Jitendra is a spiritual teacher, shaman and channel for embodied awakening. He is co-founder of HoloRising with his beloved wife, Pia, and is the founder of Core Awakening Journey mystery school. His latest project, Healing the Great Divide, is aimed at transforming how communities and organizations create more effective, collaborative cultures. This year will see the emergence of seminars and living laboratories to explore, encourage and empower positive change in our social and economic spheres.
Jitendra also co-founded OccupyCafe.org, a global online social network forum that worked asynchronously with weekly interactive conference calls in support of social justice and innovating change. OC operated full time from October 2011 through January 2013. OC website content remains with occasional activity.
Jitendra's life work is informed by the merging of two diverse streams of experience. First was the violent abuse of his childhood, eroding his confidence that he might ever function effectively in the world. It drove him to spend long hours alone in nature obsessing over the meaning and purpose for his life. Then, at the age of 19, while struggling to relate his college studies to some kind of purposeful life, he had a life-altering spiritual awakening into Divine Oneness.
Words are no match for merging with the Heart and Light of Divine Love. Lasting over a year and a half, the experience of all-pervasive Love, connection and insight with God within the world around him, galvanized his life-long desire to influence the transformation of humanity. It made no sense that the world should suffer when unconditional peace and contentment is available to everyone—if only they knew how to see beyond the veil of fear and separation.
Leaving college behind, Jitendra turned to digesting volumes of diverse spiritual and metaphysical texts searching for a context in which to communicate this exquisitely expanded and deepened perspective of life. A year and a half into his awakening, the uninterrupted Divine connection seemed to dissolve into what felt like a more ordinary state. His Oneness experiences intensified only came when he consciously directed his awareness in meditation. Though raised a Methodist (his brother, Kenneth, is a pastor and district superintendent for the church), his enlightenment experience of One Source led him to understand his faith as universal and inclusive. There are no religious distinctions on the inner planes, only a single Source expressing as Light, Intelligence and Love for and as, All That Is.
Five years into his journey, Jitendra was living near Woodstock, New York, having started an organic whole food bakery, called Food For Our Children, out of an old church (steeple and all). He became involved in the Woodstock community around social justice for Native American issues and caravanned to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 1978 Longest Walk rally. It was the culmination of a Native American cross country march begun in San Francisco, symbolizing the great miles traveled because of imposed marches from their native homelands due to land grabbing and dishonored treaties.
A profound shift occurred for him in the days following the Longest Walk rally, which had filled the Washington Monument mall with tens of thousands of demonstrators. Between witnessing violence in the camp between AIM (American Indian Movement) leaders and FBI infiltrators and the stunning media blackout in the days following the massive rally, he concluded that lasting social change would not occur by marching the streets.
A deep conviction arose that only a massive shift in the consciousness of people, could there be any real lasting change at systemic and institutional levels. He knew in every fiber of his being that consciousness transformation would be his path from then on—the protesting he would leave to others. Jitendra has since returned to activism. [Note: There was a positive outcome from the rally. 11 pieces of legislation were successfully defeated in Congress that would have terminated many significant treaties between the federal government and tribes nationwide.]
Shortly after the Longest Walk, Jitendra's life turned again when he was supporting his friend, John, to reunite with his father. It turns out, his father was author [Crack In The Cosmic Egg; Magical Child], Joseph Chilton Pierce, who happened to be living in the ashram of Swami Muktananda. Baba, as Muktananda was affectionately called by his devotees, was an Indian spiritual master renowned for his potent transmissions that awakened spiritual energy. John was resistant, but Jitendra was a committed cheerleader. Happily, John and his father did reconnect.
Jitendra, however, was also curious about Muktananda. He had been actively seeking a living spiritual master for a number of years, believing that a realized master could restore that full-time blessed experience of Loving Oneness with the Divine. Though he had met a few well-known teachers, none struck him until he found himself face-to-face with Baba Muktananda. It was instantly clear that he would dispose of the bakery and move into the ashram where he remained for 3 years, intensifying his spiritual practice, until Muktananda's passing. Muktananda gave Jitendra his namesake, which means "conqueror of the senses."
