Could it be that Bentinho Massaro is actually Matt Damon? I had that sneaking suspicion when I saw him in Berkeley in May 2012, and now... well, you can see for yourself in the photos! Don't let his 20-something looks and Dutch accent fool you — Damon is a masterful actor.
Okay, I'm kidding, but I did see Bentinho Massaro in Berkeley and was left with this impression: he is not ready for prime-time.
Bentinho began the evening with a few minutes of silence, then took an exhaustive period of time convincing everyone how exhuasted they were:
Feel how tired you are. If you don't, you won't desire the simplicity of being.... You feel responsible for the state of the world. See how tiring that is.... You are exhausted.
He spent fifteen minutes in various descriptions of how tired we were [my contrarian nature happened to feel great that evening] before shifting to his main point:
What if there is nothing else to think about? Existence is right here.... What if there is nothing to do; no responsibility? Notice what remains naturally: the presence of consciousness, of existing. Without this, nothing else is, therefore everything else is it.
Shift attention to what is: that I exist. Increase your awareness of your exhaustion.... Notice how you are already awareness.... See how tired you are and relax.
In my notes that evening, I scrawled, "He's pointing to a more elegant way of being in the world, but not to discovering what is beyond it." Bentinho has a great smile; simple, pure, and direct are adjectives applied to his teaching. Yet, simple isn't always wise. He could just be a nice guy who has had some insights, but not gone deeply into the heart of the matter.
Just exist, be, see....
Interestingly, about an hour and a half into the talk, he was asked a question by a woman having difficulty understanding one of his points. The was a definite change in his talk at that point. He drifted into a long monologue about even existence needing a source and how that source was indescribable. "Indescribability sources everything," he said. At first, I thought he was breaking out of the usual "just be aware" patter that I hear from most non-duality teachers, and he was to a degree. However, it was as if he'd read about the "indescribable" and was talking about an idea he didn't really understand. His language circled back on itself, contradicted itself, and left me feeling he hadn't really said anything for certain; he was musing rather than speaking the truth.
After this unexpected detour into an uncertain source behind awareness, Bentinho returned to focusing on the act of experiencing and led the group into what seemed an impromptu guided meditation. He closed his eyes and said:
Rest as existing. [he took a slow, deep breath]
Relax as consciousness. Awareness is aware of itself. Relax even that. Consciousness itself is an experience. You cannot be whatever you see.
Then he repeated variations of these words for a long time. So much so, that I had the impression he was trying to fill the minutes till the 9:00 PM finish.
Born in 1987, Bentinho's achieved some Advaita-stardom simply from his age. He even refers to himself as a kid. While I don't doubt he's found some peace, I don't sense he has plumbed the depths of what underlies peace and bliss. Even in discussions of awarenss, his lack of experience is apparent in his difficulties answering tough questions.
If you would like to know more about Bentinho Massaro, this thorough interview from Buddha at the Gas Pump is worth watching. Around one hour into it, he tells the story of his awakening:
For the official Bentinho Massaro page, visit Free-Awareness.com.
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Last Update: August 2, 2015