Spiritual Journey-Four Teachers I Have Met Along the Way

Spiritual Soul

“One is not defined by what one wears, the color of one’s skin, or the image portrayed to the rest of the world. Even one’s behavior does not define him. Rather, it is what is beneath the layers of human behavior-his divinity, which is the true nature of his Being.” Denise Handlon

We are born into this world with all of our divine true nature intact. It is what defines us as spiritual beings, before all of the teachings of parent and culture. Oneness with God and the universe is what we are. We do not know any other state of mind or heart at this time. We cry when we are wet, hungry or in pain, but our sensations beyond that are simple-simply to be.

Absorbed in the bliss of this Oneness, we begin to integrate our environment. In doing so, we connect with our caretaker. Through the development of the mind, the growth of the body, and the maturing of the little human being, we move from internal experience to external-separating us from the inner absorption of just being, and moving our awareness and attention to what is outside of us.

We do not separate ourselves with the intent of one with ulterior motives. Rather, it is a natural process of becoming aware of the caretaker who is handling our needs. After all, we are helpless infants and dependent on the other for survival. If we are fortunate to be in a positive environment we also receive an external love that substitutes, at least temporarily, for the internal bliss we once knew, and left behind. If we are unlucky, those nurturing qualities are excluded and we are left feeling abandoned and neglected.

But, regardless of the initial birth experience, there is a spiritual separation and forgetting that occurs because, as developing human beings, part of this process is the development of the ego.

In many spiritual circles the ego is considered bad or useless-something that needs to be destroyed. Many New Age ‘gurus’ have professed this to followers. However, how does one get rid of something that is a normal part of who she is as a human? She does not-at least not successfully.

All human beings follow this process-the birth from cosmic bliss, the reconnection to life in the form of a human animal, and the separation from their divineness, in order to integrate into the world. The development of the ego is the outcome of this.

What many of us forget, along the way of growing up, is to reclaim this divinity by reconnecting with our spiritual essence-the core of our spiritual being-our true nature. This is done through the development of the soul. Just as our bodies, minds and emotions need maturation as we age, so it is with our souls.

It does not matter what our religious beliefs or practices are if one wants to dissolve the separation from true nature, one must be “like a treasure hunter who will stop at nothing to seek the gem that will set him free”. The problem is, we most often do not know where to look, how to look, or even that we have a ‘gem’ to search for.

Spiritual Journey

In my early years of life, I felt a deep connection with God. Born into an Irish-Italian family to two devout Catholics, my upbringing incorporated all of the teachings of the religious doctrine. I was a very curious child; one who was observant at an early age and sensitive to the hypocrisies that I was aware of. This included the dichotomy between being taught that we are all God’s children while also being told that certain people were not going to go to heaven because they were not Catholic or Christians. How could a loving God, who embraced all of mankind, deny entry through the gates of heaven?

In my mid-twenties I had two young children, a career as a nurse, and a second husband, and my inner longings grew intense. I would awaken in the middle of the night at times, tearfully trying to make sense of the restless calling within my heart. I remember replying, in one of those moments when my husband asked what was wrong, saying, “I just feel as if I am supposed to be doing something more with my life.” It was a stirring of the soul.

Soul Work

“When we engage in activities that take us away from who we really are, we invite suffering into our lives.” Denise Handlon

The quest to know…to find that gem of what is the reality of our truth, the truth of who we are, does not happen to everyone. But, by God’s grace, it did happen to me. Through books, metaphysical teachings, religious facilitators, curiosity, open mindedness, and desire-the desire to have an intimate relationship with the heart of who I am; the yearning to re-establish the divine connection of my true self; I was led on a journey of discovery that has deepened the meaning of my life, and brought a quality of living that goes without definition.

Spiritual Meditation

A daily practice of meditation strengthens the soul
A daily practice of meditation strengthens the soul | Source

The Concept of God: The 'Gem' within is your True Nature

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Buddhist Proverb

My spiritual journey to discover the ‘gem’ within, began as a young girl. It has brought to me to many places in my path of Truth and to the meetings of many spiritual teachers. Teachers, of course are everywhere, but the teachers I refer to in this hub are spiritual teachers who have studied, trained or received a wisdom that is beyond the walls of the classroom. The parting of knowledge and truth often comes from a source that is in alliance with divine intelligence.

There are four living spiritual teachers whose presence I have had the privilege to meet and sit with as they spoke. For traditional followers of Catholicism it would be similar to having an audience with the Pope. For Judaism, a similarity might be of being in the presence of the most revered Rabbi.

These meetings did not occur simultaneously, but over a period of ten years. It was part of my spiritual journey and development. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to sit with each of these teachers.


I first met Gangaji while living in Fairbanks, Alaska via video.  Later, I traveled to California for Satsang.  Satsang is Sanskrit for ‘true company’.  In spiritual circles here in the United States, people who follow a teacher will assemble in a meeting to hear the message.

