What gave you, your thirst for spiritual enlightenment?
The spiritual thirst for a deeper experience of life is in all of us. Even materialists are really looking for peace and happiness. They just think that material things will give them that happiness. It is often only when that doesn’t work that there is a willingness to look within for the true source of peace, love and happiness.
In my own case, while I was always searching for understanding and peace, it wasn’t until my first marriage suddenly fell apart that I turned that search into a search for the truth about my own nature. It became painfully obvious that, as beautiful as the world and all of its activities are, they weren’t going to be the source of joy and satisfaction. Fortunately at that time, I realized the need to look right here in this very moment to see what is true about the “me” that I took myself to be. When I did that, I discovered that all of the joy, freedom, and aliveness I have ever experienced flows from an Emptiness within. That doesn’t make any sense at all to the mind. How could these be found in this Emptiness? But that turned out to be the source.
Once I realized that the source of love and peace and joy was within me, then I also found that the way to experience those was to give that love, peace, or joy to others. It is in the outward flow of awareness and love that we are filled with the richness of that awareness and love. It doesn’t matter if others are loving us; what matters is whether we are giving love to others. So, my book, Living from the Heart, points out in several different ways how to contact the source of love in our own Hearts and then how to live from that place of open-hearted loving awareness.
How do you hope this book will affect your readers?
The spiritual Heart within each of us is not only the source of love, it is also the source of peace, joy, wisdom, strength, and fulfillment. Everything that really matters is found within our own Being. The book, Living from the Heart, is designed to lead readers very gradually and yet deeply into experiences of this inner wisdom and capacity for love. I hope readers will follow the pointers and exercises in the book and directly experience for themselves the limitless joy and love in their own Being. It is profoundly freeing to find that everything that really matters in life is already here inside of us. What a relief to know that peace, wisdom, and fulfillment are always available if we just know where to look. What a gift it can be to the world when we discover that we can freely give our love and attention to everyone and everything we encounter without ever running out of love or attention.
What do you think is the most important message within your book?
The first part of the book introduces the reader to the spiritual Heart and the capacity it gives us to look out at the world with an open, loving, and complete perspective. The second part shows how the Heart is truly wise and how it can guide us in everyday decisions. Finally, the third part of the book shows a simple way to love in a truly unconditional way.
Throughout the book there is also a pointing to a much bigger and more transformative truth—that this limitless, loving, and spacious awareness is actually who and what we are. Spiritual presence is much more than just something we can experience; it is that which is experiencing. It is infinite loving Being itself that is looking out of our eyes every minute. Freedom from suffering comes when there is this recognition of our true nature.
Have you learned anything new about yourself during the process of writing this book?
I feel like my life has been one long journey of discovery about my true self, and writing this book has taken that journey in a new more heart-centered direction. I sometimes joke that I was “cursed” with a good mind. What I really mean by cursed is that, like most people in this modern culture, I’ve been conditioned to focus on my thoughts, feelings, and desires. In writing this book, I discovered to a much deeper extent the capacity of my own Heart to see things more completely and with love. The Heart is ultimately one with everything, and the intimacy and sweetness of experiencing life through the Heart fills in the empty dryness of a completely mental worldview. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the mind; it just doesn’t give a complete view of what is here. The Heart fills in the depth and richness of life and also naturally has the ability to express the abundance of our Being as overflowing love.
What do you think is the greatest obstacle to us experiencing life through the Heart in modern society?
As Living from the Heart shows through its exercises and simple pointers, it’s actually incredibly easy to drop into the Heart and experience life from this more open and loving perspective. So, the only thing really standing in the way is the momentum of our habitual focus on the content of our thoughts and feelings. It’s not our fault that we do this; we were taught to pay attention to the ideas and emotions arising in our minds, so this has become a habit. But the best way to overcome an old habit is to create a new one that works better. Besides describing the potential of a heart-centered life, Living from the Heart also helps the reader create new habits of dropping into the Heart, listening to the Heart, and giving space and love to everything encountered in life. Creating a new habit is surprisingly easy, and these new habits relating to the Heart can put us more fully in touch with the incredible fullness of this very moment.
There is a growing interest in and awareness of our capacity to awaken to the true nature of our Being, as evidenced by the recent interest in Eckhart Tolle’s bestselling books about the now and about awakening. Living from the Heart offers some effective tools to directly experience what Tolle and other spiritual writers are pointing to. In this way, the book can also open the door to a profound shift in our sense of identity to knowing ourselves as limitless love and joy.
Do you have any other projects you are working on at the moment?
My main focus at present is working with individuals either in person or over the phone. I call this work Nondual Spiritual Mentoring. Working in depth this way effectively supports people in giving attention and awareness to the more subtle and yet more satisfying inner dimensions of their being. Our conditioning has created a tremendous momentum to an outer focus on the physical world and its challenges and limitations. Mentoring can practically support people in creating even greater momentum towards resting in and living from their true nature in all of its richness and beauty, and also to more completely orienting their life towards the true source of peace, joy, and happiness in the Heart.
While I have worked with thousands of individuals and groups around the world to bring people into a direct experience of the spiritual truth of oneness beyond the illusion of separation, I especially enjoy one-to-one interactions because of the greater depth and intimacy of the exploration into the full capacities of the spiritual Heart that is possible in that setting.
Part 1: From the Heart: Dropping out of Your Mind and Into Your Being
Offers simple ways to shift into a more open and accepting perspective and to experience your true nature as aware space.
Part 2: The Heart's Wisdom
Points the reader back to the Heart, the truest source of wisdom.
Part 3: Love Is for Giving, Not for Getting
Points to the true source of love in your own Heart. It is by giving love that we are filled with love.
If you have enjoyed Eckhart Tolle’s bestselling books, The Power of Now and A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, or Byron Katie’s “The Work”, then you will find Living from the Heart especially beneficial. It offers practical tools and meditations for being in the now in everyday life by accessing the wisdom and Presence available in every moment in the Heart.
Read an excerpt: Love is for Giving
About Nirmala: After a lifetime of spiritual seeking, Nirmala met his teacher, Neelam, a devotee of H.W.L. Poonja (Papaji). After experiencing a profound spiritual awakening in India, he has been writing Advaita books and offering satsang (gatherings for the truth) and Nondual Spiritual Mentoring since 1998. Nirmala offers a unique vision and a gentle, compassionate approach, which adds to this rich tradition of inquiry into our true nature. He is the author of several nondual books, including a free ebook available here. Nirmala points to the natural wisdom within each of us, and fosters each individual’s own exploration of their full potential for spiritual awakening and enlightenment. Nirmala lives in Sedona, Arizona with his wife, Gina Lake.