Robert Augustus Masters

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Robert Augustus Masters

robertI was born in Victoria, British Columbia December 19, 1947, dragged out with forceps from my etherized mother; such were the times. A rough welcome. From an early age I was an avid artist, drawing cartoons for my classmates, absorbed in marvelous seas of color, loving poetry, but getting increasingly caught up in snaring high grades, seesawing between competitiveness and shyness. In high school I abandoned the arts and switched to the sciences, with which I stayed until I found myself at the age of 21 unhappily immersed in a PhD program in biochemistry, a subject I had no interest in, other than the professorial future it dangled before me. Little more than a year later, only a few hours after an immensely liberating dream of drowning, I left my doctoral studies, and began an odyssey of intense travel, initially outer (nearly two years backpacking the world), then inner (propelled by a very painful relationship breakup that cracked open the emotional armoring I’d built up since my early teens).

As I did so, my passion for the arts reemerged, especially through writing. I simply had to write, regardless of whether I had an audience or not. And I began meditating, doing yoga, and exploring cutting-edge therapies and trainings. By 1978 I was working as a psychotherapist and bodyworker. From the beginning my work was integral and creatively structured, combining the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Structure was not (and still is not) preset, but was (and still is) allowed to emerge in fitting accordance with individual and group needs. This, like my writing, was in my blood, feeling utterly natural to me.

In 1981 I won my first literary prize — an all-expenses paid trip for two to Hawaii — for my story of a particularly perilous Indonesian adventure I’d endured 8 years earlier. This spurred me to immerse myself even more fully in my writing. I also deepened my psychospiritual work, which spread worldwide in the late 1980s.

In early 1994 my life abruptly and dramatically changed, following an extremely harrowing near-death experience, as described in my book Darkness Shining Wild. Since 1986 I had been leading an experimental psychospiritual community (also described in Darkness Shining Wild), which had gradually gone strongly awry. I had become more and more of a guru (without having a clue that I was doing so), abusing my power, not seeing that what I was leading had become a cult. My near-death experience brought this to a decisive halt, breaking me down so deeply that I could not resurrect my former way of being; a half year later, still shaken to the core and overcome with remorse, I disbanded the community. Needless to say, this was a huge learning experience for me, as humbling as it was instructive.

A year later I resumed my work, but in a much more compassionate, radically inclusive manner, with an emphasis on the art of becoming intimate with all that we are. I became a student again, completing a PhD program in Psychology at Saybrook Graduate School in 1999; my dissertation  received the highest award. In 1998 I co-edited the Fall issue of ReVision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation (the theme of the issue being “Intimate Relationships and Spirituality”).

Evolving in fitting parallel with my psychospiritual work has been my writing. I am the author not only of fourteen books, but also of numerous essays. In 2000 my essay “Wrathful Compassion” won the Editor’s Award for the best article of the year in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. My essays have appeared in a number of publications, most recently Spanda Journal. My books have received critical acclaim; Christiane Northrup, Jean Houston, Ken Wilber, Harville Hendrix, and Jack Kornfield are among those who have strongly endorsed my writing. In 2008 my book Transformation Through Intimacy was a Nautilus Book Awards finalist (Silver Winner). My latest book is To Be a Man: A Guide to True Masculine Power. I don’t know if I’ll write any more books; as much as I love writing, I simply don’t have the juice to create something as substantial as a book and still continue to do the psychospiritual work I share with my wife Diane.

My six CD program Knowing Your Shadow: Becoming Intimate with All that You Are (published by Sounds True) was released in the Spring of 2013. I have been widely interviewed, including by New Dimensions Radio, Tami Simon, and Ken Wilber.

In 2003 I began training students in my way of working, through yearlong apprenticeship programs.

In March 2005 I met Diane Bardwell. Diane found me through my website, read some of my poetry, and emailed (she was in California at the time, I in British Columbia) to ask if she could possibly convert one of my poems to a song. A year later we were married. We had an uncommonly close bond right from the beginning, and soon were working together. By 2008 we were doing all our sessions, groups, and trainings as a team. We have lived in Ashland, Oregon since 2010, and are now focused on professional training programs to teach/transmit our approach to healing and awakening. We also are increasingly focused on doing couples intensives. In 2015 I began doing groups for men only, work that I greatly enjoy

In 2011 we established the Masters Center for Transformation, a school through which our work and teachings can be optimally shared and embodied.

My books include:

To Be a Man 2015

Emotional Intimacy 2013

Until Our Song Is Fully Sung (poetry) 2013

Transformation through Intimacy, Revised Edition 2012

Spiritual Bypassing 2010

Meeting the Dragon 2009

Transformation Through Intimacy 2007

Divine Dynamite, Revised Edition 2006

Darkness Shining Wild 2005

The Anatomy and Evolution of Anger 2005

Freedom Doesn’t Mind Its Chains 2005