Spiritual Roots and Commonalities page. Vinny Pinto is a remote spiritual healer, also sometimes known as a metaphysical healer or non-local healer. On this page, he shares his thoughts on other authors, teachers, systems and healers with which he feels a resonance or commonality. He also shares his thoughts on how "it all fits toegether" with his background as an engineer and scientist as well as a mystic.
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On this page I wish to share my thoughts about authors and teachers -- in the realms of spirituality, healing, and the nature of our world -- with whose works I feel a commonality or resonance. Why? I am often asked how someone such as I, who seemingly started his life as the perfect embodiment of a left-brained, linear, scientist cum engineer archetype, and with eventual academic credentials in the physical and social sciences, including psychology, ended up as a mystic and a remote spiritual healer. This page (or series of pages; we shall see... . . .) will attempt to present some answers to that whole broad question. For the remainder of this discussion, it is assumed that you have already read about my basic background and training, as described on the page on this site entitled Vinny's Training & Background, that will supply some necessary background to the discussions to follow.
Childhood: Part Scientist, Part Mystic
First, let's look at my childhood. From an early age, I was a precocious reader, and was reading dozens of books per week, fiction as well as non-fiction from the adult section of the local public library by the time I was six years old. I had an eidetic memory (this only gradually faded slowly with age), and was able to instantly "see" in recall the pages of a book I had scanned weeks earlier. I was also an avid tinkerer and experimenter in electronics and other areas of the physical sciences; I was a ham radio operator by the time I was about nine years old. From age six onward, my room was a combination electronics, physics and chemistry laboratory, littered with test tubes, half-gutted radios and the innards of a dozen discarded television sets. There were always wires snaking out my bedroom window to strange antennas and devices in my backyard, and by age nine there was an imposing 50-foot radio tower in the backyard which I had built and erected myself. So it is rather well-established that by an early age I was rather adept at a number of the activities usually relegated to the "left brain", or the linear, logical side of the mind. Indeed, even in those years, I was tall and thin, as I am now, with a marathon runner's build, a near-perfect example of the "vata" (air, "reaching toward spirit") type of constitution described in the ancient Hindu system of Ayurvedic medicine.
Strangely, however, even at this early age, I was also a mystic. I clearly remember that I treasured going to bed each night, as this gave me private time to spend in my inner world, a world rich with guides and angels, and with a strong felt sense of some kind of connection to divine Source. Since I was growing up in the fifties, in a rather devout Roman Catholic family, there was some context for this feeling of connection with the divine, and thus this occasional feeling did not cause me any undue alarm.
It soon got to the point where I could access this feeling almost at will whenever I lay in my bed, and it strongly involved a feeling of connection with God or the divine. I remember lying on my bed one autumn night when I was eleven years old; I was suddenly suffused with a blissful feeling of being connected with the Source (God, Being), and I knew that as it subsided slowly that the feeling had sprung forth from some timeless part of myself which was one with God -- a place beyond words or concepts. From that point onward, I noticed that I was very intuitive and that I often was prescient: I often somehow knew what was likely to happen in the next few hours and days. I became extremely empathic with people; I knew their thoughts and feelings upon seeing or sensing people, even strangers.
As a strange side note, I came upon a book many years later, in 1998, by the Indian mystic and sage Ramana Maharshi, who described my early inner states in much the same words I would have used. For some odd reason, most gurus and sages of India and the East have held little fascination or draw for me, but Ramana Maharshi is one of those few whose words often resonate deep within me. I have also encountered the same sentiment contained in that passage, but in slightly different words, in the writings of the American spiritual teacher Lester Levenson.
Forays into Tibetan Buddhism, Christian Mysticism and Astrophysics
I was still an avid tinkerer and experimenter by the time I reached my early teen years, voraciously reading every book on the sciences and technology which I could lay my hands upon. As before, however, I was also a mystic. For some strange and unexplainable reason, I developed a fascination with meditation, and especially early Christian and Tibetan Buddhist meditative and prayer practices. Now, this might not seem too unusual nowadays, but for a budding suburban teenager in the early 1960's, this was more than a bit unusual.
