From an early age, Anandajay (Cor Thelen, 1955) has a natural connection with the spiritual feeling of oneness. He started his journey of self-inquiry and yoga when he was ten, to explore the deeper essence of life, and at sixteen it became apparent to him that he wished to dedicate himself solely to the spiritual values of life.
He left secondary school to devote himself to the deeper layers of consciousness and themes such as life, God, inner peace, and existence, spending a lot of time in nature to examine the organic aspects of his experience of being. Moved by his religious feelings, he searched in Christian, Buddhist and Hindu traditions for recognition of his inner experience. At eighteen he withdrew to the peace and quiet of Finland. Living on a secluded farm far from societal life, he examined all concepts that arose in his consciousness for their essence and actual value. In his twenties, he studied different yoga programs and traveled extensively throughout India. He had profound encounters with various spiritual teachers and withdrew himself to a remote cabin in the Himalayas. From 1979 he started to give satsangs in the Netherlands and India, which at the time he called jnana yoga.
The Jnanis (Self-realised teachers) Sri J. Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta, and Ramana Maharshi have strongly affirmed and supported him in his self-inquiry. When he was twenty-seven, he met Yogacharya Sri S. Sundaram, the respected founder of yoga therapy and accessible yoga for the west*, by whom he was trained individually as yoga teacher and yoga therapist. The in-depth meetings and discussions between them brought about a special relationship. At a given moment Sri Sundaram said he should return to the west to teach and spread his spiritual insights. Anandajay accepted this encouragement humbly and gratefully.
After this long period of dedication to the deeper values of life and our common humanity, with all the self-inquiry, years of living in seclusion and the various supporting and inspiring meetings with spiritual teachers, Anandajay has dedicated his life wholly to his spiritually oriented ‘Life work.’
When he was forty-three Anandajay received his name, sung to him in meditation. Freely translated the name means both ‘Blessings of the Heart’ and ‘Surrender.' Adopting this name was accompanied by an immense feeling of light and space, which both profoundly moved him and caused an intense stillness of being. He calls this experience ‘The Light of Being.’
Since then, everything Anandajay experiences as ‘The Light of Being’ and that he wishes to share others, he has brought together in his meetings, retreats, and teachings. Time and again he lets you experience that essence is very simple and completely unaffected. And with a dozen timeless books (written in Dutch and German) and more than forty CDs with spiritual music, he invites you to awaken to the profound, intrinsic values of life and your humanity. Characteristic of his teachings is that he guides you to let your essence blossom naturally, like a budding flower, instead of having to work with much difficulty to achieve some spiritual state.
In his teachings, Anandajay asks us time and again to embrace every moment as a personal message from the primordial and compassionate goodness of life and to let our development unfold organically and become more established in wholeness.
According to Anandajay, spirituality is only meaningful if it contributes to people’s experience of peace in this present moment, as an actual reality, instead of offering a peaceful quality of living as a potential future goal. For him, spirituality is the crown of being human. He asks you to embrace both your humanity and your deeper destiny with immense appreciation and love. The intrinsic values of life carry a very different truth than what most people have come to know due to their way of life, and from this insight and truth, he will guide you with heart and soul on your life’s journey into this other, spiritual and already present dimension of existence.
Anandajay now lives in the Belgian Eifel, where he devotes himself to the intensive guidance of pupils, which he considers to be more important than one-time meetings with large groups and its corresponding anonymity. This intensive guidance offers opportunities for deep relational interaction, rather than to get stuck in like-mindedness.
Asked by his students to offer deep, personal guidance and provide for them the opportunity to share with others what has moved them so deeply, he developed different Intensive Programs (currently two intensive Yoga and Tantra training programs). He also established twelve ‘Light of Being’-Teachings, spiritual practices in the fields of meditation, yoga, massage, healing, breathing, dance, painting, mantra singing, prayer (puja), and the spiritual, relational guidance of individuals and groups.
This in-depth knowledge arose from his open and transparent ‘state of being.’ The twelve teachings consequently aren’t about learning a set of skills but are forms of soul-inspired activity, which is understood only by a sensitive, affectionate and relational way of being.
These various ways to tune into the spiritual message of ‘The Light of Being’ affect all chakras, the centers (the ‘spinning wheels’ or lotuses) of spiritual energy in the body. They provide a suitable doorway to all who long for guidance toward a genuine and vivid connection with the essence of life and the Self.
Some pupils that received intensive guidance in one or more teachings are initiated by Anandajay to give the teaching and its underlying spiritual qualities to others. In 2012 he established the School of Spiritual Awareness, from which he offers his monthly ‘Light of Being’-meetings, the yearly initiation-retreats in the ‘Light of Being’-Teachings, and the intensive ‘Light of Being’-Tantra and Yoga training programs. Most programs are in Dutch and German.
However, what remains most important is the message of ‘The Light of Being’ Anandajay shares with us. That is, to connect with life and your humanity from a realistic, relational, and compassionate way of being, and to awaken to, experience, incorporate, emanate and hence share the peaceful and natural value of life – the spiritual authenticity that is life’s, and therefore also our, true nature.
* Goldberg, E. The Path of Modern Yoga: The History of an Embodied Spiritual Practice