027. David Spero

I was born on March 24, 1957 in Providence, Rhode Island on a Sunday at 2:40 p.m. My mother said that my birth was easy, with little pain, and that I was “completely grown up,” even as a child.

In my youth, I was not prone to easy laughter or the common jokes that circulated among human beings. I lived in a world all by myself, thinking, feeling and being led innocently toward a life of relentless spiritual evolution. It would be many years before my spiritual sadhana, or spiritual practices, would reveal the memory of my inherent oneness with the Divine.

My parents did not hesitate to inform me that my destiny was to attend “college,” a word they spoke with joy and enthusiasm, emotions that stood out starkly in my young attention, since those emotions were so deeply absent in almost every other part of my childhood.

My mother grew up in a poor household and dropped out of school at a young age. My father was a high school graduate. We struggled as a lower-class Italian-American family in a minorities ghetto in Providence, until I was eleven years old. Later we moved to the suburbs outside of Providence where I lived until I graduated high school.

My early religious background was coincidental and predetermined by my parents’ educational choices. I attended Roman Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school, schools selected for their reputation for academic excellence.

In high school, I was given the “religious studies award” at graduation, even though I was a declared atheist/agnostic. By that time, I had acquired a deep and thorough distaste for dualistic religions and philosophies, especially Christianity. For this reason, I thought this award was misplaced. I did not know why I was selected. The chairman of the religious department, a Roman Catholic priest with his own parish, felt that my approach to religious studies was sincere, and for that reason, excellent.

My fate unfolded several months before my graduation when I was given an early graduation present, instruction in an East Indian form of meditation. In the meditation center, I looked past the sundry forms of decor and what to me were superficial, distracting (and even disturbing) proclamations of the “benefits” of meditation. Nevertheless, I went forward to receive initiation into a unique form of Indian meditation.

It would not be long before my atheistic/agnostic temperament would be transformed into a profoundly meditative consciousness. This would come about through repeated exposure to my own Transcendental Identity.

I yearned only for the thunder of Transcendental Realization to strike my human life down into uncontaminated Self-knowledge. On April 26, 1975, I learned to meditate with a quiet and eager anticipation for “enlightenment.” It was a day of joy I will never forget.

I practiced meditation for over twenty years, adding various asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), reading every form of non-dualistic mysticism and scripture I could acquire from Europe, India, Tibet, China and Japan. I also read poetry avidly.

My intellectual knowledge of scripture, though, is minimal, as I have always read with a rarified angle, seeking for what would be of value to my inner core, locating that which would aid me in ascending into more profound levels of spiritual awakening.

In the fall of 1975, I attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. I dual-majored in philosophy and English. My first two years at Clark were a crucible of Divine Heat in the endless inner transformations of meditative life. During this time of sadhana, sometimes a long and grueling affair filled with the most intense suffering, I lived only for the breakthroughs in Consciousness. I wished wholeheartedly to be ushered into a permanently awakened state of being. I lived guided invisibly by that blind, burning desire, and there was no respite, even during the times of repeated exposure to Transcendental Consciousness.

During this time, death and nothingness were my only friends. I had become oblivious to everything but the utter contradiction and unbearable friction between “I” (individuality) and “That” (Pure Consciousness).

Again, and again, I surrendered into psychological/emotional/spiritual dissolution, dying into Consciousness. I was madly in love with oblivion, ecstasy and self-transcendence. While others were busily preparing for a conditioned life in the world, I was ceaselessly going beyond the conditioned mind and its world of disappointments and illusions.

I still recall the various forms and flavors of intense spiritual raptures and samadhi (transcendental awakenings) that I experienced in my third year of undergraduate study. The pinnacle of these raptures culminated in the state of nirvikalpa samadhi in March or April of 1980.

This state was characterized by total absorption in Pure Consciousness during meditation. In meditation, I exited out of a portal through the top of my head, going beyond the body/mind completely, existing in a state of Absolute Nothingness.

During this time, I also experienced other forms of exquisite and exalted Transcendental Realizations in my active and meditative life, as well as during sleep. In sleep I tasted intoxicating, ambrosial nectars flowing from my heart to my brain in a cosmic circle. I’d wake up each morning feeling as though I had ascended into the worlds of Gods and Goddesses. It was a time of unspeakable ecstasy in the subtle regions beyond the body-mind.

In the winter of 1996-1997 (the actual date remains vague), I was sitting in an ordinary motel room in Palm Springs, California. On this day, meditation went into unfathomable depths, penetrating into and beyond the very core of existence.

