080. Bentinho Massaro

I started seeking actively for (as I called it then) ‘Enlightenment,’Self-Realization’ or ‘True Knowing’ around the age of 16. I was driven by an intense desire to know the source of life, for as far as that would ever be humanly possible.

I one day figured that all this dancing around that I was doing, all these everyday things I was chasing after and exploring, were meaningless and powerless if I didn’t know the true meaning of life in my own direct experience. I had this instinctual impulse to get to the source of everything, to attain some kind of mastery over myself and all my abilities, to acquire a deep knowing in which all else would be understood immediately and in its proper place.

In other words: I desired to find ‘the truth that doesn’t change’, so that I could make sense out of everything else from that space of clarity.

Before this moment of really wanting to know the source of my being arose, I had already been playing around a bit with discovering the hidden capabilities of our minds. As a child my parents offered me to follow a Silva Mind Control course, which was basically an introduction to meditation and using the mind’s full potential. Throughout high school I forgot a bit about the passion I felt for that  mystery of life, but at some point, as described above, I was fed up with the uselessness of learning and doing common things that don’t really seem to make a difference or provide anyone with much meaning.

Everyone just seemed to blindly follow the laid out paths of the societal system. Nobody seemed to ask any meaningful questions. I desired to break free from that cycle and discover truth, or at least something of existential meaning, for myself.

The Journey & The Desire to Share

I’m not sure where to begin without turning this into a fuzzy book, so I will try to keep it concise and extract from my ‘seeking-history’ that which seems to have led most obviously towards developing Free Awareness.

I was pretty intense in my seeking. Even though I lacked discipline to really concentrate on practices that didn’t feel right to me, I was intense and persistent at finding an effective way to whatever it was I was looking for. I wanted to know the truth directly, as quickly as possible, without all the whistles and bells.

So I tried meditation, yoga, reiki, NLP, EFT, Personal Development, Self-Hypnosis, Affirmations, Transformations, reading plenty of ‘spiritual’ books, on how to journey, how to awaken, how to be in the now, etc. I went on searching and discovering myself in India, met many teachers and teachings there as well, discovered I had the ability to be completely depressed, scared like a hopeless little kid in a pond full of alligators, completely lifeless, unmotivated to do anything whatsoever, “For what’s the point in doing anything?? Nothing ever works anyway!” – and what not.

From the very beginning and throughout all this seeking and the experiences that came with that seeking, a desire arose and developed to create something efficient for the rest of the world. Something that would actually make sense and be accessible to everyone, regardless of background or interest.  I noticed that my mind started to dissect  and ‘order’ everything it could get its hands on in order to compile a most effective ‘structure’.

Every book, course, teaching and teacher that I came in contact with, got analyzed, compared to the rest of my knowledge, and tested for a while. My mind was insanely fierce and active about trying to figure out ‘the best way’ and trying to sort out what was true and what was false.  I was intellectually ‘mapping’ everything and tried to fit every piece of the puzzle in there in it’s correct place. I wanted to  get the whole picture, and find a way that would actually work directly, quickly, efficiently. Preferably for everyone!

After a while it developed into this insanely complex, conceptually accurate, but intensely burdening  mental understanding. At the same time, though, there was a natural depth I could intuit. Something that remained stable throughout all my seeking and all the experiences. There was some innate knowing going on all the while. Sometimes this became more apparent then at other times, but it was always there ‘in the background’.

I remember vividly realizing one day that I always felt much more in tune with this deep sense of peace before I walked into a meditation class or teaching, than I was while on the cushion or while listening to complex theories of different levels of spiritual evolution or personal development.

Gradually I noticed how no matter what I did, heard or achieved, I always arrived back at where I always was anyway. Like the famous saying goes: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

This started to become more palpable and for a while it resulted in a conflicted state: “Should I trust this natural presence, or should I trust in these teachers and in this insane conceptual understanding that I’ve gathered in my mind that tells me to achieve all kinds of states and experiences?”

A Shift of Allegiance

The moment I started to trust more in this natural presence, something happened. Most of all I became more at ease by the day, and additionally books and teachers of a more direct nature started to cross my path that ‘confirmed’ the way of direct trust in what’s naturally here. Each of these books and teachers still got analyzed and mapped automatically, but simultaneously they helped me to let go more and more of that intellectual structure that was still very active and convincing at times.

