I like miracles. They inspire me. Miracles cause you to believe, have faith in the unseen, to look further into things, deeper into things. I like miracles. Miracles are the fun of enlightenment. When a teacher does a miracle—an enlightened teacher—and everyone sees it, they’re astonished. And suddenly they have faith in what the teacher has to say about self-discovery and spirituality and enlightenment.

If you see a martial arts teacher dressed in their outfit, in their gi or in their black belt, it’s impressive maybe—but if you watch them break a brick or several cement blocks with their hands and kick boards and things, it’s very impressive. If you’re looking for a martial arts teacher, you’ll take them seriously because that’s not an easy thing to do. Now, breaking bricks and boards is not necessarily the purpose of martial arts and it doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with fighting. But it makes a point, both in training in martial arts and, of course, for the student. The student sees the teacher do this and says, “Wow, this is incredible! This is a powerful person! This is a unique person who can do this!”

Miracles have a purpose. Miracles help people believe in enlightenment. Enlightenment is something that in the beginning, and even sometimes in the intermediate phases of self-discovery, you’re not aware of. You don’t see it. It’s not something that you’re very conscious of. Enlightenment, initially, appears to be subtle. It’s just out of the field of your vision. If you’re meditating, if you’re practicing every day, you don’t necessarily see the changes that are taking place in your life because you’re so close to them. You don’t remember how limited your awareness field was six months ago or a year ago, let alone yesterday, before this morning’s meditation. The real miracle, obviously, is the transformation of consciousness from limitation and pain, to enlightenment and ecstasy.

But in order to get to an appreciation, a belief, in order to inspire practice, teachers sometimes do miracles—or sometimes they just enjoy doing them. A miracle, a siddha power, is part and parcel of infinity. And I suppose you can use them to be egotistical and show off, but somebody enlightened wouldn’t do that. They just have fun with it. It’s an innocent play. An enlightened person lacks self-consciousness in the sense that there’s no ego valuation for what they do. They just do things because it’s fun, because it’s beautiful or because that’s how life flows through them.

It’s inspiring when you see a miracle. Miracles cause you to believe. When the teacher does a miracle then you say, “Well, if they can do that, they must be unusually powerful, and there might be something to what they are saying about all this self-discovery and meditation stuff. It might be worth practicing.”

Some people don’t need miracles. They just believe. Or their life is painful, and they just want a change, and they are willing to try something—to try meditation, to try introspection—after trying many other things. Some people are just drawn without a particular reason. Maybe it’s just past lives. And that inspires them—their karma compels them to follow the path to enlightenment. But, for many people, miracles are important. They’re an important part of self-discovery, and some enlightened teachers do miracles to inspire people. Others do them simply because it’s part of their job.

Now, I should point out that from the enlightened teacher’s point of view, there aren’t really any miracles other than the miracle of life itself. The use of the powers, of the siddha powers, is actually a very scientific application of occult energy through the occult body to do something specific.

If you went to a very rudimentary tribe that had never seen modern technology, then if you whipped out a little butane lighter and lit it, they would be astonished perhaps. They’d think you’d done a miracle. Somehow, just by moving your finger, you’d caused flame to sprout out of that little device. You know it’s not a miracle. It’s just a lighter. You know how it works. There’s gas, there’s a spark and the gas ignites and burns. The gas is stored in a little canister.

That’s what the siddha powers are like. They’re just an intelligent application of energy. It’s like using a lighter. It’s like doing anything technological. It’s not a big deal. It’s only a big deal to someone who doesn’t understand what it is. Some of the more common siddha powers are, of course, physical healing, obviously empowerments and transformation of consciousness, physical healing to heal somebody of a disease they might have or an ailment, to bring them back from the brink of death to life just with pure energy, pure power. There are siddhas, of course, you know, that you’ve heard about—levitation, that kind of thing. There is the siddha of the tumo, to be able to create a lot of heat so that you’re not cold even in a very cold environment—very useful in the caves of Tibet, by the way. There are a lot of different siddhas. You can read about them in mystical books.

I think, personally though, the most convincing miracle is the miracle of light that you see when you are with someone who is enlightened. When you visit an enlightened teacher, if you have the opportunity to meditate with them, if they sit in meditation, for a period of time you should close your eyes and meditate but you should also, once in a while, open your eyes and observe them. Look at the energy field around their body.

