often ask me questions about my journey, and in order not to waste precious time
away from what your heart is longing for as we dialogue — I offer this ‘story’
with the intent to both respond to this curiosity, and to dissuade a focus on
often unnecessary time spent on this subject.
My Heart Home
in Southern India
The Beloved Mountain of Ramana Maharshi
And Home To Ramana
'Viveka' Fitzsimmons had passionately
‘sought freedom’ for well over two decades — to know the Truth
of her being, She was a former actor, national TV spokeswoman, published composer,
flutist, professional singer/ songwriter/performer/photographer, ‘creative
entrepreneur’ and poet, since childhood. Full of energy and ‘dreams’,
she pursued everything with great focus, life, and intensity. There were so many
interests in creative arts that she often didn’t know which one to pursue.
However, a painful divorce in her thirties was the ‘wake-up call’
that shattered her existing life as she knew it, and losing everything within
a six-month period, shifted her attention 180 degrees. She continued to act, perform,
and work--however, over time, the direction in all of her work moved in the direction
of preventative, holistic, and body/mind/spirit healing. It was as if something
dormant had suddenly reawakened, and a ‘fire in her belly’ woke up.
She realizes that this is often true in many people’s lives — without
any warning there is unexpected change — and it explodes the old life.
While driving to the ocean on one sunny afternoon, following an argument
with her husband about the conflict his young children constantly had amongst
themselves--in an event that she sees as direct, divine intervention, ‘her
car’ took her through the gates Self-Realization Fellowship at the beautiful
Lake Shrine. This was a place she had never seen or known about before which became
a life changing moment with ever-ongoing ripples in her life. After this unexpected
discovery, she would often slip away during the day, and could be found there
sitting in silence, enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of the gardens. It became
her place of solace, and the only balm of comfort during the last two years of
her dissolving marriage. To this day it remains a great joy to visit the gardens
and meditate in the SRF or Vedanta Spiritual Centers — places dedicated
to all world religions.
Jeannie was always a conservative Midwestern
type of performer, but found herself attracted to an unusual audition and got
cast in a rock musical comedy heading for Broadway. This was a change and great
fun. The play was called “Zen Boogie,” and the story was about the
journey of several monks, traveling through life, seeking to discover this mystery
of ‘enlightenment’. Every night, for several weeks, by the end of
the 3-hour play, one of the monks ‘woke up to his true Nature’. This
play experience opened something more deeply than she had ever expected. When
the play closed, she moved briefly to New York to find out more about its writers’
lives, and how this story came into being. What did they know — how did
they remain in this quiet equanimity? It was here that she discovered part of
Returning in the Spring to LA, still in this mysterious blooming,
and in her personal relationship crisis, the acting and advertising life slowly
dropped away, as did her marriage — two people headed in different directions
had finally arrived. Although her career was going well, she no longer felt satisfied
to be a part of the ‘television programming’ problem, rather, somehow
to be a powerful part of the solution. Soon, all of this previous life had crumbled,
television series, film, writing partnership, and married family life. (This is
not to imply that anyone needs to change anything to ‘know themselves’
for it is present here and now, we must only recognize it. This is simply what
happened in this person’s life journey — only one reflection.)
Having worn glasses for many years and being interested in natural approaches
to healing, she attended a vision workshop as a birthday gift for herself. Once
there, and using some of the techniques she had been taught by her first teacher,
a spontaneous healing of her vision occurred. Along with that, she saw what she
had been ‘afraid to admit, and ‘see’, with reference to a spiritual
teacher she had been following. Having already done deep introspection and psychological
work for many years, a strong pull called her to return to school to learn how
to teach others to see clearly. If she could see again, why not others? Spending
many years with three different optometrists or mentors of natural vision —
all being individuals whose sight, like hers, had returned to near normal or had
completely reversed, she was passionate with a something that offered a solution.
They all had been led to unfold more of the depth of their spiritual life,
and all saw the spiritual aspects, the stuck, emotional aspect of seeing clearly,
and were now without any visual crutches. As she put it in a phrase she coined
in the 90’s — there were “no more ‘discs of distortion’
on their faces”, continuing to cause them visual stress and suffering. Instead,
what was there was inner and outer clarity — a joyful freedom from distortion.
