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Nurit Oren - The Blonde on the Rocky Road to Freedom

Interview by Iain McNay

Iain:    Hello and welcome once more to Conscious TV. My name is Iain McNay and our guest today is Nurit Oren. Hi Nurit.

Nurit:  Hello.

Iain:    Nurit’s written a book which is called, “The Blind Leading the Blonde on the Road to Freedom: Confessions of a Recovering Spiritual Junkie.” (Iain shows book) It’s quite a thin book but there’s a lot said in here and I found it quite interesting and it’s obviously the basis of our interview today. So, Nurit, you were born in Israel, and when you were young you were allowed to kind of roam free. Just tell us about that please.

Nurit:  Yes, well, I was born on a kibbutz at the time when Israel was just being developed and built. My parents were pioneers. They came in 1948 and they started building the country and the settlements, and so, at that time, children did not live with their parents. The kids lived in a children’s home and we just saw the parents for afternoon tea or for saying “good-night” before bed. So we were wild. Everything was wild. We would run around with the dogs, playing in the mud… we would wear clothes of not wear clothes… I don’t even remember owning a pair of shoes. I was always running around and picking flowers or picking a cucumber or a pepper out of the ground and eating it. It was a very free life.

Iain:    Is that in a way what gave you a great grounding for your life because of this freedom and you could just be yourself?

Nurit:  It gave me a love for freedom, an appetite for freedom. Because very soon after that my freedom was taken away.

Iain:    So what happened?

Nurit:  We moved to Canada… only for three years. My father wanted to go back to school and all of a sudden here I am in civilization! From this free being running around naked all the time I had to wear shoes and socks and a winter coat – it was Canada, it was cold. There was discipline. I had parents that I was living with, now there was a brother, I had grandparents… there were rules and laws and spankings and scoldings and… where did this come from?! I wasn’t used to that at all! And then, of course, learning a new language and starting school… so all of a sudden, from being allowed to be, there were all these molds put on me, and that really ignited my desire - I longed for that freedom that I had. Again, that’s what I thought freedom was, because that was my only experience of it.

Iain:    Ok. So, a lot happened in your first few years. You had a kind of experience of freedom and bliss in some ways maybe…

Nurit:  Absolutely!

Iain:    Then you were controlled. It’s interesting because in a fairly short space of time you had the experience of very different types of worlds.

Nurit:  Totally.

Iain:    Which gave you at least a comparison of what things could be like.

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    So you moved back to Israel after some time in Canada and how was it then?

Nurit:  It was very difficult because I forgot all my Hebrew coming back, because I learned English when I was in Canada so I forgot all my Hebrew. I came back and all of a sudden, once again, I am learning a new language, and kids can be very cruel. It was very difficult in school to get readjusted again. But somehow that fire in my belly was always there… to find the freedom… to find the freedom and then eventually I ended up going to the Israeli army, and that was … oh my God… there again goes my freedom. Talk about rules and regiments!

Iain:    Just to mention before that – your father was actually a policeman in Israel, wasn’t he?

Nurit:  Yes. Yes he was.

Iain:    There was kind of an authority there.

Nurit:  He was a mix. On the one hand, in the day time he was a policeman, a detective, and a very good one and very strict, and at the same time he was an artist.

Iain:    Ok.

Nurit:  At night he had a studio and he would go and do his art, his sculpture. So he had some kind of a free spirit in him, but it was very “back-and-forth”ish.

Iain:    Yes. So you joined the army and you were stationed in Gaza, weren’t you.

Nurit:  Yes. The worst place you could be. It was very, very dangerous. Sometimes it was even too dangerous to come home for the weekend. But, the blessing of that time, again, it was the contrast. I seem to learn a lot through contrast. The contrast was so big. On the one hand I had so little freedom – I had to eat what they fed me, I had to wake up when they told me to, I had to go to bed when they told me to, I had to do all the stuff that they told me to do. No personal will, no personal agenda whatsoever. At the same time my father gave me the book “Siddhartha.”

Iain:    By Herman Hesse.

Nurit:  By Herman Hesse. And I am reading about this yogi who was travelling around and looking for himself. I couldn’t put the book down. I said, “That’s what I want.” That to me meant freedom now. I knew that that was where my freedom was and so I longed for that even more, and having the contrast of being in the army – it was just very difficult. I had to drink myself into sleep every night. I used to drink a whole bottle of Vermouth so that I could sleep at night. It was very tough.

Iain: So, with the army, were you actually on duty and having at shoot people?

Nurit: That was just in the training where we had to learn how to shoot. The other part, in Gaza, a lot of it was clerical work and some of it was being a witness in the women’s prisons to make sure that they were not sexually harassed or hurt in any way.

Iain: So it could have been worse… your role in the army. You weren’t instructed to shoot at people.

Nurit: No. No.

