Satsang Reports (Mini)
Been there, done that, from our non-partisan roving reporters ( * )
This page is the second of a collection of mini-reports on 
various practitioners from various reporters.

Eli Jaxon-Bear Mar 30, 2004, Esalen

On March 30, 2004 I went to a retreat in Esalen mainly to meet Gangaji for the first time, as I have been very much inspired by her teachings, and her really, being very ordinary AND AWAKE.  The retreat was run by both Eli and Gangaji, and I knew very little about Eli then (apart from him being Gangaji's husband).  I spent 5 days in the retreat with them meeting 3 times a day, each meeting approx 2 hours.

I was struck by how surrendered this man (Eli) was.  He was true to the truth and answered every question from the audience perfectly and directly from his heart.  He was an Enneagram point 8 (that was an Enneagram retreat).  He is a living truth, one who has relinquished his fixation/ ego identification and let his true nature shines forth.  In fact he appeared to be just the complete opposite of his fixation - he was gentle, serene, patient and surrendered.  He spoke from direct experience of the truth.

So I recommend anybody who has a point Eight fixation or has issues with anger/being right/blaming others - go and meet Eli and see what the possibilities are for transcending the ego and be Who One Really Is.

I really don't want to say this as it is not my thing either - but I can honestly say that I can see "love" flowing through his eyes with his normal interactions with others, in a natural, surrendered, transparent way (not one of those prolonged transmission things - I don't think he is into that.)
~ Annie K, from Sydney, Australia

Neelam, no dates

I've done Darshan with Neelam multiple (6+) times, by the way, and with Pamela and Nirmala once each.

Fwiw, Neelam appears to be an extremely solid Advaita practitioner who is capable of producing rapid and permanent personal change. Subtle-but-consistent altered states of consciousness are experienced widely at her darshans, and she's generally mild mannered, low key, and honest about her experiences.

Very solid teaching field.

Same every time, consistent, long term students appear to do well up to a certain point but plateaux. 
~ Anon

Various, non-Satsang Comments

David Deida: Very original and powerful teachings, highly charismatic; intense discrepancy between words and being, but well masked by charisma and by his teachings appealing both to our deepest truths and our hidden vulnerabilities. I benefited enormously from working with David and with people who took a couple of workshops with him and learned his insights. His longer-term students struck me as fairly creepy. 
There is something in David's combination of brilliance and neurosis that says much about who we (the sangha of all modern seekers in the loosest sense) are. I just have not articulated it yet. Part of his appeal is that he takes regressions we long for in secret and dresses them up as the next step forward. Part of his appeal is that he really has seen some of the next step forward. 
God I wish we could find a middle path between letting teachers just veer off path until they run off a cliff or tearing them to pieces at the first transgression.

Trungpa: Sangha switched from crazy wisdom to mostly Mahayana after scandal, but laid all responsibility on Ozel Tenzin without looking at who carefully trained and picked Ozel as successor. Trungpa's teachings themselves have his problems woven deeply into them. Much sexual predation (formerly) and alcohol problems (still) in sangha. Trungpa did so much work, there was and still is such a huge amount of impact, one can find both the blessing and the curse.

John de Ruiter: Edmonton is the perfect place. It weeds out those looking to escape North American or European winters. (Hey, let's go to India. We can hang out at Goa and drop by and see {fill in your favorite Indian teacher/ashram}. NO casual drop-bys in Edmonton, especially in January. Edmonton is also slightly slow paced and VERY non-exotic. My take after living in Edmonton for 1-1/2 year: John himself has some very powerful realization but does not fully know how to handle it. Pity that he has no teacher and no lineage. = No quality control. John is very sweet (I mean that in a profound way), inventive in expression, very compassionate, and feedback averse (which may well indicate that he is 95% up the mountain and clinging to the illusion he has reached the peak). Many of the students have major transference (narcisistic) with John. I wish there were someone in the room who understood this and how to work with it. Current group part original Christians (many on the older side) and Papaji and Osho people. A better teacher for those with a decade or two under their belts than for newbies. I would not be surprised if a few people not in the core group really get IT through John and the sangha hits some hurtful scandal.

Ole Nydahl: Same on-stage and off. Extremely hard worker. Solid masculine energy (which is not so common in spiritual world). Thorough organizer. Works with transference, but knows he is doing it and takes full responsibility for it. Solid foundational Vajrayana teaching. Generates much self-confidence in students. Emphasis on laying Vajrayana foundation in the West leaves less energy for more advanced students. Emphasis on lay practice. I would trust my back to Ole more than to any teacher I have met. More than to any person I have met.
~ oceanwisdom at kevinrooney dot com

Nome and Russell Smith, Fall 2001, Santa Cruz

I attended an open satsang with Russell and Nome (and yes, it's pronounced "no Me", not like the Alaskan town) last fall because I was looking for some darshan in the Ramana Maharshi tradition. I saw the inside of only one building in their large complex, but if its opulence is any indication then it's no wonder the faithful are expected to fork over large amounts of their cash. A palace is an expensive residence to maintain (ask some of the down-and-out British aristocracy). I arrived a few minutes after the appointed hour but there was still a lone gatekeeper at the door to collect my $15 "donation" (I intended to return another time to gauge the reaction when I neglected to donate, but haven't yet had the chance/desire).

The temple is indeed quite spacious and furnished with simple elegance. Russell and Nome sat in front and above, separated from the audience by a respectful distance. It was not long after the events of September 11th and a number of the questions dealt with their emotional aftermath. Though Russell and Nome responded with the "standard" Advaitic line about the illusory nature of such events I couldn't help noticing that they were delivered with what seemed to me to be a patronizing smugness (as if any "enlightened" being would ever deign to have an emotional response to such events). Intellectually I can't fault the performance, but it didn't do anything for me on a gut level. Of course, that may say more about me than about them.
~ bobby

Sailor Bob Adamson, Sept 2004, Santa Cruz

Bob Adamson' meeting was at the Pacific Cultural Center, where John Wheeler holds his meetings, but in the performance hall instead of the dining room. I would estimate the rental fee at 100-200 dollars. They were asking ten dollars a head and I'd guess that something over a hundred people showed up, so they probably made eight or nine hundred dollars. There was also his book for sale. Still, I doubt he covers the travel expenses through events like this. Bob is getting on in years so he sat with a microphone at the front and took questions from the audience. Mostly he just brought everything back to present awareness. I asked him what happened to this present awareness in deep dreamless sleep. He said there was a present awareness of no awareness, which was why he could wake up people in deep dreamless sleep just by calling out their names to them. He seemed completely authentic to me, but maybe that's just because he didn't really say anything I didn't expect.
~ bobby

More to come . . .

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* This is an expandable set of pages. If you've been to see any of my listees and would like to offer an "objective" report, ie from one not already "attached" to the teacher in question or full of ideas based on attachment to a "competing" teacher, send it in (Feedback) and i'll be happy to put it up. Other Reports

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