The scene is quite as you'd imagine it to be.
I'm here in Big Sur; rented a little cabin. I was just out for a walk along the beach and the surf is crashing along what must be the most beautiful coastline in the world. The moonlight is playing on the water. The mountains are behind me. I've got a little fire going here in the fireplace. Maybe you can hear it crackling in the background. I'm sitting here with a cup of tea. I came up here to have some conversations with you.
Big Sur is a fascinating place. It's one of the true power places in America. And it seems a fit setting at about 12:30 at night, on the 17th of December, almost Christmas, to talk to you about the most important thing - advanced meditation practices.
I've been meditating for a while. I started formally meditating when I was about 18 years old, but really I've been meditating all my life. When I was very young, three, four, five, I used to go into samadhi, a very high state of meditation. I'd be outside in the backyard of my parents' home. And I'd just look up at the sky and go away, dissolve, go beyond this world. Naturally, growing up, I never realized that I was essentially different from other children. Of course, I noticed that I was, but I didn't realize that other people didn't see life the way I did.
Everything you see is eternity.
I was drawn back to meditation when I was, as I said, around 18. I studied with a number of different teachers. But really, I've never studied with teachers, to be honest. I've spent time with them, tried to help them in ways that I could, be of some assistance, before I became a teacher myself. But the only thing that's ever interested me in life is eternity. Nothing else makes any sense to me.
The world as we see it is a part of eternity - houses, cars, people, buses, smog. But for me it's always been easier to capture eternity in the falling snow or along the coast where the waves crash and in solitary and lonely places. I never feel lonely in them. Oh, I see eternity in the city. I like the city too. I like its pulse, its energy, so I choose both. But to be honest, it's the quiet places where it's easiest to feel eternity, far from the maddening crowd. So it's in such a place that I have decided to talk to you about advanced meditation.
Yes, I started to meditate formally at about 18 and I began to go into samadhi right away. Samadhi is a very advanced state of meditation. I can remember sitting on a mountaintop in Southern California. I'd been meditating for maybe six months, just on my own. I read a book or two about it. It reminded me of something, and I would sit out there around twilight and focus on my third eye, and everything would become still. Rings of light would appear, and I'd go through them. Then suddenly I would be beyond time and space, beyond life and death. I would dissolve for what, an hour, a lifetime, eternity - there are no words. And I was changed by this experience.
That was many, many years ago. Since then, I have gone through a process of enlightenment. Thousands and thousands of times I have been cast into the white light of eternity, dissolved, re-formed. Now there isn't really a difference, essentially, from my point of view, between myself and anything else. I am that stateless state.
Advanced meditation leads you into the world of enlightenment.