Ever since my allegiance shifted from ‘thinking’ and ‘other teachers’ towards trusting in this intuitive sense of natural presence, that simple and always already present awareness has become more and more obvious in this experience.

This natural presence reveals the unity beyond all ideas and concepts and there is nothing that ever affects it. It’s completely stable, ever-present and unchanging awareness. Yet it is not ‘out of this world’ or ‘detached’ in any way. In fact, it allows us to be completely engaged in life, for the first time really, without fear for our thoughts and emotions or those of others. There is a loving freedom present in and as every experience, without exception.

Experiences come and go, but they all come and go within that which is effortlessly aware of them. When this awareness becomes obvious to us, than not only is it discovered to be unaffected by whatever appears within awareness, but the unity of experiences and awareness is gradually (or suddenly) revealed.

This then neutralizes the power that experiences seemed to have over us, and there arises a natural freedom, love, wisdom and joy in the midst of every experience.

With Free Awareness, I hope to be able to provide some sort of simple and accessible structure, that can support you in directly awakening to that which is already wide awake at all times.

With gratitude and love to Life itself, in all of it’s self-benefiting appearances,

Bentinho Massaro

Bentinho’s site

Interview recorded 7/24/2011

Video and audio below and as a Podcast.

34 thoughts on “080. Bentinho Massaro

  1. That’s how Maharishi Mahesh Yogi started out. He had no thought of teaching and was living in relative seclusion in the Himalayas, but he felt an impulse to go to Rameshwaram, in S. India. He was staying in some place and some guy knocked on his door and asked if he would give a talk. He wasn’t too keen on the idea, but the guy booked a hall, started publicizing, then came and asked Maharishi what he was going to speak about.

  2. The ‘mind’ that packages divine surrender as ‘sweet’ – or indeed packages anything and everything in its own self referencing terms – is great to see in act! – so as to breathe out and be freshly inspired.
    The surrender of the mind isn’t something the mind can approach.
    But it is a willingness to desist or not use a facility to make stories, in preference to abiding real.
    The nature of love is that once opened to – the yeast works through the whole dough. Therefore spiritual paths and teachings are often co-opted into a way of defending against that which one purports to desire.
    Releasing investment in ‘stuff’ may seem to open deeper ‘stuff’ – but truth is the same undoing of any or all of it in its arising. To protect your ‘stuff’ is to be utterly deceived. Because it is not ‘yours’ and says nothing real about you except that you are identifying with thoughts as if the experience was real.
    From a true foundation – a different experience of the world arises naturally – and shares out not only locally – but universally.
    Not a world that defines, limits and compels Life. But a world that reflects the integrity and harmony of Being. Thinking is not going to come through this door. But the contents of our mind can be used to clothe the Movement of Being – just as hands can reach out and hold each other in love.
    Thanks for the interview with Bentinho – I look forward to revisiting and exploring this site.

  3. For those who ask why BM’s approach may not work for them, a story comes to mind. One of my late Teachers, when asked about the Zen tradition, said: Zen is definitely a pure system; but those who progress within it have to have practiced the (10) perfections to an incredible degree in the past (including previous lives).

    What does this mean with respect to BM? What causes a person to make quick and seemingly effortless progress (relatively speaking) in embodying spiritual freedom or fully blossomed spirituality? What are the preceding causes or the supportive conditions? Some insist that an unconditioned state is causeless. While the state itself may be be causeless, its experience, paradoxically, may require conducive causes and conditions to access it. Otherwise, necessarily, all the ashrams and Dharma centers, churches and temples, would have hung a VACANCY sign on their doors long ago. All people applying or espousing spiritual techniques or no-techniques would be living embodiments of spiritual freedom. Are we?

    If there are supportive causes and conditions to access the unconditioned, it would make sense that not everyone would have easy access to an experience of spiritual freedom. Is this life’s lack of (requiring) discipline the last 10,000 lives’ of intense discipline? Or is it a chaotic, random process? If it’s a chaotic random process, why do some of us fear missing a session of mantra recitation or sitting on the cushion, or seek freedom to begin with?

