life be poured out in service of the Divine!

 

 

 

Deeper into Oneness:

My Experience of the

Advanced Deepening Course

By Rev. Dr. Michael Milner

The Advanced Deepening Course was one of the most significant events of my life. Everything I experienced, every Oneness Blessing (known in India as Oneness Deeksha), every homa, every meditation, every darshan, every prayer, every breakthrough, every insight, every awakening was not for me alone but also for those I represented by "proxy". (A proxy is a person authorized to act for another).

Everywhere I went, the Oneness Temple, Amma and Bhagavan’s darshans, their huts at Anadaloka 1, meditations with the Cosmic Beings and everywhere else, I carried people’s photos with me and their written petitions for divine intervention. I presented these to the Divine on their behalf and used their photos to send them Oneness Blessings (Deeksha) throughout the day, every day, for the entire month I was in India. This was the Proxy Program.

It began as something just for the people in my own weekly Oneness Blessing group, as a way to share the energy and blessing with them while I was in India. But, Bhagavan began to appear to me and tell me that He was going to specially bless the program with His Power and that I should open it up to more people. In the end, there were 267 people from 6 continents (and about 200 Guides)! The privilege of carrying them in my heart with me while I was in India set the stage for all that happened.

Prayer and meditation and a continuous transmission of Oneness Blessing enabled me (and other Oneness Facilitators at the Deepening who sometimes joined me) to pass on the Grace we were receiving to the people in the proxy group and also to the collective consciousness of humanity! I forgot about my own state of consciousness and my own spiritual growth and became absorbed in Seva (service) for the Dharma, raising the collective consciousness of humanity, that ALL humanity might enter the life of Grace and Joy! This shift in focus is one of the main objectives of the Advanced Deepening Course.

During the Deepening I experienced tremendous GRACE! It was the first course ever held at the Oneness Temple, Golden City 1, the campus where Bhagavan now resides. The energy was so high, it is difficult to describe!

 

A few examples: One night, while I knelt touching the Srimurthi (the sacred picture of Amma and Bhagavan) and praying for Amma and Bhagavan to take me more deeply into Oneness, I felt electrified as Divine Shakti surged through my whole body, then I simply melted away, quietly, gently, deeply into Oneness with the Divine Presence, Sat Chit Ananda, Existence Consciousness Bliss. The effect has been permanent. Every time I touch the Srimurthi since then I have a similar experience and my ordinary awareness has shifted permanently into a profoundly deeper state of Oneness.

 

Another night, while I prayed for special Grace, gently touching the Padukas on the altar (the silver sandals that represent the feet of the Divine), I felt fire running up my arms and the Padukas moved forward by themselves in answer to my prayer. After that I immediately laid down on the floor in Shavasan (the yoga "corpse pose"). For a very long time, I was unable to move "my body” while "my mind” became a kaleidoscopic light display of myriad brilliant colors and feelings bursting and unfolding like a flower blossoming into the Universe. I took that as a “yes” from Amma and Bhagavan.

 

There were profound, enlightening teachings from the Guides, many powerful special “Amma Bhagavan Deekshas” and meditations with the Cosmic Beings. We had several meetings with former senior guide Sri Anandagiriji and received Nayana Deeksha (Oneness Blessing by direct eye contact) from former senior guide Sri Samadarshini. (These are two of the most evolved beings on the planet, both Fully Enlightened and God-Realized). One day we had darshan with Amma in the morning, Anandagiri in the afternoon and Bhagavan in the evening, all in one day!

 

Yes indeed, we certainly did get zapped! There were many cosmic delights during the Deepening, but these were not what really stood out for me. What did stand out were a few simple insights.

 

First and foremost is that the heart of awakening is SELF ACCEPTANCE, accepting ourselves as we really are with all of our strengths and weaknesses and without any attempt to cover them up. Resistance is futile and is the cause of great suffering. That's it. No Big Bang. It's not about being "zapped" into some higher mystical state. It's about SELF ACCEPTANCE. That's what opens the door to LOVE, to the FLOWERING OF THE HEART, to the AWARENESS, BLISS and JOY of the Present Moment, to ONENESS and FREEDOM from "the illusion of a separate self" with its "craving and personal suffering" and finally blossoms into the living experience of GOD REALIZATION. That's it, just SELF ACCEPTANCE. How beautiful and simple can it be? And it's all the work of DIVINE GRACE!

