Search & Read
Testimonial by Katherine Silvan
Katherine: Two years ago a friend gave me an audio recording of Vedanta teachings given by James Swartz. At the time I was pretty much settled on the fact that my spiritual life was basically at a dead end. All the seeking I had done over three decades never resulted in lasting understanding, peace or freedom. I was not interested in hearing another teacher or another teaching. Where had all those books, workshops and experiences gotten me?
One day during a long solo car ride, I put the recording on and by the end of the trip I knew I had found my teacher and possibly the key to cracking the code of my existence, my existential confusion and unhappiness.
As I listened intently for over a year, almost on a daily basis, I began to see the root cause of my own and others’ suffering. I finally understood two of the most basic teachings of Vedanta: one, there is no lasting joy to be found in objects: people, places, things, thoughts, situations, circumstances. Joy is our true nature – only to be discovered when we have ceased chasing or averting objects. And the second teaching: life is a zero-sum game. There is no “winning” or beating the system here. Every blessed thing in life has an upside and a down. You’ll get your cake, eat it and then… get fat.
These teachings sound too simplistic to be life-altering. However, when this knowledge is assimilated, after repeated exposure to the ancient scriptures as passed down by “enlightened” beings over thousands of years, a miraculous thing begins to happen. The persistent pushing of the pleasure-seeking mind and the incessant pulling of the fear-averting mind gradually wind down. Though desire and aversion continue to be part of one’s life, they no longer sit in the driver’s seat running us ragged on the roller coaster.
Then what is revealed is awareness – a steady, confident understanding, a solid ground of being from which to observe life happening as it does, on its terms, in its time and place. This is the first and only taste of lasting freedom I have ever encountered. Now I know what has been here all along yet overlooked – in the same way we overlook the in- and out-breaths, and the oxygen we rely on for our very existence and barely give a thought to.
To encounter a teaching like this is like realizing not only have you been sitting on the pot of gold, the gold is actually who you are! It is the last stop on the seeker’s journey.
And to have found a teacher, James Swartz, that is qualified to transfer this knowledge, a teacher that has grace and grit, humor and compassion and a wisdom-force that is literally mind-boggling, is far and away the greatest, most auspicious of gifts a human traveler could’ve ever hoped to meet.