    If there are causes and conditions that support the sustained and irreversible experience/perception of freedom, the question then becomes: what are those causes? Have my ten million mantra recitations or 10,000 hours on the meditation cushion brought me to the fullest expression of spiritual freedom? Not yet? Will I see these fruits later or am I deceiving myself? There seems to be some sort of progression, just as there’s a progression from seed to sprout to flower, all completely dependent on the co-operation of very many processes.

    What does grace mean? By whose grace does something happen? Is grace outside of personal karma? Or is grace a way to speak about karma having been purified? Can I arrange or cultivate causes conducive to freedom or is it merely a matter of grace or both? Or might it be kind ethics or the development of unbiased compassion and love for all beings in addition to some form of devotion?

    Rick mentioned vasanas. The karmic residues, unconscious propensities, dispositions, habit energies, that restrict the experience/perception of freedom or natural perfection. How are these residues stored in us? How do they persist through time in relation to our experience? What causes them to persist? In relation to what do these habits exist/function? What beliefs reinforce their hold on our experience? Do they (वासना/vaasanaa, सङ्खार/saṃskāra) need to be “gotten rid of” through purificatory practices? If so what are those practices? Or is it enough to disregard their reality (established by subjective experience of dissatisfaction with experience-as-it-is)?

    For those who try BM’s approach and don’t “succeed,” what is the mark of their not succeeding? Presumably they are still suffering, still feeling like something is missing, still reactive, still contracted, still unfree, still unable to have a sustained experience of “already perfect.”

    Why do so many people, after days or decades of “spiritual” training, have the frustrated experience of wondering why a technique is not bringing them to that state of freedom so longed for, which they can see another person, like Bentinho, embodying? : )

  4. i have not seen this so much comments; may be
    i have to go back and read some.
    the problem with teachers like massaro though
    it is pleasent and good to experement with is
    that they beleive that thier method works and
    the keep saying nomatter how the evidence aree
    that it works; one wonders if they are not a bit
    out of order- it seems that when you go to the other side you become fanatic and blind
    to this side of the equasions.

    some teachers are prsistent in repeting their
    teaching like a wounded tabe recorder or robotic
    system.
    they have a mechanism in av toiding questions that
    telling them othewise. they are overly optimistic-
    and not at all facing to what is happening.
    trial and erro/

  5. tom snyder saying his opinion /
    doesnt mean he knows the truth-
    somtimes i think the awakened are not
    any different they still dish out constant
    opinions-

  6. Thank you Rick for your offering. It is absolutely invaluable.

    My experience watching this interview was so joyful, especially during Betinho’s beautiful heart opening. Witnessing it totally opened me up. He’s truly communicating for authenticity.

    I’d just like to note that, from the little bit I read of others’ comments above, it seems as though that some people are getting caught up in the language. I think that if you receive a transmission (I know that Rick is not a big fan of this word) and can feel and resonate with it, the words really don’t matter…

  7. I don’t have a problem with the word “transmission”. I interviewed Mooji this morning then went shopping with my wife all day, and I’m still feeling totally zapped by the transmission or whatever it was that occurred in the interview. Maybe it’s not that something is being transmitted from him to me, but that interacting with a mind so subtle as his refines my own and thus attunes me more deeply to Source.

  8. i dont understand what some people mean
    by transmision.
    because few times when i went to satsang!!
    i felt some kind of high and deepning
    which usually leaves next day somtims
    last 2 days.
    that is not what you talking about.

  9. I think you experienced transmission Tim. Just because it wore off doesn’t mean that wasn’t it. It does tend to wear off, but something gets integrated.

  10. Hello rick!
    Fantastic work and fantastic idea your “Buddha at the gas pump” (any relations with Dan Millman’s ” the way of the peaceful warrior? if your read the book (somehow i’m sure you did) Socrates (Dan’s teacher) is working at a gas pump..).
    and thanks ben (and jeff and mooji and everybody else) for existing and being so inspiring!
    Rome, Italy here (and it’s snowing :)))

  11. I watched the BM interview on Conscious TV as well as here, and this interview confirms my opinion. Although belatedly, I agree with cspace. He is very young and may indeed believe he is on to something but he sounds rather cliched to me.

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