Gangaji follows the Advaita Vedanta tradition that she studied from her spiritual teacher: Sri H.W.L. Poonja, or ‘Papaji’, a devotee of Ramana Maharshi.  She offers a quiet message to remind us to examine the activities of the mind-ego.  She speaks of non-duality.  It is always a blissful experience, but temporary.  During the time I followed Gangaji, I knew that there was a missing piece.


Born in 1962 as Steven Gray, Adyashanti studied Zen from teacher Arvis Joen Justi for fourteen years.  Frequently she would send him off to study at one of the local Zen monasteries for intense work.  He eventually experienced a series of transformative awakenings and was invited by his teacher to hold Satsang.  In 1996, he founded Open Gate Sangha, and travels locally and internationally to offer his words to an eager audience of seekers.

Adya, as his followers refer to him, is a gentle, soft spoken man who travels nationally, and internationally to hold Satsang.  His message is clear and also focused on non-duality.


‘Amma’ or ‘Ammachi’ was born in Kerala, India, as Sudhamani Idamannel. Her formal name is Mata Amritanandannayi.  As a young girl she was keenly aware of the love that she felt for all things and it is said, she began to compose songs of joyful devotion at age five.

Growing up, she was always sensitive to the suffering of others and would give clothes, food and hugs of comfort to those in poverty. She refused all suitors, offering instead her services to others. Eventually her believers began to camp out on her parents’ land in hopes to receive this love that emitted from her.

Amma has devoted her life to humanity through education, medical training, and other acts of service and in 2002 received the Ghandi-King Award for Non-violence.

Traveling throughout the world to offer her presence and hugs to those who seek an audience with her. They wait in long lines to receive from her a blessing and a hug. I have sat with Amma on more than one occasion and it is an experience like no other. There is no denying the presence of love, not only in the packed room, but flowing from this teacher’s embrace.

www.amma.org if interested in finding more information about her work and tour schedule.

Hameed Ali

Hameed Ali, was born in Kuwait in 1944 and moved to Berkeley, California at age 18 to study at the University of California. While working on his PhD in physics, Hameed’s focus turned to psychology and the spiritual aspects of human nature.

Hameed is the founder of the ‘Diamond Approach’, a spiritual path of soul development and realization. It incorporates a unique type of inquiry that leads to a transformation, unfolding the creativity of which we are as spiritual Beings, and combines tools of psychology with spiritual teachings. This was the 'missing piece' I was searching for.

Hameed writes of his personal journey under the name of A.H. Almaas. He offers teachings through the Ridhwan School and through ordained teachers. Periodically, he will offer workshops to the general public throughout the United States and abroad.

Hameed is by far the most brilliant person I have had the opportunity to listen to. It is always a pleasure to hear him speak via his videos, audio tapes or in person. When I am with him I am aware of a Presence that defies words. Go to www.ahalmaas.com for additional information.

Find your own path to follow

There are many paths that lead to the same place.  If you are a seeker, you must find the path that best suits you to bring about the spiritual wisdom and freedom that is innate in each of us.  I am sharing with you part of my journey and four of the spiritual teachers that I have met.  I wish all who are on their own quest a safe and loving journey.  

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Comments 71 comments

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I know of the soul stirring you speak of, and it too led me on a life long search starting at 14. Now I am unlearning many things I learned and am drawn to simple Truth as taught by the late Papaji, Mooji, Adyashanti and Self Realized teachers, they all express the same Truth. My number one longing now in life is to wake up from within the dream and be free, and self inquiry is a start. Thanks for writing this, as it will be helpful to the reader who is ready to go further along the path.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Maria-I was taken aback by what you wrote, but I suppose it is no surprise that we have had similar paths. Have you had satsang with Gangaji? She is out of Asheland, OR now. I am no longer following her, I am studying with Hameed who is the most self actualized person I know to date. Many blessings.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Hi denise,

I am fascinated by this one and I'm going to bookmark it so that I can come back to it later when I have more time to read it fully.

I'll get back to you then.

Take care


rama devi nina profile image

rama devi nina 5 years ago from Cochin India and Fort Myers, Florida

*Thanks for sharing* Enjoyed hearing about your path and some of the teachers you've met. You might like to add in Amma's official name of: MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI...so people who are interested can find her. She usually goes by Amma instead of Ammachi nowadays--www.amma.org or www.amritapuri.org


bikerwantobe (jic) 5 years ago

It was good to know, also people I met in my life they were there for spiritual teaching for me as u know u weere one of them. I had many teacher in my life many common folks but teachers. Thanks for this to bring me back to the path.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Eiddwen-how cool that you are fascinated with this and have bookmarked it. Any questions shoot them over to me.

Rama Devi Nina-thank you for reading and leaving your comments. I had that in my notes and thought it was safe to delete that part due to the length. I am glad you reminded me of the importance and will add it in. As for no 'Ammachi'-thanks for the update and for the web links. Namaste.

Hi bikerwantobe-what a pleasant surprise to read a comment from you. Thank you for your sweet comment. Take care, and I'm glad you enjoyed, jic!! Hugs.

