Ten Laws with East Forest

Lorin Roche : The Radiance Sutras (#11)

Episode Summary

Lorin Roche PH.D. spent 27 years writing and translating his eponymous work The Radiance Sutras. He signed up for a research project on the physiology of meditation in 1968 when he was eighteen years old and has been a meditator ever since. He teaches a form of practice that he calls Instinctive Meditation, which works with each person's uniqueness from the inside out. Lorin has written several popular books also including Meditation Made Easy .

Episode Notes

Now 65, Lorin has been meditating since age 18, when he signed up to be part of a research project on the physiology of meditation. He was a control subject, and received no instructions whatsoever – they paid him to just sit in a totally dark, soundproofed room in the lab for two hours a day for several weeks, and measure his brain waves. With no instructions, and never having heard of meditation, Lorin just attended to the total silence and darkness, and spontaneously entered entered a state of intense alertness.

A few months later, someone handed him a little book describing 112 meditation practices. When he looked at the first page of the book, Lorin felt a huge flash of light and delight as he realized that he had experienced some of these meditations while sitting in the lab. This experience made it clear that meditation is a spontaneous and natural human experience, and that there are many doorways into meditation. The book contained the first English translation of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, an ancient yoga text.

After the experiment was over, the researchers began asking Lorin to teach simple meditation practices as part of the scientific studies. Then students at the university asked him to share the techniques he was exploring, and this led to teaching meditation in academic classes. Thus it was that with no training whatsoever, Lorin wound up teaching meditation. This was 1968, at the newest University of California campus, so Lorin could get away with a lot.

One thing led to another, and soon Lorin was running his own Experimental College, which went by the name, Esalen at Irvine: Experiential Workshops. He invited teachers from Esalen to come to Irvine and offer workshops in meditation, yoga, dance, Tai Chi, Structural Integration Movement Awareness, Art Meditation, and Gestalt Body Awareness. Each of the Esalen teachers taught Lorin an important component of what later became his own approach to meditation, which combines body awareness, movement, spontaneous gestures or mudra, mantras, visualizations, and above all, individuality.

Individuality is the appreciation that each of us is different, and have unique pathways into our inner worlds.

Lorin was born in 1949 and grew up in Southern California, in little beach towns such as Ventura, Malibu and Dana Point, which in the 1950's, 60's and 70's were middle-class and unpretentious. Both his parents were surfers and members of the San Onofre Surfing Club from the 1940's on, and took him into the ocean before he could walk.