Iain: And how was your relationship with your colleagues at the army at that time. So here you were reading Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and they were presumably coming from a very different background.

Nurit: Yeah, very. At that point already I started to lose interest in conventional life. I did not care for the regular stuff, you know. All my friends finished high school and went to learn psychology or sociology – the “acceptable” things to learn – and they all talked about one day having a family and kids and all that stuff. I lost interest in that. I was very much interested in finding myself and going to India one day and becoming a yogi. I guess I was more of a leader type person because what ended up happening is that I used to sit up on my bunk bed, I was on the top bunk, and I used to read it out loud to everybody. So they were kind of forced into it in spite of themselves. They had to sit and listen to my reading of Siddhartha. Of course, it was in English, and some of them spoke English and some not, so I would translate it for them and explain what I was reading. It was like a satsang.

Iain:    Ok, so you left the army. What happened then?

Nurit:  I became a hippie. I moved into a commune. My brother was part of it and the others were all musicians and actors and they were all seeking in one way or another. We were all on drugs… trying different things like LSD, mushrooms, hash, whatever was available. Nothing addictive. I was always careful not to do anything addictive because again I always felt that that would take away my freedom more than anything. And we got high, and people used to read books of Baba Ram Das at that time, like Tibetan Book of the Dead, and a good friend came from the USA to visit us. His name was Israel and he was a saxophone player, and he told us all about India, and he was headed towards India. And eventually he went to India, and that’s how I found out about the ashram in India.

Iain:    Which ashram was that?

Nurit:  It was the ashram of Swami Muktananda. Not too far from Bombay.

Iain:    So, you went to India, to the ashram… and how was that?

Nurit:  Well, the funny thing is, it was such a pull. Before that I was living with my boyfriend who was a drummer and an actor and we separated and I felt that I needed something. I felt like my thirst for freedom or for love or peace or something was so strong that I went to visit some friends because they had books of every kind. They had Ramtha, they had Baba Ram Das… they had every spiritual book. This was just at the turn into the 70's, early 70’s. Every spiritual book that existed – they had! I went through their wall… they had a wall as big as this here and it was full of books. I went through every book, looked at it and “Naaa, this is too intellectual!” I went through another one - “Naaa, this is too intellectual!” So finally I was ready to go home, but just before I went home, I had to go to the washroom, and there on the floor were two books by Swami Muktananda. And he had this look about him. His eyes were full of love, and underneath the picture it said, “There is boundless love within. Go within and find it.” And that triggered something in me.

Because I was starting to become more and more aware that the love that people talk about, or the love that people experience, isn’t for real because it ends. I couldn’t believe that something that ends, or that something that ends in hatred, could be real. Something felt totally wrong about that, to the point that one day, prior to that experience I went to the Wailing Wall. And you know, at the Wailing Wall people write little notes and stick them in the cracks between the stones, and what I wrote on my note was that I wanted to find the real love… God’s Love, the kind that is lasting, the kind that is divine.

Iain:    You actually wrote – a quote from your book – “I want to find true love, divine love, the love of God that is pure, unchanging and ever-lasting.”

Nurit:  Exactly!

Iain:    There’s a depth in that.

Nurit: Yes. That’s what I wanted. And I actually had an experience of that in a dream very shortly after that… in a dream where I was awake. Within the dream I was completely awake and everything was black, pitch black. There was nothing. A complete void. No sound, no sight, nothing. There was just a presence, and I was questioning what that presence was, not with words – this was not even in the realm of words – “communication in silence” is the best way I can talk about it. And so, I asked what it was, and it said – not in words – the answer was that it was the power of love, and that all I would ever need, and all that is ever needed in this life is love. But I didn’t know how to access that. I didn’t know… so ok… now what? Who was going to show me that? Who was going to teach me that? How am I going to learn that? And that where, when I saw Muktananda’s picture, and he wrote, “There is boundless love within. Go within and find it.” I thought “He has the answer!” I was convinced that he had the answer for him to say that. And he looked very loving in the picture.

So I immediately decided to go. I had a little bit of money from an inheritance, and everyone tried to stop me. My father tried to stop me, my boyfriend tried to stop me…. He wanted me back… my best friends wanted to stop me. I was offered a house fully paid for, my entire education paid for, a trip around the world – you name it, I was promised! But this pull… there’s nothing you can do. When you have this pull, you just go. So, within 3 weeks I went. Within three weeks of finding those books, I went to India.

Iain:    And how was it when you got there?

Nurit:  It was very different. Nothing could have prepared me for that experience. Muktananda, whom we called “Baba,” was larger than life. The life style was very austere at that time. It isn’t any more but it used to be. There was a dormitory full of women and another dormitory full of men. They were separated. We had to walk barefoot to the bathrooms which were two blocks away. We had to walk in the dark, and there were scorpions you had to watch out for. It was very austere life. We had to get up at three in the morning, meditate for hours, chant for hours, work in the fields in the hot sun of India for hours – very austere. A lot of people didn’t make it. I felt that for me it was a little bit easier because the discipline in the army prepared me for such a life.

