I initially grew aware of Dr. Susan Shumsky through her writing and grew fascinated with her spiritual journey. I am grateful she takes the opportunity to share insights from her experiences during this interview;
What was it like to reside in remote areas of the Himalayas and Alps for 7 years?
When I lived in the ashram, I meditated from 5 to 20 hours per day. I would go into my room and not appear for up to 8 weeks at a time. I would have the food brought to my door. I would observe silence and not utter a sound for up to 4 months at a time. I would fast for up to 2 months at a time. I observed celibacy for decades. So I was an introvert. And that is definitely an understatement.
How did you end up on the staff of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi? Is this unusual for women?
I ended up on his personal staff because I asked him. He had both men and women on his staff. Men were more in the limelight. Women worked more in the background.
I served on Maharishi's personal staff for 7 years. That was an amazing experience. I was swinging from of the highest intensity of bliss of heaven, to the deepest intensity of suffering of hell. Heaven, when my guru gazed at me or gave me that special, powerful wave of grace and bliss that is transmitted from master to disciple. Hell, when he ignored me or scolded me. This swing from heaven to hell is the master's way of inflating and destroying the ego in turns, until the disciple becomes egoless.
Why is Transcendental Meditation (TM) useful?
TM teaches people how to go into a deep state of meditation and experience transcendental consciousness, otherwise known as turiya (the fourth state of consciousness), samadhi (stillness of mind and body), or sat chit ananda (absolute bliss consciousness). There are over 500 scientific studies done on this practice, including everything from reversing heart disease to creating a more harmonious atmosphere and reducing crime rate in cities.
I no longer teach TM. I teach Divine Revelation--a spiritual teaching founded by Mahavatar Babaji, the Yogi-Christ mentioned in Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.
At what stage did you begin to assume the role of spiritual teacher?
I have taught meditation since 1970. But I have taught Divine Revelation since 1986. Divine Revelation helps people hear the voice of God, learn how to distinguish between the true divine voice and other voices in your mind, and attain God realization.
Please share events that sparked your perception of Divine Revelations;
Even though I spent 22 years in an ashram of the famous spiritual master from India, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, I never received one divine revelation during that time. Once a year, my guru and his closest disciples went into silence for 7 days. We would stay in our rooms and meditate and fast for those 7 days. When he came out of silence, he would gather with a handful of people, and he would say something like, "Mother Divine spoke to me and she said..." He would then describe what Mother Divine had told him during his silence.
When you are living with a guru from India, often you think that he is a very evolved soul, on a much higher plane than you are. That is what I thought. I worshipped my guru and believed him to be like God. I thought that I could never attain a level of consciousness like his. And I could never conceive that Mother Divine would speak to me directly. Little did I know that all I had to do was ask.
When I lived in the ashram, I loved meditation, and I enjoyed profound spiritual experiences every day. These experiences helped me establish a powerful level of awareness that has served me throughout my life. That was the upside of my decades of meditation in the ashram. However, there was also a downside.
As a faithful TM practitioner and teacher, and as a devoted disciple of my guru, for 22 years the TM creed was hammered into my brain: TM is the only path to enlightenment. Maharishi is the only enlightened master. TM is your only chance for spiritual evolution. If you don't practice TM faithfully, you are doomed to lifetimes of suffering.
Just like many other TM teachers, I was thoroughly convinced that I was on a higher, "more evolved" level than the teeming masses. I firmly believed that I was vastly superior to the insignificant, irrelevant, trifling swarm of ignorant, unevolved humanity, whose measly awareness waded through muck and mire-far outside the gates of the insulated, unsullied paradise/ cocoon/ safety/ bubble/ heavenly grace of the TM community.
The TM ashram was definitely a bubble, but it was inflated with the hot air of its arrogant, swaggering residents. I was one of them.
