Second of a three-part series | Read Part 1 here
Meditation — the act of silencing the mind and basking in the serenity that lies deeply within each of us — is the foundation for the life of Bob Fickes, a lecturer and teacher of meditation for more than 40 years. He teaches Fulfillment meditation and is the author of many CDs, DVDs and books, including the recent bestseller, Quantum Enlightenment. He has taught meditation to hundreds of thousands of students worldwide.
His spiritual lineage comes from three traditions: Maharishi, Babaji, and the Ascended Masters. He also is a healer in the ancient Buddhist Shamanic Healing Arts and currently lives and teaches in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Fickes is returning to the Twin Cities on September 11-13 to present The Love Mantra at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul Campus.
He spoke with The Edge about enlightenment, The Love Mantra and what participants of his local event can expect to experience.
Tell me about The Love Mantra.
Bob Fickes: Since I’ve been teaching in Japan, I’ve noticed that it is a very mental society. People there want to understand everything — and even when it comes to meditation, they don’t really talk about love or God. They’re not really concerned in Japan for masters. They are very practical. They want to just improve their life, wake up their mind, and understand why they’re here.
I suddenly realized that these people are great, but they need to know more about love. When I speak to some of the men there, I say, “Well, you just drop down into your heart.”
“What does that mean? What do you mean, go into my heart?”
“Well, open your feelings of love.”
“I don’t know what love is.”
Last year I felt I really needed something to open the consciousness to more love, and that’s when I discovered this mantra — and the yantra (an accompanying image) — that stimulate the brain to wake up more love. It was interesting. I started teaching it in January.
My blog is starting to go everywhere, all over the world, so I thought, “When I teach the mantra, I’m going to tell everybody at 11:00 or 11:30 Japan time that I’m going to be sending out waves of energy — and wherever you are, close your eyes and see if you can tune in.” I printed the yantra, a very beautiful design, on my blog and people looked at it when the time came and many people sent me back messages, such as, “Wow, I really could feel the energy. I went into such a deep meditation I don’t know what happened.” It worked!
How do you discover a mantra and have you discovered others in the same way?
BF: Mantras are a very specific ancient science. You can call it the science of sound. The Hebrew language is one of those special languages in which it is said that if you can pronounce it correctly, you can materialize things. The Hebrew language also been used in magic and in spiritual quests. Even the word for the name of God is a mantra that reveals the inner reality of God, if it’s pronounced correctly. This is so sacred to the Jews that they don’t really pronounce Yod Hey Vav Hey Yahweh, or Jehova. They don’t pronounce it. They’ll say, “Adonai,” because it is a sacred sound that is not supposed to be mispronounced.
Mantras really are more common than we think and they are used in many traditions to wake people up.
Do you discover them in your own meditation into the Infinite Space or do you work with the Ascended Masters in realizing them?
BF: I was sitting in meditation one day many years ago. I would never channel a mantra, because I couldn’t confirm the correct sound. I would need to verify it. This involves a very ancient science, and at that time in my life I thought, “No, there’s no way I can really do this. I mean, this is playing with nuclear power. I don’t want to do something that…”
…That you didn’t know you could trust or not.
BF: Right. So, I was sitting in meditation and all of a sudden the doors opened up. The Infinite Space just moved and I saw the key. I can’t describe what that key is. It’s a level of perception. I was looking into that field where the mantras came from. Even knowing that, when I find mantras I still have to be able to verify them in at least three to five different scriptures that say, “This is the mantra. This is what it does.” I will not teach anything unless I can verify it. So, it’s more a process of cognition rather than channeling. Direct cognition.
Also in September you’re going to perform a puja ceremony. Can you tell us what that is and why it is necessary?
BF: A puja ceremony everywhere in the world, except India, is considered a little strange. Even here in Japan people say, “What is that? Do you really have to do that?” The answer is yes, you do have to do it. The puja ceremony is a sequence of mantras in Sanskrit. As you pronounce that sequence, you’re adjusting your brain and also the student’s brain. By the end of the ceremony, that energy is in the room and people’s consciousness is ready to receive the mantra and the teacher’s consciousness is ready to give it.
The puja is about 5,000 years old.
Tried and tested.