And Muktananda was larger than life. He had tremendous energy, he was very charismatic, very beautiful, and his teaching… well… he said wonderful things. He said things like, “Kneel to yourself, worship your own self, because God dwells within you as you,” which I resonated with and it felt right. Unfortunately, he also said other things that, I didn’t realize at that time, were misleading. Like, you can have all this, you will become enlightened… so he talked about waking up and being enlightened by going within, BUT! There was a catch! First you have to worship the guru, you have to serve the guru, you have to please the guru, and only in the future, when the guru is pleased with you, then you might receive it. So if it’s within – at that time I didn’t realize this, but now, looking back – if it was within, if it was my birthright, why does somebody else have to give it to me? Why does it have to be in the future if it is already inside me?

Iain:    At that time, you were committed.

Nurit:  I was committed, and that is the danger of partial truths.

Iain:    Yes, but let’s not go to that just yet. There was a commitment there.

Nurit:  Absolutely.

Iain:    How did you feel that commitment?

Nurit:  I wanted the experience of finding that true love - what I wrote in the note - I wanted it so badly, I was willing to do anything and it was very easy for me at that time to hear what I wanted to hear… to hear that I will get it. Because I was being trained that I will get it by pleasing the guru, that became my life’s mission – to serve my guru, to please him in any way I could. I was waking up very early, even earlier than three o’clock in the morning… at two sometimes… forgetting about the meditation. I thought the meditation was for me. I had to do something for him. I used to work day and night, just so that I could please him enough, so that he would say, “Ok. You’ve earned it. Now I give it to you.”

Iain:    So you thought that freedom, enlightenment, self-realization, whatever we call it – that was something that had to be earned…

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    Via a guru, and he is the one that can say “yes” or “no.”

Nurit:  That’s right. And that’s what we were taught.

Iain:    What was your gut feeling at that time?

Nurit:  Yearning… tremendous… the yearning never stopped. I would stand in front of his picture sometimes and cry and cry and cry and I would just say, “Kill me or give it to me! But I can’t live this way without this…” This yearning had to be satiated somehow. It was very, very intense. The problem is though, when you start – I see it now… I kind of saw part of it but I didn’t know why it was happening – my ego… my spiritual ego became very, very big. It was being fed by the activity, it was being fed by all this mental activity and the so-called “achievements.” If I succeeded in doing something good, and he was pleased, there was this pat on the back, there was this “Ah… I am getting better. I am a great yogini. I can get up at three in the morning… no problem…I can renounce this, I can renounce that.”

Iain:    You see the interesting thing, Nurit, is that you very much fixed on this path. You knew you wanted it.

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    And that’s admirable. And I think anyone watching Conscious.TV… well most people will know this feeling, that you really wanted it, you really wanted it… this is freedom, this feeling they found themselves, and that is what was reeling you back. What you are saying now, looking back in a retrospective way was that in a way it was never going to happen in this situation.

Nurit:  Right.

Iain:    But at that time it was the way you did it. You went like most of the people went to the East and surrendered and worked hard and they went along with the rules of the ashram. And that was the gateway, wasn’t it?

Nurit:  It seemed like that would be the gateway, only it wasn’t really. It couldn’t…like you said, which is absolutely right, it could never happen. “A,” because it was something that would happen in the future, and “B,” it was not my experience. It was his experience. Everything that I learned was based on his experience. It was “hearsay.” It wasn’t mine.

Iain:    So what do you feel, looking back on that time, what do you feel you got out of it?

Nurit:  What I got out of it was discipline. What I got out of it was that it intensified my yearning, it intensified my love. I did feel tremendous amounts of love. Unfortunately, though, there were also things that I got out of it that were not so helpful, and that’s the spiritual ego, which is what happens.

Iain:    Yeah. Competitiveness between you and the other disciples.

Nurit:  Absolutely. It was constant. I would constantly look around, “Who’s working harder than me. Who does he like more? Oh my God! He gave her a flower, he didn’t give me one! Oh my God!” You know? It’s like…

Iain:    Anyway, to continue the story… you came back to Israel, and you opened a center based around his teachings…

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    And then you had various people come there, and then you fell in love with one of the disciples that came there.

Nurit:  That’s right. Yes.

Iain:    But even that… you felt guilty about that.

Nurit:  Terribly. I was going to be a monk. I thought that I had to be a monk. To me, becoming a monk meant that you give yourself entirely. You renounce everything in order to be with god. That’s what it meant to me. I looked at it from a spiritual point of view. I learned later that some of the monks didn’t. To then it was a move up in their career. But for me it meant giving myself to god. And at that time when I was living in Israel, Muktananda was in the west and he started to marry couples up. Before that he spoke against marriage. Now he was talking for marriage. So I thought, “Oh, maybe this is the new trend,” and all of a sudden my husband at that time showed up, and I fell in love with him and we got married, but there was this tremendous guilt, “Did I do the right thing?”

