Rama the Person
I live in the constant newness of aspiration. Whatever I think, I ignore. Whatever I feel, I don't trust. Yet I listen to my thoughts and follow my feelings.
I think I'm on an angle. I'm on an oblique angle through all of existence.
At a very early age I was attracted to light, as most children are.
In my very early childhood, when I was only 3 or 4 or 5, I would enter for many hours into meditative states in which the world would become light and energy and I would transcend the boundaries of the senses.
I was sitting outside in our backyard on a summer day, I was around six, and suddenly the whole world dissolved before my eyes and I found myself in a timeless world of light.
Several hours later, I heard my mother calling me to come into the house, and it never occurred to me that this was an experience that other children didn't have on a regular basis.
I had a father who was strong and kind and loving beyond … at the same time who was extremely puritanical, who had been raised in a religion with extensive morality.
It was interesting to have both very a conservative and very liberal parent, because we deal with both these elements in the world and we have both elements within ourselves.
While I had many friends as a child I aslo kept a great deal to myself. I noticed that adults were drawn to me. They would talk to me for hours at my parents' parties. Strange to find yourself at seven, dressed in pagamas with feet, listening to adults tell you their deepest secrets.
I never considered myself to be essentially different from anyone else. Although I knew I was.
At an early age I found the world a very natural place to be. I was always in a meditative consciousness as a child, which children are.
School was a strange place where they tried to make you into something.
They presented a description of the world to all of us which was very limited and narrow.
I had been pretty well made a prisoner by school, by society. I had been given this description of the world that I couldn't accept.
I really didn’t want to be a part of the world because I found that the world was filled with unkindness. People didn’t love each other.
In every home in America, in the world, there was cruelty, anger and hatred – things I didn’t feel.
I’ve been very fortunate because many of the teachers I had were exceptional. But I didn’t realize that at the time that all teachers were not alike.
I leaned from my friends in school. I had lots of friends; yet I was very indrawn.
I read a great deal, avoided the comapny of the children in school who seemed superfical, and fell in love with nature.
In high school I was drawn to the study of literature, poetry Shakespeare, contemporary fiction, drama, you name it -- I read it.
I saw more truth and sensitivity in art than I did in many of the people in this world.
I was attracted to poetry, which is perhaps the purest of the art forms, where love is the medium of exchange and the nobility of love is considered. It's a land of higher ideals.
In reading, in literature and poetry, I found an artistic freedom that I didn’t see at Woolworth’s. I would read everything from Shakespeare to science fiction … sometimes a book a day.
I was very drawn to music of all types, from Beethoven to Jimi Hendrix. There were musicians and composers who obviously were expressing a vision that was beyond the mundane.
Through high school, college, graduate school and beyond, I had a number of relationships that were wonderful.
I found growing up that love and sexuality was a wonderful way to understand existence. When we love it takes us beyond ourselves, otherwise we’re just absorbed with the preoccupations that we invent.
I think I’ve learned more from women than anyone else, and perhaps from love. What a wonderful testing ground.
For some reason, the women in my life have always been extremely powerful. I’ve learned a great deal from that. I’ve learned that we’re all women when we’re complete and we’re all men.
Love was where I learned to go beyond myself, through the arts, through relationships, through sexuality.
In my adolescence, love, as I think for most of us, was a tremendous focus. I wanted to find the perfect partner. I did and married her.
I realized after being married for some time that it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to lead an individual life where I loved on person and we created a world together.
I was very fortunate, and have always been, that the women I met and fell in love with were exceptional, from my first girlfriend to the woman I married when I was 21, to all the remarkable women I have known as either friends or lovers.
I explored alternate states of consciousness at one period of my life through psychedelics, as was the fashion with all my friends.
It was a time period in the 1960, when a generation of souls looked at the established society, looked at the pettiness, the greed, the hate, and rejected it and tried to create something new. Their creation neither succeeded nor failed. It was another experience.