 

At one time I was waiting for the "separate self" to be completely erased. Then, I awoke one day to discover that my "personal suffering" had quietly disappeared, and that brought me great continuing Joy. At first, I wasn't sure what had happened to my "separate self". NOW I SEE CLEARLY that it never existed in the first place! Michael Milner is just a wonderfully made human bio-computer through which God, the Divine Consciousness, the Universe, is expressing and experiencing Itself. There is no one else at home here, and there never was... 

I once believed that the entire Universe would be transformed into the Body of Christ. I believed that Heaven and Earth, Spirit and matter would be united in Oneness. But NOW I SEE that it is not the Universe, it is US who are being transformed, being awakened to SEE that the Universe ALREADY IS the Body of God. The Universe IS the Divine Consciousness expressing and experiencing Itself! Oneness is not something that is going to come in the future. Oneness is the way it is NOW. It is the REALITY to which we are just NOW awakening!

Since returning from the Deepening to the USA, things have changed! I was taken by surprise, because some of us stayed in India for 2 weeks after the Deepening at Anandaloka 1 giving and receiving Oneness Blessings with both Indians and foreigners. Those 2 weeks were sublime! The Oneness Blessings were much more powerful than they had been before the Deepening. But back in the USA the energy of the Oneness Blessing has been even stronger than it was at Anandaloka 1! It is POTENT! Amma and Bhagavan had increased the power of Oneness Blessing and kept it a surprise until we got home. Thank you Amma Bhagavan!

I have noticed that now increased power is also flowing through the Oneness Blessings (Oneness Deekshas) of other Oneness Facilitators who were not at the Deepening. Evidently, when a group goes through the Deepening (there were about 150 of us from various English speaking countries) it affects all the other Oneness Facilitators in our respective countries. This should really come as no surprise, since the homas (fire rituals) performed during the Deepening which seek an increase in the energy the Oneness Blessing are not performed just for those in attendance at the Deepening but for all the Oneness Blessing Givers in their respective countries.

People in the USA are now reporting strong Kundalini Shakti, Samskara Shuddhi, some symptoms of sickness related to energy raising and pranic purification, periods of non-functionality, dramatic shifts in consciousness and other strong manifestations as a result of receiving Oneness Blessings that I have previously observed only in people going through the biological shift during the 21 Day Process!

Similar manifestations were happening to people during the Proxy Program. Participants have told me that the distance Oneness Blessings from India during the Proxy Program also produced miracles of healing (including the healing of cancer), release from addictions, etc. It seems that people in the USA are going through deeper levels of the biological process now that were previously reserved only for those attending courses at the Golden City! WOW! It's happening!

I now experience being constantly immersed in an energy field as strong as the one at the Golden City. Even though I know that God is all that exists everywhere, all the time, and that there is no separation or distance in the Spirit, still that is amazing to me. Before the Deepening I felt a stronger energy field at the Golden City than anywhere else. It seems that now the Golden City is everywhere (or at least it goes with me wherever I am), there is no difference! It's all One. Also, now the Oneness Benediction before the Sri Murthy is always absolutely ELECTRIC and I feel like I am physically with Amma and Bhagavan looking them in the eyes!! I like these changes. It makes it easier to be physically so far away from Amma and Bhagavan and all the Guides.

There is so much Grace flowing in my heart that I continue spontaneously to send Oneness Blessings to the proxy group and to the collective consciousness of humanity. It is just a natural flow. We are all One. My transformation is everyone’s transformation. Everyone’s liberation is my liberation. May everyone know this Joy, and may we all deeply EXPERIENCE and FEEL our Oneness! Then humanity's problems will be solved!

I am free from concern for my own state, absorbed in the Divine Presence, absorbed in Union, absorbed in zeal for the Dharma. In short, I am VERY happy and my life is filled with Divine Grace! ALL is God. ALL is Amma Bhagavan! I live for SEVA, that all humanity may enter the Life of Grace and Joy and the whole World may become Golden. That is all. Amma Bhagavan Sharanam!