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Denise, no, I haven't had Satsang with Gangaji because of my hearing difficulty. I listen to Papaji's videos of previous Satsangs (they are closed captioned) and he moves me to tears with his Love and clarity. I like to listen to various teachers when I am able to, for added clarity, so will check out Hameed.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hameed teaches a path that is different from Adyashanti, Papaji and Gangaji and if you are interested in learning more go to the website: www.ahalmaas.com I believe.

I find that the sense of Presense is predominant with each of these Teachers regardless of the hearing loss. In fact, one of the most moving things for me when I first started following Ramana was to watch a video of him, his eyes and the transmission of peace was remarkable. There is an old film documenting his life. The last frame is his eyes and it is the eyes of the Universe-infinite.

Take care and I am glad that you will check Hameed out. I am very pleased with the deepening of my experiences following this path.

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I found the personal parts of this hub very fascinating as it shows the tremendous spiritual journey you've taken throughout your lifetime.

Of the four you've listed here, I've only heard of Ammachi and was moved by a "Sixty Minutes" segment that was done about her a while back.

I'm going to bookmark this hub and read a bit more about the others.

Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 5 years ago from New England

Hi Denise - enjoyed reading this hub. Attended a night of Hindu chanting with a neighbor last Spring and enjoyed it immensely. Have the CD's of Krishna Das, an American who has followed Ram Das and his teacher. He is very loving, and gives warm hugs...and is a fine storyteller. :0)

Amazed by how many people have taken to spending time with holy people from a variety of spiritual paths. There is a big Native American influence here in the Northeast. I attend pauaus (the actual spelling) as often a I can, and my daughter loves to attend them, too. :0)

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Gail-I'm happy to know that the hub has intrigued you and inspired you to investigate into the other teachers.

Hi Seafarer Mama-I have had the opportunity and privilage of sitting with Krishna Das in California. Remarkable evening of bliss. Thank you for mentioning him here. He is a funny man at times, between his intense devotion. His daughter, who sings with him occasionally, has the voice of a sweet angel. I have all of his cd's I think! That inspires me to do another hub! Thanks. :) I think we share many similar interests.

As for the pauaus-I was eight or nine when I attended my first 'Powwow' (thanks for the correct spelling) and was mesmerized and enchanted. I was sold for the rest of my life. Perhaps another hub in this...

When I had children I started taking them and introducing them to Native ways. Now, I am pleased to know that my grandchildren are participants each summer.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

BTW-I didn't remember that you were from the MA area and I will have to edit my 'Economic Vacation' hub and include you in the adventure!

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Thank you for your good wishes and thank you for writing this.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Mr. Happy-you are welcome. :) Thank you for reading and commenting. Blessings on your journey.

Singular Investor profile image

Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

Hi Denise thanks for dropping by my hubpage. It is strange that Sri Ramana seems to have influenced so many seekers in the West, have you been to the Ashram? I started following his teachings back in 1974, and am amazed at how many people now know of him and his teachings. This is an excellent hub, it seems like your journey has been a great success ! I will check out ahalmaas (the link you put at the bottom of your text is mis-spelt by the way - you seem to have left off the 'ah').

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello Singular In-thanks for the FYI about the website for almaas. I did goof didn't I, LOL Sharp eyes.

It is amazing how Ramana has influenced so many people. In 2003 I was ready to go to India to the Ashram. My mother was ill with cancer and I thought better of it. We were to leave in January and she died Christmas morning. I have not attempted to get back yet, but would love to. And, you? You have been there? Thanks for visiting the hub.

lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 5 years ago from USA

Denise, thank you for sharing something so personal. It is not always easy to know what plan of salvation we should take or what exactly God wants us to do. Sometimes there are obstacles that seem not to move. I pray daily to know Him to the fullest and let Him use me in the way He sees fit. It seems there is not enough people who pray; I want to be a person who knows how to pray, not only for myself but for others.

Again, thank you for sharing.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Ictodd-thank you for reading and adding a comment. I wish you well on your own personal spiritual journey-it's all ONE. Many Blessings.

DevBlue profile image

DevBlue 5 years ago from Mauritius

Hi Denise. I found your Hub very interesting. I followed so far ,three masters and this fourth one, Yogi Tamby Chuckravanen, I found to be the most appropriate for me. I shall be writing about him in many of my hubs.And when people will discover HIM ,they will regret for not having met him earlier.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello DevBlue-I followed three before my current Teacher as well. I am grateful that my Spiritual journey has led me to him. It is through my current spiritual path that I am in touch with the Holy essence that I am and am able to remain present to this knowledge. It is not the ordinary knowledge that one would learn in school. It is that from the cosmos, which is what your Yogi Master receives and teaches to His followers. It is one and the same, but for each individual person to find for him or herself. I am very happy for you that you have found your Teacher.

sofs profile image

sofs 5 years ago

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” This is so true, I have experienced this many times in my life. Teachers and spiritual guides just stopped by at that point in my life and stayed there for a season and a reason. The best advise I found here is find your own path. For me I have gone through various religions and methods and came back to the Book of Books - which has been the living word that guides me day in and day out :)

Thanks for sharing Denise :)

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for stopping by and reading, Sofs. I agree-it is an individual path. There is no 'right or wrong' but whatever happens to resonate with us and bring us deeper into our True Source. Take care, Sofs. God Bless.

shimla profile image

shimla 5 years ago

Hi Denise - enjoyed this hub immensely. My partner and I have over the past two year become very touched by the lineage of the great Ramana Maharshi- Papaji-Gangaji-Mooji - the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. I am not familiar with the other teachers you mentioned but will take the time to acquaint myself with them - going beyond the mind-body complex and ending duality is our highest priority. Namaste

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you, shimla, for visiting and reading this hub. Perhaps one day we will all be enlightened souls. You can read about one of my self inquiries in the hub: Silence, a meditation experience.

