“A sage may have nothing. He is empty, but the force of his mere presence alone will draw those to him who have even a spark of attraction to the Supreme. The sage doesn’t point you to University, he pulls you into the Universal Heart.”
We are walking the sand dunes towards a book launch at a cafe on a beach in the Netherlands. Gabriëlle has just returned from a retreat in Portugal with Mooji. “How was he? How was it?” I ask. “It was…” Gabriëlle is quiet and her eyes turn towards the vast beauty of the sun setting over the grey North Sea. She stops speaking as words are displaced by the vastness of an unconfined love. Her eyes reflect the living, moving peace of the ocean and they become the ocean. Words lose their meaning as we share silence, within the unity of being and the perfume of the real, as we walk, step by step, on the sand.
Meeting with Mooji, whether online or in person, leaves more than just an impression. Although the effects of love, peace and expansion continue to reverberate through the system like flowers by the road-side signaling the way home, there is an impact that cuts through all forms. The impact is the crack in person-hood, through which existential truth shines, emanating as “That” which is always, already here: the source of time and space and the living emptiness beyond the here and now.
In May 2016, Mooji made contact with SAND to discuss his presence at SAND Italy in the Castle of Titignano in August, where he will be breaking bread with top scientists, other spiritual teachers, and all those who are called by grace to attend this momentous event opening the portal to the (Un)Known.
Who is Mooji?
Who is Mooji? No story, anecdote or video could define him. Yet there is a new respect in Mooji’s gatherings towards the raw ingredients of individual life stories; perhaps born of the wisdom that the keys to freedom are found in the precise formation of the individual lock. For each of us, the lock of our feelings, thoughts and emotions is unique. Just as the lock is unique, so are the keys.
Tony Moo was born on 29 January 1954, in Port Antonio, Jamaica. His mother left him with his father when he was a baby, but at 15, after his father died, he decided to join his mother in London. When the teenager arrived at the airport in England, he was put in a detention center for immigrants and sent straight back to Jamaica. The second attempt was more successful and the young man found himself blending into the community of Brixton, South London. “My life adjusted quite quickly to living in England, because my mother belongs to a church community who were very loving, very accommodating,” he told Iain McNay of Conscious TV. Always popular, Moo studied and began to teach art. Artworks from one of the Brixton Art Gallery exhibitions, in collaboration with Sex Pistol’s graphic artist Jamie Reid, can still be viewed online.
When Tony Moo was 31 years old, his sister Dorothy Grace was shot and paralyzed in a raid in which police were seeking her son who had been joy-riding and who they believed to be armed, as there had been a gun in the car he had stolen. The young Tony Moo represented the family to police and reporters, while tending his sister at her hospital bed-side. The shooting sparked the 1985 Brixton race riots which shocked Europe in that decade.
A year later, at 32, Tony Moo met a Christian mystic by the name of Michael who would change his life. Michael had been impressed by a stained glass window made by Moo and wanted to meet him. There followed a series of engaged spiritual encounters. One night, as Michael was leaving, Moo asked him to pray for him too. “Why wait?” replied Michael. He cupped his hands on Moo’s head in a blessing and they prayed together.
“I woke up the next morning and it was like a dimmer switch of sensitivity was turned up to ‘high’ setting,” recalls Mooji. “I was lying in bed, quietly noticing the sunlight pouring through a split in the curtains. It was as if I was seeing the sun for the first time. My heart was full of joy. There was a sweetness about everything that morning… it was more a feeling of inner aliveness and joy, like I was simultaneously seeing outside and inside. I felt extremely happy… I didn’t want this feeling, or this day, to end. I kept walking, feeling a little light-headed and full to the brim with joy.”
This initiation created a radical change in attitude that would unfurl over the next six years. By degrees, much got left behind, including his work and his Brixton home. In 1993, following his inner compass, Tony Moo found himself on a journey to India, on his way to meet Ramakrishna, whose book had captivated his heart. By a twist of fate, he never arrived in Calcutta, but instead detoured towards H.W.L. Poonja, otherwise known as Papaji, whom he had never heard of before.
