My Teacher

When I found out about Prem Rawat, I was 22. It was the Roaring Seventies, I was idealistic, cynical, depressed, and curious. I yearned to know the Truth of Existence, even if it was not good news. My feeling was if Embracing the Void meant never being joyous, grateful, and/or calm, that was a small price to pay for not being deluded.

Prem Rawat

I’d never thought of myself as a person who would need or accept a teacher, not to mention a guru. I felt more like a Stranger in a Strange Land, not a person who’d feel at home looking inward, where Prem said I’d find myself, plus peace and contentment.

But Prem Rawat and the knowledge he offers called to me, beyond my resistance, beyond my understanding. I listened only because he made so much sense. I practiced Knowledge only because it hurt not to. I had all kinds of fantasies about how wonderful it would be to be more enlightened, even less unhappy. And several decades later, I am surprised to feel that “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” It turns out to not be magic, but just getting in touch with the very normal and natural experience of “divine” while still living day to day, here on Earth.

I am grateful that Prem has the sharpest sense of humor of anyone I’ve met. He is also a wonderful storyteller. Also, he is not stuck in time or traditions, so he stays relevant and timely. When he speaks it is never sermonizing or preaching. He expresses his experience and wisdom, in a way that so many kinds of people recognize as real and practical, every minute and every breath.

The philosopher Alan Watts defined “understanding” as “standing under.” Not in the sense of being inferior, but more in knowing how to let an amazing fountain drench you. I have continuously learned how to be a good student, taught by a very talented teacher, and feel hydrated by what he teaches and how he teaches it.

In my current work I coach people, using an assessment that identifies one’s traits and tendencies, aka their personality. I feel that practicing Knowledge has helped me know – not just believe– that I’m more than my personality, which allows me to be less attached to being a certain way. I think that helps me grow my awareness and manage myself better. The experience Prem Rawat reveals to people is inside themselves, and is more valid than traits and tendencies, making it easier to be one’s best self.

The psychologist Erik Erikson defined the psychosocial stages of one’s life. The final life stage, he says, is Integrity (feeling whole, that life is good) versus Despair (regret, dismay). My younger self was pretty sure I’d be basically a sad old person. Everyone has problems and issues, but I credit practicing Knowledge and having Prem Rawat as my teacher for giving me a much brighter perspective and making me a more effective person.

I’m fortunate to have crossed paths with Prem Rawat. He has been a game changer for my entire adult life. In full disclosure, life still happens, warts and all, and joys and all. Practicing Knowledge does not protect one from life’s ups and downs, but it does help one know which way is up, and why and how to head there.