You will see—if they are enlightened and if you are not completely blocked up psychically—you’ll see a number of emanations, a number of different lighting effects that are very beautiful to watch. You may see golden light, suffuse light, all around them. You may see them go into a kind of photo-negative that looks like everything reverses. You may see them dissolve in light. The light may grow so thick you can’t even see them. You can’t make out their body. You may see through them sometimes. Sometimes you can actually see right through them and see what’s behind them. It depends on the state of attention that they’re in.

But, as you watch an enlightened teacher, you will see this light after a while. Sometimes people come to an enlightened teacher and they don’t see the light at all. They’re just blocked up. Their mind is so caught up in the world of the senses and thought that they just simply can’t let go and allow their occult eyes to see. They need to practice meditation for a while. But most people can see the light even the first time. Sometimes it’s funny. They don’t even know what they are seeing. It’s so natural that it does not seem like it’s unusual, and, well, I’ll tell you a story.

When I meditate, people see manifestations of light when I go into samadhi and through the samadhis. And sometimes when I meditate, if I’m doing a public meditation, the energy of enlightenment is very clear—it’s very high, it’s very beautiful, and it’s so clear that people don’t realize that their attention has been elevated. When you’re dealing with someone who is fully enlightened, the energy is so perfect, in a way of speaking, it’s so shiny that you really don’t know it’s there.

I once had a judo teacher and he explained—he was telling us stories about great black belts and stuff—and he said there would be an opportunity—he had a fifth-degree black belt—to work with a sixth-degree black belt and get thrown by him. Now, immediately I was filled with terror. I was quite young at the time and I said, “Well gosh, wouldn’t it be better to be thrown by a first-degree black belt and not by a sixth-degree black belt?” I assumed the sixth-degree black belt would sort of just mop you up all over the floor, and the first-degree black belt would be easier to deal with.

And he said, “No, no, no. It’s much better to be thrown, if you are new, by a sixth-degree black belt, not by a first-degree black belt. A first-degree black belt is still new to the world of martial arts, and when they throw you, they might injure you. They can’t see that you’re a beginner. They don’t have complete control yet. They might know you’re a beginner, but they just don’t have the control to get you to land correctly, to compensate for your lack of knowledge. A sixth-degree black belt, on the other hand, is so good at what they do that they’ll place you on the ground just perfectly without injuring you. They’ll be able to compensate for your lack of knowledge.”

The same is true with teachers and with miracles. There are some teachers who just perform miracles. They can manifest things from the other world into this world. They’re not necessarily enlightened. They have siddha powers. And they may even be spiritual. But the energy field around them, if you’re a connoisseur of energy fields, is a little bit rough. There’s an intensity to it that is not completely pure. If you’re with someone who is truly enlightened, you know, a fully enlightened being—a jivanmukta, liberated soul—the light, the quality of the light is so clear, it’s so perfect, that you don’t really know that it’s there until later.

In other words, their energy field when you’re with them lifts you up, and you don’t really recognize that you’ve been lifted up into altered states of attention, higher states of consciousness, until you come down later. It’s so clean, it’s so pure, it’s so natural that there’s no sense—they’re so good at it that they throw you so perfectly into higher states of consciousness that you don’t get injured. You don’t even realize you’re in a higher state of consciousness, it’s so subtle, until later when you come down from that state of attention, and then suddenly you realize how high you were.

As I was saying, once I gave a talk at UCLA, and I was sitting there and I was meditating—this was many years ago—and there was a large crowd there. They had come to meditate with Rama. And I’m noted for colors and bright lights and special effects. Well, there’s just a tremendous amount of visible light usually around me when I meditate. So I was—I got a kick out of it because I was mingling with the crowd afterwards. You know, I did the meditation, I gave a talk on enlightenment and Buddhism. And then afterwards, everyone was walking out, and sometimes I just like to walk with the crowd. I just like to be part of it and not necessarily be standoffish and go hide behind the curtain or anything. Sometimes I like to be standoffish. But that particular day, I just felt like walking with the crowd and just walking around.

I ended up walking behind two women, and they were having a conversation. And it was interesting because they were talking about what they had seen, and one woman said to the other, “Oh, did you notice when he was surrounded by a red light?” And she said, “Oh yeah, I saw the red light. I saw the red light.” Then the other one said, “Oh yes. And then there was the gold light, and then he just disappeared for a while. I couldn’t see anything. There was just—the room went gold.” She said, “Oh yeah, I saw that. And then did you see when everything went into reverse? Everything just kind of solarized.” And she said, “Oh, yeah, I saw that.” Then they chatted back and forth about what they had seen, and after they had this conversation, they said, “Well, what are we gonna do tomorrow night? Tomorrow night, let’s go to the opera.”