We sought a tribal society, to be close to each other, not to sit behind a television with our families and not see our families, not just to watch the evening news and the inane comedies designed to pacify the multitudes, but rather to explore ourselves.
We experimented and we experienced many altered states of awareness. We used the power plants. I did that for a year or two.
With the use of psychedelics, it was all based around the Tibetan Book of the Dead, using them to experience enlightenment.
I learned about the benefits and the vast limitations of such types of exploration, as did all my generation.
I started to meditate formally at about 18. I would sit on a mountaintop in Southern California around twilight and focus on my third eye. Everything would become still and rings of light would appear, and I'd go through them. I would be beyond time and space.
My travels to the Far East occurred primarily during the 1960's. Naturally, I have returned many times since. Of course, there was concern from my family that I was traveling to far distant lands to accomplish snowboarding activities that no one had tried yet.
Originally, I was interested in athletic pursuits like snowboarding, martial arts and surfing. When I went to the Himalayas and met a number of Buddhist monks I was introduced to a new way of looking at life.
I was initiated as a Buddhist monk at the age of 19, but I think that initiation is simply a starting point.
I first went into samadhi when I was 19. I was meditating in the mountains and had been meditating on a daily basis for several years. Suddenly there was no time or space or life or death or myself or the Universe. I was absorbed in light.
I meditated on my own for some time, read spiritual books, became a vegetarian and had incredible experiences every day, every meditation, where I was just thrown into the infinite – never realizing that other people didn’t necessarily have those experiences in meditation that quickly.
I never considered myself to be special. If anything, I considered myself to be awkward, and still do sometimes.
I entered a spiritual community when I was 20, which I was in for 11 year, with very strict meditative practices, with an Eastern teacher. It was very much like a religious order.
At the same time, I went through college, received a Ph.D. and started to teach. I wrote books.
I was drawn to the arts because I sensed that I was by nature Bohemian, and yet very conservative.
In poetry, and in my study in graduate school, I was drawn to a particular poet, Theodore Roethke. I did a dissertation on “The Evolution of Matter and Spirit in the Poetry of Theodore Roethke" for my Ph.D.
I did well in school. I had lots of honors, so I thought I was quite smart.
I was drawn to be very solitary as a scholar. I lived a very quiet life, aloof, with my books, with my walks in nature, meditating, and of course with my teacher.
I was very dawn to people I loved, to my family, to my father, to my sister, to my brothers.
I was very immersed in the world. I’m very worldly. I love world. I was immersed in my career, in school, in teaching.
I lived in a community where celibacy was the rule. My I saw many people asked to leave the ashram for so much as looking intensely at a member of the opposite sex.
My teacher knew that I always had a girlfriend. For some reason, he never said anything to me about it.
Some of the most exalted states of consciousness I experienced were in bed with someone, alone, or with my spiritual teacher. There was never a difference for me.
I found the experiences that I had with sexuality were wonderful, they were very uplifting – we had a good time – and they didn’t seem to affect the level of my mediation.
As my meditative experiences grew, I had wonderful relationships. I met the most wonderful women, who meditated and shared certain understandings that I had.
I seemed to be leading a very incongruous life from the point of view of the definition of the community I was in.
I went through times of self-hate, thinking how undeveloped spiritual I was. Everyone else in the ashram, a thousand people, nobody had a girlfriend or boyfriend. I did.
Honesty, I went through terrible, terrible times where I just took myself over the coals. I thought I must be the most impure person in the world ... but because that is reverse egotism, I thought I must be the second most impure person in the world.
I realized that my friends in the ashram needed to be celibate because, for them, sexuality was a very tacky issue.
Over the years of much self-hate, I came to realize that whether sexuality was in my life or not, it didn’t seem to matter. I just surrendered the whole thing to God.
I found light in the darkness … or it found me.
During those years the past life recollections began. Psychic powers developed, my meditation increased and I found myself changing, over and over again, becoming someone new almost every day.