Have you sat with Gangaji? Namaste.

shimla profile image

shimla 5 years ago

I look forward to reading all of your hubs on self-realization over the next few days. I live in Thailand most of the year now and have completed a few Buddhist meditation retreats here, which are far more intense than I bargained for initially - long periods of uninterrupted meditation over 10 days -a lot comes up including pain, joy, insight as well as intense fear of the dissolution of the ego. I am planning to go and see Mooji in Aranachula next year in Jan-Feb. We watch his Youtube satsangs every night in bed on the laptop. I have watched Gangaji on Youtube many times too but haven’t met her though I would of course love the chance to attend satsang with her- she's beautiful- Namaste, Shimla

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Great path you've chosen to shine light toward a higher calling. God bless you dear Denise!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Shimla-I would love to visit Thailand. One of the places to see on my list. Aranachula is another one. I may have told you already(?) that I was set to go one January (04) with a few friends whom I met through Gangaji. I stayed back b/c my mother had a relapse with her cancer and she passed away Dec 25th 2003. I was glad I had the guidance and followed it to stay back, as the trip was starting in Dec.

I have found that the comparison between Gangaji's work and Hameed Ali's is an interesting difference. With Gangaji, whom I had followed for three years I would join her satsang, feel her presence and in my meditation had many meetings of 'death of the ego' which are terrifying, and then peaceful. But, the egoic traits and patterns continued. The conflicts with 'not getting it' were intense.

When I was led to The Diamond Approach I immediatly felt the 'aha' moment. As a psychiatric nurse working with inpatients I always felt the missing piece of their wellness (and of course, my own 'wholeness'), was the lack of working with the spiritual component. That was twenty years before I read Hameeds Bio on the internet. When I read that the DA combined the psychological with the spiritual it validated what I had suspected.

He is a brilliant Teacher and the work is of course transmitted through him. In the few short years that I have followed this path I am amazed at the difference between what has not been effective for me and what has. I am grateful for all of the teachers I have met along the way including every book, every person that I have realized I have learned something from. It is truly 'a wonderful life' when one is open to their own presence of Being-Love.

Thanks for reading and I wish you well in your continued enlightenment. Namaste.

Micky-Thank you for visiting and reading the hub. I have met so many wonderful people here on HP and you are definitely one of them! Many Blessings, my friend.

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soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Enjoyed very much reading about your ventures - search for gurus, path towards truth Denise!

In Hindi there is small couplet written by well known poet Kabir Das "My teacher and the God both are standing in front of me, to whom do I show my respect first? If the Guru had not shown me path towards God, I may not have found God. So it is the Guru to whom I have to first show respect".

So perhaps Guru is important. It looks like you also feel that? But at the same time I always feel right path is what you wrote "If you are a seeker, you must find the path that best suits you". After all it is only you, who is in between you and truth. It is only you who can learn to get you out of influence of "Maya". In that case some time or other you have to be just you -- no Guru can help you in that stage. I wonder is it not the truth?

But at the same time I never really had a Guru to help me in touching distance, while you had several. I did not try it also seriously to have one. Though I enjoy going through what many of them say and surely one can see that one can learn a lot from them. It looks like you enjoyed that very much- what in India we call their "Sanidhya."

But final path, I think has to be what Herman Hesse said via Siddhartha, which I like very much. I hope you also agree.

"...I can love a stone, Govinda, and also a tree or a piece of bark. These are things, and things can be loved. But I cannot love words. Therefore, teachings are no good for me, they have no hardness, no softness, no colours, no edges, no smell, no taste, they have nothing but words. Perhaps it are these which keep you from finding peace, perhaps it are the many words. Because salvation and virtue as well, Sansara and Nirvana as well, are mere words, Govinda. There is no thing which would be Nirvana; there is just the word Nirvana."

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Soumyasrajan-so nice to see you here. Thank you for reading and leaving such valuable comments. Much appreciated. Wise words-yours and Hesse's. I loved the book Siddhartha, although it has been a long while since I last read it. I know of Kabir Das's poetry through my spiritual work.

I agree with you, it is not Teacher, although I am grateful for their guidance; it is not Words; although they have much usefulness; it is not 'having an experience', although this too has been a part of reconnecting with Self and Soul.

In the end, it is the reality of Truth-the cosmic Knowledge, Love and Peace that is experienced in awareness of this Divine Being that we all are.