When I grew up, my family lived an hour from New York City. At age 15, I started making day-long Saturday trips to Manhattan via the local commuter train. My parents, usually rather protective, somehow easily and totally believed my facile cover story that I was simply traveling to the city to browse and scrounge apparatus in the stores selling used radio and scientific equipment -- this was the heyday of "Radio Row"; a haven for tinkerers and amateur scientists. Indeed, I did engage in this fun pastime more than once, but on most of those trips, I headed directly for Greenwich Village, guided by some unknown inner "knowing", and was led, by this same sense, to a series of bookstores specializing in used books in the areas of metaphysics and meditation. Before I was sixteen years old, I had accrued several volumes on early Christian mystics, Tibetan Buddhism (I still remember my first copy of Garma C. C. Chang's Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism !) and on meditative practices of embracing God. By then, I was pulling away from the Roman Catholic roots of my upbringing, not with any real hostility, rebellion or rejection, but rather more the feeling of leaving behind a piece of old clothing which I had now outgrown.
I became an electrical engineering major in college, primarily due to my early preoccupation with electronics, but soon grew extremely bored with calculus and fancy formulas of any type. Some intuition told me that this stuff would not be necessary for my path in the world, so I switched to majors in astronomy and science, where I voraciously studied astrophysics for two years. For some reason, astrophysics appealed to me; since it looked at the entire universe and even cosmology, it satisfied my scientific side as well as the broader mystical side. In some ways, astrophysics felt a bit like looking at God. When not studying astrophysics, I busied myself taking courses on psychology and world religions; this to quench a thirst for some other kind of knowing.
Later, in my twenties and thirties, in addition to my regular and ongoing meditative and prayerful practices, I spent years exploring and training in systems of dowsing and inner dowsing, really forms of intuitive access, primarily for health-related issues (often my own at the time!), and for exploring geo-energies (usually the beneficial kind!) For several years, I belonged to the American Society of Dowsers. Then, as with many systems before, I was instructed on some inner level to drop all active pursuit of this topic and even the practice, and allow something else (Spirit, Divinity) to guide my life more directly in the moment.
Teachers, Systems, Encounters
I will devote little more time here to recounting tales of my early years and formative experiences. Those who have read my more formal background and training on the page entitled Vinny's Training & Background are well aware of my zig-zag path thru the fields of science, technology, psychology, psychotherapy, health sciences, alternative healing, energy healing, mysticism and spirituality over the next thirty years. Rather, I wish to devote the remaining time and space to looking at some of the authors, teachers, and healers with whom I feel some resonance -- those persons whom I feel deeply have been describing the same inner reality which I perceive and feel, and those whose words have reminded me of, or confirmed for me, that which I had already known on an inner, subtle level.
My life, as recounted here and on Vinny's Training & Background page, has been a hybrid of scientist and mystic, engineer and priest, the mundane and the sacred. For reasons which at first seem simple, and finally are quite mysterious, this odd mixture of interests has never seemed unnatural to me, and has never been hard for me to reconcile. Ultimately, I simply must say that there is no conflict between the two, and that any apparent conflict is solely an illusion propagated by the mind. I mentioned earlier that the reconciliation of these seemingly disparate worlds within me, and my comfort with them, is, in final analysis, mysterious. What I mean by "mysterious" is that it is something which ultimately cannot be explained by the mind, but rather by that which creates the mind and all matter, namely God, or Being, or Source. Since God, or Source, is largely unknowable to the mind, due solely to the self-imposed limitations of mind, this acceptance seems ultimately mysterious and unfathomable to some.
I wish to stress that while I have studied and trained in many spiritual disciplines, including various systems of Yoga meditation, Zen and Tibetan teachings, and also numerous systems such as alternative healing, energy healing and acupuncture, my perception is that my current state of being and my views on spirituality are not necessarily due to any or all of these experiences, but rather, almost in spite of those experiences. For, to me, those experiences were largely an attempt to validate and or to replicate certain inner knowings which I had. So, yes, they did help to shape me, but often by not offering that which I knew I sought. Many of these systems actually taught me by failing to provide that which I sought, and often by failing to validate what I knew inside. In each case, I knew enough to eventually pick up my bags and move on. For me, the greatest teacher has always been some knowing within, and especially my heart. While my mind has often convinced me to foray far and wide in search of something, my heart has always brought me back to center and to what is important.