My teacher sent me all over the world to talk about meditation – Europe, all over America, Canada. I would drive thousands of miles, travel, all at my own expense, to do this.
I liked my teacher very much and after some years of mediation, I began to teach meditation, referring all things that I didn’t know to my own teacher.
As the years progressed, my spiritual evolution seemed to increase in speed. I stepped outside this world, the selves reordered. The combination, the aggregate of beings that I was, dissolved in the white light of eternity.
At a certain point I left my spiritual teacher because I began to see the limitations of my teacher, who was a very powerful occultist, but who I thought was, to some extent, limiting others in their spiritual growth.
So I went off on my own and started the process of spiritual teaching.
I began to go into samadhi, not just occasionally, but every day many times a day until I reached a point where I could no longer distinguish between ordinary and non-ordinary reality. For me it is all the same. I am in a state of continuous absorption in the Self.
From the Far Eastern perspective, 29 is considered a very special age.
Astrologically, at that age, you experience a Saturn return. It is considered an auspicious time to "reboot" your life. It's a chance to have a clean start and move forward into something very exciting.
One day I was meditating on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Southern California and I was absorbed in a state of high meditation. As I came out of the meditation and became aware of the sense world the world around me I knew that I had a new name. And the name, of course, was Rama.
Rama is a fairly common name in India. It symbolizes an individual who is interested both in enlightenment and martial arts. I do not claim to have any past life connection with the historical Rama. It's just a name I liked.
I am the happiest person I've ever met. This is what Buddhist Yoga and a healthy dose of reading the Declaration of the Independence, The Constitution and the Federalist Papers and anything else I could get my hands on has given me.
I don't have the luxury of time to be unhappy. I have too much to do. I have too much do accomplish. Who has the time to be unhappy?
My happiness is dependent upon light. Since light is endless, I'm bound to be happy always.
I studied with a number of different teachers. But really, I've never studied with teachers. To be honest, the only thing that's ever interested me in life is eternity. Nothing else makes any sense to me.
I don't believe in anything, yet I believe emphatically in almost everything. It all depends on what seems appropriate at the time.
I can assure you that next to my bed, there is always a copy of the Dharmapada which I read from every night.
I like extreme athletics, extreme meditation and extremely beautiful women. Perhaps I'm an extreme person, or it's simply my Karma. But I must tell you, as if you hadn't read about me in a newspaper or seen me on a magazine format television show, there are extreme risks involved with all three.
I am a certified PADI Divemaster and a technical scuba diver. That is to say, I am involved with decompression diving where we dive to depths of 300 plus feet. But I was also recently certified for the Atlantis rebreather, where we dive to shallower depths ranging from about 60-130 feet.
I dive all over the world: Fiji, Australia, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and many other places.
I go snowboarding and scuba diving to get to places of power where I can more correctly perceive the still center of my own mind. I also find that extreme athletics helps to clarify your mind.
Interestingly enough after diving to 235 feet in Saba, I visited the Virgin Islands. There, as a pure Karmic coincidence, I met the inventor of the snowboard, Steve Sanders, Mr. Burton's brother.
Master Fwap, who told me that snowboarding, or any activity could be improved by the practice of meditation. Since I had had previously some training in Korean martial arts, I was somewhat open to the idea.
Love can be the only answer. But snowboarding also works for me. Because I love snowboarding!
When I began to play Frisbee, I would play with my friends and we used to do difficult things. We would stand in front of lines of trees that were parallel. We would spend hours throwing frisbees back and forth between these tight spots.
Everybody deals with stress differently. Some people drink, some people use drugs, some people watch TV. I have always found that extreme athletics chills me out and leaves me in a very centered place.
When I play sports, when I dance, when I teach mysticism, I cannot explain, even to myself, how I do what I do.
I like to shop. I don't always buy things when I shop, but I think it's fun to go out and look at the worlds of colors. I love to roam through supermarkets. I am a great lover of household products. I particularly like the packaging of cereal boxes.
