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About Annette Nibley

At one point in my life, there arose a deep urge to develop a stronger connection to the spiritual. Despair over circumstances drove me to urgent prayer and longing for something greater, more meaningful, to be not just a vague belief, but a core ground of being, a rock upon which I could rest my soul. I was desperate for it.

Before too long, I was blessed with a vision – of what, I cannot say. It was simply seeing, for just a matter of a minute or so, all things interconnected in a shimmery web of unconditional acceptance. Everything in my consciousness shimmered with aliveness. Everything I could see or think of – my body, the table, the vase, everyone that I ever knew, every event that ever happened or would ever happen, every atom, every planet, no matter how far in or out I went – all connected, and all perfect, forever and ever.

Nothing was excluded, nothing left out. And I knew in that moment that in all things past, present, and future, nothing can ever be wrong. It is all perfect, and beautiful beyond belief. A presence of connection, a fabric of loving attention woven through all of existence – by what, by whom? I do not know. But I do know that I had been given a blessed gift of certainty that there really is something “greater,” something I can rely upon as my rock.

Then I was faced with the task of making sense of what I had seen. I started a weekly radio show to talk about spirituality, God, new age, Christianity, eastern religions, and whatever else might inform my inquiry. I called it “Let’s Get Real,” and it aired for the year 2005.

In the course of doing my prep for that show, I became aware of non-duality, by stumbling upon Stephen Wingate’s review of “I AM THAT,” a famous collection of dialogues between an Indian guru and his students. Stephen’s review said something like, “If you are here, congratulations – this is where your search ends.” Intrigued, I read the book, and was blown away by the unequivocal certainty, both of the guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and of non-duality itself.

I’m not going to include a definition of non-duality here. Let’s just say that I wanted to have this “knowing” that they were talking about, this knowledge that ends all suffering, “the peace that passeth all understanding.” This seemed to be the promise of non-duality.

I wanted to meet a student of Nisargadatta, which led me through Bob Adamson to John Wheeler. I met John at a talk at East West Bookshop in Mountain View, and invited him to be a guest on my radio show. This started a discipleship with John which lasted five years. He was extremely patient with me and all my questions, but answers were not really forthcoming. My question was, as it is with all students of non-duality, What about this suffering? I know what non-duality is saying, but I’m still suffering. What do I do?

I came across the traditional teaching of Vedanta (again through a tip from Stephen Wingate), being taught by Montana-born James Swartz. James has been teaching Vedanta for over forty years, and is in a respected lineage of teachers. Vedanta had some of the answers I was looking for, about what to do about the human experience, which was still very painful at times.

I learned a lot about Vedanta, and alleviated much suffering over the course of five years as James’ student. But I had still not fulfilled the desire I had all those years before – to have a deep core of belief on which I could always rely, a rock upon which I could rest my weary soul.

After about a decade of non-duality, and being trained not to think of my body and mind as who I am, it was about time to reverse course. It was not even my choice, actually. My body and mind just started to clamor for attention, and as it turns out, I am very happy I followed the call.

There is a blending that can exist between the non-dual vision of reality and living as a physical being in a material world. It’s kind of like what I saw in that vision – there is a loving attention woven through all of existence. Now, twenty years later, I am beginning to live into that miracle which I experienced.

I live in Mill Valley, California. It’s a wonderful location for enjoying nature and hiking, and I spend every Friday in a redwood forest. I am an artist, and I love to draw because it makes me see things that would escape my notice otherwise. I do Qigong every day. I have beautiful friends and family whose company I enjoy frequently.