Iain:    It’s difficult isn’t it… this spiritual path sometimes. You don’t have the clarity.

Nurit:  What makes it difficult is the spiritual concepts.

Iain:    Yes.

Nurit:  They block the door all the time. And even though my yearning was intensifying because it wasn’t being fulfilled, at the same time I was building concepts on top of concepts on top of concepts… and those become blocks. We don’t even realize it but, just like we are trained in childhood to think in a certain way, that if you are good you get a nice candy and if you are bad you get punished… I was being trained spiritually. I was trained with all these concepts – if you do this you will get enlightened, if you do that you will be in bondage, you will be a “material” person… and on and on it goes.

Iain:    So, you had a child with your husband and then there was something that really affected you - Muktananda died and that was a shock for you, wasn’t it.

Nurit:  Yeah. At that time it was the worst thing that ever happened to me.

Iain:    Yeah.

Nurit:  Yeah. I loved him. I loved him very much. He was my object. He was my god. He was the key. He was my key to finding god, and then, he died! I didn’t achieve it yet. I was still as bound as ever and he left. I was furious.

Iain:    So where did that leave you?

Nurit:  It left me very confused. Very, very confused. Fortunately there was one of the swamis living in the ashram. I was living in the ashram in Vancouver, and he was very helpful. He would read to me from Nisargadatta a lot at that time, and so that helped a little bit, but then the successor came…one of Muktananda’s successors…

Iain:    There were two of them…

Nurit:  There were two at first, and then they had a huge falling out and “the two had become one!” They went their separate ways.

Iain:    Yes.

Nurit:  But I felt an obligation to Baba. Because I still didn’t get it, I wasn’t enlightened yet, I haven’t achieved it - I had assumed that I should follow his lead… what he set out. He decided that they should be the successors, therefore I must follow them. But that didn’t last long.

Iain:    That was Gurumayi.

Nurit: That was Gurumayi, yes.

Iain:    You didn’t have a good experience with her.

Nurit:  No, I didn’t connect with her and I didn’t feel the same way, and my longing by then was so strong because it didn’t happen with Muktananda. It was so bad that I got terrible depression. I would just wander in the forest. At that time I lived in Upstate New York, in the Catskill Mountains, and I would wander in the forest and cry and cry. It was almost like a guilt, “I know by now I should have gotten it. I’ve been here for long. I’ve worked my ass off (pardon my expression). I did all the right things. I followed everything. I chanted... I did everything right. Why am I not my own Being?” It was as if my inner Being was calling out to me, and something was not letting me hear it. It was very intense.

Iain:    Because one night you had this dream, didn’t you? You had a dream where you crawled into Muktananda’s grave.

Nurit:  Yes, that was because of all the confusion that was going around at that time between the brother and the sister, between Gurumayi and her brother.

Iain:    He (Baba) said something to you that was very significant.

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    Do you remember what that was?

Nurit:  Yes. I do. He said, “You must always follow your own experience.”

Iain:    “You must always follow your own experience.”

Nurit:  Only trust your own experience.

Iain:    Only trust your own experience.

Nurit:  But, you see, I didn’t know what that was. I didn’t have my own experience, except for the longing. There was nothing. He was my model and he was gone. What does that mean, “my own experience?” I didn’t know what my taste in food was. I ate what we ate in the ashram. I didn’t know what my taste in music was. I didn’t know what that experience was. We were chanting in the ashram. I didn’t know what my experience was. I gave my life to him, assuming that he was the God that would help me find my own Godhood. But I didn’t know what that was yet. It was kind of a light to guide me in the future.

Iain:    And then you husband became a guru.

Nurit:  Yes. Well, he became a guru once when Muktananda was still alive. That didn’t go too well. He was “creamed” for that. But after we separated he became a guru.

Iain:    How was that for you?

Nurit:  Well, you know, I felt that was what he always wanted. I was actually surprised with myself for not judging him for it. Because I felt that’s what he wanted, and that’s what he got. I didn’t believe in it, but that was his thing.

Iain:    But it’s another kind of… it was another example of where you gave your power away. Maybe…

Nurit:  No. I never gave my power away to him totally. Not so much to my husband. I rebelled very much because I didn’t like being married and I didn’t like his whole “trip.” It was ok for him because that’s what he wanted, but it wasn’t ok for me and it also showed me how, even at that time… you see, Muktananda wrote a book that everyone followed and it was about his spiritual experiences: You see the red light and then you see the white light, and then you travel to these worlds and that world, and you visit you ancestors, and you go to heaven and hell, and all these things, and finally you have the final vision. So my husband followed that and he assumed since he had some of those experiences… and he got very deluded. He thought that that was enlightenment. He assume he was enlightened and he claimed to be an incarnation of one of the Indian sages. So to me that was very deluded. But, then again, I was deluded in my own way.