I do enjoy wearing Japanese and Italian clothing. I also enjoy my blue jeans or tennis shorts and running shoes. I like driving a Porsche because it is an elegant machine and it is a very beautiful experience to drive it. It's magnificently made.
I do have a staff of what some people would consider to be very attractive, chic women. They are not on the staff because they are attractive and chic but because they care about the welfare of others.
Sexuality, I think, is a little bit different, for me, than it is for most people, in that there's almost no body awareness whatsoever. It's just light, but that's how everything is for me.
I believe it should be the legal right of any woman who wants to have an abortion to have one. From the spiritual point of view, I don't see a problem with abortion in that the soul doesn't usually take incarnation until the last month before birth, sometimes not even until the moment of birth.
I'm an observer of life. I like to watch people, and I like to watch cactus. I like to talk to mountains and communicate with my friends in the other spheres and dimensions.
In my travels, I have found two peoples, the Tibetans and the Fijians, who don't seem to have this problem. Their closeness with their environment, their religions, and their relationships with each other and nature make them feel part of everything.
I have several Scottish Terriers. I find them to be the most wonderful dogs.
If you're interested in matching your mind with the most intelligent kind of beast I have ever encountered, get yourself a Scotty dog. He'll get bored very fast, and it will require all of your personal power and intelligence to keep up with him. You might find a good friend.
I can play the guitar, the dulcimer, the piano, and the drums. However, I am not a "performance quality" musician. Rather, I am a composer and a producer.
I am a producer of both rock and New Age music, I generally like all categories of music. In particular, I enjoy Ozzy's stage presence.
The music is used as a backdrop. I take the kundalini and I play against the notes with it. I do a light show inwardly and outwardly with the vortexes of energy as you sit there. It's no big deal. It's just what I do.
Miramar, my recording company, has decided to offer a compilation of my music for snowboarding, which will have the same cover as the book does.
My own musical background is based in the blues, and in classical composition. I grew up listening to Muddy Waters, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Beethoven and Bach.
I go to the movies. I absolutely love film.
Some of the films that I have really enjoyed include: The Fifth Element, The Crow, Toys, Seven, Forrest Gump, The Lion King, 12 Monkeys, Doctor Zhivago, Being There, and Trainspotting.
I saw "Forrest Gump" several times. I personally thought it was Tom Hanks' greatest role and I think it was one of the most eloquent love stories of our time.
There are so many talented people in film today. There seem to be poor scripts, but the actors and actresses are very talented.
There are so many to pick from that any list that I give you will be inadequate.
Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery and Robert Redford, Mel Gibson - at least in the Road Warrior films - and Harrison Ford are among my favorite actors. Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Deborah Winger, Jessica Lange, and of course, Shirley MacLaine, are among the women.
Meryl Streep is expert at only using the requisite amount of energy to express her character, not an ounce too little or too much. She's Zen and doesn't know she's Zen. That's very Zen!
I think that was E.T.'s central appeal, personally. E.T. is this metaphorical journey, this strange Odysseus from another world, who just wants to go home. Obviously, home must've been better!
I have found in the world of film many movies including Beyond Rangoon, The Crow, Gandhi, Doctor Zhivago, and The Big Blue, a French film, convey similar understandings. I'm sure the list is endless. These are just a few of my favorites.
I have been sought out by a number of people who would have felt uncomfortable coming to a large public meditation. They don't want people to come up and ask for autographs.
There have been times when I've made special arrangements to meet people in music, film, business or politics, and I'll continue to do so if the people are sincere.
If they're not sincere, then naturally I'll turn them down. But if what they want is to gain power and use it for a higher good, I'll help them. Then they merit some special consideration.
Powerful people affect many others and if I can in some way contribute to their awareness, they will put out better energy to millions and millions of people.
if I can have an effect on influential women and men, if they seek me out because they are interested in self-knowledge and the fun of meditating, then I'm glad to help. That's why I'm here.