Mark T., Kila Lau & Michael Milner

Participants in the Advanced Deepening Course

"One for All and All for One"

 

 

Release from Addiction:
Addendum to the story of my Awakening Process

By Rev. Dr. Michael Milner


 

There is more to the story of what Oneness Blessing (Oneness Deeksha) has done for me than I revealed in my two previous essays: My Oneness Process: An End to Personal Suffering, the Dawn of Causeless Joy and Deeper into Oneness: My Experience of the Advanced Deepening Course. Truth is, if I wrote down everything that Sri Amma and Sri Bhagavan have done for me, I would need to write a book.

Before I was ready to tell the story of my release from addiction, I had to deepen in humility and self-acceptance. It was a bit embarrassing to me. I had the idea, and I was sure everyone else did too, that someone who is a bishop and a Taoist priest should not be addicted to anything. Then there is reality. The problem of addiction is such a huge a part of human suffering that I really must tell this story, since it could help so many people. Also, I need to give credit to my beloved Sri Amma and Sri Bhagavan and openly express my gratitude to them for setting me free in so many ways and on so many levels. That said, here is the next chapter of my story.
 
Let’s begin with the hard truth. Until we awaken to Oneness, we are all addicts, addicted to the illusion of our separate existence and to the pain management programs we institute to perpetuate that mirage.

The illusion of separate existence is painful to the core. There is always loneliness, craving for more, fear of loss and grief. As long as we feel separate from the Oneness of All Being we crave what we think we do not have, we fear losing what little we think we do possess and we grieve the loss of things that cannot last forever. This craving and fear of loss can be for material things, for spiritual things or for life itself. On a deep unconscious level we dread feeling that pain and we will do anything in our power to avoid it. This resistance is the cause of our personal suffering. Anything fully experienced becomes bliss. Anything in our life we try to avoid fully experiencing causes suffering, stress and “dis-ease”. We create elaborate programs to escape from these unwanted experiences and to numb the pain, thinking this will end the suffering which is actually caused by our resistance and craving. These are our “pain management programs”.

For some of us it might be long hours of watching TV, shopping sprees, sports, hobbies, our jobs, sex, romance or even our intellectual, religious and spiritual pursuits. For others it is food addictions and overeating, and the more obvious chemical dependencies on alcohol, tobacco and drugs. These are just a few. The list is practically endless.

I have been no exception. For many years it appeared otherwise. I didn’t smoke, drink, get high or engage in other outward behavior that we think of as “addictive”. Although now I can see that my addictive tendencies were simply more cleverly disguised. I was an “ordained holy man”, a Taoist Priest and a Free Catholic Franciscan Bishop, a healer, a seemingly “enlightened” teacher, a contemplative ecstatic mystic and a spiritual guide to many seekers. Living continually in the Light of the Divine Presence, I traveled the world over and witnessed many miracles, healings and spiritual transformations in my own life and in the lives of others.  
 
Then one day the bottom fell out of my life. The Spiritual Light seemed to be eclipsed. My prayer life, meditation, and other spiritual practices no longer brought any comfort. Bliss and ecstasy disappeared. Ideas about myself and about the Divine were shattered. I felt abandoned by my beloved God. I lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to me. I was face to face with what remained of my false self, and it wasn’t pretty. I had been immersed in the Divine Presence for so many years, I had no idea there was so much darkness left in me. As a man of God, I felt like a failure, and for 15 years I suffered deeply.

This part of the spiritual journey is rooted in our need for "self-acceptance" and is often called the "Dark Night of the Soul". As the process of collective human awakening unfolds, Divine Grace is making the "dark night" passage shorter and less intense or altogether unnecessary, but in the past virtually everyone on the spiritual path went through it at one time or another and it lasted for years.
 
In his treatise, Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross describes three temptations that assail seekers during their passage through the “Dark Night” experience. These are dizziness, blasphemy and fornication: “dizziness” because our heads are spinning, our assumptions about ourselves and the Divine are shattered, and we no longer know what to believe or what to do, “blasphemy” because we tend to blame the Divine for allowing this to happen to us, and “fornication” because at this point we might consider any number of forbidden pleasures to numb the pain and make ourselves feel better for even a little while.
 
