Satori, an interview with Avikal Constantino
Why would you want to know the truth of who you are?
An interview with Avikal Costantino, facilitator of Satori retreats worldwide, and founder of the Integral Being Institute by Mark O'Brien.
Mark: Why would people want to do Satori?
Avikal: (Laughter) I know why I wanted to do it, and why many friends did. The common point was that we had all reached a place where we realised we had travelled a beautiful, intense, at times painful and yet very rewarding path, working on relationships, stories with our parents, power, love, money, success. The basic point that we all came to was “Who is the individual who is experiencing all of this?” Who goes through the pain of love? Who wants to change himself and the world? Who wants to be enlightened? Who gets lost in the search?
At the centre of all these issues is an entity, a presence. Obviously it is not the ego, the personality, or the mind and the emotions, because these things keep changing, while the sense of a presence is always there through all the changes. So somehow there is only one real question in existence. “Who am I? Who is talking, who is listening. Who is reading? Who is wondering what is going on? Everything comes back to this point. Who is experiencing existence?”
There are no questions that go closer to the target than this one. This is the most direct approach to finding yourself. We all have touched, in love, adventure, danger or meditation, spaces where we knew who we were, who was there. And we could also feel that whatever was there, was in no way different to everything else outside of us. No separation. We all have this. We just never allow ourselves to be totally focused on this experience. Satori is just an extreme acceleration, amplification of the fire and attention on this presence. For one week there is nothing else that exists than this quest.
What do you get, what do you realise when you do this work? You can experience yourself directly, and not through a different medium like mind, emotions, approval of the others, the sensations of the body, which are all filters. You can recognise your true nature, and you can also speak it. This is about speaking the truth of who you are, being there with it with another human being. If you cannot live it (your true nature) then it doesn’t mean much. You want to be in it when you are making love, drinking coffee, walking on the beach, surfing, in the car.
I’ve seen thousands of people do this process coming honestly, intensely to the point of wanting to find out who is living this life. Going through all the layers of mind, of attachment, of identification with the personality, and reach that place where there is only presence. It’s incredible. It can only be experienced, and is completely personal. You are the only one that can know directly. You can be it. You are the only one able to know the truth of who you are. This is the real thing.
And why would you want to know the truth of who you are? Why do you want to have a direct experience of yourself? Because that is the only place where there is no conflict inside. YOU RECOGNISE YOUR NATURE, YOU EXPERIENCE YOUR NATURE, YOU SPEAK YOUR NATURE, YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE. You can see your uniqueness and your potential and they are one and the same. You stop struggling and being busy with what you are supposed to be, which is all about being something else than what you really are. Once you know who you are, conflict stops. It falls away on its own. This is who I am right now! Can anybody say something about that? No, I am the only one.
You get a sense of rootedness, of peace, of connection, of easiness in relating to the others. There’s no question of being different, and a sense of being “part of it". Because what you are is reflected everywhere, so you really start feeling the connection. It makes life much more simple. The moment you realise who you are, that you are part of an ever changing flux, then there’s no need for any effort anymore. Every tension is about being something different from what you are. Like Osho says, “There is no need to even swim in the river. You just ARE the river. You relax.” Relaxation is not possible unless you know who you are.
Which does not mean that you go into a place of passivity and collapse, of negative non doing. Because you are who you are, you can be completely free to do anything. There is absolute freedom.
The [Satori] group is about taking 7 days as a gift, where your whole energy, all your love, your passion, is devoted to the search. You burn through the layers of the mind, your attachments and identifications. Not difficult within the structure of the process. And after a few days, when you are centred in yourself and looking from a totally different perspective, then you start working with other questions like What is love? What is life? What is freedom? What is another? etc. On about day 3 or 4 most people have a breakthrough. After that it is like you get to reshape your own form. From your centre. From your truth. From your uniqueness.
Satori is without doubt the most brilliant and powerful process of awareness and self-inquiry.
Love and awareness are one and the same, and in our daily life they support each other immensely, as awareness gives centre, grounding and clarity to love, and love gives wings, inspiration and empathy to awareness.
Some people's experience of Satori:
"I found a reference point inside which I'd never had before; a place of home, of knowing in the middle of disaster that there is something else. A gratefulness that, after all these 20 years, I now know what the Himalayan peaks are that the mystics speak about. The light went on and never really went off again - something I was waiting for after years working in therapy and with the personality. A feeling that IT IS POSSIBLE!” Halima
“In Satori I have had various glimpses of truth that we are not separate from the Divine. Deeply asking myself "Who am I?" without involving memory, I could approach that truth. Wonderfully simple and yet too obvious for the mind to understand On the other hand there is a fundamental step that seems necessary…intellect has to be used by consciousness to explain the experience while it's happening, otherwise 10 minutes after this realization mind starts to doubt it. Working in couples in an intensive we give to the mind the opportunity to recognize this truth even though cannot catch it.” Vartman
From an interview conducted circa 2001 with Mark O'Brien, first published in the Here & Now magazine
See also for a review of the Satori process
For further information about Satori or Avikal, visit Integral Being