People who are able to fall in love easily should follow a Bhaktic path with a Guru, or better a Tantric path of utilizing emotions and desires to find their higher or divine self. Those who don’t want or can’t do close relationships are automatically relegated to the dryer yogas like Advaita, or Zen in order to explore emptiness and nothingness. If you are able to choose, choose the Bhaktic or Tantric path first because it will destroy the ego and make the second half of one’s spiritual path, the disappearance of the divine, much easier. With desires fulfilled and then dropped away, one becomes one-pointed during the rest of his or her sadhana.
I am very honest with you; more honest than most teachers who have adopted a holiness role, rather than being genuine with you. If I talk about sex and desire, it is not because I am a pervert, but because both can be used to realize the divine within one’s self, as did Ramakrishna and many others. I also do it because there is such a strong current of body and sense denial in all of spirituality, from ancient to present times. If I talk about emptiness or nothingness, it is to prepare you and to aid you in knowing which path you want to take and where you are on it.
So many teachers are so secretive about everything, either out of fear of being exposed, or because they are mostly empty with nothing to say. In comparison, I am a blabbermouth because I feel there is value in straight talk, warning and cajoling, even if students run from this because I don’t hide spirituality in intellectualism, or guru modeling, but by relating my own experiences and the specific understandings they generated in me.
I can hardly tolerate teachers who are not authentic, hide their pasts, or hide their true understanding. Openness, to me, is the true key to spirituality, not concentration, not meditation, not Mantra, not reading Ramana’s talks, or Nisargadatta. But openness is so hard to find both in teachers and students, the willingness to tell the truth about one’s own self in relation to other teachers and with students. It is not always possible to be honest with students because so many run away when openness actually occurs. The student always subjects what a teacher says through an analytic filter, trying to find unseen motivations or manipulations, unless they are already open to openness. Real openness is off-putting to many, because it is personal, and many in spirituality are looking to the impersonal or transcendental to escape death.
Yes, self-inquiry is necessary as is meditation, but these practices can close you down as much as open you up when they are done too tightly, and many teachers talk about the need for openness or authenticity, without actually being open or authentic.
Sw. Shankarananda was a scholar and intellectual, but was led almost unerringly to a Tantric guru who stretched him and opened him to love. I too was an intellectual, but I was led to Zen and Advaita on an entirely different path to enter the depths of the Void. Then I met Robert who was so distant and withdrawn, that only a Bhakti could love him, and those who did made good progress.
But for me it took a woman to awaken the divine within in an explosion of light, power, and love/bliss, which means Shaktipat can come from any source at any time. A lot of critics cannot accept such a possibly problematic initiation into Shakti. They are blind to the power of ordinary human love, which when extreme and leads to complete surrender, also can lead to self-realization of the phenomenal self, because in their utter surrender, they see God in the other, that allows them to feel it within their own selves. They can’t get out of their own conceptual boxes of traditional thinking.
So, when a student comes, I ask them what is it they are looking for. What is it they think they want? To understand the great problem of life and death? Are they looking for someone to surrender to for self-realization? Are they confused, or have they had experiences they want explained? There are hundreds of reasons for a person to get into spirituality, and I mean a deeper seeking than just reading books or taking workshops, and that reason must be explored within oneself or in an authentic relationship.