Among various pain management programs I tried during this period of my life were tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. A Taoist shaman can do whatever he likes. An Irish Franciscan Catholic priest is allowed to smoke and drink. The marijuana was harder to justify, but it is after all an herb sacred to Lord Shiva and to a host of Indian Sadhus and Yogis. It seems to temporarily unblock painfully bound-up energies and for a short time releases the sufferer into higher states. By the end of my 15 year ordeal I got to the point where I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes, drank a pint of blue agave tequila and used marijuana every day. It didn’t end my suffering, but it certainly numbed the pain. I wanted to free myself from these addictions, but I felt powerless to do so, even though I continued to follow a daily regimen of deep meditation, prayer and Taoist qigong.
 
Then I experienced the Grace of Sri Amma Bhagavan and began to receive Oneness Blessings (also known as Oneness Deekshas). You can read about my experiences in greater detail in the
essay My Oneness Process: An End to Personal Suffering, the Dawn of Causeless Joy. After I had received Oneness Blessings weekly for about a month, I began to feel really awful about my separate self, my destructive habits and my addictions.
 
One day as I got ready to go home from work I said, “Bhagavan I am helpless. Please set me free. Erase my “separate self”. Free me from my suffering and addiction. Let’s get this over with. I have been struggling with this false self as long as I can remember. Long enough, I’m done. I give up. Help me!”
 
As I got in my car to drive home I heard a voice within me quote the Bible saying, “Happy is the man who does not condemn himself for the things which he allows.” This was followed by laughter. I recognized the statement as a quote from St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (Romans 14:22). Initially I thought it was Christ or the Holy Spirit speaking to me. I have experienced this many times over the years. But the laughter was different. Somehow, I knew it was Sri Bhagavan quoting the Bible to me and laughing. It spoke volumes. This section of Romans says that there are no hard and fast rules about what you can or cannot do on the spiritual path. Just try to avoid things that might cause others to stumble, and if you decide to allow yourself to do something controversial, don’t condemn yourself for it. Bhagavan’s humor and laughter immediately set my heart at ease.
 
I said, “Bhagavan, I’m impressed. You knew that Paul was my patron saint.” I am the Bishop of the Free Catholic Diocese of St. Paul, and for years I taught the revelation of St. Paul concerning the Mystery of God-within us – the Indweller. Evidently, Bhagavan knew all about that. He also knew the Bible quite well. He knew that I would recognize the passage from Romans and would understand the deeper meaning. I said, “You knew that verse would free me from my self judgment.”
 
Bhagavan answered, “Michael, I know you better than you know yourself. Smoking and drinking and using marijuana are not the real problem. If you want to quit these things, it’s easy, I will help you. The real problem is what underlies those habits and needs to be healed deep inside of you. I am going to heal those things. I am working in you right now at a depth you cannot even imagine.”

Suddenly it struck me. I understood how vast the consciousness was of the One who was speaking to me. The depth of his insight and intelligence was staggering!
 
I stopped my car at a red light and said, “Bhagavan you scare me.”
 
“I’m going to heal that too," he replied (referring to my fear). Then he added, "Do you want the gift of Awakening I am offering you?”
 
“Yes” I answered, and in the next instant I saw Sri Bhagavan’s hand appear before me. Brilliant light came swirling out of his hand, filling me completely. I dissolved in the Divine Presence. I couldn’t find my body or the car. I said, “Bhagavan, the light is going to change soon. I need my body.” Just as the light turned green, I was back in my body and it began to drive the car quite well all by itself.
 
I said “That’s impressive, but what about Christ? He’s my Antaryamin (the Indweller, the God-within me).”
 
“I’ve already spoken to Him. It’s alright. You’re “on loan” for this project. Ask Him yourself. I’ve also spoken with your Taoist master. He’s ok with it, too. You are coming to India.”
 
I did ask Jesus. Bhagavan was right. Christ assured me that there is no conflict between my devotion to Him and the mission of the Oneness Movement. My Taoist master wrote me soon after this. He always signed his letters “Moving with the Tao”, but this one was signed “Toward the Great Oneness”. That was my answer.
 