There is so much that the human mind believes it knows, but is really quite clueless about. I know that I do not know...that is a truth. There are some experiences of reality that are mind bending. I cannot wrap my mind around it and have tried unsucessfully. It is beyond comprehension and description.

In the end, I am quietly aware that we are each manifestations of the Divine and we each must find our way back to this Divine Source. It is not separation and duality-God is over there and 'I' am here. It is a nonduality. What dwells within is the True Teacher-the Satguru.

In the end, it is living in each moment present to what arises and aware of the Truth of Being all that is. Living on this earth, but not absorbed by images or representations of who we are.

Getting out of our own way is not an easy accomplishment. There is much entanglement within the personality, the ego, the ideas and beliefs of who we think we are, and the distractions that want to confuse and usurp. Still, there is a way. When the seeker wants to know Truth, Truth appears in the form of Teachers and other 'helping hands' along the way to offer the Warrier a 'heart of courage' to stay the course.

Thank you for your feedback, Soumyasrajan. I enjoyed this meeting.

Julie Birch profile image

Julie Birch 5 years ago

I really enjoyed reading this and have shared the link on Facebook as I know several of my onlline friends have similar tastes in reading materials.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Julie-nice to meet you. I appreciate your sharing the link. Let me know if there is any feedback, thanks. I see you are 'brand new' to Hubpages. Be sure to read some of the hubs about tips for writing from hubbers. Also, I wrote a hub summing up my experience here after one year: the good the bad and the ugly...

It'll be interesting to read your profile page when you get that set up. Thanks for visiting the site. If you are interested in additional material such as this one, the hub I wrote about meditation may interest you: Silence, a Meditation Experience; or Soul Work: JOY

Happy Writing...

Singular Investor profile image

Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

Hi Denise, no I haven't been to the ashram, life has so far conspired to keep me firmly rooted in England.

I'm afraid the link in your hub to A H Almaas still doesn't work (too many 'a's this time - :-))

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks S.I. for the info. I will check it out and fix it. :) Like you, I have yet to visit and spend time at the ashram. I'm thinking that perhaps in another lifetime... Grateful for the info about the faulty link.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Singular Investor-I finally fixed the link. It took some persistence, and I'm not sure what the problem was because it was not connecting for me. I finally deleted it all and reset it. Thanks for the alert, it seems to be working fine now.

Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

I enjoyed your hub and wish you luck as you continue your journey. We may all follow different paths but in the end all roads lead to Rome!

I too have been fortunate to have met a teacher who appeared in my life when I needed him most. It took a long time but I finally realised that non-duality was the end I sought and forgiveness the key.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful article and your thoughtful replies to the comments enhance what you have written.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you, Spirit Whisperer for visiting the hub and commenting. It is an amazing journey and I am filled with gratitude with the ever deepening realizations of nonduality. As always, I'm a curious person-wondering now who your Teacher is that you've connected with. Many Blessings.

Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

Denise, he died recently and I wrote a tribute to him in my website blog here is the url http://manxhypnosis.com/blog/?p=453

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks-I'll be sure to check it out. :)

upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka

Some people are always searching the truth. They go to gurus to know the truth. I think you are one of them. I feel disappointed when I see so many are devoid of truth. They see everywhere evolution. They see no designer no planner. This is the age one wants to accept the truth if that is well experimented in a scientific lab. nice to know curious people like you.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Upal-it has been an interesting spiritual journey from when I was a young girl and knew there was a bigger force than just everyday happenings. I'm very blessed that my journey has taken me to a place where 'God' was an image that was outside of me, to the intimate realization of Truth and manifestation of God in this human body.

I cannot imagine a life void of that. I know that sometimes people get caught up in believing that the teacher or guru has 'it'-that special something that we all chase. They do not realize it is what they are-it is the substance of all things and all beings and EVERYONE's divine right to knowing and experiencing this oneness of Grace. Sometimes, people think it is an intellectual process-that beliefs are what knowing God is all about. I disagree with this, because of my own experiences touching the Cosmic Consciousness (see my hub: Silence: A meditation experience regarding one experience I had).

I am fortunate that I no longer search, I just experience...each day, each moment, the Holy Presence. My teacher(s)assist in this journey of ever deepening realization. And, when 'I' forget-it separates me from the Divine Being that is all things, and suffering returns. It is a lovely dance of Leela.

Thanks for visiting the site. Have a wonderful w/e and in our country, it is Father's Day this Sunday so: Happy Father's Day. :)

upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka

Denise, this is healing that you are no longer in search. I know it that Teachers assist in deepening realization. So I hope you have found some right one.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Yes, it is Upal, thank you. It is good to stop the search for the Satguru knowing the TEacher and the Student are the same. Namaste.

Dyhannah profile image

Dyhannah 5 years ago from Texas

Denise, Gangaji and Adya are my favorite teachers which I love also. I have followed Adyashanti's website for years. It sounds like you have learned how to integrate the bliss of Oneness and everyday life. Last month I became so absorbed in the Bliss or Ecstasy, but needed to come down from the state. I am really considering going to a retreat. Thanks for your Hub.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Dyhanna-I suspected there was some background similar to mine in your experiences. LOL Adyashanti is a sweet heart for sure. I used to go to sit with him as well as Gangaji. I have gone to retreats with Gangaji many times. I did not continue when I found Almaas, because there was a world of difference in the integration of Oneness in everyday living which I could not find with Gangaji.