Moo spent several months in Satsang with Papaji. At some point, with a great deal of anxiety, he felt compelled to put himself at the feet of the sage. What followed was one of the most horrific and blessed moments of his life.
“Sometimes, Papaji can just destroy your ego with a few playful remarks… a joke, or a simple turning away of his head,” Mooji told Iain McNay of Conscious TV. “In my case, it began with him poking fun at my name. It was a girl-name, Tony. The proper boy’s name is Toni. Amidst the roar of laughter…I began to feel a lot of resistance coming up inside. I tried to appear calm on the surface. Now anger and judgment joined in. There was a shock inside, a surprise that such resistance could be happening: such doubts, resentments, all coming in together to climax into a continuous ringing in my ears. Now I watched his lips moving, but could hear no sound. My mind had now shut off, leaving only this boiling resentment towards Papaji. It was saying: ‘You are not my master. What gives you the right to talk to me like this? I would only accept such words from Ramana himself!’”
In a blind rage, Tony (without the ‘I’) Moo decided to leave Lucknow and never return. In the stinging heat, he headed to his quarters to finish packing. To cool off, he sat under a tree, stunned. Then he continued on his way out of there. Suddenly, as he walked, a shift happened.
“This huge cloud of anger and frustration, shame and confusion, vanished. For some time, how long I couldn’t say, I could not find myself. There was simply no reference or memory of ever being a ‘me’. I could see the body but I knew it wasn’t ‘me’. There was just space. My body was there, but that was not what I was looking for. I could not find a reference onto which I could hang something about who I am. I was nameless and formless. There was just an infinite expanse.” From that moment, Papaji came to life in Mooji’s heart as his Master.
On the sudden death of his eldest son from pneumonia, Mooji returned to England. Back in Brixton and penniless, he took to selling packs of incense on the market. He would take straws from McDonalds and cut them smaller, writing short messages and thoughts on bits of paper that he would scroll up and insert into the straws as an extra incentive for his customers. “People loved it,” says Mooji, “You see. Wherever I went, I carried my bag of thoughts. Some conversations would arise and lead into a deeper exploration of truth, and so I discovered Satsang was happening. It all started like this… very soft.”
In earlier years at Monte Sahaja in Portugal, where Mooji now resides and conducts most of his retreats and Satsangs, he had the feeling that he was sitting, (in his own words), “in the lap of God”. His teachings emphasized surrender out of mind and into “being”, out of the restraints of thought-composed identity, into the boundless shores of love and peace emanating out of the awareness of the heart.
In recent years, Mooji’s teachings opened a level deeper, into the emptiness through which both the phenomenon of heart and head take form. Out of this emptiness, even feelings of love and peace will come and go as phenomena, he said at a Satsang in June 2016. With a new refinement, Mooji is pointing towards “That” which is prior even to perception, which is at source and in unity with all phenomena. His message increasingly focuses not only on awareness but also on emptiness: the existential “Here” as indestructible, indivisible, alive and free. There is a greater freedom and equanimity through which all forms may appear without consequence; and as such, he seems to be introducing a new dimension of unconditional mastery.
As a spiritual teacher, online and in person, Mooji has helped thousands of people cross the threshold of self-limitation and fear into the realization of a wider expanse of “Being”. The sophistication, humor, spontaneity and authenticity of his teaching are glints of life on an ocean of softness, friendliness and ease. On Sunday afternoons in Europe, a tangible expansion of unity in bliss seems to emanate from the camp of Monte Sahaja in Portugal.
In August 2016, SAND will welcome Mooji in Titignano, Italy, where the “I am here” of the man who has been called the Buddha of Brixton, will be an “I am here” without separation, borders, politics and shame: the “I am here” of each individual resonating as one manifestation of joy.
All text above signifies only the expressionistic and impressionistic brush-strokes of subjective perception. Nothing written says anything definitive about the one we call “Mooji”, the one we call “Writer” or the one we call “Reader”. All are but irrelevant apparitions emerging and returning to the living silence in which they are sourced.
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