In 1999, Gina Lake had a spiritual awakening and has since written numerous books, including From Stress to Stillness, Trusting Life, Radical Happiness, Embracing the Now, Getting Free, Living in the Now, Return to Essence, Loving in the Moment and Anatomy of Desire. The focus of her writing and teaching is on helping people be in the present moment and live the happy and fulfilled life that is possible and on shedding light on the ego and other programming that interferes with awakening to one's true nature. Her teachings are most similar to Eckhart Tolle's, Byron Katie's, Adyashanti's, and A Course in Miracles. She is also a gifted intuitive with a master's degree in counseling psychology and over twenty years experience supporting people in their spiritual growth.
On a more personal note, here is Gina’s story:
In 1986, I realized I could pose a question mentally and get an answer mentally. Three years later, a very beneficial relationship with a wise nonphysical being began, who has been my inner teacher, mentor, and healer.
Throughout most of the 90s, while living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was a writer, a metaphysical teacher, an astrological counselor, and a serious spiritual seeker. I spent much of my time meditating and doing inner work. However, although I experienced deep peace in meditation, as soon as meditation was over, I was back into my ego, with all its stories, problems, and issues. I didn’t realize at the time that the experience I had in meditation was an experience of who I really am. I thought of it as my Higher Self—something out there and not present in my life. It was something “I” was devoted to.
In 1998 my understanding shifted as a result of meeting Adyashanti, a teacher in both the Zen and Advaita tradition. With only a few words, he cut through some key misunderstandings I had as a spiritual seeker. One of the points he made is that awakening is possible for anyone. And I thought, “If this unassuming young man can awaken, then I can too.” At that time, Adyashanti wasn’t very well known, and only six people were at this particular satsang, or spiritual meeting.
Six weeks later, during an intensive, while asking the classic inquiry question "Who am I?" I had a spiritual awakening, which I define as a permanent identity shift from the ego to Essence, or the true self. It was then that I deeply realized that I was that which I had experienced so often in my quiet moments. It was no longer something that “I” experienced, but rather who I am. The “I” that I had thought myself to be was gone, left behind, like a pile of clothes on the floor, like a lifeless, abandoned costume. It was as if my identity popped out of being “me” and entered into Presence, or Beingness, or what I now call Essence. Following this shift, my egoic mind stopped for five days. To my surprise, I was able to function normally without it. Eventually it came back, but not as before, and I was filled with joy and peace for a honeymoon period of about a year.
Two weeks after that shift, I met Nirmala, a non-dual teacher who had come to the Bay Area to give satsang. (The Intelligence that we are has perfect timing!) After a brief stay, he continued his travels around the U.S. We talked on the phone regularly for almost four months before we saw each other again. Over those months, we fell in love. In 2000, we moved to Arizona together and married.
For five years after awakening, I had no drive to teach or write, which was very strange to me, since I'd always been highly motivated to do those things. During those years, I was a wife, did some art and counseling, and created the book Nothing Personal from transcripts of Nirmala's satsangs. This was a period of dryness in my spiritual life. Although I wasn’t suffering, I also wasn’t in joy. It was an in-between place: I couldn’t go back to being “me” (whoever that was could no longer be found), but I also wasn’t firmly established in Essence. A part of me missed the juicy drama of suffering and having problems (I’m a Pisces and a four on the Enneagram), but I couldn’t do drama anymore. Eventually my consciousness deepened, and I began to embody Essence more fully, as chunks of conditioning fell away slowly, one by one.
In 2004, I began writing again, and the result was Radical Happiness: A Guide to Awakening. Following that book, I continued to write about living in Essence and the challenges of doing so and work with individuals around these issues. I continue to write today, as that is my passion, although I’m no longer involved in counseling. Nirmala and I live in Sedona, Arizona, where we offer weekend intensives. Nirmala’s website is endless-satsang.com, where you can download his free spiritual e-books, watch satsang videos, and listen to audio recordings of him. He is also available for spiritual mentoring over the phone.
Listen to or watch an interview about Gina's spiritual journey by Rick Archer. Or watch the video here, on this website.