Humanity and Unity ~ Temple of Consciousness Ashram
Interview Conducted by: Jordan Romero
February 28, 2008
I conducted the interview in the library of the Temple of Consciousness Ashram after attending the public meditation and breakfast at the Ashram. I recorded the interview on a cassette recorder so the sound quality wasn’t the best and in some cases you cannot understand what is being said at all (those are noted during the transcription process).
Michael Firsow is a member of the Ashram and moved to Crestone about a year ago and now does fulltime sabaa (selfless service) at the Ashram. His father was a Russian Orthodox and his mother was a Lutheran but neither practiced and as a result neither religion touched him spiritually. “I saw all the inconsistencies in the bible and decided that there was nothing there that I can learn. I need a real teacher, I’m sure Jesus had a lot of meaning in his parables but I’m too young to get them so I need someone to explain them to me. So I never did it, I was waiting and waiting and waiting and then I got into meditation in college and I knew that helped, self help sort of thing.” He went to college at the University of Maryland and worked for 15 yrs in the economic world before coming to live at the Ashram in Crestone
Michael: Om Jai Jai Ma
Me: What does that mean exactly?
Micahael: Basically it’s a greeting and a sound. You begin a conversation as an energy exchange. There is a receiving energy that you are and a giving energy that I am. It also gets a little annoying when you in a room and you are repeatedly saying “Om Jai” you know.
Me: Can you tell me a little about yourself, especially in terms of your religious background and how you identify today?
Michael: How I identify today, what I am practicing?
Michael: Yeah…well like you I was into meditation in college but I never really practiced it. I only practiced it when I really needed to, like for our football team to do well. So before every game I would meditate so that we would win. That year we did really well. But uhm, it didn’t really start getting deeper in until (cuts out but you hear the words “autobiography” and “discovered this wealth of knowledge”.
From memory I remember that he talks about the influence of the Hugs Lady who went to his high school.
Michael: “She sat around for like ten hours and just gave hugs to people. Seeing her for a couple of years and reading a bunch of different books about everything. Buddhist. Everything.
Michael: “Then after several years of study I came here to study with Sai Maa and the way I look at this place (pause) have you ever seen the movie Top Gun, where they send all the best of the best? The Marine Corps, the Navy and they all go to this place, this one little place to train them so they are even better! The best of the best. This place is kinda like that. That’s what its like here for Sai Maa, its really about mastery. And making mastery, not just becoming enlightened. A lot of people become enlightened and its good they are happy but it takes more to become a master. To be able to teach this to other people so that they can become masters and that’s what I’m doing here. Even just living here, it transforms you because its so pure that it just washes you with it and cleanses you.
Michael: Like today, it was a great opportunity for us to teach you guys…
Me: Would you say that being here, is it just this particular place that is special or is it the valley of Crestone or…
Michael: Well there are spiritual vortex throughout the world, some places are more bigger than others. Mountains or oceans with the energies that they hold, but this particular spot, Crestone, is a very special, a very high vibration. Its one of only two ascension vortices, its ascension energy here. Ascension is not just about becoming enlightened, enlightened is (cuts out a bit) about the soul not the body. You know its there you know you’re not going to die (cuts out a bit) but ascension is when you actually turn your physicality into enlightened and you can be able to move into the next realm, the next vibration, the next dimension. That’s what ascension is so we are trying to teach this to the community here and we need the energy because its so high, its purifying.
Me: Are there any common misconceptions about your practice? What are they if any?
Michael: Common misconceptions, well my father thinks I’m in a cult…but he’s old so I don’t think he really understands…but usually children are more advanced than the adults so, uh, at some point you know better than they do. But yeah misconceptions, well misconceptions is…I brought my mother out here one time for Christmas and do a two day retreat do the work that I do and practice in my spiritual practices and then uh, I remember she got in the car to leave and she looked and me and goes “I’m so happy that you have such a place here.” I was a little worried about the work about whether she could do the work and was understanding, the whole process of raising the vibration. But she was more worried that I was in good hands and that I wasn’t being taken advantage of. I think that is a misconception/miscommunication, people thinking that. I once asked my dad “do you like being around me?” and he said “yeah” and I said “do you think I’ve improved?” and he said “yeah” and I said “do you feel better when your around me than you used to?” and he said “YEAH” then I said “what do you care?! If its working for me than why do you care. Another one is they can’t believe that Maa’s so beautiful, that’s she s a divine feminine and that she’s about prosperity and wealth and you living in abundance and you living in the glory of wholeness, that your teeth are white and their strait, you get that from a lot of people saying ‘her teeth are white and they’re strait…she can’t be a guru, she’s too beautiful’ so that’s one misconception that we run into a lot. But back to misconceptions well, one of the things about Sai Maa that’s a big misconception Everybody thinks that you have to give everything up that you have to sit in meditation and practice for hours on end… It is about surrender its surrendering your bad habits, surrendering your attachment to things because attachment creates misery and desire, creates pain. Its more of an intellectual giving up, its surrendering and removing the things inside of you that are keeping you back.”