BF: Yes, tried and tested, that’s exactly what I was going to say. It’s been tested for over 5,000 years. It always works. So why throw out the powerful tool that is known to work. I just tell people that they’re going to see it when they get a mantra, but it’s not used at any other time. It doesn’t mean that you’re becoming another religion. It’s just an activation process. Once you have your consciousness activated, you can see to your own consciousness according to your own religious beliefs or cultural beliefs.
To come to your event, like the one in September, do people need to have any kind of understanding of meditation or any pre-requisite to attend?
BF: Not necessary. Of course, there will be a lot of advanced people coming, but for this process I’m inviting everybody to come because it’s so easy. Anyone can do it. It’s not something that you even need to understand. You just close your eyes and let it happen.
What brings you back to the Twin Cities to teach it?
BF: I miss all my friends. I miss Minneapolis. I didn’t live there, but I would come to visit Minneapolis several times a year for many, many years. About eight years ago, I considered that I had been there so many times that people were distracted and exploring other things, and I was too busy in Japan at that time, and I thought, “Well, I’ll just wait for the right time to come back.” Now the interest seems to be waking up again and I’m feeling a strong desire to start to do things in America again. So, Minneapolis was my first choice. That’s where all my friends are.
Do you plan to expand and do more throughout the U.S.?
BF: I’ve just confirmed that we have a place to teach in Valencia, Calif., right outside of Los Angeles. I’ll be doing a course in September in Minneapolis and then October 9 in Los Angeles.
After you teach here in September you’ll be leaving. How can somebody who participates in your workshop continue to practice or receive other mantras here in Minnesota?
BF: There are lots of teachers in Minnesota, maybe 18 or 20 teachers in the Minneapolis area. So, it’s pretty easy to find a teacher there. [Visit www.bob-fickes.com/contact/official-teachers/]
What do you recommend that participants do after your workshop — just follow their heart and identify which local teacher to continue to work with?
BF: Yes. Every teacher has a slightly different style of presentation, a different language that they use, so just find a teacher that resonates with you. Really, we do the practice for ourselves. We explore for ourselves, but on that path there are lots of questions and you need support from time to time.
It’s very common, because meditation is so easy that we sit there and think, “Well, maybe it’s not working.” It’s nice to get that reinforcement, particularly when the teacher offers a group meditation. It’s nice to go and sit in a group meditation. The energy in the room helps to reinforce our own experience and we gain our confidence back. And, of course, as we progress with meditation many perceptions start to open up and you wonder, “What is that? What does that mean? Is this okay?” It’s nice to be able to talk to a teacher and have the teacher explain what’s happening.
Is it necessary to study Fulfillment meditation with a teacher or can somebody set off on their own and create a practice?
BF: To try to teach Fulfillment meditation through a book or a video, it can’t be done. I wish it could. If it could, then I would just put it in every book and get people to start, but it has to be done one-on-one. The reason for that is we have to be able to jumpstart the brain. The initiation ceremony, when we give the mantra for the first time, charges up the mantra so that when the person receives it, they already have electricity — and that electricity jumpstarts the brain and people go into the experience automatically, the first time, every time.
It’s amazing to teach something like this, because most things in life work some times but not every time, but this is the one thing that I’ve done in my life that works every single time, no matter who comes to me, no matter what their level of understanding is, even people who don’t believe in it. Within a few minutes they are in meditation.
There is a lot of talk today about Mindfulness and being present. How is that different from meditation or do they work together?
BF: They work together. In fact, I love mindfulness and I love the work of people like Eckhart Tolle. I think his book is just amazing — very simple and easy to understand. But meditation really takes us in deeper, and then when you apply mindfulness in your daily life you’re starting to make use of the consciousness that you’re developing in your meditation — and you grow a lot faster.
It’s easy to fall into old habits. You just go through life as you always have, not really paying attention to what you’re doing. When I look at my life, I realize how often, even for myself after 40 years of meditation, there are still times when I’m just following the routine, not really mindful of what I’m doing. The mindfulness process really helps us to be more vigilant, more self-aware, and in that process we can create change. We can change our own habits into something much more positive and useful.
It’s about being more alive rather than going through life unconsciously.
BF: Yes, and that’s why a publication like The Edge is so valuable for people. You have so many ways to give people different views of why they’re here, what they’re doing with their lives.
You mentioned the word enlightenment early in our conversation. How do you define that and is it something that everybody can achieve?
BF: I’ll answer the last part of the question first: Yes. This is something that every human being will eventually become.