The hierarchy of TM social status was defined by a precise stepladder, with Maharishi above the highest rung, the International Staff and other TM officials on the highest rung, TM teachers on the middle rung, and TM mediators on the bottom. When I served on Maharishi's International Staff, from 1970 to 1976, I was perched on the highest rung. However, when I lived in Fairfield, I had slipped a few rungs down the ladder. Yet I was still perched firmly on the ladder.
One night I attended one of the frequent parties held in the homes of the inhabitants of Fairfield, Iowa. Here I encountered Rich Bell, a seeming nobody whom I pegged as a bottom feeder who crawled in the dirt below the bottom rung of the ladder.
At this party Rich Bell accosted me and attempted to convince me that he had something to teach me--a meditation technique different from TM (horror of horrors). Teach me something? Teach me anything? I know everything there is to know about meditation. Ha. With my nose high in the air, I laughed and flicked him away like a fly, with a flip of my wrist. My self-importance stopped him cold.
I believed that the TM organization was my only avenue for learning, my only path to enlightenment, and my only lifeline to God. But my mask of superiority cloaked an ominous cloud that hung on the horizon. Little did I know what was in store.
Shortly after my encounter with Rich Bell, I was stunned to receive a phone call from a member of The Executive Board--the governing body of the TM organization in Fairfield, Iowa, who summoned me to his office. To describe this as a shocker is an understatement. It was more like a knockout punch. As I hung up the phone and struggled to gasp my next breath, my heartbeat sped into overdrive and terror ripped through my bones. At once my mind concocted the worst possible punishment--my entry badge to "The Dome" (where TM practitioners meditated and levitated in large groups) being confiscated.
The Board insisted that I appear before them to explain my actions, because an informant had apparently reported me for organizing a New Age psychic fair at the VFW in town. This was an infraction of the TM organization's strict rules, since TM teachers are banned from any extracurricular activity not officially sanctioned by the organization. I had evidently been a bad, bad little girl. And the Board wanted to either slap my wrists or chop them off. Which option they might choose was entirely unknown to me.
I do not know what possessed me to phone Rich Bell. Perhaps I was seized with a terror of drowning so immediate that I grappled for the nearest flotation device. After hearing of my dilemma, Rich asked me to grab a pen and paper. Then he dictated an affirmation over the phone, and he told me to repeat the affirmation for 15 minutes right before my meeting with The Board. Frankly, I did not know what an "affirmation" was.
Right before the meeting, I was so intimidated and frightened in anticipation of appearing before the Board, that I repeated the affirmation aloud for 30 minutes solid. Amazingly, with every repetition of the affirmation, my awareness became more powerful and filled with greater inner strength. By the time the meeting hour arrived, I was brimming with energy, grounded and solid as the earth.
I entered the office with what I expected would be six intimidating, glowering men ready to pounce on me. But they transformed into puppy dogs. The entire meeting turned to my advantage. They were uncharacteristically polite, and they ended the meeting by apologizing for any inconvenience they may have caused. I floated out of the office, high on my own energy. The entire crisis simply vanished into nothingness.
I was so impressed with the power of Rich Bell's affirmation, that I asked him to teach me this new meditation practice. That is how I learned how to listen to the "still small voice" of God within.
When Rich and I finally sat down together, he guided me into a different meditation practice than I had ever experienced before. As he led me through various levels of awareness, I saw a bright white light and later a beautiful azure light, otherwise known at the "blue pearl" of Lord Krishna, and I expanded to levels of my higher self in a way that I had previously never realized. I visited realms of inner space that I had not previously seen on my radar map. These were celestial regions, the worlds of the personal God, the highways and byways of God consciousness. The "still small voice" of God spoke to me, and I received words of love, comfort, and peace.
What can you tell us about the meditation techniques of “Buddha boy” (16 year old Nepalese who meditated 6 months)?