Iain:    And then you found another teacher.

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    Dr. Mills, that was in Toronto.

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    And you were with him for 15 years. Was he different at all from the...

Nurit:  Totally. Everything was different! Everything was different. It wasn't so much chanting and devotional. He was more of an artist. He was a musician. He used to be a concert pianist. He conducted a group of singers, he painted, he did fashion design, he wrote books, he lectured spontaneously, poetry would just come out of his mouth spontaneously, and he was able to articulate things that my previous teacher wasn't able to. And from what I understood, from what he was saying, it sounded like this was it, this was the truth… and everything that I learned before with a future expectation and a future promise, was on a psychic level. Even the kundalini awakening and all the visions that I had - I had all of those things that people talk about - it felt that those were all on a psychic level, on a mental level, whereas now, I was really getting into the real stuff.

Again - partial truths. Because what he was saying, a lot of it was true, BUT... why wasn't it instantaneous? Why wasn't it happening now when he said, "There is only one event and that is now?" The words didn't correspond with the actual practices, which were studying for hours everything that he said and all his books, looking up every word in the dictionary - not just in the big Webster dictionary, but also in the Indo-European Root dictionary - dissecting and analyzing everything.

Iain:    You stayed there for 15 years.

Nurit:  Yes, I was fascinated. You see, in hindsight I see...the mind loves to be impressed and it follows what impresses it most. With Baba I was so impressed with his power, his Shakti, as we called it, and all of that. With Dr. Mills I was so impressed with his words. I thought anyone who can articulate things like that, anyone whose poetry can just flow like that, anyone who can paint the way he did, anyone who can compose the way he did - has got to be enlightened. What I didn't realize at that time is that, yes, he probably had moments of presence, moments of enlightenment... he would have had to in order to be that creative, but what was celebrated was the creation and not the place where it came from.

Iain:    But I'm more interested your... what was happening for you at that time.

Nurit:  Well that's what happened.

Iain:    No, but what I mean, did you experience presence? Did you experience your being? In spite of looking back in a retrospective way and seeing that it was off to some degree, what did you get out of it at the time?

Nurit:  At that time my English improved... (laughter) I'm sorry... you know, I had to learn to keep a job because it cost a lot of money to be around him. I wrote a book, I learned to recite, I could explain everything that he said - but it was intellectual. I didn't know it at that time, but I learned to articulate. I learned how to use words. That's what he was teaching me.

Iain:    What was happening to this drive, to this yearning you talked about?

Nurit:  It was still present. And I would feel it sometimes when I was with him. He was larger than life, again, and he would speak unbelievably beautifully, and when he spoke, sometimes my mind would stop. But you see, I would have moments of presence, but there was no one there telling me, "That's the experience! That's your being. That is what you're looking for." No one ever said that to me. I didn't know. I thought that I was feeling that because I’m with him. And I would go into agony when he wasn’t around. “When will he come back?” I would sit by the phone and wait for an invitation to be around him because I believed that ”that” would only happen when I was with him. I was jealous of him, “He has himself all the time! Why can’t I have it?” I didn’t know how to access it. I didn’t know how to turn it on for myself. Again, it came from someone else, and again, it was a future attainment.
           
Iain:    And then he died.

Nurit:  Yeah… horrible! Another devastating, devastating…

Iain:    Yeah.

Nurit:  My life was…woffff! I thought my life was over.

Iain:    So you’ve been on the spiritual path for 40 years.

Nurit:  By then almost 40.

Iain:    Yeah.

Nurit:  And then, of course, my search could never stop. I was still yearning, but I knew at that time that I could no longer have a guru. I knew that I had to feel it for myself. And I didn’t know what that was. Again, I didn’t know what MY experience was. First my experience was based on Muktanada’s experience, and then it was based on Dr. Mills’ experience and what happened there. I didn’t know what I liked to eat or what I liked to wear. So I started to find, even the day-to-day stuff, what I was all about. And I started to go to course after course after course, which really annoyed me in a way, because when I started with Dr. Mills, after Muktananda, I was under the impression that “Now I found the truth! Now my search was over!” I didn’t even realize that I was still searching.

So, when Dr. Mills died I thought, “Why am I still searching? If I’ve been with a teacher for 15 years and I have been telling people that I am not a ‘searcher’ but a ‘finder,’ why am I going to courses? Why am I reading other books?” I couldn’t look at Dr. Mills’ books anymore. I didn’t know why, but for some reason, I couldn’t look at them anymore. I started to go to coaching courses, law of attraction courses, Matrix Energetics courses, etc. I did everything - read books… seminars… everything. The yearning was still there, but I didn’t understand why. “Why is it still there, if I’ve been through all these teachings? Surely the second one (teaching) had to have been the real one!”