My thoughts evaporated and my head went from a spherical, physiological casing to an ocean of Divine Light within “seconds”—an ocean still and deeply active. This Light shone from the inside, the outside and from the beyond itself.  “I” and “the world” dissolved forever into this immensity of warmly translucent, incandescent Light-Oneness.

Simultaneously, I began to feel the palpable manifestation of the Primordial Energy of the universe, the Shakti. It was brilliant, active, and sparking. Shakti had simultaneously been born in that Being of Pure Light.

How strange, though, that “I” could “fit into,” and “as,” this Immensity and with such utter naturalness. I was, without question, That, and in the most profound sense, That alone. I had come home.

Sharing this Radiant Energy and Divine Light became a natural capability: a radiation without circumference, effort or knowledge. A spiritual magnificence, a superabundance of Being, a Transmission of Radiant Awakening–that which has been written about in every religious scripture–was born within that Ultimate Meditation. Primordial Bliss was now free to enjoy Its own spontaneous play in the world.

This Supernatural Spiritual Condition continued without pause or interruption for about one year. Upanishadic-style Unity Consciousness, the Self, revealed in all its glory was felt, seen and understood as existing within and without. I lived in Brahman Consciousness—the Self expanded out in all directions to infinity. There was nowhere to ascend, descend or expand outside the Self. Unassailable Unity prevailed.

Metaphorically speaking, I felt only “That” existed, Lord Shiva, while Shiva’s Consort Shakti played about in Her Divine Radiation. During this time, I became conscious of my ability to instigate Self-Realization in others.

Yet, the Bliss of Perfect Unity in the Self and its ever-present Shakti still needed to migrate more deeply throughout the physical body, toward the outskirts of the flesh, right to the surface of the skin; divinizing and transforming it further. Amrita sahaja samadhi (the nectarous, ambrosial, natural state) dawned, displaying itself as this further evolution: a God-Intoxicated Condition wherein the body became a living host for Devotional Rapture, Kundalini-Shakti, and Divine Light. These qualities revealed a Dynamically-Interactive, Embodied-Form of Ecstatic Bodily-Love. Through my fleshly location, a virtually infinite number of human beings could participate in a passionate and endless relationship with Kali: the expressed, condensed and ferocious form of Adi Para-shakti, the Supreme and Primordial Energy of the Universe.

It was at this time and during these final changes into the Divine Mother Consciousness that I recalled the ancient memory of being born in what is described in Vedic literature as the condition of an Avatar.

David’s main site

David’s book: Beyond the Place of Laughter and Tears in the Land of Devotion

Transcript of this interview

Interview recorded 6/27/10.

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to David Spero and his Spiritual Journey
  • 00:03:47 – Catapulted into a Golden Love World
  • 00:06:56 – A State of Bliss and Dissolution
  • 00:10:23 – A False Reality and a Divine Consciousness
  • 00:13:16 – The Dual Nature of My Personality
  • 00:15:38 – Initiation into Meditation Practice
  • 00:18:41 – Maturing in Divine Company
  • 00:22:32 – Yogic Journey and Progression through Sheaths
  • 00:26:50 – Immersing in Spiritual Texts and Influences
  • 00:29:51 – Attending Maharishi International University
  • 00:33:53 – Levels of Development and the Concept of Enlightenment
  • 00:37:44 – The Prohibition of Successors in Ramana Maharshi’s Teaching
  • 00:41:28 – The Process of Awakening and Jadedness
  • 00:44:24 – The Dawning of Perpetual Consciousness and the Experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi
  • 00:46:56 – The Unbearably Deep Transformation
  • 00:49:21 – The Fury to Accomplish
  • 00:52:21 – Sahaja Samadhi and the Loss of Spiritual Identity
  • 00:55:32 – The Sahaja State: Beyond Consciousness
  • 00:58:08 – Different Levels of Realization
  • 01:00:35 – Sahaja Samadhi and the Unproducible Condition
  • 01:02:48 – The Meaning of Avatar
  • 01:05:25 – Understanding Avatars and their Consciousness
  • 01:08:43 – The Remarkable Friend Who Didn’t Belong Here
  • 01:11:35 – The Sahaja State of an Avatar
  • 01:14:21 – The Uniqueness of Sahaja Samadhi
  • 01:16:38 – The Natural State of Sahaja Samadhi
  • 01:18:53 – The Nature of Human Development
  • 01:21:23 – Ways to Access David Shapiro’s Interviews
  • 01:23:06 – Public Meetings and Retreats
  • 01:24:30 – Live Events and Webcasts
  • 01:26:02 – Opening music