Enlightenment simply means the discovery of the ocean that’s in us, all the potential that is hidden inside of us — and when that wakes up there are certain specific things that happen. Enlightenment is not a philosophy. It’s a state of consciousness, and in that state of Consciousness you are one with the Observer. You are one with that ocean of consciousness inside.
Sometimes I tell people, “I’m not really Bob. I’m something else that’s inside, looking through Bob. I’m two in one. I’m the wave and the ocean at the same time.” When we discover enlightenment, there is a realization that, “Oh, my God! Everything that I ever needed is right here.” In fact, I look inside for all my answers rather than looking outside at the world. I’m always limited in what I can observe through my senses and through my mind, but when I turn inside, there is a whole different field of perception that happens and I become much more aware of what’s deep inside of me.
If we are going to take this to its ultimate extreme, we can see everything that is in the Universe — for the microcosm and the macrocosm are the same. Everything that is there to know in the Universe we can discover inside ourselves. We can directly perceive even the reality of God.
About enlightenment: As a soul we travel through many different stages. I believe in reincarnation in the sense that our soul goes from life to life just as an actor tries different roles in movies. The purpose of the actor is not just to learn what’s in that movie, but to explore a better way of acting, to put more of themselves into the role, to be able to really feel what they have to do in that movie.
The soul also goes through many different stages — animals, plants, rivers, mountains, planets, gods and angels, and all of these forms of life have no free will. An animal that is born as a dog can’t decide to be a cat. It has a nervous system for a dog, and throughout its whole life it is going to only be able to perceive as a dog perceives. If a god of the mountain or an angel of the mountain decides one day that, “Oh, I don’t want to be a mountain anymore, I want to be a river,” it can’t really do that. It would create a lot of chaos in the Universe.
Only a human being has free will. Once we achieve a life as a human being, our free will makes mistakes, but it is an evolutionary process. Our consciousness is exploring, and through each of our mistakes we are challenged to see what we’re doing and how to improve ourselves.
The force of evolution for every human ultimately will lead us to discover that everything is inside of us — and, in fact, God is in us. That’s when enlightenment dawns. It will be natural. Eventually every human being will develop their full potential. Meditation is just a tool to speed the process up.
And some of us yearn for that and some of us don’t.
BF: There are ones who don’t yearn for enlightenment only because they don’t know what it is.
Here in Japan, a lot of people think, “Oh, enlightenment is the goal and once I get there I’m done.” No. It’s silly to think that when we get enlightenment we’re just going to sit under a tree the rest of our lives. We’re sitting there with all this potential and we realize, “My God, I can do anything I want. I can know anything I want. Why sit under a tree? Let’s explore. Let’s have fun with it.”
Aside from teaching more in the United States, what do you want to do here in that realm of exploring and having fun?
BF: I’m having so much fun just teaching, and in the process of teaching, my students inspire me to look deeper — even a simple thing like doing a one-on-one session with somebody and being able to see beyond what they can see with their problems and find a new way for them to live their life or to overcome the problem that they’re facing. It’s wonderful.
I would like to see us develop consciousness as the next reality. In the 20th century we discovered science, and technology changed everything on our plane. All over the world, life has changed. If we look back 100 years ago, the idea of flying through the air in an airplane was impossible. The idea of a TV looked impossible. But these are common realities today. I think we have finished the age of technology and machines.
If our mind can create a machine to do something, that same mind can figure out a way to do it by itself. I think the future of the world is not going to be through technology, but through self-empowerment, the discovery that our consciousness can do anything that it wants. We have lots of stories about yogis and saints who do amazing things and have had miraculous experiences. Everyone can have those experiences. It’s time for human consciousness to become self-sufficient. We don’t need to rely on machines to do everything for us.
Next month: Bob Fickes share more about the vibration of Love.
Bob Fickes will be presenting a three-day initiation of The Love Mantra meditation Sept. 11-13 at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul Campus, Room 135BD, 1890 Buford Ave., St. Paul. The cost is $345 (includes lunch) by August 11 ($40 more afterward), exact cash only at the door. For reservations and more information, email [email protected] Bob will present the same event on October 9-11 at the Marriott Residence Hotel in Valencia, CA.
Listen: Bob Fickes speaks on Edge Talk Radio on “InnerView” with Cathryn taylor at www.blogtalkradio.com/edgemagazine/2015/07/08/edge-innerviews-with-cathryn-taylor-and-bob-fickes