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.

60 thoughts on “080. Bentinho Massaro

  1. I can empathize with where you’re coming from Tim … been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, as they say. And it doesn’t sound as if you’re completely dismissing Ben’s way of looking at it. So maybe just let it go for a while and try it again later. Nothing wrong with that.

    As I’ve never been heavily invested in any one teaching or philosophy, I’ve never had any problem with letting them go, without any feelings of guilt, or shame, or regret, if at any time they no longer resonate or make sense to me. In other words, I have no deep attachment to their concepts.That doesn’t mean that I won’t come back to them later. Because in the relative temporal realm one does grow and learn, it’s quite possible that something that doesn’t resonate now will actually make more sense later on. As an example, lately, 10-15 years after having lost interest in Ken Wilber, suddenly I’ve come back to exploring his ideas; and for whatever reason, they now resonate and make more sense than they did before. But who knows, tomorrow it may all seem like a lot of BS, and I’ll just let it go again. Doesn’t mean it’s totally invalid, it just means that I’m maybe not quite ready for it, or maybe I’ve outgrown it, or maybe I need to let it digest a while, before coming back to it.

    I just try to keep an open mind about all these conceptual interpretations, and be willing to learn from whomever or whatever seems to resonate with my own experience. After all, my own direct experiencing of this moment is all I can ever really know. Everything else frankly is just another story added on to it, whether I make it up, or somebody else did.


  2. Whoops … sorry I was wrong, just didn’t appear whee I expected it to be … the email was lagging way behind real-time.

  3. Whoops … sorry I was wrong, just didn’t appear where I expected it to be … the email was lagging way behind real-time.

  4. 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? : )

  5. Hey maria … nice to hear from you .. short answer from this experience … who knows? One can only know one’s own experience.

    As stated, I have no previous recognized ‘spirtitual’ credentials, no following gurus, or teachings/practices, no trips to ashrams in exotic places, or living with shamans in the amazon, no pilgrimages, etc, etc. Mainly just one hell of a lot of reading over the past 30 years, when I haven’t been too busy just getting by as husband, father, and working man. For sure, a lot of conditioning, and karma issues — just like most.

    But aside from Awareness itself, one theme has been present throughout: a burning desire to get to the bottom of it all. So who knows, had I been more disciplined and diligent in doing some formal practice, would I be further ahead? Kind of a moot point now.

    I think it’s entirely possible that someone with apparently no previous seeking history, or interest in spiritual stuff whatsoever (at least in this lifetime), with seemingly no intention, desire, earnestness or effort, could be running through the world’s busiest airport, late for a flight with all kinds of crap running through the mind, and suddenly, out of the blue, that ‘blue pancake’ falls upon them and brings them to their knees in dumbstruck awe.

    But one suspects that earnest intention, and some form of healthy, continuous practice does make this seeming ‘accident’ more likely to happen, and then deepen, and hang around, as it seems to be more conducive to that kind of ambiance. But really, I’ve given up on believing that their is some predictability, or prescriptive formula to any of this — i.e. ‘IT’ works in mysterious ways that the limited human body-mind may never fully comprehend.


  6. to quasi/
    I hundreds of experiences of variety types- 10 years ago
    became disintrested in them- i felt they were like taking drugs.
    few weeks ago i was listning and doing the technique tof massaro- i felt it was working but i forgot what happens-
    i was high for 5 days- was powerful expereince-
    i was taken by it becaus i thought this it-
    wrong again-
    i agree the expereince is not it but we think it is-
    these area is very difficult to understand-
    i should practice awarness tonight -a little.

  7. 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
    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/

  8. 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

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 :)))

  14. It’s a long time since comments were written in relation to this video but I really felt the need to add something all the same.

    with all of the videos interviews I watch I always like to read the comments and I am often stunned by the willingness of so many to seemingly accept almost anything at face value as long as it has the right kind of “feel good” aspect to it, no more so than in this particular case with this rather unbelievable, unremarkable actor playing the part of “spiritual teacher”.

    There really was a reason why Sri Ramana largely chose to teach in silence because he knew if he spoke he could so easily sound like this manic, dramatic clown.

    The ultimate ego trip for an ordinary person with no particular talent and not even a good actor. Good money in it if you find a popular niche though I suppose.

  15. 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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