I'm only here for a while, so I'd like to do what I can.
Interestingly enough, Aurthur C. Clarke once autographed a copy of his book "Rendezvous with Rama" for me.
I am a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Aren't we all? I teach meditation to many different types of people, you mentioned celebrities. I also teach meditation to many people who are not famous, but are, in my eyes, very important.
One of my greatest personal heroes is Jerry Lopez. When you can snowboard like he surfs, you'll be there!
In writing Snowboarding to Nirvana I have intentionally written an inspirational spiritual adventure story, which will hopefully provide people with metaphysical techniques, spiritual knowledge, hope and a brighter view of life.
I have had several offers to make the book into a film. I don't know if the message could be accurately transmitted, and so I have been somewhat hesitant in granting film rights.
Since I have spent many years of my life living in Los Angeles, and since I'm also in the music business, I know that much more is talked about in Los Angeles than ever really occurs.
I took the liberty in Snowboarding to Nirvana to do a type of parody of what I suppose you would call "New Age fiction."
While I am writing about the details of my own intimate encounters and journeys in America and the Far East.
I have chosen to parody the writing styles of Carlos Castaneda, James Redfield, Richard Bach, Lynn Andrews, and several other best-selling new age authors.
I enjoy the writings of all of these authors and they have been very inspirational for me. But I think that it is important as writers of metaphysical, New Age, occult fiction and nonfiction to not take ourselves too seriously.
In both Surfing the Himalayas and Snowboarding to Nirvana, I have tried to transmit as best I could the spirit of humor, and the sense of humor of the monks I have encountered.
I think perhaps the greatest book ever written was Ulysses by James Joyce.
In one particular chapter in Ulysses, James Joyce imitates every major writing style that's been used by English and American writers over the last 700 years - starting with Beowulf and Chaucer and working his way up through the Renaissance, the Victorian era and on into the 20th century.
He managed to do this 'tour de force' of styles without ever breaking the narrative structure of the chapter he was writing. It is the most brilliant parody of writing styles that I have ever read.
Throughout the course of my life, I have been very fortunate to have had excellent teachers -- not just in meditation, but in martial arts, music, scuba diving, and in my academic education.
Every person I've known has had an effect on me, as have people whom I've not met in the physical in this life, but whom I've met inwardly, teachers from other eras - Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramakrishna and Lao Tse.
If you ever come to one of my seminars, you will notice I have volunteer workers. When I work with individuals like that, I expect a level of excellence displayed. Everything has to be done perfectly.
My particular focus at the moment is on the development of genetic algorithms and neural networks that work together to create computer architectural systems.
I design genetic algorithms, neural network and artificial intelligence systems.
I develop artificially intelligent technologies, along with educational and game software and let the business people take it where they will.
Most of the software I sell runs on mainframes and supercomputers, and is used by multinational corporations and governments. You may not get to see that, but if I have done it properly, hopefully it will make the events in your life transpire more smoothly.
I am involved in the creation of software, and I'm also in the music business.
Whenever I work with anyone, it is an opportunity for them to become more professional and do something for someone else.
My feeling is that drugs and alcohol take away from the pure experience of meditation. That does not mean that occasionally, a person couldn't have a glass of wine or a drink.
I personally, only work with people in my business who show excellence. I have a business, the business of enlightenment.
I only work with professionals. I don't mean at seminars, but in my business.
I am Western and I see no need or reason to change that. The Western lifestyle has many things to offer, as do the Eastern methods of self discovery. I think blending the two is very desirable.
I believe that it is the responsibility of everyone in corporate life to help with the funding of non-profit organizations.
My favorite cause is the enlightenment of others. I think that is the best place to put money. You get the highest yield in terms of karma on your money.
I can throw a great party, but I don't know how to go to one. I can throw a party because when you throw a party you just work all the time. But I could never go to a party because I wouldn't know what to do ... I'd immediately find the kitchen and start to serve food.
I am simply a human being who is fascinated by the life process.