059. Nick Gancitano

Nick GancitanoNick Gancitano has spent most of his adult life delving into the mysteries of the ancient spiritual teachings and has undergone a conscious transformation that has made him a specialist in the field. Nick studied under some of its most respected sages and has traveled extensively around the world to deliver this teaching. In addition, Nick himself has been recognized for his simplification of the often complicated spiritual system of advaita (wisdom through direct insight).

After returning from his journey, Nick became committed to disseminating these teachings among friends and associates who became students and soon erected The Self-Inquiry Center for Conscious Living, where Nick now provides his lighthearted works to a growing population of devoted spiritual seekers.

Aside from being the spiritual director at the The Self-Inquiry Center, Nick was once an All-American athlete, corporate regional vice-president, and U.S. National Champion under the legendary football coach Joe Paterno. He later became one of the world’s leading experts on place-kicking, personally developing over forty collegiate Division IA athletes, including nine All-Americans. But his original background lay in physics, physiology and biomechanics, as he firmly states that all information recorded for spiritual scripture and scientific documentation should be based on one’s direct experience and not borrowed beliefs passed down through generations by the unknowing. Nick can be contacted via email.

Interview recorded 2/20/2011

Audio and video below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

23 thoughts on “059. Nick Gancitano

  1. How wonderful this discussion is. The clarification of that I am beyond the teacher/seeker that is not an experience is profoundly simple.

  2. Just I am is – any thought is a movement away from that I am. Thoughts about I am are a movement away from that. As long as there is a form – body – person there will be movement – just recognize movement for what it is – a movement away from I am. It’s that simple.

  3. Sorry about the audio problems. I think they arose when I got a new headset. I adjusted audio levels on today’s interview (Timothy Freke) and I hope that fixed the problem.

  4. it is my understanding that the same thing happens to nick as to some other body that has not had the “experiences” that nick has had.the ego/mind dies when the body dies,never to be reborn and consciousness merges back into the sea of consciousness.Is this your undeerstanding

  5. Larry about 2 years ago while traveling by bus to work, suddenly for no apparent reason everything dropped away. There was no me – no persons anywhere – no city no worldly content of any kind. There was just this “sea of consciousness” or pure consciousness just being what it is. The “experience” lasted just a few minutes – and I was returned to normal consciousness. Of course the mind soon claimed the experience although it certainly wasn’t present. I since have accepted that that is what I am – but have never experienced that again. I just accept that ultimately that is what I am and will return to when this body expires. For those awakened I can’t say what they are experiencing I’m not sure that functioning as a form could occur from there – but perhaps it can. I’ve rather settled on just being aware that I am not this body-mind-person and leave it at that without wondering what I am. I see this as I am with a – nothing attached rather than I am as a + . I don’t add anything to that that I am. That keeps me from getting too caught up in any thought.

  6. Hi Nickji,

    Loved your clarity about the advaitic path… and enjoyed your story a lot…
    just listened a second time… thanks…
    Let me say that your path, like every-one’s path is unique and i do appreciate your POV…

    However, i slightly disagree about how Ramana taught…

    i do not believe he hit everyone with the highest…
    and then backtracked to what they could handle…
    i believe this was a misunderstanding with the early Westerners who came to him and were introduced to the self-inquiry approach… because of their highly developed intellects… not because it was the highest path… it could also be said, fairly accurately, that most westerners simply were not suited for the path of 100% bhakti or 100% selfless-service… maybe a little here and there…

    so to me… it was not and is not that one path is higher than another…
    some closest disciplines of Ramana simply stayed with him as close as they could, did selfless-service and kept silent… but this is not written about much…

    i believe Ramana’s main teaching was via silence… and on first contact, he knew what each person was suited for… and then he encouraged some to take up or continue path of devotion… or self-less service… or self-inquiry… or silence… or perhaps some combination of these… there may have been no words spoken… just inner guidance…

    my 2cent-POV comes from reading the following two books by David Godman :

    * “Be As You Are” ~ Dialogues between Ramana Maharshi and visitors. This is the most widely read book on Ramana Maharshi’s teachings.
    * “No Mind – I am the Self” ~ Biographies and teachings of Lakshmana Swamy and Mathru Sri Sarada. Lakshmana Swamy is a direct disciple of Ramana Maharshi who realised the Self in his presence in 1949. Mathru Sri Sarada is his disciple. She realised the Self in Lakshmana Swamy’s presence in 1978.