However, a few "teachers" whom I have encountered along the way are worth mentioning. First, in my early thirties, I rather accidentally encountered a rather elderly and physically infirm guru at a little Yogic ashram in New York state called Ananda Ashram. At the time, he called himself Sri Rammamurti Mishra (I believe that his current name is Sri Brahmananda Saraswati), and I remember that he had been a medical doctor in India before "becoming" a guru. I had several strange and powerful encounters with this man over about two years, each accidental, unplanned, and unexpected, and each totally casual and informal. At no time had I ever formally approached him or accepted him as a teacher or "guru", in part because I was rather allergic to following gurus, to changing my name to a Sanskrit name, and to wearing white robes. Nonetheless, we managed to cross paths "accidentally" several times in this period, for only minutes each time, and each time I felt something start to stir and grow within me; he had awakened something which was to slowly blossom for years. Each time I felt a deep recognition and warmth from him. I still have no idea what it was which was passed, save that the feeling had some deep connection with the heart center and with unconditional and infinite love. In any case, this combination of "feeling and knowing" became a powerful force in my life, and was often available to me despite the fact that I was not physically anywhere near this man.
I also had several interesting encounters in the 1980's while a student of Zen, one with author Peter Mathiessen (The Snow Leopard), who at the time was also a Zen teacher at Zen Center of New York. I remember attending a day-long meditation and having one private one-on-one "interview" with him; I felt a deep awareness and alertness coming from him, which I call "Spirit presence", coupled with a sense of deep peace. At another time in a Zen monastery in New York state, in an encounter more memorable for its light-heartedess and humor, I remember bumping late one evening into the famed Father Theophane the Monk (author of Tales of a Magic Monastery ), a figure who had become rather famous in the annals of American Zen and American Christian mysticism as an inveterate, insatiable and irreverent seeker of God. It was simply his burning intensity and the brightness of his quest and ardor which remains in my memory. I also remember the deep heart-centeredness and peacefulness of two monk-students of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nat Hanh with whom I sat for a week in meditation at a Zen center in Rhode Island.
The Heart Center
However, despite the fact that I had been repeatedly exposed, since 1978, to paths and techniques involving the heart, and I do mean also the physical heart center or chakra, it was not until I stumbled upon the Institute of Heartmath in the Santa Cruz mountains of Northern California that I was able to find real validation for the whole method of being present in the heart to bring Spirit and divinity to earth. They and their scientists have done some fine work in melding metaphysics (Spirit, God) and science to forge ever-expanding proofs of the "reality" of Spirit and its effect upon the material world. A lot of their work, based largely upon the teachings and insights of founder Doc Lew Childre, has been especially on states of coherence and entrainment as accompaniments of various inner "spiritual" states, and especially upon the appearance of "coherence" in heart rate variability (HRV) during periods of deep inner peace. I feel that my exposure to their work gave me a validation for my repeated forays to the heart, and an excuse to persist in owning and deepening my heart connection as a pathway to divinity.
Lester Levenson and Others
After spending a few years shifting my meditative and prayer activity more and more toward the heart center and connection with what I call Divine Heart, I asked, in 1998, if there were any further steps I should take. I was almost immediately guided to the Sedona Method, which taught the work of Lester Levenson, particularly a method of letting go or "releasing" thoughts and feelings which block love. The system was being offered by a man who was a former student of Lester Levenson. I gained some limited benefit from this system, and far more from the exposure to the works of Lester Levenson, an American spiritual teacher who had died in 1992. His work centered about love, and being willing to love, and resonated strongly with my own experiences. However, I eventually started hitting some dead-ends with the Sedona Method work, as I found it simply too dry and "mental", with a tendency toward getting me too much in the "head" (mind), given my Vata constitution and pre-existing cerebral tendencies. I largely abandoned any extensive use of these releasing practices due to the "mental dryness" effect, which I felt cut me off from heart energies.
In late 2000, I asked one morning, while sitting in meditation, for the next step in my spiritual unfoldment, and I was told by my angels in no uncertain terms that it was to be another technique for letting go of old beliefs, agreements, and judgments, and that I would know what it was within ten hours. Well, at noon that day I found in my mailbox a postcard from a man named Larry Crane who claimed to have also been a student of Lester Levenson, and who offered a course called the "Abundance Course" which claimed to go well beyond the Sedona Method courses which I had already studied. Guided largely by my gut sense, I enrolled in the course, and it turned out to be a more heart-centered and body (gut) centered version of the Sedona Method. This course did indeed offer me further advances in my inner work in letting go and allowing Spirit and Being to handle life (rather than the mind), and was well worth the few hundred dollars which it had cost.
