Michael Brian Baker – “We have to be very careful not to get addicted to it.”
I thank you for being. I thank you for letting me be part of your dream. Because this whole thing is just a dream. It’s a dream of love. We have to be very careful not to get addicted to it. After we’ve felt the frequency, we have to take it out and shine it on people. It’s those that are the most destitute, hidden, encased, downtrodden, suffering. Those are the hardest ones to go towards, because they have this shadow energy forcing through them. Don’t get on my light, right?
I had no spirituality when I was in my youth at all. Just a lot of suffering, a lot of confusion, a lot of pain. I lived in a very different situation than what I was brought up in, and I had a really difficult time with it. I didn’t want to be here at all. I rode my bike to a library and walked in, which wasn’t very much like me. I felt this energy and was pulled to a book. When I pulled it off the shelf, it was the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I opened it and read about the fear of death. The book described the way we leave the world, that what we remember about the way we come in is what we’ll experience going out. This wave of peace came over me. Powerful. Powerful wave of peace.
I didn’t realize there were these little seeds planted along the way.
Soon I was talking to somebody about mantra. I had no idea what it meant, but I ended up having Om Mani Padme Hum tattooed on me later as a youth, in my late teens. There was a kind of wraparound that happened and then little by little over time, people would show up in my life. Eventually, while I was working in the hospitality industry, a devotee with a large heart space saw me and tried to drag me to yoga classes, give me Ram Dass tapes, and tried to get me involved. I kept pushing him away. Over a two year period he just kept saying “Here. Here’s The Only Dance There Is, just keep it on your bedside table. Here’s Miracle of Love, here’s Be Here Now” and I just kind of scoffed at all of it.
Then I ended up in Taos, New Mexico at the Hanuman Ashram. It was for Maharaji’s Mahasamadhi Bhandara. The celebration of his transition. Ram Dass showed up. In twelve years, I’ve never shared this with anybody because I felt like it would leak the energy of it. I’ve been told now that it needs to be shared:
I have been corrected.
It was not a Tantra, Maharaji is not a Tantric Yogi. He was a Bhakti Yogi. It was about devotion. I had a Godhead experience. The pain and suffering of thirty years left my body. It flushed away from me. I was incoherent for about three days. Afterwards, I was in a state of bhav, or union with universal awareness, for two years before it began to slip away. During those two years I was really heavy into Sadhana. Reading all of the books, going to yoga every day, doing serious tapas, fasting for thirty days at a time. That was the real boom. This whole bhakti thing just kind of snuck up on me.
Here I am now.
If you would have told me then, I would have scoffed. Sridhar, the founder of Bhakti|Shakti Fest, is like family. We are a Bhakti family. Family is not always bubbles, unicorns and rainbows. We’ve been through some stuff. But I remember Sridhar saying to me very early on, “Oh, the new spiritual stud. You’re the new spiritual stud on the scene, huh?” At the time, I was in the mortgage business, so I was like, these people are weird. These are weird people.
I always had this drive in my youth to be a performer. My father’s a big television executive, and I always wanted to be loved and seen and acknowledged. I wanted people to care about me and dote over me. I think we all want that in some way, shape or form. We all want to be seen.
When Ram Dass returned from India, I was allowed to take care of him. He was not doing well. At all. I was able to be his nurse maid, which was no small feat because I had never done that before. Because of my devotion and my love for him, I was comfortable taking his clothes off and bathing him and getting him into bed. It was such an honor because the year before, he opened my heart through the darshan of Neem Karoli Baba, it came through him and struck me like lightning.
Here I am, 14 years later in this small circle. The Bhakti circle’s very small. It seems big. On the spiritual scale, affecting a couple hundred people makes a huge difference. My self-worth is reinforced. But on the global scale, when we’re talking about seven billion people, that’s not even an anthill, right?
Seven billion people. We’ve got to tip the scales with a huge breathing room. We need a lot of microphones and about 3.5 billion people breathing at the same time so that we can create a shift. But do I really need to do that? What I actually need to do is make sure my teeth are brushed, that my socks are clean, that I don’t eat too much dairy and that I make sure my son gets to school on time.
It’s very important that in the illusion of what’s being created we understand that the true honor, appreciation and focus should be primarily on yoga and Pranayama, the breath.
Those who sacrifice, like Ram Dass who inherited a huge estate and Maharaji made him give it away. They’ve sacrificed so that I can step out in front of three hundred people, wave some rattles and do some shamanic singing and love on people and create. That focus should be on the people sacrificing, supporting and serving. In a sense, I’m really spoiled, aren’t I? I have all this love showered on me, and I get to do what I love most. Helping and serving people.
I’ve been working with darkness in some very severe ways. We would like to think the world is non-dual. That it’s very sophisticated. In my experience that’s not true. Duality is an absolute on this plane. We are a polar planet. Bipolar. Therefore we are bipolar beings all of us. We want to call it wrong so that people think they’re wrong, so that they get disempowered, so they don’t realize their brilliance, so they don’t understand it’s part of being.
While within the shadow, I’ve learned number one is not to give it too much energy. Not to go into the loop of what is not working, but to find that which is simple that works. So whether that’s cleaning my property or picking fruit or getting my hands in the soil or reaching out to somebody, which is always really hard. How often do we do that, right? We have all these people we can reach out to, but we don’t pick up our phone and go, “Hey listen, I’m going through it.”
“What do you want me to do, do you want me to come to you?”
“That’s not the point, I just need to reach out to you right now.”
Before, the natural byproduct or reflex is to go into suffering. That’s it. Suffer, suffer, cycle of suffering. Guaranteed in the dharmic relation.
There’s a place that’s available for each one of us that is a sort of self-service. Whether that means a hot bath, or sesame pulling, because we know these practices. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know them.
The Five Rights: Energetic reinforcement. Asana. Meditation. Breath. Witness.
Often times, you have to do meditation when you’re under attack unless you’re doing breath. The breath is always the most powerful immediate form of Pranayama. It can really pull you out. The witness too, a lot of people hate that I say this still, but being able to watch it. Being able to go, “Okay, I’m suffering right now.” That’s a really important thing.
To be continued…
2nd part of the interview series with Michael Brian Baker at Bhakti Fest West in Joshua Tree, CA
Interviewed by Hung Tran
Join Michael May 13th-15th at Shakti Fest 2016 in Joshua Tree, CA.
Photo credit: The Breath Center, Melissa Terese Young, Joyful Images, Hanuman Ashram & The Yoga Blog.
The Breath Center is a highly transformational organization dedicated to increasing conscious productivity through facilitation, education, and practice of therapies known as “Breathwork”. Utilized by some of the world’s most successful and innovative leaders throughout across many different cultures and traditions it is now a mainstream practice for up-leveling intelligence, healing and awareness.