I was born on March 24, 1957 in Providence, Rhode Island, on a Sunday, at 2:40 p.m. My mother says that my birth was extremely easy, with little pain, and that I was "completely grown up," even as a child. In my youth (pre-teens), I was not prone to easy laughter or the common jokes that circulated among human beings. I lived in a world all by myself, thinking, feeling and being led innocently toward a life of relentless spiritual evolution. It would be many years before my spiritual sadhana, or spiritual practices, would reveal the memory of my oneness with the divine.
My parents did not hesitate to inform me that my destiny was to attend "college," a word they spoke with joy and enthusiasm, emotions that stood out starkly in my young attention, since those emotions were so deeply absent in almost every other part of my childhood. My mother grew up in a poor household and dropped out of school at a young age. My father was a high school graduate. We struggled as a lower class Italian family in a predominantly Italian-American ghetto in Providence until I was eleven years old. Later we moved to the suburbs outside of Providence where I lived until I was 18 years old.
My early religious background was coincidental and predetermined by my parents’ educational choices. I attended Roman Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school, schools selected because of their reputation for academic excellence.
In high school, I was given the "religious studies award" at graduation, even though I was a declared atheist/agnostic. I had acquired a deep and thorough distaste for dualistic religions and philosophies. For this reason, I thought that this award was misplaced and did not know why I was selected. The chairman of the religious department, a Roman Catholic priest with his own parish, felt that my approach to religious studies was sincere, and for that reason, excellent.
My fate unfolded several months before my graduation when I was given an early graduation present, an East Indian form of meditation. In the meditation center, I looked past the sundry forms of decor and what to me were superficial, distracting (and even disturbing) proclamations of the "benefits" of meditation. It would not be long before my atheistic/agnostic temperament would be transformed into a profoundly meditative consciousness. This would come about through repeated exposure to my own transcendental identity. I yearned only for the thunder of transcendental realization to strike my human life down into uncontaminated Self-knowledge. On April 26, 1975, I learned to meditate with a quiet and eager anticipation for "enlightenment." It was a day of joy I will never forget.
I practiced meditation for over twenty years, adding to it various asanas (yoga postures) and pranayamas (yogic breathing exercises), reading every relevant form of mysticism and scripture I could acquire, from Europe, India, Tibet, China and Japan. I read poetry avidly. My intellectual knowledge of scripture, though, is minimal, as I have always read with a rarified angle, seeking for what would be of value to my inner core, locating that which would aid me in ascending into more profound levels of spiritual awakening.
In the fall of 1975, I attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. I majored in philosophy and English. My first two years at Clark were a crucible of divine heat in the endless inner transformations of meditative life. During this time of sadhana, sometimes a long and grueling affair filled with the most intense suffering, I lived only for the breakthroughs in consciousness. I wished wholeheartedly to be ushered into a permanently awakened state of being. I lived guided invisibly by that blind, burning desire, and there was no respite, even during the times of repeated exposure to transcendental consciousness. During this time death and nothingness were my only friends. I had become oblivious to everything but the utter contradiction and unbearable friction between "I" (individuality) and "That" (Consciousness). Again and again I surrendered into psychological/emotional/spiritual dissolution, this dying into consciousness. I was madly in love with oblivion, ecstasy and self-transcendence. While others were busily preparing for a conditioned life in the world, I was ceaselessly going beyond it.
I still recall the various forms and flavors of intense, spiritual raptures and samadhi (transcendental awakenings) that I experienced in my third year of undergraduate study. The pinnacle of these raptures culminated in the state of nirvikalpa samadhi around March or April of 1980. This state was characterized by total absorption in pure consciousness during meditation. In meditation, I exited out of a portal through the top of my head, going beyond the body/mind completely, existing in a state of absolute nothingness. During this time, I also experienced other forms of exquisite and exalted transcendental realizations in my active and meditative life, as well as during sleep. In “sleep” I tasted intoxicating, ambrosial nectars flowing from my heart to my brain in a cosmic circle.
In the winter of 1996-1997 (the actual date remains vague), I was sitting in an ordinary motel room in Palm Springs, California. On this day, meditation went into unfathomable depths, penetrating into and beyond the very core of existence. My thoughts evaporated and my head went from a spherical, physiological casing to an ocean of divine light within "seconds”—an ocean still and deeply active. This Light shone from the inside, outside and from the beyond itself. "I" and "the world" dissolved forever into this immensity of warmly translucent, incandescent Light-Oneness. I then began to feel the palpable manifestation of the primordial energy of the universe (Shakti). It was brilliant, active, sparking. This Shakti had simultaneously been born in the Being of pure light. How strange, though, that "I" could "fit into," and "as," this Immensity. I was, without question, That, and in the most profound sense, That alone. I had come home. Sharing this radiant energy was a natural capability, a radiation without circumference, effort or knowledge. A spiritual magnificence, a superabundance of Being, a transmission of radiant awakening, that which has been written about in every religious scripture, was born within that ultimate meditation. Primordial Bliss was now free to enjoy Its Own spontaneous play in the world.
October 24, 2003, Palm Springs, CA.