076. Joi Sharp

One fine morning when I was in my mid-twenties, I woke up and the life I had previously led was over. I was consumed by a longing to be truly intimate with God, the one truth.

This great longing grew daily, and it first manifested as being aware of the unseen in nature. Nature invited me into itself, and I found myself taking very long solo trips deep into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This naturally led to a resonance with Native traditions, and before long I met my first teacher, a highly-respected Lakota medicine man who was very committed to upholding the Old Way. With this association, the intimate awareness of spirit deepened.

As the longing for union intensified, the heart opened. This journey took on the qualities of para-bhakti, or intense devotion to the divine. Spontaneous giving of myself to spirit through prayer and tears was a natural response, and I felt myself being consumed.

I met my master, Mata Amritanandamayi, in 1993. There was an immediate recognition that I needed to spend as much time as possible in her presence, so I spent most of the next nine years in her ashram in India.

This was a period of intense de-conditioning where so much was exposed. Amma knew my longing for truth, and consequently pushed me quite hard, so that a natural, authentic surrender and love was all I knew.

It is said in the scriptures that love leads to knowledge (Bhakti to Jnana), and knowledge leads to love. That they are two sides of the same coin-not separate. There arose in me a natural resonance with self-inquiry, and with Amma’s blessing I spent two years a Ramana Maharshi’s ashram in Tiruvannamalai. Then one day I knew I was done with India, and returned to the west.

When I returned, I had nothing to hold on to. No family, home, money, job, car, or health. The body was quite weak and tired, and the old way of striving couldn’t survive. Surrender naturally deepened, and it was at this time that the personal self really lost its hold.

A couple of satsang teachers came through my little town in Colorado. Satsang in America was a new experience for me. I realized that these teachers were talking about what I was experiencing.

In 2004, Pamela Wilson invited me to share my experience with others. After talking to Amma about it and receiving instruction from her, I felt an overflowing and a readiness to share.

In recent years, Adyashanti has been and continues to be an invaluable guide and a support in this unfoldment and recognition of what’s true. He has my deepest gratitude.

My heart bows down to all of my teachers and friends who make up the fullness of this life, and no words can describe how this heart bows to Amma.

Joi’s site

Interview recorded 7/2/11

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

105 thoughts on “076. Joi Sharp

  1. “I dont know why nondual people dismess
    improving the world”

    Hi, Tim. I’m a bit at a loss re. comprehending this statement. Chiefly because I don’t know what you mean by “nondual people”. And I haven’t read or heard anyone, here at batgap, dismiss improving the world… be they nondual or dual or both.

    Nothing “improves the world” better, IMO, then a person’s re-cognition… that there is no separation between him or her… and every other human being. Which there isn’t,. of course.

    Every concept of oneness, enlightenment, awakening, nonduality, etc. is impotent… compared to the potency of re-cognizing every human being… as “I am You.”

    And by re-cognizng I do not mean mental cognition. There is a quality of attention in which you FEEL anyone and everyone to be you.

  2. finally got a chance to catch up and watch this interview… after Amma’s programs…

    thanks Rick… thanks Joi… great interview… especially the last half hour… and the point about “awakening” being just the beginning of real spiritual work… this same point is very clearly taught by Deepakbhai in his Gnan Vidhi program… and i think Jan also emphasized this point…

    and Joi’s warning about the “dangers” of making advaita into a “knowledge” … if i understood correctly…

    one of my advaita teachers seemed to become somewhat less spontaneous after writing a book…

    another one doesn’t have a book or website… and wants to keep it that way… and doesn’t even want to be interviewed … not that this should be a rule for everyone… but i understand and appreciate his caution… and his love & infinite patience…

    of course… there are teachers like Adya, Mooji, Burt Harding… who seem to do quite well with a large popular exposure… yet know that there is no end to “growth” in Love…

    perhaps the way to always be spontaneous is follow Amma’s advice… “always be a beginner”

  3. “There is still something of a small self … some structure of ‘fear”” … as if “not in a trancended state” for there is always one more lesson to learn before it can be said “It is finished” (testilesti). Jesus knew of this. This is why, in fact, he wept tears mixed with blood as he struggled in a final test.

    “We” speaks only of the heavenly. It is the work of the hands as lifted up toward the heavens. It belongs to the mother… and the father bears it up.

    Always watching, always diligent, always bewaring of the light turning into darkness, the left and finding out what the right hand is doing, always being aware of the last bits of known — you are the alignment.

  4. Always watching, always diligent, always bewaring of the light turning into darkness, the left and finding out what the right hand is doing, always being aware of the last bits of known — you are the alignment, always leaving; and, in that you are the presence, the awareness, the love.

  5. Excellent interview…….As she said……..May be realization word should not be used so loosely….may be one can use the term.. “started living in presence” ??? or “started living life by offering my unoccupied and full space to the consciousness to let her flow effortlessly thorough””” so called structure???

    Because its just a first step of further journey??

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