And I was listening to them converse, and it was interesting because they were so high they had no idea what they were saying. The things they were describing, we would class as miracles. To see someone manifest all the astral lights, to be surrounded by light, to have so much light emanating from their body, pulsing waves of gold light, that you couldn’t even see anything else in the room—we would consider that a miracle. Again, it’s the miracle of enlightenment. And these gals were up so high that they were talking about it as if it were any ordinary, everyday experience. They didn’t even realize what they were saying because the energy of enlightenment had elevated their attention field so far that they were in a world in which that was normalcy, in which miracles were the norm.

And that’s the world I live in. I live in a world where there is nothing but the miraculous. There is nothing but continuous light. There is nothing but continuous perfection. That’s the world of enlightenment. Everything is subtle. Everything has a million sides. Everything is a manifestation of God. Everything is light. All beings are infinite. All things are perfect, in their own way. That’s the greatest miracle, is to see things in the light of eternity.

The greatest miracle is silence. When everything is silent, when your mind becomes silent in meditation—by yourself or with a teacher—the world stops. Time stops. Life stops, as we know it, then something happens. We feel a feeling. We feel a longing. It kind of overtakes the spirit. We feel an eternality. Suddenly the world of busyness and times and places and spaces that occupies us, or the world of people and what we’re doing tomorrow and what we’re doing today and what we did yesterday, our plans, dreams and schemes fade away.

And we feel our eternality or we feel eternality. We feel the infinitude of being. And there’s a longing. It’s familiar. Suddenly this world, which has taken on such a significance, doesn’t really matter. Suddenly it’s just a memory. It’s forgotten. And the spirit pines or longs for the world of light from which it came. It wants to return. There’s a beautiful longing and that longing is fulfilled then by a suffusion of light. The longing causes something to happen. It causes the being to grow into light. The greatest miracle is the metaphysical process, in other words.

Yes, there are siddha powers. Yes, you can heal people, transform attention—there are lots of different things you can do. But they are just to inspire. You can flood the sky with light at night so you can’t even see the stars. There are a lot of things you can do with the siddhas—open up the dimensional planes, manifest forces, beings, all kinds of things. But the greatest miracle is the light, the fact that the light comes to you when you have this longing. The spirit moves into light; it is light. It comes here for a while. I’m reminded by that Marvell poem, “On a Drop of Dew,” where he compares the spirit to just a little drop of dew—that when the light of the sun falls upon it, it just, it quivers, and then it evaporates; it goes back into the air, into the ether.

Our spirit makes a journey. It wanders. And the miraculous is the world of enlightenment. Most people don’t live in that world. The world appears to be solid to them. It’s physical. It’s just filled with their pain, their desires, their private ecstasies, their expectations—it’s filled with them. “They” are the world. “They” are the universe, and nothing glows in that world. Everything is solid. The satisfactions are primarily physical—kind of basic. Nothing glows.

But when your consciousness expands, when you enter into the world of enlightenment, you’re in a world—literally—of light. You don’t have to be enlightened to have this experience. You just have to start the inner journey. You live in a world of light where nothing is solid. You travel about doing what you need to do each day, going through the doings of daily life, but your awareness field is luminous and it moves from dimension to dimension, back and forth from mortality to immortality. That’s the miracle of enlightenment, of enlightened mind.

Otherwise you’re caught in an empty house, in a box, in a place that’s not happy. You’re trapped inside you. And wherever you go, there you are. That’s the rule. Wherever you travel to, you’ll just find yourself in one form or another. And if you’re jealous in one environment, you’ll be jealous in another. If you’re unhappy here, you’ll probably be unhappy there. You take your internal baggage with you wherever you travel.

The miracle of enlightenment is that you let go of the baggage; you let go of the self. You take the self and let it dissolve in the white light of eternity. And then you live in that light. As you lessen the ego, as you dissolve the self a little more each day, you live in a greater condition of light, and the luminescence of that light is reality.

Reality is not this world. It’s not the world as you perceive it. It’s this world, but reality is the world as perceived through enlightenment. It’s the same world, but it’s not the same world. When you are in a condition of light everything is ecstatic, everything is joyous, everything is beautiful. Your attention field is subtle. And you are not assuming too much importance, if any at all. The ego is quiet. The mind is still. Your heart is happy, and then you go above all that to the fields of light.

In this world, in the world of solidity, there are experiences. I mean, let’s face it, life for most people is a bad dream. Maybe you have a nice life, but most people on this earth don’t. They live in pain, grabbing at what they can for pleasure. And as they grow old, they despair. The body that gave them pleasure now gives them pain. The life that gave them pleasure turns sour. Things don’t work out the way you planned, for most people.