I wish that I could, but I cannot tell you about his meditation techniques. I do not believe that he has told anyone his techniques. Some people believe he is a reincarnation of Gautama Buddha. Others say he learned his methods in the Tibetan monastery in Dehra Dun--Tumo meditation (Tibetan meditation that increases heat in the body), and in a monastery in Himachal Pradesh--the Sakya tradition of Buddhism. He seems to be living on prana, without food or water. Other yogis have done that. Giri Bala did that for 56 years. Prahladbhai Jani, who is now age 80, has not eaten or drunk anything since age 12. He was scientifically tested for 10 days straight, during which time he ingested nothing. He never passed any urine or feces. He claims to gain energy from solar gazing and from the Mother Goddess. The sun transmits energy through a hole in his throat, producing a sticky solid lump that he can redigest. This refuels the chakras in his body. From this description, this appears to be the practice of kechari mudra, a process whereby the yogi drinks soma, amrita, or nectar produced by the pineal gland. I explain this process in my new book ASCENSION.
How does a person on a spiritual path turn the self inside out so the whole universe resides on the inside?
Our subtle body already embodies the entire universe. Therefore, the entire universe is already inside. If you read my book EXPLORING CHAKRAS, you will understand deeply how the microcosm embodies the macrocosm, how the universe gets created and gets absorbed, and how the human energy field reflects all of that in its creation and absorption. By using my CD "Chakra Yoga Nidras," you can experience that universe within you with the guided meditation. Your Cosmic Self is an aspect of your higher self. It is as large and vast as the entire universe. All the galaxies and stars are within it.
Why do you sense so many people are hoping to learn more about God now?
The consciousness of the world has been lifting since the 1960s, when a great spiritual awakening began and the human potential movement was born. It is the cycle of cosmic time when spirituality is on the rise. Many enlightened masters have graced us with their presence and have begun to lift our consciousness out of the World Wars of the 20th century and the stiff, rigid, blocked mindset of that time. Now a new age is dawning, which brings greater peace and direct connection with God. The old ways are dying, People will, in time, take responsibility for their own lives rather than considering themselves victims, and they will take a direct path to God rather than going through intermediaries, such as gurus, priests, channellers, psychics, healers, astrologers, and so forth. They will realize their own self-empowerment and discover who they really are.
What advice do you offer people who struggle to focus on the present moment?
I am not sure what you mean by that question. If you mean to say that people are not focusing on the task at hand, then the practice of meditation can improve their concentration. If you mean that people are trying to "live in the now," then I would say that they are trying to make a mood of living in the now, and that they will fail. No one can make a mood of higher consciousness. You must earn it through genuine spiritual practices and through surrender to God.
Some people sense the Intuitive Age is upon us, that is, the usefulness of extended solitude no longer has the same relevance. Share your insight.
Extended solitude is not as necessary as it was in the 20th century. That is because the vibration of the planet is already on a much higher plane than before. People are now able to have spiritual experiences much quicker than before. I was a pioneer of the spiritual movement of the 1960s, and I have observed through the past 42 years how people can now attain states of deep meditation and profound experiences of God much easier. Today, through the practice of Divine Revelation, in just a few moments people can receive divine contact with God within them and hear the voice of God. When this teaching first appeared in the 1960s, people took many months to have this experience.
Where is home for you?
Home is within my heart, for that is where God resides. I have no home base on the material plane. I live in a motor home.
What additional insights would you like to share?
There is only one thing worthwhile seeking and attaining in this world--God realization. No material possession or worldly status will fulfil you. Do everything in your power to fulfil your destiny, which is to return to God.
Some of my websites:
http://www.divinerevelation.org, for my books, CDs, DVDs, art prints, and other products.
http://www.divinetravels.com, for my spiritual retreats and tours to sacred destinations, including Sedona in August.
http://www.kumbhmela.net, for my Kumbh Mela tour in the Spring of 2010.
http://www.perutour.org, for my tours to Peru.
http://www.twitter.com/SusanShumsky, for daily divinely revealed messages.
I encourage visitors here to explore Susan's websites and read about more of her experiences.