It fueled a desire for more of this clarity, this depth of direct knowing.
Once she recognized the depth of this healing connection within this physical,
psycho/spiritual marriage, she became even more curious. She traveled to various
cities to be trained and certified, in four different energetic transformational
healing systems and a Reiki master since 1997.
In 1999, after moving
temporarily to teach in Sedona, Arizona, she relocated to Austin, Texas, and opened
a private practice. In order to educate the public, she wrote and produced an
educational television show ‘For Your Eyes, Only’, for cable TV, interviewing
her students following the spiritually oriented vision training. Guiding people
toward ‘clear seeing’ at a much deeper level than the physical is
a great joy. The mental and emotional ‘addiction to the visual blur’
that continues to plague our culture since the invention of glasses and contacts,
slowly dissolved, by gently reducing their prescription as their vision improved.
“Many people don’t want to get rid of their glasses, but they
want to stop the downward spiral of their sight. That is fine, too. Clear sight,
and no longer needing glasses, is not for everyone. Everyone heals at a different
rate, and has different goals. I use inquiry methods that are NOT an eye-exercises
approach. Most traditional vision improvement approaches to correct visual imbalance
is spoken of in an ‘exercise model’. However, even essence of the
original work of Dr. Bates was not strictly eye exercises, but eliminating the
mental eyestrain through relaxation — the kind that the visual system recognizes.”
Jeannie continues, “Emotional correction, some chiropractic adjustments,
or massage, as well as a change in one’s life or perspective, can also spontaneously
return sight. At the time we get our glasses, we also ‘freeze frame’
that emotional perspective at that moment, into that prescription, and we are
stuck with it until it has to be made stronger due to the ongoing stress.”
Dr. William Bates, MD was truly a master and a century before his time. Relaxation
is the key. She has been out of glasses-formerly in bifocals, for 14 years, and
during that time, has published many spiritually oriented health articles about
her work and discoveries.
This training of the Bates Method work, gave
her a powerful vehicle teaching people the possibility of their own depth of relaxation
necessary for sight to naturally return, in a gentle and natural way. We freeze-frame
our emotional and physical life in traumatic events, and live this life wounded
with that energetic block until some event, grace, or healing experience dissolves
or resolves that moment of pain, to which we are still responding, unconsciously
causing us suffering. We simply have refused to see ‘what is’ and
didn’t realize it. She spent over a decade teaching privately and in corporations,
in cities across the country, If it could apply to physical vision, could it apply
to the wisdom of the heart?
Her work now took on an intentional focus
for clarity beyond simple visual acuity, or mental and emotional well being. Included
in all of the work she now offers addresses all aspects of our human life. Physical,
mental, emotional, and spiritual well being, depending upon what her client needs
at the time-she offers healing modalities that she has worked with for the past
A full opening into Self-recognition unexpectedly first occurred
in the early 1980’s, and this ‘glimpse’ was the ‘flame
that ignited her unstoppable desire’ for this Truth alone. As she was introduced
to a more formal ‘satsang’ — being in the company of truth,
this fire blazed.
Her fervent resolve “to be True to the Truth,
no matter what was destroyed, taken, dissolved, or shattered: images, concepts,
ideas, teachers, communities, all knowledge, insights, experiences, techniques,
powers, and identities,” Nothing was more important than knowing what was
true. And eventually, it was taken, as it all revealed itself to be false. Layers
of images, beliefs, and identities ‘collapsed like dust, in a moment of
stopping’. What is false was seen, what is Real, remained, “about
that we have no choice,” she was once told. The only thing which cannot
be denied, is, that we Are.
life has been a grateful tapestry of Masters/teachers, and Grace. During the crumbling
of ‘her world’, she studied at Self-Realization Fellowship, the teachings
of Paramahansa Yogananda. She then met living master, Lester Levenson, founder
of Sedona Institute, who further inspired her after she took the Institute's Basic
Course in letting go of unwanted emotions, developed by Virginia Lloyd, Director
of Training. Virginia is also the author of Master Your Emotions:
A Practical Guide Through The Feelings That Keep You From Success, Love And Happiness.
her shift in perception, she worked directly with Lester Levenson and brought
this "Awakening" practice to LA in 1981. After a decade in a Bhakti
meditation community in both LA and then Austin, finally, in 1994, she met and
stayed with her true Sage, Sri Robert Adams, for the final years of his life.