While on the subject of releasing, which is the core material of both the Sedona Method and Larry Crane's Release Technique, I feel strongly that while releasing the negativity and illusions of this world is important, it is extremely important to spend ten hours in simply sending and allowing love, toward everyone and everything just as it is, for every one hour spent in releasing the illusions of separation and judgment held by the mind. I say this strongly, based upon experience, for if one becomes too preoccupied in releasing the rules and negativity of the mind, the mind will simply create in this vacuum even more and more rules and illusions, for such is the nature of mind. Indeed, if one tries too hard to let go of every thought and limitation, one simply has allowed the mind to once again enter center stage via the back door, again driving out Spirit. Thus, I feel that while releasing negativity and illusion is important, it is far more important to sit in center stage (the heart) with Spirit and allow divinity to bathe all of one's being with unconditional love. In an event, we will never defeat the mind and its judgments by fighting it or straining to release all of its many creations; far better to simply love the mind and the world exactly as they are, and know that the divine light of love will dissolve all illusion. If you have not yet been exposed to the work of Lester Levenson, I would strongly recommend taking a course with one of the above two systems; my personal recommendation would be for Larry Crane's Release Technique, aka The Abundance Course.
By the way, as of July 2003, Lester's autobiography has finally been published in a more formal book form, and is now available at Amazon.com. You may already know that his autobiography is titled "No Attachments, No Aversions", and has been available for years, due to Larry Crane's efforts, in a pre-publication photocopied spiral-bound softcover form. However, that form appeared a bit "casual" or slip-shod to a few folks, but it was really a gem, because the main body of the book also contained some handwritten editing notes, penned by Lester after the book had first been printed. Lester's handwritten notes were a lot of fun to read, and sometimes cast further light on whatever topic was at hand. If you do have access to a copy of that pre-publication "casual" version, please be advised that the comments in the main part of the book which appear in handwriting are Lester's comments, but that some other editing comments appear in block printing in different handwriting, particularly at the end of the book. Those latter notes were not written by Lester, but rather by a later editor at the Sedona Center years ago, and I learned to ignore them when I encountered them...
One more thing... Lester, when he wrote the book, wanted to tell the story but very much wanted to remain private and anonymous, and so he used the pseudonym of "Lester Siegal" (and it appears that he occasionally spelled it a bit differently as "Lester Siegel"), as the author's name and also in context within the book when referring to himself. So, the name "Lester Levenson" never appeared in the first copies of the manuscript and on early photocopied versions of the book, but rather only the name "Lester Siegal". And, much in line with the tradition of terse dialogue so commonly found in newspapers and novels of the 1930s and 1940s, Lester often simply referenced himself in the book by his pseudonymous last name alone, as "Siegal". Larry Crane eventually went thru the book after Lester's death and attempted to change all occurrences of "Siegal" and "Mr. Siegal" to "Lester" or "Levenson" or "Lester Levenson", as appropriate. However, he missed a few occurrences, and hence my early pre-publication photocopied version of the book still has a few sprinklings of the surname Siegal throughout the book, which can be very puzzling to a newcomer.
Lester was also very private and reclusive in other ways, always wanting to remain anonymous and allow only the message of love and acceptance to be broadcast, minus any personal appellations. In addition to the use of "Siegel" as a surname, he also tried very much to avoid being photographed, and, as a result, the folks who studied with him in Sedona at the Center thru the early 1990's have only a very few photos of Lester from that entire 30-odd year span of Lester's life when he was teaching.
Along the lines of the above, I received an e-mail last week from my friend Don, who had worked with Larry for years and had helped Larry to compile the pre-publication photocopied version of the book, and in his letter he touched upon the same topic or Lester's reluctance to be "known" as a teacher or guru-type. Here is an excerpt from Don's e-mail to me:
".....You know, an interesting thing happened when I was helping Larry with the cover of that book. Lester *did* say hello. I was putting Lester's picture on the front cover and my computer kept crashing. It just wasn't coming together. Then within about an hour or so, I got a call from Larry saying that Lester came to him and he didn't want his name on the book! You may or may not be aware that Lester referred to himself as Siegel, not Levenson, throughout the book. Larry went through and tried to correct all those references, but missed a couple. What a cute and beautiful thing! For the discerning reader, there were still clues that Lester wanted it to be about the method, not him."