My question, from the beginning of my spiritual quest at age 12 or so as a catholic is: how do we live in the world as spiritual beings. Well, Gangaji's teachings is to 'stop' as you well know if you have followed/read her work. Stop the story of self.

The problem with that, I found, is that the mind will only allow this for so long b/c it is part of our human experience. Unless we are walking around in denial and telling our selves 'everything is bliss' and ignore the raging animal inside when everything is NOT fine, then we cannot possibly simply stop.

Knowing there was a missing piece allowed me to stay open to find the teacher who taught me to 'integrate' the human experience and find the source of all-that is my relationship with Presence now. It is a wonderous and humbling experience.

I have another hub: Silence, a meditation experience, in which I relate one of the experiences of falling into the abyss and discovering the bliss. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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TKs view 5 years ago from The Middle Path

I'm glad you directed me to this hub, Denise. Not only is it informative but the comment stream is a joy, in and of itself. It is so refreshing to see such a list of people who have been touched by the spirit through their teachers. I have also gotten a deeper look into you from your responses. You and your teachers have done well at cultivating the divine fire within you.

I did have some assistance in my earlier years from Maharaji,(Neem Karoli Baba) Babaji and some others. Many years ago though, Maharaji told me to go away, not to follow anyone, but to develop the inner teacher. I've since done my best,trusting he saw the ability.

You have no idea, how much I struggled with the concept of, "following" some one on the Hub or having "followers," when I first joined. LOL I've gotten over it though, and I thank you for following my writings. Will be returning the favor momentarily.

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Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Tony, 'Congratulations!' and thanks for becoming my 900th follower, LOL. That is funny that you struggled with the concept of following and followers according to your teacher's previous advice about following anyone. I'm glad your Divine guidance moved you through this.

Thanks for reading this and I'm pleased that it was helpful for you. There is much I would like to say to encourage you in your path for enlightenment and experience of Presence in daily living. What has helped me is to find someone to support the soul's development. I have done this through the Ridwhan School. It is a mystery school, but there are branches of the original Berkeley, CA site throughout the U.S. I attend four quarterly retreats in Michigan which helps as well, as a support, because we have ongoing work that deepens the experience and dispels the psychological, egoic structures. I know of other branches on the east coast, (MA), New York and southwest; one just started in Atlanta, GA I believe. I'm not promoting this school, because I am sure it is not the only one of its kind 'out there'.

But, I want you to be aware that the egoic mind is a stronghold of beliefs. It does not want to surrender and fears annhilation. In the merging of self with all that exists it rebels and tries to reassert itself. It is natural, normal and just part of what it's function is. The point is-we can attempt to figure out how to keep the ego mind at bay all that we want, but it is a closed circuit system. It is asking the egoic mind to dispense with being an egoic mind and shift to a nonexistence-it is difficult, if not impossible, to do-hence the struggle.

What happens when we are touched by grace and an awakening occurs is that the soul moves in the inner spiral deeper into itself. It is a mystery in many ways. Many Blessings to you on your path. Here is the hub link to the other experience of nothingness I wrote about.


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TKs view 5 years ago from The Middle Path

Hello again, Denise. I'm delighted to have met you and enjoy your point of view. I was trying to read your above comment earlier, but kept getting interrupted by phone, dogs and whatever. I've read it over, a few times now and there is something that is calling for my attention, not sure what. But I'm going to give it a shot here.

I agree with what you say, regarding the egoic mind. It has a job to do as long as we're embodied. Casting it aside is no different than casting the physical form or emotional responses. They happen, with reason. At this point, I'm working at developing a better "working relationship," with all of those forces. Through acceptance of the many dimensions, my plan is to move in a more flexible way.

In referring to the ego as a "closed circuit system," does that not further the hold of duality in creating either, or?

My plan, is not to threaten the ego with extinction in the hopes the "closed system," will be more accepting of the penetration of awareness.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this, if they make sense to you. Also would like to hear more about your feelings on the awakening that comes from being touched by grace.

I'm off to read your other link.

I also wrote a four part series, called The Nature of Duality, you may find interesting.

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Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Tony-I've been travelling most of yesterday and arrived home at 6 pm only to fall exhausted into bed by 7pm so, I've just now had a moment to read carefully through your comment.

First, feel free to email me with additional questions, comments, dialogue you would like to exchange-I'm fine with receiving those.

Second, let me clarify the 'closed circuit system' I was referring to here. I have two main teachers who have been trained through the Ridwhan school to continue the teachings and support the practice of new students. Although I have been a member since 2004, I still consider myself a 'new' student.

One of the questions that I approached one teacher was: "is it possible to break the cycle of duality by oneself." I know sages and Indian saints who have done this-Ramana Maharshi is one. But, I also have a friend who follows the same path/school who believes that no outside source is needed. Her reply was that while it may be possible, it is difficult and would be a greater struggle because the mind will manipulate, strategize and hold onto the 'nonreality' concepts to trick one into believing that it is true reality...while maintaining its control.