Robert’s sudden awakening as a teenager, took him to the feet of Sri Ramana
Maharshi — The Sage Of India. The beautiful book,“Silence Of The
Heart” is a compilation of Sri Robert Adams’ satsang talks over
a several year period.
A few months before Robert’s passing he told her to“drop everything,
and do your music.” She then produced five healing flute albums within that
year of neuro-acoustic healing flute and keyboard music, and started Lotusheart
Music. Just prior to Robert’s death, and at Robert’s direct request,
V. Ganeshan, Ramana’s grandnephew, and editor of Mountain Path, a monthly
publication from Ramana Ashram in India, came from India to the US. In honor,
gratitude, and celebration of Sri Robert’s passing, and at Ganeshan’s
invitation, she accepted the gift of producing a CD, “The Teachings in Songs”.
Recording Ramana’s teachings had been a long time wish of Ganeshan. These
original chants are the direct teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, as they have
been sung in the Ashram for decades, and now finally recorded by V. Ganeshan and
by Smt. Anuradha, who helped to run the ashram there with Ganeshan. They are sung
in Ramana’s original language of Tamil. “The Teachings in Songs”
will be finally be available on CD this October with partial proceeds going to
the New York Sri Ramanaraman.
The profound gift of being with her Sage
at the time of his passing left her in ecstasy. Lying in state, Sri Robert’s
body was still soft pink, and glowing…and the day Robert was cremated, she
celebrated his passing by meeting Gangaji for the first time, and playing her
flutes. She stayed with Gangaji for a year before going to India, and finally
traveled to India in 1997, to visit Ganeshan. She also wanted to see the satsang
and birthplaces of Nisargadatta Maharaj, Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Yogananda —
masters she had loved for so many years and had been encouraged to read by Lester.
She was heading to Ramana’s sacred mountain Sri Arunachala, when suddenly,
while in a hotel room Bombay, everything dropped, and poetry about this direct
experience began to flow. Ganeshan encouraged her to remain in Bombay.
remaining, subtle seeking stopped, and recognition of her True Nature revealed
itself. This absolute ‘stopping’ occurred unexpectedly, while visiting
Sri Ranjit Maharaj, a co-disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj, and author of “I
Am That.” Through a series of direct experiences she says, “what is
recognized as Self cannot be described and yet is lived joyfully, naturally, and
vitally.” She returned to the US where Gangaji encouraged her to “rest
in That, abiding nowhere in the mind, simply ‘wait and see’, as my
Master (HWL Poonjaji), suggested to me.” This ‘waiting’, in
gentle silence and quiet travel, took three more years, until she met Adyashanti,
who ‘delivered the final blow’ to any doubt.
says, “Recognized as the truth of that which is before I AM, and the source
prior to beingness, concepts, and mind and body identity —that is what I
AM. I am that, regardless of this human life that is lived, and will be, beyond
this physical life. There is no longer suffering, doubt, or any ‘movement
to grasp’, or identify with what is unreal. This life is not my own, there
is nothing to do, and there is only my Self that is seen in all things and in
everyone, that only ‘appears to be separate from me’.
continues to arise and fall within that which I AM, which you Are. It is an extraordinarily
ordinary life lived in great relaxation, peacefulness, gratitude, and loveᾹnot
a love that is culturally programmed, but Love as It Is. It is now a Life lived
beyond trust and faith, beyond dualities of separation, yet this paradox and illusion
of duality and separateness, exists within That.”
In 1999 she met
her beloved teacher and friend, Adyashanti. Since 1994, Jeannie has spent several
years, primarily traveling in silence, teaching in various cities, producing her
healing flute albums, and writing a book of poetry, “Beloved Reflections”.