Upon leaving the ashram, rather than a straight path back to enlightenment as Jitendra had imagined, there came a great boon of worldly and financial success followed by a much longer dark night of the soul. The shock of violence from Jitendra's childhood was not to be bypassed by some spiritual practice. Hours a day meditating and chanting God's name did not dissolve the deep impact of early abuse. Rather, it stirred and resurfaced the pain and patterns of those earliest traumatic years. Twelve years after his illumination, Jitendra was crashing in financial ruin, losing his family, including his three children, and coming within minutes of taking his life. Nietzsche, thankfully, was right, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
Extreme despair collided with Jitendra's reservoir of awakening experiences of Love and exquisite fulfillment and he opted for life. Once again, emerging from the shadows, he was presented with a an existential inquiry – and eager to unravel it. "What goes on in the human body and psyche, that causes resistance, even aversion, to the profoundly positive and healing experience of Love?" And so began the second phase of Jitendra's awakening journey, a shamanic descent. This was not an academic question to be thought through. This was an abyss into which he dove headlong, a journey into direct contact with the terror locked inside the territory in question. Carl Jung once characterized James Joyce and his fatally troubled daughter, Lucia, by saying, "…they were both headed to the bottom of the river, only he was diving and she was falling."
Such was the distinction between Jitendra's dark night and his shamanic descent. The dark night was a fall, the shamanic descent turned round to a dive. He consciously and proactively plumbed the depths of connection between his body and it's reservoir of subconscious emotional and physical trauma and its relationship to the unlimited expanse of Loving Presence.
Jitendra had come into direct contact with the "gap" between matter and spirit, an impersonal realm of indescribable pain of loss—the root of humanity's existential fear of separation and abandonment at every level. The direct experience of this gap in consciousness shook the foundation of his spiritual paradigm.
The turning point of his descent came while living remotely in the gold country of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. While surrendering to dive ever deeper into an embodied (sensorial) experience of this pain than ever before, he emerged and awoke into a profoundly peaceful and expansive spaciousness. He had experienced this spaciousness often in the past, though only while transcending his body, jettisoning it like a spent booster rocket to attain higher realms.
It was a radical surprise to find infinite space within what seemed like a crushingly limited experience within his body. In that moment, he discovered what he later read in Sri Aurobindo's words, as reported by Sat Prem in My Burning Heart, "…you find deep inside the body something... very similar – surprisingly similar – to what you find at the summit of consciousness, in the great expanses, at the apex of the being – but you find it physiologically, cellularly."
This changed everything. All the years of feeling that his strong emotional nature was a curse to his spiritual attainment, he suddenly realized the prophesy of the name Muktananda had given him 20 years earlier. Jitendra—conqueror of the senses. It then dawned on him. Jitendra means harnessing and mastering a relationship with his senses (not dominating them) in order to integrate dimensions of consciousness and being that had been exiled and sorely missing in our modern world. He discovered that senses are channels of communication between the lost realm of inner matter [mater = Latin for mother) and the conduit for uniting Spirit in Matter. This is our current collective evolutionary impulse as expressed by the ever-expanding narrative of "embodiment."
Jitendra realized that it is modern man's and woman's disconnect from their ability and capacity to deeply feel and remain fully present to their experience that is the source of our profound separation with each other and our natural world—and as a result, our conflicts. This disconnect short-circuits our ability and capacity for empathy and compassion and as a result, we often struggle to care in a way that might be world-changing.
One of Jitendra's contributions toward a solution has been to recognize the function of the physical heart, when engaged and activated consciously in conjunction with organic ways of engaging one's breath, along with sensory tracking, to physiologically restore our deeply compromised limbic (emotional) connections between mind, body and expanded levels of spirit.
He emerged years later with an acute ability to consciously track internal processes and understand the mysterious relationship between the body's imprinted survival mechanisms and their power to "hijack" a person's nervous system and entire thought process—even in the realms of spiritual ascension!
The gestalt of this entire journey emerged years later as the answer to his earlier inquiry and became the model Jitendra calls the Instinctual Survival Zone. The Instinctual Survival Zone reveals an understanding of why human bodies are counter-intuitively loyal to seemingly negative patterns based in fear and separation rather than positive experiences of love and connection. It has proven to have a profoundly liberating effect as one groks its implications.
Revitalized limbic connections are vital to evolving the empathic relationships required for our social and economic systems to emerge into the just and sustainable expressions we envision. This process includes dissolving the endemic fear, shame and hostility toward our feeling selves. The outcome is restoring dignity to our human experience and, as a result, ourselves and each other.
Loss and absence of human dignity lies at the core of all that does not work in our world today. Jitendra's mission is to creatively engage in restoring that dignity. Dignity is love, compassion and respect for life itself. True dignity demonstrates self-worth and human value which is inalienable. It cannot be given or taken, bought or sold by anyone or any power. True dignity is the embodiment of Love and the common ground on which a future that works for all shall be built.
Emerging from his 40-year journey, Jitendra goes forth with an understanding born from within and a diverse range of personal history, to support the restoration of dignity for our human experience. Each course, training, practice and event is focused on the fulfillment of this mission.
Contact Jitendra directly to learn how you or your organization can benefit from his leading edge support and facilitation. He is also available as a speaker and for collaborations on innovative organizational projects.