You may find the book at Amazon at:
Other Teachers, Authors
There are several authors and teachers over the years whose works have repeatedly struck me as synchronous and resonant with my own experiences. First, I must mention Jean Klein, the French-Czechoslovak doctor and musicologist turned mystic and sage. Now deceased, he strongly preached the path of the heart and love. One of my favorite books is his work entitled "Ease of Being", which sums it all up perfectly. Robert Adams was an American spiritual teacher, again recently deceased; again, I find a strong resonance with his words. He actually sounds a lot like Lester Levenson at times. As I have mentioned before, one of the few gurus or teachers from India with whom I have ever felt much resonance is Ramana Maharshi; I have been meandering thru his books since 1999.
Jean Tamborski, who was also a spiritual healer, recently mentioned to me the works of Joel Goldsmith, the famed Christian mystic and healer, who passed on in the early 1960's. A number of his books are still in print, including "The Infinite Way" and "The Art of Spiritual Healing " (both excellent books), and his words are simple and powerful. Much like Lester Levenson, Robert Adams, and Jean Klein, he advises recognizing the "illusory" rules and judgments of the mind, and being willing to let them go, or at least love them for what they are.
Much like Lester Levenson and Robert Adams, Joel Goldsmith recommends spiritual healing primarily for its value of "demonstration" or "demonstrating" (words which all three teachers used in this sense), where the words mean precisely that: demonstrating the infinite and transcendent nature of God-ness, or Being or Spirit (my favorites are Source or Divinity), and also demonstrating the illusory nature of mind.
A number of these contemporary teachers and mystics mentioned above, as well as a number of others worth examining, are covered in the very interesting and readable recent book by Judyth and Robert Ullman entitled "Mystics, Masters, Saints and Sages". I recommend this book highly.
I have already mentioned Joel S. Goldsmith, the powerful Christian mystic and healer. I feel that he describes what my own experience is with spirit and healing. However, I would be remiss if I did not also mention Olga Worrall (often misspelled "Olga Worral"). I read my first article about her in the 1970s, and have followed her career and that of her husband, Ambrose, since then, with pure admiration. Olga and Ambrose Worrall were famous and powerful Christian healers who lived and worked in the Washington, DC area. Olga also participated in several scientific studies of the effects of spiritual healing. However, for all their fame and the great stories surrounding them, I remember most a short article by Ambrose Worrall, likely penned by him in the late 1970s, in which he related just how difficult it can be for a spiritual healer to treat herself or himself, and likewise, someone very close to them, and how easy the same task can be for someone further removed. For some reason, this story has stuck with me throughout the years, as it helps shed light upon, and also explain, how each of us has, due to our humanness, our own blind spots, where it is hard to "see" with balance and grace. On the other hand, as his story relates, someone a bit further removed from the picture, someone more impartial or detached, may be easily able to perceive the same issues and energies, and to allow them to shift back to love and light.
For some reason which I find hard to explain (usually this means Spirit is at work) I have always felt a resonance with the work and writings of Harold McCoy, a spiritual healer who is the founder of the Ozark Research Institute. I was somehow led to his work about a year ago, through a funny and odd set of coincidences, and have since then felt an affinity for his writings. He seems to be a very simple and clear man, and his explanations of spiritual healing seem equally clear and simple. His personal focus appears to be somewhat like that of the folks at Science of Mind, in that it focuses largely upon mind and focused mind. In this way, I do feel that there is some significant difference between my view and that of Harold McCoy, since his work seems to focus more on (local) mind and less upon the transcendent and infinite power of Spirit or Divinity, and especially, the power of love. However, I have become convinced that each healer must ultimately put their work in their own necessarily unique language, and therefore I feel a good resonance with him and his work.
This page was created on 04/03/2002
This page was last updated on 10/30/2014
Others Authors and Scientists
I have been reading the papers (at first, in the eighties) and more, recently, the books of William A. Tiller, a professor of Materials Science and a researcher in healing energies and altered states, since the late 1970s. His recent book "Science and Human Transformation" is an excellent compendium of much of his best work and that of others over the past 30 years. I find much in his world view which resonates with mine. Lastly, since prayer and soulful prayer are close to my heart, I have long been interested the power of conscious, gentle, continued intention, which is a type of prayer. Gregg Braden has written a book entitled " The Isaiah Effect", in which he explores what is fast becoming known as the "fifth mode of prayer", or "the lost mode of prayer". Although he is not the only author in this field, and there are now dozens of other articles and books available on this topic, I recommend his book as a good place to start, especially for its explanation of what such prayer is, and "how to do it".
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