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Accounts of Awakening


Complete Satisfaction: A Path to Realization
Just before the 2019 fall retreat, Mora Fields had a Gnostic Realization of “complete satisfaction” that has irreversibly altered her life. At the invitation of Joel, she shared an account of her path at an online Community Night meeting that took place September 16, 2020. Mora first met Joel in the early 1990s and has attended many of Joel's retreats. She began teaching in 2019-2020 as an assistant to Todd for the Foundation Studies course and Spring retreat.

Crossing the Bridge: An Account of Awakening
At a special CSS community night meeting on the evening of November 6, 2019, long-time CSS practitioner Merry Song shared an account of her spiritual path and series of Awakenings leading up to her accepting the role of a teacher at the Center. After a spontaneous spiritual initiation to awareness by intense fear, she was compelled to follow a deep spiritual longing that took her to Breitenbush, where she experienced a profound opening to radiant selflessness, years of devoted Vipassana training with Ruth Denison, and practice at CSS with Joel, who gave her a teaching to "Go as Nothing" which stayed with her for decades. Merry Song first met Joel and joined the Center in 1993 and has been associated with the Center ever since. (Watch the video here).

I am Home: An Account of Awakening
Transcript of a talk by Hiromi Sieradski, 2018. Hiromi shares the story of her life and spiritual practice leading up to her awakening in March 2017. After breaking her ankle on a meditation retreat, Hiromi was faced with extreme pain and emotional challenges. Determined to take this as an opportunity for spiritual practice, she was in effect on an intense solo meditation retreat for many months. Meanwhile, she had been devoting her life to Buddhist Chaplaincy training. But when an illness prevented her from being ordained, she found herself in a state of devastation. At this point, just after reading a passage from a spiritual book, she disappeared into pure light and found herself at Home. (Watch the video.) As of 2021, Hiromi is no longer teaching at CSS.

Where is the Boundary? An Account of Awakening
Transcript of a talk by David Cunningham, 2018. David shares the story of his spiritual path, which culminated in an exhaustion of all his practices except one: Whenever a thought or sensation arises in awareness, watch it and ask the simple question "Is this me?" After two years practicing this inquiry with single-pointed determination, David was walking on the beach one day, and in the gap after the sensation of one step had passed away but before the next had arisen, attention spontaneously collapsed inwardly, and there was an instant recognition that there is no self. There is just vast wide, open, empty Space... (Watch the video.)

Beyond Time and Space: An Account of Awakening
Transcript of a talk by Annie O'Shea, 2013. Annie O'Shea talks about her spiritual path and experience of awakening.

Awakened by Death: An Account of Gnostic Awakening
Transcript of a talk by Todd Corbett, 2005. Center practitioner Todd Corbett shares details of his spiritual path leading up to an Awakening in Fall 2004.

Consciousness Unveiled: An Account of Awakening
Transcript of a talk by Fred Chambers, 2006. Fred Chambers, a veteran Center practitioner, describes the events surrounding his Awakening in Fall 2005.

Releasing the Knot in the Heart
Transcript of a talk by Matt Sieradski, 2010. Matt shares with the practitioners group his path and experience of Awakening in the Fall of 2009. No longer teaching at CSS, Matt can be found at his website.

Nothing to Fear but Fear
By Tom Kurzka, 2001. In this interview, Tom recounts the role of fear on his spiritual path and his experience of Gnostic Awakening. No longer with CSS, Tom can be found at his website.

Breaking Through: A Journey to Awakening
An interview with Andrea Pucci, 1998. Joel interviews Andrea Pucci about her spiritual path and her Awakening.

Naked Through the Gate: A Spiritual Autobiography
Joel's first book is an account of his spiritual path and Gnostic Awakening in August 1983.

Traditional and New Worldviews

Mystical Traditions: The Mystical Core of the Great Traditions

New Worldview: Why We Need a New World View

Integrating Science and Religion
An interview with Alan Wallace in the Center Newsletter, 2004


Articles by Center Teachers

The Importance of Faith in Mysticism
Matt, Fall 2019

The Innate Bliss of Self
Matt, Fall 2018

The Chain of Delusion
Todd, Feb. 2017

Practicing View, Meditation and Action
Andrea, Winter 2015

The Effortless Bliss of No Mind
Matt, Fall 2014

Todd Corbett Interviews Holly Saunders
Todd, Spring 2014

Effort and Liberation
Matt, Spring 2013

Seeing Through Egocentric Karmic Conditioning
Andrea, Winter 2013

The Play of Suffering and Compassion
Todd, Spring 2012

How to Examine Mental States
Matt, Winter 2012

Having No Head and Other Tales from the Heart
Fred, Summer 2011

Striving and Discouragement on the Path
Todd, Winter 2011

The Meaning of Retreat
Todd, Fred, Andrea, Spring 2009.

