We live in an era of supposed moral relativism. This post-modern age, in which the subjective is held as the highest possible state of consciousness, where each social and cultural issue is open to interpretation, and art that deconstructs our reality, rather than offering concrete solutions to our problems, is seen as the creative ideal.
So then what about Truth? The kind with the capital T, that in past ages occupied the minds of philosophers, mystics and scholars? Truth was once seen to be a truly objective and perennial concept. Something that had to be discovered, as opposed to invented or intellectualized. Truth was something that simply existed, yet was often veiled behind mystery. And the true explorers and adventures of these times, were the ones who dared to cross the terra incognita from the world of ideas they thought to be true, to the world that actually was.
In my own life, I was acutely aware of my own desire for Truth from an early age. I remember debating with rabbis in my Jewish day school in Australia about inconsistencies that appeared in the Torah, and I remember scrawling "SEEK TRUTH!" in bold letter across my school bag in 7th Grade. I'm not sure why, but the idea that Truth existed was always an issue beyond debate for me. I had no claims of knowing what it was, but the fact that it existed somewhere in the mysterious regions of the cosmos, and the human heart, was an irrefutable idea.
This often put me at odds with my peers and co-workers. In the music industry, Truth is seen as subject to fashion and cultural climate. In the "new age" world of yoga, healing and progressive culture, Truth is seen as an amorphous concept, subject to our own whims and fancies. In this realm, we often encounter the phrase "It's all good", as an affirmation that "all roads lead to Rome", and that all spiritual paths end in the same destination.
From within this ambiguous moral and conceptual landscape, my life took a radical turn when I encountered Juan Ruiz Naupari and the school of spiritual progression that he founded, the Pneuma System.
Peruvian-born Ruiz Naupari's Pneuma System is a new transpersonal perspective based in the comparative study of the ancient spiritual traditions of the planet. This program of study, inspired by his guides the Golden Eagle, attempts to synthesize and resolve the various frameworks that have described the process of awakening, or self-realization, found in various cultures. From this perspective, we begin to see common threads between narratives in mystical texts such as the Koran or the Four Gospels. Here, we begin to comprehend where humanity's imagination ends and Truth begins. We realize, in this deeply esoteric and thorough study that also includes understanding of the Kabbalah, The Bhagavad Gita, as well as the works of Swami Sivananda, GI Gurdjieff, Peter Ouspensky and Samael Aun Weor, that there is indeed a cosmic Truth and that it is truly something to be discovered hidden within our very own consciousness.
For myself, meeting Juan and the other students of the Pneuma System, I felt an immediate kinship, with their earnest yearning for Truth, and the daring with which they executed their explorations. This style of study is at once both universal, but also heroic, as it calls on us to dispose immediately with redundant concepts and beliefs. This process, often called "Mystical Death" or "Psychological Death" in Gnosticism, is at the core of the experience that Ruiz Naupari draws our attention towards. Indeed, it is our willingness "to die" in this way, that allows us to move into a more peaceful, liberated future, and eventually towards our own awakening or self-realization.
As a part of my studies with Juan and the Pneuma System over the past few years, I have also been fortunate to work within the context of Inkarri, the 501c non-profit registered under the Pneuma System. Inkarri aims to promote the process of profound personal transformation through various projects. One of the most notable projects are the ongoing support of the Q'ero culture of Peru, who were discovered by anthropologists in 1949, and hold a living and profound connection to nature. These humble and warm-hearted people live in incredible difficult conditions but have many gifts to share with Western culture as we attempt to prepare our relationship to our planet and each other. Another notable project is Inkarri's collaboration with the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India under the direction of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Since 1992, Inkarri has organized the annual World Tour for Inner Peace in Europe and the Americas, participating in the dissemination of the religious culture and spirituality of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Inkarri sponsors the young monks and provides ongoing support to the monastery and lamas; having joyfully built kitchens, dormitories, and a prayer hall that accommodates 1,000 monks. In 2004, Inkarri organized His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Puerto Rico, for an International ecumenical gathering. Inkarri also translated the book, Memoirs of Lama Keutsang Rinpoche, into Spanish. In February 2011, Inkarri was the principal sponsor and organizer for the Buddha Maitreya Initiation, offered for the first time by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Buddha Maitreya is the Buddha of Universal Love, represented by the collaborative work between Inkarri and the Tibetan people, for the advent of a new illuminated culture.
Many people first were introduced to Juan Ruiz Naupari's vision in June this year, as he offered a powerful birthday greeting to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, at the Dalai Lama's 80th Birthday celebrations in Los Angeles.
Juan addressed His Holiness not as a political dignitary, not as a Nobel Prize Winner, and not as a teacher. "Buddha, Master, brother, friend, thank you," he said "You fought and overcame. You prayed and you won. Only in this way, from victory to victory, has your illumination been possible. You showed us that a Buddha is not born, one becomes a Buddha." This important mystical concept, that illumination is earned rather than inherited, is an idea that does not receive much airtime in the orthodox churches of any religion. In fact, the narrative of Jesus's birth as an already-enlightened master has done much to dissuade ordinary humans from the glorious possibilities of victory on the spiritual path. From the perspective of Pneuma, this idea is simply untrue. In fact, from this perspective we are all Buddhas and Christs in potential, simply waiting for our awakened consciousness to be "unlocked" with effort and diligence. From here, we can appreciate Juan's words to the Dalai Lama with a new understanding. How wonderful that we get to pursue our goals during the time when a living Buddha is on the earth, how important to know that victory is possible as we begin our battles!
On October 27 each year, Inkarri organizes an international Day of Inner Peace. This day is open to the public and celebrated around the world, providing curious seekers with insight into the vision of Pneuma and an updated perspective on the path of awakening. This year, I am honored to be both the host of the event and a performer during the evenings festivities. While there are many peace events held around the world consistently, very few of them propose to us the idea that world peace is not a possibility without inner peace. This unique day-long event offers an experience of the practices of the Pneuma System, such as Pneuma Breathwork, with teachings from Ruiz Naupari as well as visiting guests of honor such as Doña Maria Apa˜za (the last living Incan high priestess visiting from Peru) and Geshe Lopsang Tsultrim from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India. This day is a rare opportunity to experience an intimate contact with teachings both ancient and new, that ask us to transform our sense of what we think is possible.
I look forward to seeing you at the event. And beyond this one day, I look forward to sharing the road with you, the road of the heart. Walking as brothers and sisters courageously and diligently towards Truth. Towards a Truth that we know exists, regardless of what the world around us tells us.