Radical Gradualism

A Journal of Awakening

By Phil Servedio

Chapter 2

August 1994

STARTING IN LATE AUGUST, I began sitting with Lawrence and Ardeliza for their usual Friday night meditation and satsang. I was astounded by the transmission there, even though the first night I went there were only four of us in total, and the other guy, I learned later, was Lawrence’s brother Randall. But I figured that two realizers were better than one — more is better, right? In the ensuing weeks, more people came, many of whom I was surprised to find to be fellow 7 Keyers. Though my impulse to community of any cultic form was truly burned out by my involvement in the Free Daist Communion, I felt that the camaraderie with the people who became regulars were people to whom I could very much relate and with whom I seemed to share a common level of insight. In other words, we were tuned into a very incredible wavelength from the transmission we felt.

Later in September I began sitting with Saniel, and I found it remarkable how much he had changed. He had seemed like a disturbed character to me while in FDC (disturbance that most of us shared there because of the cultic mentality and the insane rantings of Love-Ananda), but now he seemed to be free of that particular disturbance and seemed much stronger to me. In the first meeting, we spoke about the fire of self-damnation that occurs with leaving Love-Ananda, a psychic gauntlet that all former devotees must run through and get out of their systems.

What was particularly brilliant and “leading edge” about Saniel, Lawrence, and Ardeliza was their teaching of the embrace of all phenomena, both “internal” and “external." Nothing was profane or judged. Even though this was similar to the teaching of Love-Ananda, it certainly wasn’t practiced in his community. Moreover, in most traditions and schools which I have read, certain behaviors, trains of thought, ideas, and philosophies were grossly or subtly preferred and rewarded over others, always creating “shadows” within those schools. My own feelings of the brilliance and superiority of this process of “accept and embrace” was reflected in what these three musketeers were talking; even the “demon” of reaction towards events was embraced. It felt to me that this was Tantra at its essence, and in effect a place where one could completely rest, as everything and every part and aspect of oneself was simply allowed to arise and fall from and into Being. It seemed to me that this was an advanced and “rapid” path towards awakening and not one that everyone would be ready for — but for me it was perfect timing.

I began to sit regularly with Saniel on Sundays in addition to the Friday evenings with Lawrence and Ardeliza. They seemed to be brothers (and sister) in an incredible transmission; one week Saniel seemed more profound, other times Lawrence and Ardeliza. In the beginning the transmission directly struck me on the right side of the heart with such intensity that I felt that I would crack. The heat of this wonderful process, almost purely initiated with satsang, brought to me many wonderful insights that were undeniable, too numerous to name here. The first few times that I sat in satsang, I would lie in bed trying to sleep that night with my body suffused in light and shakti energy. It was remarkable how powerful the transmission was for me from all three of them. I began a career of shakti-insomnia that often plagues me to this day.

On November 11th, Anne began to sit with Lawrence and Ardeliza, which was such a wonderful thing for me, and the beginning of a big healing process for her. It is such a relief to have a spouse in synch with you regarding what is really important in life (in fact it seems crucial for a relationship to survive). I felt really close to Lawrence, and feelings of devotion and caring arose for both of them. What was also wonderful was that they were practically around the block from us, and in fact, we can see their house from our vantage point on the hill where we live. As I began sitting regularly with Lawrence and Ardeliza on Fridays, their transmissions would take turns pulverizing me in their intensities. Time after time, I was amazed by how such ordinary-looking folks could be such a potent point of spiritual transmission. I envisioned a realizer in every neighborhood in the world, working in small groups. So far, Greenbrae and Santa Venetia of Marin county are covered!!

Text copyright © 1995 Phil Servedio. Used by permission.

When we published this journal in 2000, Phil Servedio was 45 years old, worked as a software engineer, and lived in California with his wife Annie.

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This page was published on February 22, 2000 and last revised on September 3, 2019.


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