Name: John Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min. (www.johnrobinson.org)
Where you live: Fox Island, Wa
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Transformational writing. I love to write about the experience of oneness and non-duality, which I am beginning to realize is the great epiphany of aging. We are not what we think, we are the consciousness in which thought arises – what a joyous discovery! I try to describe this transformation in The Three Secrets of Aging and Bedtime Stories for Elders.
Your two favorite books: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi (Ed. David Godman). I sat in Ramana’s cave in Arunachala, India and knew what he had realized. I used to read Hindu mystics behind textbooks in my graduate training in clinical psychology – they kept me sane. The second book would be The Gift: Poems by Hafiz (Trs. Daniel Ladinsky). These poems, and others by the great Sufi masters like Rumi and Kabir, have the capacity to shift your consciousness in a moment. These mystics knew the power of transformational writing.
Your two favorite songs: April Love (Pat Boone). This was my coming-of-age ballad as a young teenager when I first sensed the magic of love. Most recently, I have come to appreciate Take The Chance (Peter, Paul and Mary). I cry every time I hear or play this song, which speaks so eloquently of the heart’s awakening to love, a love that often needs grief to blossom. I am deeply touched by the profundity of the path love asks us to follow.
Why you are interested in spirituality? I know that “I” am a fiction – the one who knows that is not. For me, spirituality is this shift. When I release the whole complex of identity, time and story and dissolve into that which is, I can barely contain the joy and gratitude I feel. It is so simple. It is the great potential of aging.
Your favorite quote: “Self is everywhere, shining forth from all beings, voter than the vast, subtler than the most subtle…He who finds it is free; he has found himself; he has solved the great riddle; his heart forever is at peace. Whole, he enters the Whole. His personal self returns to its radiant, intimate, deathless source.” The Upanishads
Your favorite web sites: No favorites
Your hero? Lao Tzu – an old man, leaving the world, stops to share the wisdom of a lifetime, and gave so much; Meister Eckhart – an old priest persecuted for his mysticism, who saw beyond the lens of conventional belief into the divinity of the world; and Ramana Marharshi, a teenager who stared death in the face and transcended the illusion of the individual self. Each one a mystic describing the ineffable mystery of awakened being.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? How to express the immense love I feel for the world whenever I merge consciousness and being.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected?” In the moment, in the Presence, in the stillness, timelessness and unity of conscious being.
Editor’s Note: You can see John’s writing at his web site www.johnrobinson.org
and his latest book What Aging Men Want: The Odyssey as a Parable of Male Aging