Interview with Gonzalo Fernandez (conducted by Jerry Katz)
Descriptive listing of tracks:
Gonzalo Fernandez is a native of Costa Rica, “the happiest country in the world.” Gonzalo organizes meetings in his country featuring nondual teachers/sharers from around the world. He spoke from the community of Moravia, a suburb of the capitol San Jose. Meet Gonzalo on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gonzalo.fernandez.5437
0:00 – 10:24 Beginning of Gonzalo’s search. Milestones including discovery of J. Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta, and Ramesh Balsekar. Went to India to visit Ramesh. His realization is demonstrated to Ramesh. Roshi Phillip Kapleau mentioned. Teaching of J. Krishnamurti as too intellectual.
10:24 – 15:19 Life after meeting Ramesh. Costa Rica and nondual teachings. Spiritual practices are popular. A few years ago met people who like him were interested in Nisargadatta. Formed small groups after coming out of zazen group.
15:19 – 23:40 Eckhart Tolle comes to Costa Rica but locals were not allowed to hear him. It was too expensive for locals and the locals weren’t invited. Spirituality as a business.
23:40 – 30:41 Gonzalo’s involvement in starting groups. Eckhart Tolle group. Toni Packer’s work discussed. Sandra Gonzalez invited to Costa Rica to lead silent retreats.
30:41 – 41:26 Unmani invited to Costa Rica twice. We digress and talk about Costa Rica as a retirement destination, especially the option of living a simple life. We talk about Unmani again. Gonzalo talks about his role in bringing teachers to Costa Rica and the roles others play.
41:26 – 47:13 Elena Nezhinsky discussed. Nature of Elena’s teaching style, her visit to Costa Rica and the time spent with her.
47:13 – 49:04 The nature and humor of seeking when the answer is always right here. There are no seekers, yet seeking happens.
49:04 – 53:55 Noumenon and phenomenon discussed. “Seeking happens, but there are no seekers.” Seeing all this as consciousness dreaming and we are a dream character. I ask Gonzalo whether he has spoken as a teacher to locals and talks about that.
53:55 – 58:02 We talk about locals in Costa Rica forming their own groups without inviting teachers from the outside around the world. Is it necessary to invite outside teachers? “Are prophets not prophets in their home town?” Extreme case of Ramana Maharshi as a local teacher. You can find enlightened peope everywhere.
58:02 – 1:03:24 Encouraging a locally grown group in Costa Rica. Nature of such local groups in which Gonzalo has been involved, as confrontational and requiring the presence of someone who they see as holding spiritual authority. We talk about what it takes to form and operate an open-minded group that supports and nurtures all who are drawn to it.
1:03:24 – 1:08:27 Inviting Hashim Zaki (aka iamyou on the internet), a student of Nisargadatta Maharaj, to Costa Rica, where he is going to speak for a few days and may decide to retire.
1:08:27 – 1:11:18 Running open meetings with locals without focusing on a single teacher.
1:11:18 – 1:16:04 Light-hearted talk on the beautiful women Gonzalo invites to Costa Rica. The beaches. Nosara Beach discussed for it’s spiritual activities and women. Pamela Wilson and Jac O’Keefe mentioned.
1:16:04 – 1:25:06 Everytime Gonzalo wants to stop getting involved in inviting people, but someone comes across for him to invite. Francis Bennett mentioned and planning to come to Costa Rica. Nature of Jerry’s visit to Costa Rica discussed and marking the next step in group meetings in Costa Rica. Jean Klein mentioned as a teacher of Gonzalo. Gonzalo will let Hashim Zaki know about the local group, which Hashim might become part of if he moves there.
1:25:06 – 1:42:55 Things get personal here and I feel we’re hearing the natural Gonzalo these next few minutes aside from his work in nondual teachings. Gonzalo’s daily life in Costa Rica. His interest in farming. He prefers to walk and sit in nature. Gonzalo’s family. His minimal needs. His conversations with the farmers at a local bar. What he drinks. “Peace is the most essential thing.” Just being who you are. Friendship in its most basic sense as a sharing of being. Being social as natural. Accepting all interaction including the belief that there’s a seperate entity, thus welcoming the dissolving of the separateness. The oneness that we are. Life is nothing complicated, belief makes it complicated.
1:42:55 – 1:50:48 We express mutual gratitude and talk about the nature of doing what interests you compared to doing work in order to make money. People avoiding others who are too peaceful; they need you to be against something so they can fight with you. However, it’s nice to talk to people about things other than ultimate reality itself. We talk about some details of farming coffee. We talk about coffee and how Gonzalo makes his coffee.