It is offered as ‘pointers for others’ in a heart’s unfolding.
After meeting Adyashanti, this Love expressed itself as an ‘unstoppable
gusher from a joy-filled heart’. The book, soon to be published, was completed
in 2000, and is dedicated to Adyashanti.
These teachers are a blend
of Jnani (wisdom) and bhakti (devotion). Her inclination in this life has been
primarily the‘path of wisdom’ through ‘clear seeing and direct
experience’: prajna, or ‘heart wisdom. Although there are ultimately
no paths, per se, what appeared to be a path revealed itself through these beloved
Beings. Like many, she also met ‘false masters’ along her journey,
and through these, learned to clearly recognize, that which is true and pure.
There is only gratitude for beings met along the way.
“Truth can never be spoken, yet, there are still many ‘profound
pointers’ to this Truth that we Are, and those are precious for awakening
to ourselves — as That which already is and Eternally Present. Still, out
of compassion for themselves, and recognized as everyone, many of those who do
recognize, speak, share, write, and live that reflection of recognition for others.
In my own life, I am eternally grateful for those who have done this for me, and
for all Beings.” Every flavor of pointer is available to a sincere heart.
After several expansions into Seeing what Is, she traveled and met with many
enlightened masters to confirm what her ‘experience beyond experience’
had revealed. Not satisfied, even though confirmed, and unwilling to assume and
be tricked by remaining illusion of mind, she kept moving until finally meeting
Adyashanti, her beloved Zen master and friend. He told her, “ I have nothing
to do for you, however I will help you use your swords better”. Adyashanti
had ‘awakened out of the Zen tradition’ several years before, and
was quietly teaching a small sangha for several years in Los Gatos, California.
Go to his website at: http://www.adyashanti.org
for more information.
book, “The Impact of Awakening” is recently re-released, and is a
‘must read’ for any spiritual seeker who wants to ‘stop seeking’.
He also recommends “Halfway Up The Mountain”, as “one of the
most important spiritual books of this century”. It is a book about the
pitfalls, the treachery of this ‘journey to enlightenment’, the ‘half-baked
teacher’ or phenomena of ‘someone claiming to be enlightened’.
Adya’s primary work is to help people ‘embody what has been realized’
helping them to ‘see through’ anything that may be obscuring that
Jeannie’s recognition occurred, there have been no more doubts, questions,
or concepts of limited self, that can reconstruct as solidly. Everything arises,
but is not held as true. In meeting Adyashanti, in Los Angeles, and experiencing
a profound recognition, as if sitting before her beloved Sri Ramana Maharshi.
He invited Jeannie, to come to Northern California, to meet his sangha.
While leading a silent retreat for him in 1999, Adya gave her the name Viveka.
Viveka means ‘discrimination, the ‘crown jewel of wisdom’ recognizing
that which is real from the unreal, the true from the false’. It is a gift
and she wears with humility and eternal gratitude. This particular name was especially
poignant, as her first teacher/master, Lester Levenson, often spoke of his beloved
relationship with Vivekananda. He was the Indian master who brought the Vedanta
Society to the West, at the request of his master Ramakrishna, and when speaking
of their meetings, misty-eyed Lester referred to him affectionately, as ‘Vivi’.
Jeannie has been sitting with Adyashanti for the past 3 years, and during
this time, has experienced the vast difference between freedom and liberation,
or as Adya speaks of it, “from Awakening to Enlightenment.”. Remaining
dualities collapsed freeing her from her freedom. Liberation, which ‘includes
everything’, flooded in to be embraced in its totality of joy. She is eternally
grateful for the loving, ‘exacting and liberating sword’ of Adyashanti,
as ‘the purest heart’ she has known.
are masters and teachers in long, orange robes; ancient men with long, white beards;
masters who use Shakti; masters who meditate in silence; and there are masters
who teach you how to be free moment-to-moment. The latter is the elegant beauty
and simplicity of what Virginia Lloyd gave to me in this life. I have loved, dearly,
all of the saints and sages of this life, however, all of them, regardless of
their power and their guidance have naturally returned me to what Virginia Lloyd
gave to me that opened this life, my eyes, and this heart in July of 1984.