Iain:    And then you met Gabor.

Nurit:  Yes. It was a fascinating experience. At first, shortly after Dr. Mills passed, I had this dream that kept coming over and over again… consistently… every few weeks or months I would have this. I didn’t see a person, but there was, again, a presence and I was being embraced. It was a male presence, and I was being embraced. And as soon as I was being embraced, I felt complete silence, complete stillness… words don’t do it justice. It was such stillness and peace that… it wasn’t even joy. It was like a “nothing” – a peaceful nothing. And I felt fantastic afterwards. And every now and then I would look around and I would feel like it was somewhere.

Somehow I knew that I would recognize the man that I was supposed to be with, because he would give me that feeling. I don’t know why I felt that, but I started to be interested in a relationship, because by then I was almost 18 years alone and I wasn’t interested at all in re-marrying or having any relationship. I never even dated since my husband left and it was already 13 years by then.

And then one day we met through a “meet-up.” I saw his name “Gabor Harsanyi” in an email, and I was convinced that he was Persian. With a name like that – GABOR HARSANYI – it must have been Persian. And we met at Starbucks - and I am looking for a Persian guy and there is no Persian guy anywhere, and all of a sudden a reddish-blond haired guy comes and with a thick accent – definitely not a Persian accent… I would have recognized that – says, “Hello, I am Gabor. Your much be Nurit.” And I said, “I thought you were Persian.” And he said, “No, I am Hungarian.” 

And we hit it off. He was telling me about his path and I was telling him about my path. We went out for about a month and I couldn’t believe it – I’ve never met anyone who listened the way that he did. I didn’t know it at that time - in hindsight I know – that it was the silence… that inner silence! My words were just pouring into that inner silence. He never interrupted, he never tried to superimpose his opinion on me, and he never tried to impress me. That was totally unusual for anyone. Who doesn’t try to impress in one way or another in any situation, not just in relationships?

There was something about him, and I didn’t know what, but I was also – in hindsight – I was terrified of him. Something within me knew that this was the end of the line. That whatever he was about was the end of the line. It was the end of the search. Maybe it was my mind or my ego. By the time I met him, my ego was as big as this room. I had so much spiritual pride. Spiritual pride is the worst. There is nothing worse than that. So I couldn’t really see who was in front of me, although, somehow – it must have been from the longing that I still had – I recognized something in him to the point of wanting to be with him, but at the same time scared to death.

So, I called it off and for the next two and a half years we kept bumping into each other once in a while at singles events. I don’t know how, but it just happened. We tried one more time to get together, but it didn’t work. And then, at one event he literally pulled the rug out from under my feet. I was talking about what I was doing with law of attraction and all of that, and he was he was talking about what he was about… and I didn’t get what he was about. And at one point he said, “You know, what you are doing is fine, only what you are doing is in the mind and what I am doing is not.”

And I was livid! I was furious! I thought, “How can somebody tell me that? How could that be? For the last 15 years with Dr. Mills I was studying what we called ‘metaphysics.’ Metaphysics is ‘beyond.’ ‘Meta’ = ‘beyond’ the physical.” To me it was beyond the mind. “Dr. Mills talked about going beyond the mind. How could it be that I am still in the mind?” But it angered me so much, that something felt like… if I’m getting so upset and so reactive, there must be some truth in it, but I didn’t want to look at it and I kept finding faults with him – he’s wearing the same shirt twice in a row, he’s wearing sandals with socks…

Iain:    And then what happened?

Nurit:  And then two and a half years later, I suddenly felt - and I don’t know why - “I have to see him. I have to call him. I don’t know why, but I have to call him.” So I did. And he was just as surprised as I was, and we decided to meet that evening. And on the way to meeting him I realized, that the only reason I wasn’t getting who he really was - even though intuitively I felt there was something very unusual there - I felt that it was because my mind was interfering. My mind was making me judge him, instead of seeing him as he is. I was seeing him through all the spiritual filters that I had.

So, on the way to meeting him, I stopped the car and started to do a kind of meditation. I don’t know what it was, but intuitively I felt, “I am just going to sit here and BE. I am not going to allow one thought to come in. I am just going to BE. I am going to feel.” I started going into feeling, “I feel my butt on the chair, I feel myself my body, I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel… no thinking… just feeling.” And I made the best commitment to myself that I have ever made in my life, and that was, “When I see him, I am not going to allow myself to think or view him in any way but what is actually there. No judgement, no thought whatsoever. I am going to keep my mind completely still.”

And so, when we met, I realized that there is something there. And at the end of the evening, when he hugged me, it was just like my dream. It was just complete and utter stillness. I still didn’t know what that was.

Iain:    Hang on, hang on. “Complete and utter stillness.” What did that feel like?