Me: What do you do here everyday?
Michael: “Sabaais called selfless service. Service not for monetary gain but for spiritual gain because there are three types of karmas that you have to work off. There are service to the world and that’s whatever your job or the thing that you have to do. (Cuts out…), then the last karma is the karma with the guru, the spiritual karma that leads to enlightenment. So that’s what we are doing here, we are all working off our karma, doing good things and working off the bad things that we’ve done in the past. Selfless service is really important because we are working for the church and we are giving spiritual gain to each other.”
“This is where you come to immerse yourself in the spiritual practice, sabaa selfless service, meditation, whatever…”
Me: How did Sai Maa decide to come here to Creston?
Michael: “She came here and there is a knowingness that comes from God or spirit or however you want to describe it, this is it, this is where you are supposed to be. You’ve felt that haven’t you, in your heart?
Michael: “Books are too slow and I got one life, I can read all these books but you need to practice them. I’m dying to become a master and I read fifty books and I’m learning about it but I’ve never practiced it. Its not the same as having someone right in your face telling you this is wrong, this is right, pointing you to your right path. Meditation for example, can be full of distractions, you get messages but you don’t believe them, maybe I should do that, but having someone there to guide you, like a master. Here you work with the mother and you can do meditation practices for your whole life and not get the love that you are looking for. That’s where Maa comes in.”
Me: What if any is the relationship with the members of your spiritual community and other communities in crestone?
Michael: “We try and do things with other people, we try to be open, we know that everyone has different personal beliefs and paths to finding the truth, I understand the carmalites have their way of looking at things and that’s great for them and whatever thoughts that they have, that pathway works better for them and I honor that and I don’t think that things need to be done my way, no, not at all. So we try to do things with other communities as much as possible, you know potlucks and fire ceremonies, and the medicine wheel you know the Native American medicine wheels when the whole community comes together…uhm…Thanksgiving, everybody in Crestone comes together for the big holidays, uhm…I don’t feel like there is any type of friction, sometimes in the community you get friction, but within the spiritual communities the point is that you come here to get away, they came from the energy, they like the idea of isolation and being away from civilization, they don’t like the idea of having a bunch of buildings and stuff like that so we tend to get along well. Plus this whole drilling issue has brought us together even more so”
Me: How do you think the drilling will affect you guys?
Michael: “If it were to happen it would be a major catastrophe, a obomination, such a huge loss because this Crestone area is special. Its beautiful and it is a big major center for energy in the whole United States, the whole world. There are just so many different levels of energy that this place is holding in and just gets stronger and stronger and it’s a place of peace. The have been no wars in this valley and no one ever will. So to have something like the drilling come in and destroying a natural aquifer, destroying the natural vibration, and bringing in the energy of greed to an energy of good, of ascension. We have all the high vibrations and they are bringing in the low. If they do bring in the low I guess we could purify it, but I just don’t believe it will happen.
Michael: “Because everything is about energy. Like you and I sitting here, one of us is getting more energy and one of us is receiving energy, there is an energy exchange going on here. There is a sort of energy exchange and with that there is also emotion. Grief is one of the lowest vibrations and it vibrates really low, sadness vibrates really low. You and I are very high, joy and happiness are very high. We have a very high energy here and they are going to be bringing in a low energy, who do you think is going to win out? You know, just from an energy standpoint we have a much powerful energy. We may not be a big company like they are or we may not have the money that they do but just from an energy standpoint we’re united and that’s very powerful too. We did a big medicine wheel at the start of all this and brought in Orval Riching Horse (could be wrong, couldn’t hear that well) to conduct the ceremony and the Carmelites, the Hindus, the Jo Ray, the Buddhist, and it was the whole community so we were calling in all the energy not just from our own lineages and our own groups but calling it in from the earth. From the sun, the moon, the earth, the mountains of Crestone, the animal kingdoms, there is a lot of energy that is pushing up against this material so I don’t think it will happen. Plus there is a plan for this place, the masters are looking out for us, the earth hierarchy, and they got a plan, like Jesus has a plan or evolution of humanity. So whatever they want to happen is going to happen but this is just too important of a place, its like an ascension vortex, you know what I mean, its too important place in the world for them to allow it to be destroyed, they wont let it. There may be stuff that goes on like what is happening right now because we learn and grow by coming together and opposing this type of thing, its brought you guys here today, there is an exchange going on so it looks like it might happen but in the end I don’t think it will.”
This interview was really interesting; Michael talked a lot about energy and ascension. While he didn’t know much about the drilling issue, I believe that was due in part that he had a strong belief that it wasn’t going to happen. He did however express fear of what would happen to the valley and the Ashram itself if it would happen. The most important part of the interview was his belief that in the end, energy will win out, especially if the community was united together against the drilling. If that were to happen there would be no way that the drilling company would triumph.