634. Anne Sweet

Anne SweetI came across the writings of a well-known Indian guru in my early twenties and thus began a twenty-five-year odyssey that would uproot me from my normal life and see me living in ashrams and committed spiritual communities around the world. The answers I sought were not easy to find, however, and the promises made by the teachers in whom I placed my trust were rarely kept.

Exhausted and disillusioned I left my last teacher and abandoned spiritual life in 2004, and during the intense and all-consuming crisis that followed I finally realized the truth of my own unchanging nature beyond the personal identity. The questions that had haunted me for so long dissolved and I was astonished to find that all seeking had ceased. Over time the shift of identity stabilized and became normalized and permanent. Grateful and content with what I saw as a private internal matter I rarely spoke or thought about spirituality and for the next fifteen or so years focused instead on my long-neglected art career. I began to establish myself as a visual artist exhibiting firstly in the UK and later internationally. I now collaborate with my partner, scientist Dr. Jesse Shore, producing artworks as Sweet+Shore, as well as my individual work as Anne Penman Sweet.

About eighteen months ago I confided in my friend, author, and researcher Amir Freimann about what had happened and he immediately invited me to participate in his research project Living Transcendence: a Phenomenological Study of Spiritual Exemplars. I was very surprised as I had no sense of knowing anything or of having arrived anywhere in particular. However, over the course of a dozen or more formal interviews skillfully conducted by him, I experienced an outpouring of spiritual insights and understandings that I had no idea I contained. It was revelatory and transformative and since then I have spoken freely and publicly about these matters.

Not long after, I started to feel a deep inner prompting to begin sharing what I had learned and understood, not as a teacher but as a friend and advisor. I created the End of Seeking website as a free resource to help simplify and demystify the spiritual search for others and to give seekers the tools and knowledge they may need to independently navigate the often confusing and at times hazardous terrain of the contemporary spiritual marketplace.

I am currently working on a book of spiritual insights illustrated with Sweet+Shore artworks which I hope to publish by the end of the year.

Key life points:

  • Born in the UK, raised in Perth, Western Australia
  • Studied Fine Art at Claremont Technical School of Art (Perth), Saint Martin’s School of Art (University of the Arts) London
  • 1978 disciple of Osho (Rajneesh) for next 15 years including 4 years living in India at the ashram and at the Ranch in Oregon for the final year as it was imploding
  • Spontaneous channeling began after the Ranch and became a full-time channeler for 2-3 years.
  • Studied with Barry Long in Australia for 3 years
  • 1996 became a committed student of Andrew Cohen, living in his London and US communities for 8 years.
  • 2000-present: exhibiting internationally as a visual artist (painter)
  • Left Andrew Cohen in 2004 and spent time with Lee Lozowick and his community.
  • 2004 Shift of perspective to Self-knowledge/Natural State
  • 2020 began speaking more publicly about my experience/understanding after participating in Amir Freimann’s study Living Transcendence: a Phenomenological Study of Spiritual Exemplars.
  • 2021 created The End of Seeking website and began compiling a book of artworks and spiritual insight and inspiration.

Website: theendofseeking.org

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Transcript of this interview.

Recorded February 12, 2022

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:04:46 – The Beginning
  • 00:16:42 – Cautionary Note on Opening Ourselves Up
  • 00:20:53 – Severe Consequences of Authenticity
  • 00:24:55 – Leaving the Scene and Moving On
  • 00:29:28 – Finding Stability through Meditation
  • 00:34:10 – Choosing Transformation over Seeking
  • 00:38:02 – Rediscovering Spiritual Truths
  • 00:42:01 – Discovering My Understanding
  • 00:46:22 – The Awakening
  • 00:50:19 – The Importance of Enlightenment and Self-Examination
  • 00:54:58 – Responsibility and Vulnerability in the Teacher Role
  • 00:59:24 – The Emergence of Peer-to-Peer Spirituality
  • 01:03:34 – New Approaches to Enlightenment and Psychoactive Drugs
  • 01:20:25 – The Contextualization of Experience and the Limitations of Vedanta
  • 01:24:45 – The Definition and Evolution of Enlightenment
  • 01:29:27 – Exploring Further Dimensions
  • 01:33:51 – Equanimity and Inner Fullness
  • 01:37:53 – Dissolution of the Self
  • 01:42:31 – Embracing Pain and Suffering
  • 01:46:59 – The Writing Process and Learning through Expression
  • 01:50:51 – Still Learning and Discovering
  • 01:54:53 – Understanding Creation and Divinity
  • 01:59:08 – The Importance of Ethics in Spiritual Teaching
  • 02:02:56 – Contacting Anne Sweet and Getting in Touch for Questions