Experiencing Isaac Shapiro

Isaac Shapiro is a living Advaita teacher, and has been for many years. His main teacher was H W L Poonja (Papaji), who urged Isaac to go out and teach in his own right, in 1991. Isaac did so – it seems mainly in Europe. In 1997 he publised a book titled Outbreak of Peace, which I highly recommend. I was fortunate to visit quite a few of Isaacs Satsangs in Munich – this article relates a few aspects of how I experienced his presence.

My first memory of Isaac is of arriving via public transport very early at the venue. I went in, and there was this strongly built barrel of a guy putting out the chairs in a large auditorium. Yeah, that was Isaac. I took to the guy immediately. 

Isaac had a very strong and deep presence, with a remarkable quiteness in that strength. This was at a time in my life when I was doing a lot of exercises in subtle perception, and was very ‘open’ in that respect. The plain fact is, that I could hardly stay awake in his Satsangs. My eyes were literally closing, and my head nodding, of their own accord – I fought to stay awake, but it was really difficult for me. Fortunately, Isaac gave Satsang in Munich, where I then lived, quite often, so I was able to visit quite a few times. In the course of time, it seems that my organism got used to that energy, that presence, and the sleepiness fell away.

I then came to cherish that energy, that well of quietude. I found it increasingly beautiful, and nourishing, just to sit in that field, and be. Just being, and in deep and quiet joy of simply being. But… it was a large audience, and people kept asking questions – most of which were for me trivial, boring and with obvious answers. So I was thinking: Can’t they just shut up and sit in this beautiful presence? All I would like to ask him is ‘Can I have one big hug please?’.

On the very evening when I had that thought, after the official end I walked not out, but towards the stage. Isaac was never one to disappear behind the wings, rather he was available to his visitors. As I walked down the aisle he was talking to a woman, side-on to the aisle, and I thought ‘OK, I gotta line up and wait’. But no – as I came near, Isaac finished talking to her, turned towards me, took a step forward, looked me in the eyes, opened his arms, and gave me a big hug. Not a word was said. Not a word needed to be said. I took a step back, gave a little ‘Namasté’ bow, he inclined his head… and I went home.

That’s how it should be, and that’s how it is – when you have become quiet inside and let life flow through you, accepting that which is, being THAT.

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