Nurit:  It’s…aaaaahhhhhhh….

Iain:    “Complete and utter stillness.”

Nurit:  Aaaaahhhhhh… it can’t be described. It’s ummmm…. It’s the riches feeling of nothing. So full… presence of love… aaaahhh…. Even those words don’t describe it. It’s like complete silence. You know, the silence when you can hear a pin drop, only there is no pin dropping. There is absolutely nothing. My mind completely stopped.

Iain:    Can you feel that now?

Nurit:  Absolutely! Absolutely! Fortunately I learned how to talk from that place.

Iain:    Ok. I have an idea. Gabor is sitting in the control room. Let’s invite him in, shall we, for the last few minutes.

Nurit:  Oh, that would be wonderful. Absolutely.

Iain:    Ok…Hello, Gabor!

Gabor: Hello.

Iain:    So Gabor, “Complete and utter stillness.” What happened next in terms of - you felt this in the car, and then you met, and then…

Nurit:  Yes. I knew that… well, it felt like coming home, only I didn’t even know those words to say at that time. And then very shortly afterwards, we were at his (Gabor’s) place, and I was sitting with him and I was saying, “Look, I know that you have something that I am missing. I know that you’re for real, and one of the ways I know you’re for real is because I’ve been with many fakes and I can tell now what is real - who is a real teacher and who isn’t. For some reason I can tell that you are completely real. I don’t know how I know this and I don’t know what it is. I can’t label it, I can’t name it, but I feel that you have something. Could you show it to me?” So he agreed.

The interesting this is that up until that point he never tried to impose any of it on me or even suggest any book or anything. So we sat together and I looked into his eyes, like he does with his students, and he told me to feel my hands (pause). And I felt my hands, and I kept looking at him, feeling my hands, and then, eventually, I started to feel that inner energy in my body - that inner vitality from inside. My mind stopped completely, and I thought, “Holy camoly! This is it. This is what they are talking about.” I’ve never felt such amazing stillness. It was a moment of being completely, completely, free of the mind, which enabled me to realize that he was right – everything that I did before was not free of the mind. The mind was still present in all of my practices. But now it wasn’t. There is no scientific explanation or proof that I can give you, but that was the feeling.

And it felt fantastic, but the most important thing that he did for me at that time, which I mentioned before - nobody told me that that present moment, or when I was feeling the stillness or being… that that was it – he did. He said, “Now, this is it.” And I said, “What do you mean ‘this is it?’ What do you mean?” He shook me (Nurit shakes Gabor to demonstrate how he shook her) and said, “No… THIS IS IT. You don’t need any more books. You don’t need any more seminars. THIS IS IT!” Not meaning that this is the end and there is no more journey or anything like that. But the problem is, that when you find that – Being recognizing Being – there are moments… many people have them, but there is an assumption that there’s more, and the assumption that there’s more closes the door. The door opens when you feel your own presence, your own being, but it shuts down as soon as you turn outward and say, “Oh, but there’s something else out there… oh, there is another teaching there, and another teaching there.” He did not allow me to close that door, because he finally was the one who told me that what I was looking for all along was THAT!

Iain:    So, Gabor, “This is it!”

Gabor: This is it! Yeah!           

Iain:    What does that mean to you now - “This is it,” in this moment?

Gabor: It’s that natural moment, this natural instant, when the Being actually recognized itself. And that’s what we can call awakening, if we want. The important thing to know about it is that it is instant, and it does not make anyone a huge giant of a glowing light, or mysterious. It’s a very non-mysterious event. Perhaps mysterious things will still happen, but the event itself is simplicity. It is the utmost simplicity. It does not make me or anyone superior in any way. More simple – Yes! So, that “no-time” instant recognition is it.

Life tends to swing, (showing swinging motion with finger) and we keep looking. We’re there many times during the day. We swing and perhaps we get into that “instant” - sometimes through accidents or something like that. There are people who almost get into an accident… get into a shock… and all of a sudden the mind stops. So there are many instances when people are present. They just don’t know, and the mind keeps searching, “Ok, if I find this right now, let’s go to a next step. What’s more?”

Now, there is more, but not where the mind wants to look. More means to the mind, “Ok, what else? What else? What else can I build on the assumptions that I have had in the past?” This moment is a very intimate moment of the Being with the Being. “This is it,” meaning, that from here on end, if you wish, and if you get it, you can turn this switch on – meaning, that now the mind can be operating, instead of in an inadequate crazy environment, now the mind can learn to operate in a peaceful, wonderful environment. It’s kind of like a switch. When I say “This is it,” this is the switch me must turn on and off ourselves. We must do it ourselves. No one can do it for us.