    In “Be As You Are” it clearly points out that Ramana would encourage someone fitted for the path of devotion via nama japa or mantra japa… right from first contact and pointed out to them that japa with devotion can lead directly to Self-Realization… advaitic self-inquiry was not required for them…

    and in “No Mind – I Am The Self” both Lashmana and Mathru Sri Sarada “attained” Self-Realization via nama japa and devotion… even though both were introduced to and knew about the self-inquiry… they did not practice it because they did not resonate with it… It seems nama japa and devotion prepared them… took them to the last step… and self-inquiry kicked in automatically just for a moment as the final step…

    just as in Tolle’s case and Ramana’s case… self-inquiry was not their practice… but it kicked in just for a moment at the time of “awakening”

    My simple understanding is that there are at least three paths: knowledge, devotion, self inquiry… and many practices as aids… and awakening comes when it comes… via God’s Grace… supposedly all three approaches merge at the last step… whatever that means…

    the problem with the path of knowledge is “words are used” and all the pitfalls that come with the limitations of language… like Lao Tzu says “words are not it” … still we talk and describe as best as we can… to communicate…

    My experience with various teachers, some in person, others on http://www... it seems currently some teachers teach only advaitic self-inquiry as if it were the highest… while others teach all three( selfless-service, devotion & self-inquiry) … i enjoy all… and also keep in mind that Peace Pilgrim, knowing nothing about self-inquiry, became Self-Realized via 100% commitment to selfless-service for 15 years… see http://www.PeacePilgrim.org

    that’s my 2cent POV on this… unawakened… but did have a heart opening… which seems to allow me to see things in the way i see them… as expressed above…

    thanks Nickji… thanks Rickji… the ji shows i appreciate both of you… but does not necessarily mean i agree with ( or understand ) all your expressions… thanks

  7. just found this interesting website which may be relevant to what i was trying to express a little…

    Adyashanti’s three phases of awakening — and the state beyond

    also extract from http://www.lovebliss.eu/Selfrealization.htm

    “From Pure Being to non-dual love-bliss ~

    Once you are free of I-ness and identification, it is Self-realization. This does not mean you have got rid of the small self; you have just got out of it by merging with the Self. In fact the small self will feel all the more present as an empty shell and you will probably want to work hard to get rid of it.

    If you have not experienced any love-bliss at this point, you will probably be quite content with this state and live happily in it for many years. If, however, you have experienced supreme love-bliss, you will feel an emptiness and a very strong longing to merge with the supreme love-bliss. You may project this longing for supreme love-bliss onto God and thus long intensely for God, but in reality it is a longing for the supreme love-bliss of the Self. Of course, at this point “God” has a completely different meaning than ever before, but that is a little difficult to put into words here.

    At this stage, if you want to move on, you simply have to awaken and arouse kundalini and merge into oneness with Shakti on all levels of consciousness and also of the body. When kundalini reaches the heart, you will overflow with love, when it reaches the brain, you will be one with love-bliss and will recognize the Self in everything.”

  8. chuckee, I empathize with that kind of suffering-hope the mind settles and grace gifts some peace.

  9. toward the end of the nick interview rick said Consciousness sure likes diversity.I think nick rightly said consciousness is responsible for both the dual dream world and the non-dualalty of the self.consciousness produced both hitler and mother theresa.can you imagine how you would be recieved if you went into a christian church (2 billion of them) and said by the way your idea of heaven and hell is not real or if you went to japan and said folks,when you “wake-up” you will realize this tsunami is all a dream.

  10. Larry: Yes, so long as there is identification with form, there is ego. However, there is no merging because there was never separation to begin with. Hence, you can see the problem with conceptualized spirituality: you can never free yourself from the mind as long as you are using the mind to do so.

    Anatol: You will believe what you want to. Until you meet Ramana, you may speculate all you like. It is safer that way. Why else debate such trivialities that in no way direct you back to your Self? Such pursuits are fruitless. If it is necessary to quote Ramana Maharshi, let us remember the essence of his teaching, of which there is no mistake, and find the “I” that is debating such ideas.

