I’ve written several articles about the teachings of Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle and Mickey Singer. Also a few about Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Adyashanti and a smattering of others.
So I was surprised this morning when I did a Medium search on my articles and realized I hadn’t written anything about Peter Russell. Why am I surprised? Because I absolutely love Peter Russell and his teachings.
A quick bio
Who is he? Peter studied mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University. After studying meditation and eastern philosophy in India, he changed his focus to studying the mind, pyschology and consciousness.
His work the past forty years has been an eclectic mix of pioneering work in computer science (in the 1970s), corporate consulting on stress management, creativity and personal development, and multiple books on spiritual subjects.
An interview with Eckhart Tolle
My introduction to Peter Russell came around ten years ago when I saw him interviewed by Eckhart Tolle. What came out of that?
First, I was taken by his overall vibe. What do I mean by that? I just liked him. He seemed like a genuine, decent human being. How could I tell? That’s why I used the word vibe to describe my reaction. It was simply the vibe I got.
They don’t all have a great vibe
One might think that all spiritual teachers exude a positive vibe. That’s not the case, for me at least. Some might be fantastic teachers with loads to offer, but we don’t get that sense of genuine decency. Peter and Eckhart exude those qualities the most for me.
As for his teachings on consciousness and the like, that’s where Russell’s theoretical physicist/mathematician side comes out. I’ve read a few of his books on these subjects and they’re a bit too thinky/analytical for me. I’m not big on trying to think my way through these weighty metaphysical matters.
The best meditation teacher
But Peter’s teachings on meditation are the reason he is one of my favorites of the spiritual luminaries. In fact, he comes out number one when it comes to meditation.
This manifested mostly in my early years of meditation when I used his guided meditations. As you may know, there are tons of these on the internet and I tried many of them. But I always came back to Peter’s.
Why? First is the aforementioned vibe thing. I find his voice, affect and bearing highly relaxing and effective in effectuating a meditative state.
Relaxation is key
Second, and just as important, is what he emphasizes in meditation. That can be summed up in one word: Relaxation. He stresses “letting our attention relax into the moment.”
He also said something in a guided meditation that I first listened to around ten years ago that I still use to this day, both in my sessions and in classes I teach.
It was in the first minute of the session. He said something to the effect of,
“…You’re not trying to get anywhere special. Or achieve some high spiritual state…You’re just sitting here quietly, watching your breath…”
This stuck with me because I, like many meditators, had the tendency to get stuck trying to get to some otherworldly state, which resulted in tightness and frustration. His teaching is exactly what meditators need to hear: Meditation is not about getting anywhere; it’s about allowing everything to be exactly as it is in the present moment.
Peter also teaches something that I haven’t heard from anyone else. He encourages people to enjoy their meditations. Wow, what a concept!
By continually relaxing into the moment, we can actually enjoy meditation. I try to remind myself of that as much as possible during my sessions. It doesn’t have to be all drudgery and tight concentration.
So check him out if he sounds like your cup o’ tea. He has a fantastic website with all kinds of free resources. The site is peterrussell.com.
Again, I find his guided meditations to be the best. Especially if you are new to meditation, I highly recommend going on his site and giving those a try.