John Wheeler, May 2004, Santa Cruz
I first became aware of John Wheeler when I saw a flyer of his posted on the bulletin board outside the Herb Room/Food Bin in Santa Cruz (a highly recommended herbal/natural food store combo). It was somewhat standard advaita fare; he’d studied for years, but got it quickly and finally from Bob Adamson. He was holding weekly satsangs at the Pacific Cultural Center, $10 dollar donation. All the dates on the flyer were past, but I made a mental note to see if I could check him out some time. When I looked for him on the web I didn’t find anything, even Sarlo had no listing for him. Six months later, he appeared among Sarlo’s new adds. I went to his website and saw that he was still doing weekly satsangs at the PCC, so I went to the next one I could make.
It was held in the “Dining Room”, the Center’s smallest space, which rents for $16 an hour. John Wheeler’s satsangs are 90 minutes long. When I arrived, a couple of minutes early for the half past 6 starting time, a small circle of about eight folding chairs was set up. John sat in a chair where he could see and greet newcomers. He was already engaged in conversation with a man, and after introductions I just sat down and listened for a while. Not really listening though, because I had come with my own question prepared. I wanted to ask his advice. What do I do? I’ve studied nondualism for thirty years, I have a firm intellectual grasp of it and it makes sense to me. But I also know that none of the logic and reasoning conveys that actual “certain knowledge” which nondualism promises is possible. Would he tell me just to wait, that it would happen when it wanted?
After listening for a while to John talk with his friend about “thinking you’ve lost it”, the feelings of doubt that surface, etc. I got the impression that the friend had made the realization, but it wasn’t stabilized or something, like I say, I wasn’t really listening.
After a few minutes John’s attention moved to me and he asked me why I’d come. So I framed my question for him pretty much as I have here, and he replied by telling me what Bob Adamson had told him (actually, asked him). Bob asked him if he knew what Nisargadatta was talking about, what Ramana was talking about, and John, after 15 years of studying the stuff, had to admit that the answer was no, not really. As John was telling me about it I had to make the same admission to him. Then Bob had asked him, and John asked me, “Do you exist?” I had to agree; it seemed like the only thing I knew for sure. Then Bob/John asked, “Do you have awareness?”, and I was immediately conscious of spacetime, of the room, of my body, of my consciousness, and I had to say that yes, I have awareness, and I’m aware of it. “That’s it!” Bob/John declared, “That’s what they’re talking about.” I was enlightened by this.
John continued on talking to me after that about something or other, but what else is there really to say. I’m enlightened. I don’t need advaita chitchat any more. After a few more minutes another fellow entered and was introduced; I took it as my opportunity to try to gracefully exit, though it surprised them nonetheless. I heard them laughing as I went out. “That must be a record!” one said. Later on I found this in Sarlo’s review of Bob Adamson, “Nisargadatta told him the greatest help that can be given to anyone is to take them beyond the need for further help.” Thanks John, for the greatest help. Bob should be very proud of you.
Source: Guru Ratings
Author’s page: Robert P. Meizer