But if you meditate, then the real miracle is the transformation of your awareness field beyond the body. Beyond the body there is light, infinite light, and enlightenment—oceans of light, continents of light, universes of light. And you can experience those. Reality is a perfect light. And they free you from the limitations of this world, from the ugliness, from the unhappiness of limited perception. That’s the greatest miracle.

I used to teach English as a Second Language at one time. And I was teaching at a college in New York one summer, teaching some summer classes. And I was teaching kids basically how to read, who were in college, but English was not their first language, Spanish was. And it was amazing to watch, to see what it was like when suddenly they could successfully read in English, which meant that they could fill out a job application, which meant that they could transact and get around without being embarrassed in this foreign culture. Suddenly it wasn’t so foreign. And at the beginning of the summer they couldn’t read real well or write real well in English, and at the end they could. And to watch that transformation process was very exciting. To be able to participate in it was very exciting. And it’s the same sense of the miraculous.

In other words, I think the most miraculous thing is learning. That’s why I’m a teacher. That’s why I was an English teacher. That’s why I’m a teacher of enlightenment. It’s why I am a teacher of martial arts and computer science and a few other things. Because when I teach, if I’m a good teacher, I get out of the way and let the student learn. You just guide them to what they need to know. And then you get to watch this amazing, amazing thing happen. You get to watch a life change. You get to watch the growth of an awareness field. The fact that we don’t have to stay as we are, that we can improve our condition, incredibly, even just in the physical world, in terms of knowledge.

To watch a puppy grow into a dog or a child into an adult is an amazing thing. To watch someone go from the limitations of the physical plane where their awareness is bound up in the senses and thoughts and a very solidified sense of self and identity, and to watch them meditate and grow and develop and become not so physical—to watch light move into their life, to see the heaviness of their face change to lightness over a period of time, to see the person smiling, to see the radiant glow of inner light in the eyes, to watch them gain that silent knowledge that comes with inner study—that’s the greatest miracle there is, from my point of view. That’s why I’m a teacher.

I’m a teacher because teaching allows me to observe the universe at work. I like that change, that moment when wakefulness suddenly occurs, when something impossible becomes possible. When the universe is revealed to someone who thought they knew life, and they thought they knew what there was, and suddenly they realize they are only at the beginning—that the worlds of light, the planes of light, go on forever—that the experiences, the universes, of ecstasy, of intelligence, are perpetual.

I like the miraculous. It inspires me. And I choose teaching because it puts me more in touch with it. Like everyone else, I like a good miracle, in other words. It keeps me going. And the miracles that I see are the growth and development of my students, or the students of other teachers. I enjoy that. It refreshes and renews me and keeps my faith in the unseen very strong.

The greatest miracle is the miracle of wakefulness, to awaken from the dream of life and to see infinity everywhere, even in the finite, even in this world, in the simple doings of life—to be able to drive a car or mow the lawn, do your laundry, go for a run, go shopping, to take a shower—but in those activities to be in a field of light while you’re performing them, and to see them as templates of all universes, of all realities. To be in thousands of states of mind simultaneously as you perform simple physical tasks gives you a reverence for life. You realize that there is nothing that is not perfect. There is nothing that is not miraculous. The simplest thing is a miracle if you see it truly because each of these outer manifestations of life is God, is the ultimate truth.

Buddhism leads you to this understanding. Buddhism leads you to the awareness that all things are holy, not just those who meditate and those who become enlightened. That would only be a partial understanding. The real miracle of life is that everything is holy—even the people who do the opposite of what you would consider to be spiritual are as miraculous. The dark has its own light, in other words.

In the beginning, we define what is spiritual and what is not, what is practice, what is not. But as you go on, you see that everybody and everything is an instrument of infinity. You see the miraculous in all things. That’s the greatest miracle, of course, is that everything—not just the categories that you set up, but all things—are holy. All things are divine. And yet we pick and choose among them what’s appropriate for us.

There are miracles, and they’re inspiring. There are miracles of light. There are miracles of power—the ability to change things, affect things, to see and know things without being physically present. There are all kinds of siddhas. You can read about them in a book. But the greatest miracle is your journey into light. And if you’re fortunate enough, you will gain the consciousness in this lifetime to see all things glow, to see that all things are really made up of light.

This solidity is not true. The apparent solidity is the delusion of the senses and of the self. Everything is made up of infinite, intelligent light. And if you look into anything, you can follow that light back to its source, which is everywhere and nowhere, which is nirvana, which is enlightenment.