Since then, Sri Bhagavan and Sri Amma have spoken to me often. I see and hear them clearly inside of me. It is not a question of who lives in me, Christ or Amma Bhagavan. There is only One Supreme Consciousness manifest in myriad forms. It is that Divine Consciousness who lives in me expressing and experiencing it-Self through me, as “me”. The “separate self” I was begging Bhagavan to erase never actually existed. It was a mirage.
 
I was completely free from tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. Overnight I went from smoking 2 packs of cigarettes, drinking a pint of tequila and using marijuana every day to nothing at all. There were no struggles, no cravings, no gradual reduction of intake and no symptoms of withdrawal or detoxification. I was simply liberated overnight by Divine Grace! Thank you Amma Bhagavan!
 
Soon after this, one evening during a teleconference I received an Oneness Blessing from Sri Raniji. It was sent with the intention of giving us Grace to more fully experience our suffering. Sri Bhagavan teaches that anything fully experienced turns to Bliss. Strangely, this was the first time I received an Oneness Blessing and felt absolutely nothing. The next morning I still felt nothing. As the day progressed I felt even more nothing. It took most of the day for it to dawn on me that in this case to feel nothing was a good thing, because out of that inner nothing began to emerge permanent causeless joy! You see, my personal suffering had vanished just as completely and mysteriously as my addictions had. 15 years of intense suffering finally came to an end! From that day to this, neither the suffering nor the addictions have returned. Instead I experience continually deeper Love, Joy and Peace in the Divine Presence.
 
This happened prior to my 21 Day Process in India. Before I ever got to India I was already the happiest, most grateful man on earth! In India during the 21 Day Process and later during the Advanced Deepening course I experienced even more blessing. I came to experience profoundly that the One who is aware of being “Michael” is the Divine Presence itself, expressing and experiencing its-Self through me. There is no one else at home here, and there never was. The “separate self” never existed. Man and God are two ends of the same reality. You could actually say that there is no Experience-r or Experience-d, only the Experiencing, only Divine Awareness. That’s all that exists. The entire Universe is none other than the Divine Consciousness expressing and experiencing its-Self.
 
But more profound than all the cosmic experiences and insights I have had during this amazing journey of awakening to Oneness is the insight that the heart of awakening is SELF ACCEPTANCE, accepting ourselves as we really are with all of our strengths and weaknesses and without any attempt to cover them up. Resistance is futile and is the cause of great suffering. That's it. No Big Bang. It's not about being "zapped" into some higher mystical state. It's about SELF ACCEPTANCE. That's what opens the door to LOVE, to the FLOWERING OF THE HEART, to the AWARENESS, BLISS and JOY of the Present Moment, to ONENESS and FREEDOM from "the illusion of a separate self" with its "craving and personal suffering", its addictions and pain management programs and finally blossoms into the living experience of GOD REALIZATION. That's it, just SELF ACCEPTANCE. How beautiful and simple can it be? And it's all the work of DIVINE GRACE!

When we become aware of ourselves and accept ourselves as we are, without judgment or resistance, acknowledging our helplessness to change and invite the Divine Presence, then Grace comes, and a shift takes place. Freedom is at the Door!
 
St. Paul looked back at his life. He had been known as Saul of Tarsus, an arrogant, self-centered persecutor of the Disciples of Christ. As he rode on horseback toward Damascus with orders from the high priest in Jerusalem to imprison and execute all the Christians he could find, he was struck from his horse by a blinding flash of light from Heaven, from Christ Himself. When he arose he had been transformed into St. Paul the Apostle, destined to become one of the greatest Disciples of Jesus Christ. In retrospect he concluded (I am paraphrasing) “I am what I am by Divine Grace alone. I was the chief of all sinners. If the Divine did this for me, it was to serve as an example for all of humanity, to let all people know that this same Grace, this same Unconditional Love, can and will help anyone and everyone.” These are my sentiments exactly. I believe my release from addiction, suffering and the cravings of the separate self are a sign to all of the Divine Grace which is available to everyone who wishes to be free.
 
In eternal Gratitude I offer my life in Seva (service) to the Divine. May all humanity awaken to Oneness and enter the Life of Grace and Joy! May the whole World become Golden! Amma Bhagavan Saranam! (“saranam” means “I surrender”).

 

 

"I pray... That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us... one even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one..." - Jesus Christ

(John 17:20-23)