<< filtering through his Venetian blinds. He
became transfixed by the dust motes and
the call of a mourning dove.
“Suddenly everything else fell away,”
Jim said. “Every thought just vanished. I
lay there in the most extraordinary state
of clarity, stillness, and oneness I had ever
known. There wasn’t even a sense of a ‘me’
having the experience – just a feeling of
Then a thought arose: So this is what
Krishnamurti and all those other teachers
are talking about. There is nothing to seek.
It is all right here.
As the day wore on, the feeling of oneness faded and Jim gradually reverted to
his cerebral, somewhat uptight self. But a
shift had occurred and he was committed
to doing whatever was necessary to live in
that state of clarity, ease and oneness all
In 1984, he met the man who would
help him realize his goal. Jean Klein practiced Advaita Vedanta, the enlightenment
tradition known as the direct or “
non-du-al” path because it points directly to consciousness – to the one energy that is our
“Jean would say, ‘Find out who you
are, behind all your beliefs, concepts and
thoughts about who you are and you will
be free,’” Jim said.
Soon after they met, Jim asked for a private session. With the eagerness of a new
devotee, he told Jean that he needed to divorce his wife, who didn’t support his spiritual practice, leave his son, close his chiropractic practice and live in a retreat center
where he could focus all of his energy on
Jim said, “He looked at me for a few mo-
ments, then he smiled, and said, in his thick
European accent, ‘Don’t change anything
in your life. Just be who you are. You are
beautiful as you are.’ ”
Instantly, Jim relaxed. Later, he realized
he had received a transmission, an infu-
sion of energy from the light in Jean’s eyes.
“Nobody had ever told me I was beauti-
ful as I was,” he said. “I always thought
I wasn’t good enough. That was the mo-
ment when I began to accept myself, warts
Jim was happiest when meditating. His
Every thought just vanished. I lay there in the most extraordinary
state of clarity, stillness, and oneness I had ever known. There
wasn’t even a sense of a ‘me’ having the experience – just a feeling
of timeless presence.
challenge lay in leaving the mountaintop
and living in the real world.
“One morning, I was just beginning to
cruise on the feeling of bliss, when my son,
Adam, started crying from the bedroom
next door,” Jim said. “My then-wife Bar-
bara called out, ‘Jim go change Adam’s dia-
pers. I’m busy!’ I remember cringing inside.
The feeling of bliss was getting really strong,
and the last thing I wanted to do was get
up from my meditation and change my son’s
Then he heard an inner voice: Jim, your
son is uncomfortable. He needs his diapers
changed and you don’t want to go do it be-
cause it will interrupt your meditation. And
you call this ‘enlightenment!’
He changed the diaper and received a
“Awakening, or enlightenment, is not
about being attached to states of bliss,
peace, joy or anything else. It is about living
in awareness, welcoming whatever is arising
and doing what needs to be done,” Jim reflected.
Nine years later, while meditating on his
deck, Jim dropped into his second awakening – what he called a “headless” state.
“Above my shoulders, there was only
awareness, openness, a boundless clarity
and radiance,” Jim said. “It was the strang-
est experience and wholly illuminating. It
was the first time that I saw that everything
between my ears was unreal. The stories
aren’t real. Thought is unreal. The pictures
and images passing through my mind are
unreal. Yet I, as the one who is aware of it
all, am still very much here!”
It would take two more years for Jim to
fully integrate his experiences. Before then,
residues of samskaras (imbedded emotional
patterns), like depression, still arose. Al-
though he could usually clear them with
meditation, one morning he decided to sit
with the sensations.
“I was curious: How come I wasn’t completely free yet?” Jim recalled.
Then he remembered Jean Klein’s teaching
that we are not the psychological/emotional
“person” we believe ourselves to be. He
meditated, searching deep within himself,
trying to find the one who was depressed.
This wasn’t just another spiritual exercise
for him. He felt like his life was on the line.