So, I likened that in the image of a 'closed circuit', where it presents truth and the mind believes it to be so...without any circuit breaker to interrupt and reveal something that may not be seen (or may not want to be seen) by the egoic structure of the mind.

When one has someone else-be it teacher or what I term, 'true' friend, to reflect back into this system, that serves as this circuit breaker.

It is not necessary to have a spiritual teacher, but as Rumi found with his 'Master' Shams, one may never reach a level of enlightenment without that spark from the other.

So, in my experiences with my spiritual work and my daily living, one of the requirements for me to continue in the school is to attend quarterly retreats. Invariably, as I approach the time of retreat there is a synergy that occurs between what my personal experience is and what the next (always unknown and unannounced) topic of discussion at the retreat is.

When this first began, I was in awe and would say: how coincidental; and then: how synchronistic! But, after this occurred every time I finally 'got it' this past retreat. When I began to say the usual: "another synchronistic event", I had a flash and in that moment a 'big picture' hit me where there was no time-just 'all' and in the ALL I saw, with clarity, that this happened because it was already planned to happen-the coordination between the Divine and the next lesson that would be revealed.

There is comfort in knowing that it already is...everything we do and learn and that is revealed to us on this plane, is already set and our 'discovery' of these lessons is a delight and joy of the soul.

I will be happy to read your Nature of Duality. Thank you for your interest and it is an exciting adventure, isn't it?

C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan 5 years ago from Kerala, India

Nice to read your article. Yes. In the period of our search for an answer, we do come across several gurus, but our search should end at some point. Unless we are in a position to totally accept the need for surrendering our ego at the feet of "our" guru, we roam around, unwilling to get rid of our ego, in the search of "our" (final) guru!

In my case, it ended up with Amma (Mata Amritanandamyi).

Surrendering physically to the satguru is the last step in the search phase. Even after we physically surrender to our guru, the surrender of our ego in totality is a long drawn process. The better we surrender, the better we grow in spirituality. When the surrender is complete, realization should happen at that moment. That's what all great masters say (that you have already mentioned).


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Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you, CV for reading and sharing your thoughts and experience. I love sitting and celebrating with Amma. She is a beautiful soul/saint. I agree that the student must eventually stop the search. I love my teachers and their guidance...I know the path I follow has led me to the connection to the One within my own soul and thus never goes away and is always present. It is a comfort and an amazing experience. I have never felt such love and connection to all that is, regardless of what story the egoic mind wishes to try to claim as a distraction. All is unfolding as it is meant to...Many blessings to you.

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stessily 5 years ago

Denise, That feeling of doing something more with this precious gift of life cannot be denied. For a while I was troubled by a feeling for which I did not seem to be receiving answers or any kind of guidance. What I later realized was that I had been on the path all along.

The sincerity and genuineness of your search come through beautifully and clearly.

I love your closing wish: "I wish all who are on their own quest a safe and loving journey."

Thank you for sharing your journey.

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Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello Stessily-it is amazing, isn't it, when we get clarity that what we are doing IS most certainly part of the wonderful tapestry that is part of the fabric of ALL. And, yet, so often we are like the man who lost his keys in the darkened house, searching for them under the lamp post because that is where he can see the best!

Thank you for sharing your experience of your journey here. Many Blessings...

Greenheart profile image

Greenheart 5 years ago from Cambridge

Thanks for this hub.

It is great to hear about your spiritual longing.

And your interest in spirituality and spiritual teaching.

It is important i feel to find one's oown path or guide.

I wonder if you hve heard of Adi Da. I have a hub where you can see a little of my experience of him. Blessings. Gavin

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Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Gavin, for reading and commenting on this hub, as well as sharing your hub with me. I just finished reading it and found it fascinating. Thanks for stopping in-nice to meet you.

SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

I have had connections with three of the four teachers you write about - Gangaji, Ammaji, and A. H. Almaas. All are profound guides on the path to inner wisdom. Thank you for sharing their wisdom in this hub, and through your life.

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Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Sid-thanks for stopping by and reading and it does not surprise me that you have had connections with the teachers that have crossed my path. Currently I am working the spiritual path through the teachings of Almaas and Diamond Heart. :) Enjoy your week.

megni profile image

megni 4 years ago

Life is a journey and is one you've been following and observing carefully. What a beautiful and awesome hub. There's only one thing I find tiring about your hubs, my fingers get tired trying to get to the bottom of the list of your comments. You are loved and admired. Add me to the list. Thanks for sharing

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Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hahaha That 'problem' megni can actually be easily fixed. I just need to reverse the sequence of viewing the comments. Thanks for your sweet feedback and I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I appreciate your candid feedback.

B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

I'm glad to learn about these teachers.

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Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi B.Leekley-thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts about this subject. Nice to meet you.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

I think I envy you which seems out of sync with the enlightened sense of your post--but the feeling is there and I will cop to it---congratulations

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Such a soul touching hub. Wonder how I missed it.