Iain:    You see, it’s fantastic that after all these years Nurit found you, and you can give her the confirmation that “this is it.” And, of course, there are so many people that search - Nurit’s is possibly a bit of an extreme story – but there are many others that, in a lesser way perhaps, are searching and searching and searching for one teacher, for one Guru, one method, one school to another, looking for “This is it.”

Gabor: Yeah.

Iain:    And what you’re saying is, “It’s the simple recognition.”

Gabor: Yes. It’s the simple recognition, and usually the universe beats us up so that we can have the simple recognition. And what I am saying is that it is not necessary. It can be actually learned now. The directing of the attention, which we have the right to do – I have the right to direct my attention where ever I need to – by directing my attention this way (pointing inside) and learning how to do that, I am re-proportioning the attention – some here (pointing inside), some there (pointing out). I am re-proportioning my attention with the intelligence of the body.

Iain:    So in a way it has a technical aspect to it.

Gabor: Yes.

Iain:    It is something that you CAN learn. It’s very practical.

Gabor: Yes.

Iain:    It’s not just an “Aha” moment. And that was an “Aha” moment, but there is something you can do to help and to magnify it.  

Gabor: Yes. Traditionally there has always been the belief – in the schools I went to and the people that I know – that this is something mysterious in the future - we are going towards it, but we will never actually get there. But perhaps, if we accumulate enough brownie points, good deeds, etc., then one of these days, somehow, we’ll get there. Mind you, we don’t actually define the goal that “I want to be awake.” But, in my own simplicity, and in my own humbleness – and what I mean by humbleness is that I was greatly humbled down, beaten down… really beaten down - I kept asking this question, “How can this be passed on?” recognizing the problems of passing it on.

She (pointing to Nurit) was a great experiment, in a sense, of what the mind can throw in… how the mind can respond to these simple things. We have experimented for years, and, not finally, but consistently, realizing that “yes,” this can be taught, if a person is willing to be simple. There are pre-requisites. The pre-requisite is that somehow the person has got to get to a mind-set that the traditional approach will not work. Sorry! I don’t care how long you have meditated, implicated, procrastinated, or whatever other “…ated” it is. It’s not going to work. So, with that recognition, if the person is willing to try to allocate their attention without dropping it - “Oh, no, it’s too simple! It’s got to be more complex. My life has huge problems that require huge solutions. How can this simple re-location of attention help my huge problems?” -  those are the things that a person needs to agree to overcome in a sense. Of course, I help with that.

Iain:    Yes. I think that is interesting. Going back to my notes about Nurit, one thing you said in your book (to Nurit) is that you found freedom from complexity       

Nurit:  Yes.

Iain:    And again, you (to Gabor) just confirmed that. It’s about simplicity in a way, and you also said, ”But it has to be sustained.” You have the realization, but it’s not like “Wow! My life is completely different.”

Nurit:  That’s right.

Iain:    And you also say, you had a lot of kind of historical baggage you had to work through, but of course you got the… somehow you got the fundamental understanding or realization, the practical level that can help you on your way with all that.

Nurit:  Exactly. I now know how to access it. I know what to do. Before, if someone would say “Go within,” I would say, “What does that mean?” Now I know what to do, and I know that it’s mine, I know it’s my birthright, I know that it’s now, it’s not going to be in the future, I don’t have to earn it, and nobody else is going to give it to me. It’s all those trappings that I had, but, of course, I have to keep practicing it because there are a lot of spiritual concepts that have been built around.

Iain:    So, the important thing is here what you said, that no one else is going to give it to you.

Nurit:  Right.

Iain:    And, of course, what happened with Gabor, is that he didn’t GIVE it to you.

Nurit:  Exactly.

Iain:    But he helped you recognize it.

Nurit:  EXACTLY! I’m so glad you got it, because so many people think that I am doing the same with Gabor as I did with my other teachers. You know, putting him on a pedestal, “Ok, my dear Guru, please initiate me.” No! It’s not like that.

Iain:    No. I understand.

Nurit:  My experience is my experience. His is his.

Iain:    Yes.

Nurit:  But he’s helped me, because he lives in that place.

Iain:    Ok, we’re going to have to finish now, but what we are going to do for people watching on the internet, Gabor is going to do a short meditation now which we will put at the end of your interview, and so, if people are interested they can watch that as well, and maybe also get a confirmation, a taste… whatever we call it.

So thank you Nurit for your story, which is a 40 years of that searching, and often very difficult times. I admire you for staying with it all that time. It really wasn’t easy.

Nurit:  Thank you.

Iain:    And thank you, Gabor, for coming in and enlightening us at the end.

Gabor: You’re welcome.

Nurit:  A cherry on the cake.

Iain:    I’ll show Nurit’s book again, “The Blind Leading the Blonde on the Road to Freedom.” In a way that’s really what we want – really find the road to freedom. In a way it isn’t even a road, just freedom. Ok. Thank you again. Thank you for watching Conscious TV and hopefully we will see you again soon. Good-bye.

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