About me and my work
Hello, my name is Jeffrey Rothman. I am an author, musician, and public speaker. My music and writings are primarily expressions of my explorations of spirituality, specifically the nature of human consciousness and its relationship to the Divine. While my writings are more targeted to a specific interest in religion/spirituality, my music is intended to be universal, and can be enjoyed by people with a more secular mindset as well.
I grew up in Oklahoma, and am now 26. After I got a Masters in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma, I moved to Portland, Oregon where I currently live and work as a social worker. I have been practicing Zen Buddhist meditation daily for the past 8 years, have studied with Zen teachers on a regular basis for years, and have so far attended 12 week long silent meditation retreats. Although I consider Buddhist meditation to be my primary spiritual practice, I do not ascribe to any religion, but consider all religions as paths to what I call God-Realization.
I was born into a Jewish family, went Catholic schools, attended various protestant Christian churches throughout my life, have lived in a Zen Buddhist Monastery for 9 months, and have studied traditional Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Taoist, and Buddhist texts as a very involved hobby. Although I have learned much from various religions, my own personal beliefs come from my own mystical experiences in meditation, and instances where the Personal God has directly communicated with me through dreams and prayer. What I have ultimately discovered from my various experiences and study is that the realization of God or Enlightenment is the highest goal of human life. All religions are merely paths to that goal for people at various stages of spiritual development. And all my writings are merely humble suggestions, a form of UPI (“skillful means”) to help people experience the Divine within themselves.
One of my central teachings, which arose from the crystallization of my own personal experiences I talk about in y book, is the the path to Enlightenment taught by the Buddha and religions that emphasize a relationship with a Personal God can exist in harmony. Although I intend to explore a wide range of topics in my work, this harmony between Buddhist meditation and more theistic ways of relating to the Divine is perhaps the central thesis of my writings.
Some of My Core Beliefs
All my writings and art come from my own personal experiences and my own personal study of various religions. I do not desire to convert anyone to my way of thinking, but merely to express my own experiences and overall life philosophy for people potentially seeking humble suggestions about how to connect more deeply to the Divine within themselves. A more comprehensive explanation of my spiritual world view is contained in my book, Daily Bliss: Practical Ways to Experience God in Daily Life (click the book tab to read it online for free). Here are a few basic principals of my worldview in a brief form:
1. God (Buddha Nature or True Nature could be substituted here) is ultimately an experience that is the Essence who we are. We are all various forms of God Itself, and to realize this experimentally, and embody it in everyday life, is the goal of the spiritual path. “God” is not a belief, but is a direct experience that we can realize in this very body through spiritual practices like meditation. To experience God/Buddha Nature is Bliss Itself and is the very essence of happiness. For this reason God should be sought above every other desire. The realization of God/Enlightenment alone can satisfy our insatiable desires, and we will continually undergo rebirth and suffer unnecessarily until we realize this.
3. Meditation is a technology that helps us to actually experience what is called God/Buddha Nature. I personally practice Zen meditation each day, a technique that requires no faith and that people of all religions or no religion can benefit from. The historical Buddha taught techniques of meditation that when systemically practiced can lead to Enlightenment (what I call God-Realization), and these techniques can be practiced by people of all religions or of no religion who want to reduce suffering, and ultimately to experience their own True Nature. Although Buddha Nature is originally present as your own Awareness right now, and although It alone exists, this fact is obscured for most people by spiritual ignorance that can be gradually dispelled through spiritual practice. Although we technically do not gain anything through practice that we don’t already have, spiritual practice is necessary to experientially realize what, without meditation, is only the idea of enlightenment.
4. While walking the path to enlightenment, we can, if we wish, enjoy a relationship with what I call “The Personal God.” One of my central teachings is that practicing the Buddha’s method of meditation can be harmoniously combined with a temporary relative relationship with the Personal God (as expressed in religions like Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and Hinduism). This relationship has many benefits, but is most of all a source of wonderful unconditional love and acceptance. We can learn to receive guidance from the Personal God through dreams, signs, prayer, and other forms of direct communication. The Personal God also has a purpose for our lives that is far better than any your ego could devise on its own, and invigorate our lives with a sense of adventure, purpose, and abundant unconditional love! My full explanation on this distinction between God (or Buddha Nature) and the Personal God is a complicated subject that is more fully expounded upon in my book.
5. While the Divine can be experienced in many ways, there is no “correct” religion and no religion can contain God fully. All religions are paths to Enlightenment for people at different stages of spiritual development, and also express the indescribable One Spirit through ritual and symbology. Spiritual books like the Bible, Qur’an, and the Bhagavad Gita are, as it says in Zen, “fingers pointing to the moon.” They merely “point” to the Divine within us, and exist to inspire us to actually experience the reality they merely describe symbolically. Religious traditions do not exist in mutual exclusion to one an other, but are merely different ways of expressing human spirituality that have the final goal of God-Realization, which transcends any temporary path or religious tradition.