I agree, Denise every individual needs to find a guru in their lives to find a goal for their life. I have also been fortunate that I have realized the essence of my breath and how I ought to live and learn and inspire along the way.


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Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello Audrey - thank you for your interesting admission. I would ask that you take some time and reflect on this for heart purpose, not any moral critique or judgement. I sense that behind the surprise of 'envy' is a longing, which may be the heart's desire to be closer to the soul. Just a dart thrown out in the darkness. If it rings true, grab hold. If not, just dismiss it as being way off. Thank you so much for reading this hub. :)

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Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Ruchira-you may have missed it before, but look how you found it now, :)

I'm so glad to know that you and I have a kindred spirit. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this. Namaste, my sister.

B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

I have a capsule on Hameed Ali in my upcoming hub on the history of the enneagram. I hope and expect to publish it today, tomorrow, or soon. I hope you'll look at the article and approve, and I'll welcome any suggestions to make it even better. I'll include an in the text link to this article.

When I commented on this article before, I doubtless voted it Up, Useful, and Interesting but apparently did not share it. I'll do that now, with followers and on social networking sites.

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Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

B.Leekley-I'll most definitely read your work on the enneagram. It is a fascinating tool of inner work and personality. I'll be especially interested in seeing who your influences and resources were. I have 3 or 4 books on the enneagram. I still have NOT figured it all out but believe I am a 6. (?)

Thanks for the share and the future link. :)

Sean 4 years ago

I google searched "How can I continue my spiritual journey", and I found this beautiful page of yours. I've been google searching like "Heavenly Father I miss you", or "Jesus I love you", or "God where are you". It sounds crazy, but you never know what things will turn up. You're blessed to have those teachers. I often wonder where my teacher is, or maybe my determination is not sufficiently strong.

I cry not in the middle of night, but during my 30 minutes of commute to work each way, when I'm all alone, without burden from anyone or anything. I cry because I miss the Father/Mother. I cry for the poor Palestinians. I cry because there are still people and children in hunger. Once I arrived the destination, I wipe my tears, and begin my work as an employee, or as a father/husband.

I don't know what my life calling is. But I want to be president of my home country so that I can help more poor people. I want to become a Bodisattva with a thousand arms, so that I can help and rescue more sentient beings. I want to do so many things. The world is imperfect in my eyes, but may be exactly as how God wants it, because the world is a school for souls, not the Home though.

My prayer to God is that "please don't forget to pick me up, because I don't know my way Home, but You know where to find me."

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Sean, I'm grateful that my article about my experiences with teachers was helpful to you. I hope that you seek what your heart and soul is urging you to seek-it is your deepest desire of the soul to be one with the creator of all.

I'm sure your dedication will lead you to your path. There may be many roads, but it is one destination-to reunite with the loving Self.

Your tears for all that is imperfect is that of one who has the sensitivity of what is lacking. But, despite all of the pain and hardship in the world true reality is perfection because it is the One Being. It is difficult for the mind to distinguish. The mind cannot fathom it when there is so much pain and suffering.

If you are interested in learning more, I suggest that you explore some of the religions that you find may offer answers. My journey started in one religion and ended up in a nondenominational one that is not of any particular religion. It is what I had to do to be true to my own calling.

Other people are true to their calling when they feel prompted to follow another teacher. I never stopped searching for answers and eventually my teachers point to what is within my own self...and that is where my peace and love originate.

I pray that you will discover 'who you are' in your own heart and soul...it is not one of the mind and the thinking self, that is intellect-rational thinking; it is about heart and listening/following that guidance.

Sean, feel free to write me again, either in this column or on my profile page email address: go to my profile page, click on fan mail and you will see how to leave me a private message via my email. Take care and Many Blessings...

Sean 4 years ago


I contacted you via one of the methods, but didn't get any reply. And then I got dragged into so many worldly activities, and just didn't have time to come back here for a couple of months already.

My basic spiritual problem is that I feel that I am not progressing and don't know how to progress further. None of the current religions may offer me a framework to work on my spiritual progress, or so I feel. I've learned Hinduism philosophy to integrate my views from the very different Christianity and Buddhism. Emotionally, I'm more attached to the God's Messengers in the later two religions, but I cannot agree to any of the people who go to church or temple. My mind is hindu, but I am not attached to any of the spiritual ideals in Hinduism. I feel like a stranger whether I'm in a church, a Buddhist or Hindu temple.

If you have some suggestions, please let me know. Many thanks.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Sean, I'm sorry you weren't able to reach me via the email here on Hubpages. If you give it a try again, I will keep my eye out for your email. Go into the 'fan mail' on my profile page and there should be a section at the top that reads: send Denise Handlon email. Click on that and you can send a private message.

I've read your note here and I'd like a few days to respond. I have to work (12 hr shifts) in the next two days. If you get a moment, send me a note and your email where I can reach you. I'll be thinking of you. Many Blessings

Sean 4 years ago

I left my email address and sent you a fan email. Happy Valentine's day.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Sean--I've been behind in all my online mail due to my work schedule. I hope you had a good Valentine's Day, too.

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