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Ron’s foreword

When the Buddha was asked if he was enlightened he responded, “I am awake”. I had often wondered why he would respond that way. Perhaps the word 'enlightened' was loaded then just as it is today. Most people have notions of what it means to be enlightened; their notions border on fantasies. Some think it means you walk around in bliss, others think it means nothing ever bothers you. Some think it bestows you with magical powers. I used to have these notions as well. Perhaps Buddha chose his response to avoid the baggage associated with the notions about enlightenment.

I met Salvadore in March of 2012. I had been a seeker for some forty years. In the early years I sought in the material world - wealth, sex, success. That then morphed into developing mastery of techniques like creative visualization, intuitive perception and healing techniques; that morphed into adding a dimension of spirituality and then toward seeking enlightenment. I attained quite a bit of success in the material and mental world but enlightenment eluded me.

I was both diligent and intense in my pursuit of enlightenment. My close friend and fellow seeker had basically given up seeking enlightenment and figured he'd let me do all the seeking; he thought with my intense pursuit if anyone would get there, I would and then he would latch on. I met and worked with many enlightened and allegedly enlightened people and participated in many different intensives. My last venture was to work with a shaman to make inroads into my true nature.

Forty years, endless paths, and still no enlightenment. I believed I was ready but here I was, just regular old me.

The people who introduced me to the shaman, later introduced me to a woman whom they thought could help me. She was not up to the task but did recommend I speak to an awakened man in India name Sal. She said he was authentic and that he could help me. I later learned she had to convince Sal to work with me, he was not interested in teaching or having students; he finally agreed to do so on the condition that if it didn't work he would just stop. He had never taken on a student and wasn't sure he wanted to.

I assumed Sal was an abbreviation for an Indian name (but I found out he's from New Jersey). He and I emailed and we set up a time to talk on Skype. I was about to work one on one with an enlightened individual! That was three years ago. Since meeting Sal, my notions about enlightenment and my core beliefs about reality have been upended. I have changed. Not in a big way but in subtle, nuanced ways. I still have fears and anxieties, but they no longer have me in their grip. They are more like an appearance, something temporary just showing up and passing through. I don't hold onto them, I don't even engage. They appear, linger briefly and then disappear. I have changed. I am more relaxed, at ease, comfortable in the universe. And when my world is upside down, in disarray, I take it in a stride I never had before, and I have more and more moments of being so authentically present that I experience the wonder and the 'is'ness of each moment in a way I had never done before.

I am no longer a student of Sal, which is Sal's intention. I am no longer a seeker of enlightenment. If you ask me if I am enlightened I will simply say, “I am finished seeking.”

What we have attempted to do in this book is to take you on the journey that Sal guided me and numerous other inquirers on so that you come to the recognition of your essential being, and come to the end of seeking.