The Meaning of the Sangha
Todd, Fred, Andrea, Spring 2008.

The Mystical Interpretation of Dreams
Spiritual and worldly dreams, the meaning of archetypes, and how they can provide guidance on the spiritual path. Joel, Summer-Fall 2003. 

Cultivating Your Dream Life
Some practical pointers that can help open the door to your dream world. Thomas J McFarlane, Summer-Fall 2003.

Prayer in the Heart 
Mystical practices of devotion bring us to the Radiant Heart at the core of our being. Joel, Winter-Spring 2003.

Following the Call of Love
How negative emotions can be used on our path of devotion, and how an object of devotion takes us beyond all objects. Tom Kurzka, Winter-Spring 2003.

Can We Honor All Religions? 
How mystics answer common objections to the possibility of genuine inter-religious dialogue. Joel, Summer-Fall 2002.

To Practice or Not to Practice 
Are your spiritual practices a barrier to Enlightenment? Joel, Winter-Spring 2002.

Seven Things to Do when Samsara Gets You Down 
Sage advice on how to respond to overwhelming events, such as the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. Joel, Winter-Spring 2002.

The Gate of Unknowing 
Surrendering what commonly passes for knowledge to enter the Unknowing that opens the way to Gnosis. Joel, Summer-Fall 2001.

Questioning the Scientific Worldview 
Understanding the nature of scientific truth from a mystical perspective. Tom McFarlane, Summer-Fall 2001.

Facing Fear on the Path 
The role fear plays on the spiritual path, and advice on how to face it. Joel, Winter-Spring 2001.

Listen . . . The Broken Heart is Whispering 
Opening up to our emotions and the deeper dimensions of our heart. Andrea Pucci, Summer-Fall 2000.

Science and Mysticism in the Twentieth Century
An Enlightened perspective on the meaning of science and its relation to the teachings of the mystics. Joel, Summer-Fall 1999.

The Illusion of Materialism
How quantum physics contradicts the belief in and objective world existing independent of observation. Tom McFarlane, Summer-Fall 1999.

Never Underestimate the Ego
Dissolving resistance and seeing through the deceptions of the ego. Joel, Winter-Spring 1999.

Coming to Terms with God
The significance of God from a mystical perspective. Joel, Winter-Spring 1998.

In Solitude and Suffering 
How to turn solitude and suffering to your advantage on spiritual retreats. Joel, Spring 1997.

The Discipline of Pilgrimages
How to transform an outer journey into a spiritual discipline. Joel, Fall 1996.

From Form to Formlessness
An experiential inquiry into the nature of form and formlessness. Joel, Spring 1996.

The Necessity for Renunciation 
Why inner renunciation is required on the spiritual path. Joel, Fall 1995.

Death: The Golden Opportunity 
Why you should begin your preparation for the great spiritual opportunity at the moment of death. Joel, Spring 1995.

Keeping the Mystery in Mysticism 
How to avoid the fallacies of self-immortality, magical power, the steady blissful state, and the earthly utopia. Joel, Fall 1994.

The Function of Devotion
The conversion of the heart, encounter with the divine, passion for the divine, and surrender of self. Joel, Spring 1994.

The Law of Love 
The eternal law of Love and why there can be no Liberation without Love. Joel, Fall 1993.

In the Reality Garden 
A parable about an artist whose painting becomes a spiritual path. Joel, Spring 1993.

The Function of Inquiry 
The essential role of direct experiential inquiry on the spiritual path. Joel, Fall 1992.

The Necessity of Retreat 
The important benefits of going on a spiritual retreat. Joel, Spring 1992.

The Function of Meditation
How meditation helps unravel delusion to reveal the Ultimate Truth. Joel, Fall 1991.

Speaking of God 
The nature of the ineffable and how to speak of the unspeakable. Joel, Spring 1991.

The Function of Virtue 
The importance of morality and virtue from a mystical perspective. Joel, Fall 1990.