the years, I have continued to reap the profound benefits given to me by a very
special and amazing woman. This photograph was taken during our recent reunion,
and it is a joy to reunite with the very woman who gave me this step-by-step,
practical method of "letting go" on-the-spot! Many do not know of her,
or even know her name.
was the former Director of Training for the Sedona Institute founded by Lester
Levenson. Her exquisite design and development of what has become a popular releasing
method, came, due to her deep understanding of emotions, feelings, and her inspired
faith in Lester. During her 17 years—12 of which I spent with them both,
at which time she developed the curriculum—she trained all of the instructors
and taught in the very first corporations exposed to this work.
I launch HeartWisdom Seminars and its full curriculum of "returning
to your heart" products and services, including Viveka Satsang, I recently
reconnected with Virginia Lloyd. Please enjoy the interviews and the wisdom of
this lovely woman of heart. I am grateful to introduce Virginia Lloyd as part
of my new, upcoming seminar series by HeartWisdom Seminars, and a
guest facilitator. I want others to know the elegant simplicity of what she developed
in the early 1970s. After nearly 2 decades, this work is still vibrant and simple.
As part of my curriculum, it is a thrill to offer her original 4-Day Basic Course
states, “In liberation and true seeing, in that which you are before all
consciousness, there is no opposite — it is a place of non-duality. It is
not a concept, and it cannot be spoken, only known through direct experience,
through Grace. Truth can only be ‘pointed to’ by teachers, books,
and experiences, but they are not actual Truth. Truth, is not a State, nor is
it an experience. It is beyond both. It cannot be spoken nor ‘claimed’
by anyone as no one’ goes free. No teacher can ‘take you there’
for there is no where to go — there is only stopping — being Here.
Eventually, although teachers are a profound support as our very own Self, this
must be done by each of us, alone. Removing these veils is a very dangerous thing
to illusion: it requires everything.
“All any true seeker can do,
is improve receptivity through sincere earnestness. The rest is Grace. In fact,
as I see from this recognition, no teacher, no teaching, no method, no technique,
and no meditation was ever truly necessary in this life to realize what I Am,
however, all of it was absolutely necessary. The paradox of this is never answered
by our mind. Now, in everything, there is only this mysterious paradox. However,
I Am That which is before paradox. In the end it is never really up to us, it
simply happens if, and when it does, and only then it is seen that nothing ever
Through her Awakened Heart training, Jeannie
is beginning to offer ‘silent sitting’ meditations, Dharma dialogues
and satsang. Adyashanti has encouraged her, as part of what she offers to the
spiritual-community, or sangha, to include this natural "letting go"
work. Her joy is to guide others in ‘unhooking remaining conditioning’,
especially after ones powerful recognition and awakening has occurred and to see
more clearly, that which obscures this recognition, causing remaining suffering.
Jeannie schedules small weekend spiritual retreats and loves being in
nature, so she will be offering extended retreats in beautiful areas in beautiful
retreat centers around the world. She offers private phone or one-on-one sessions,
as well as "letting go" trainings upon request, which she has
taught for over 14 years.
is a certified master energetic healer in Reiki®, Radiant Touch®, and
Drisana®, and schedules intuitive, energetic, and transformational healing
sessions. This energetic healing work assists people in going through emotional
changes with more ease, dissolving mental and emotional pain.
minister since 1996, she often spends time in silence in her luxury motor home
to write and reflect. She has currently returned to Los Angeles and is teaching
again in Northern and Southern California, as well as in other locations throughout
the U.S. As an international speaker, author, and facilitator, she will also be
teaching in Europe and Asia, and is open to traveling anywhere in the world to
share this dharma. She is currently writing another book, "Be Happy and Free
Now, Because There Is No Later."
All Beings be happy, be awake, and be free.
Blessings and love to you, my
Beloved Self, Namaste.
© 2008 Jeannie Fitzsimmons
Awakened Heart Press