  11. nick,the point i was trying to make was,the 2 billion christians believe that there will be a judgment day and result in heaven or hell.this is a big fear for them and when you accept non-duality that whole belief system evaporates.Nisargadatta on page 251 in “I Am That” makes it very clear that there is “no one” to reincarnate.that is another potential one billion humans who could eliminate that fear if they accepted non-duality.

  12. nick,the point i am making is a thought that came to me i believe this last nov when i was in india that when the body dies,there is “no one” to be reborn to suffer so stop seeking and just enjoy the movie.if the ego mind should arrise send it for popcorn.

  13. Permit me to suggest that the three most powerful words that Nisargadatta ever uttered (since he was mentioned earlier) … are “I am That”. Everything else is just window dressing.

    But instead of entertaining the temptation to conceptually define what That is, use it as a spring board for daily experience.

    With everything and everyone that you meet, moment to moment, apperceive and affirm that “I am That.”

    You may find, as a result of that “practice”, that you will have a significantly reduced need or want to define or describe That.

    And might simply smile (or laugh) a lot as you experience being That.

    Which you are, of course.


  14. Peter,

    With everything and everyone that you meet, moment to moment, apperceive and affirm that “I am That.”

    How do actually you do that? Most people would have hard time persuading themselves to stand in the position that “I am what I see” – they believe it is not their experience. Could you explain it more deeply?

  15. As my 12 year old daughter had learned, when something appears difficult, it only means that it has not received enough practice.

    And she’s learned that there’s only one effective response to practicing anything: just do it (thank you, Nike).

    P.S. Spending time deliberating on how difficult it may be… isn’t a component of doing it.

    P.P.S. But if you happen to spend some time deliberating on how difficult it may be, that, too, becomes an opportunity to affirm “I am that too”, of course.

  16. Peter,
    “…when something appears difficult, it only means that it has not received enough practice.”

    So what is the actual practice? Let’s say there’s this pizza box over there… How can I exprience it to be what I am? Or does it work with pizza boxes?

  17. The “practice” will reveal that answer to you, Brian. Why are you relying on me to answer that question for you? The practice will reveal that answer to you.

    Permit me to encourage you to not be too willing to rely on someone else’s experience to be potentially yours.

    That’s how gurus making a living.

    Find out for yourself.

    And if you find yourself critiquing the results of your practice… well, “you are that” too, of course.


  18. Yeah, right. The question “What is the practice?” will be revealed by the “practice” itself…

    Is this to be profound or what?

  19. LOL

    If it reveals itself as profoundness to you, then “let it be” (thank you, John L.).

    Be that as well.


  20. I love your biblical quote, snowleopard. It’s my favorite one in the bible. And I treated it as a personal koan for many years.

    Permit me to share my aha! experience, regarding that quote/koan, with you… with no expectation or desire that it be anyone else’s. It’s just a sharing.

    For years, I perceived that quote as an encouragement for me to be still. To rest in stillness; to abide in stillness.

    Until, that is, the aha! struck me right in the kisser… and caused me to laugh uncontrollably.

    Being stillness… is not the same as being in stillness.

    The latter maintains the subject-object appearance of separation. There is a you (subject) and stillness (object). And the appearance of separation between the two is maintained.

    Being stillness, on the other hand, causes that separation to dis-appear.

    I say this only to encourage others to “entertain” (thank you, Paul H., again) the distinction between the two experiences. And to not assume that there’s only one experience of that Biblical quote.

    Thanks again.

  21. The mention of having the face of Ramana Maharshi flash into your vision, is a similar experience that I underwent with one of his ‘3rd Generation’ disciples. I saw in a dream (in a picture frame, appearing as an emotional mixture of my face) the face of one I would later (having never seen him at that time) show up in my life (one named Mooji, a disciple of Hariwansh Lal Poonja). Before or after that, I do not recall, I came across a copy of The Autobiography of a Yogi (read it), and then, by nook and by crook, came to become aware of Mooji (his face and his ‘teachings’). I immediately recognized (intuitively speaking) my own face when I first saw him via YouTube and later remembered the picture of him that I had seen in my dream. These events have taken place within the last year (still being the year 2011, November), and since that time I have experienced various dreams concerning Mooji and I.

    I also played football, up to including some College ball, and also injured my knee.

    I found, early on in the interview Rick and Nick, that my own experiences, on some points, happened to me in reverse order, at times.

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