Stephen Wolinsky

Average: 3.1 (723 votes)
Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Stephen H. Wolinsky
Spiritual Teacher
Advaita, Buddhism, Madhyamika, Quantum Psychology
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
NYC, New York, USA
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 


Stephen H. Wolinsky, PhD is one of the few direct living disciples of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj living in the United States.

Wolinsky is a founder of Quantum Psychology, integrating Western Psychology, Advaita-Vedanta’s Non-duality, Quantum Physics, Neuro-Science, and Buddhism. In 2002, he founded Post-deconstruction, a scientific approach beyond Postmodernism. He is the author of fourteen books, audio tapes and a DVD series, I Am That I Am.

Wolinsky presently resides in Aptos, California.

Stephen, has a PhD. in Clinical Psychology and began his psychotherapy practice in 1974. From 1975 to 1985 he met over thirty different Gurus, Teachers, Rinpoches, and Meditation Masters. In January 1977, he journeyed to India to study meditation, and remained there for almost six years. Stephen continued traveling back to India for months at a time, over the next four years. In the mid-1980’s he went to Nepal to study three of the six Yogas of Naropa . Later he realized the identical nature of the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Madhyamika, (Middle Way) Buddhism Founder, Nagarjuna, and his Eight Negations.

His Spiritual Journey

In the mid 1970’s, Avadhut Bhagawan Nityananda appeared to Stephen as he spontaneously entered Samadhi. Upon receiving initiation (shaktipat diksa) Bhagawan Nityananda, became his Initiation Guru. A few months later he met Swami Muktananda, a disciple of Nityananda who told him “come to India”. In January 1979, after living in India for two years and studying I AM THAT, he met his Teacher (Acharya) Guru Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Stephen says it was Bhagawan Avadhut Nityananda that guided him to Nisargadatta Maharaj, and that it was Sri Ramana Maharshi that acted as a portal or doorway to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Nisargadatta told Stephen to visit Ramana’s Ashram in Tiruvanamalai, which he did in 1983.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Bhagawan Avadhut Nityananda

The connection between Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Bhagawan Avadhut Nityananda goes back to the 1950’s, and was relayed to Stephen twice, first by a brother disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj, Alexander Smit. In a conversation with Maharaj, Smit asked him, “Did you ever meet Nityananda?.” Maharaj replied, “Yes”. Smit asked, “What did you think of him.” Maharaj replied, “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him.”

The second connection between Bhagwan Avadhut Nityananda and Nisargadatta Maharaj revealed itself, when S. K. Mullarpattan, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s primary translator in the years 1976-1981, told Stephen that Bhagawan Avadhut Nityananda, as a young man used to stay with Mullarpattan’s family quite often, and that Mullarpattan used to go and see Baghawan Nityananda frequently in Ganespuri, and that he still does his mantra japa, (repetition). More interestingly, both Nisargadatta Maharaj and Bhagwan Avadhut Nityananda gave the same mantra diksa (initiation), and taught the same unique way of repeating the mantra, (japa).


Awakening from the trance of the self, says Wolinsky, begins by extending your awareness to every level of who you are: your biological instincts, your thoughts and feelings, the archetypal dimension, and – ultimately – who you are beyond those thoughts, emotions, memories, associations, and perceptions. But, how do you begin this journey?

"The only way to find out who you are," taught Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, “is to find out first who you are not.” Waking from the Trance offers you an opportunity to begin that life-changing investigation.

Waking from the Trance Highlights:

  • Quantum psychology – a multidimensional model of self
  • Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s advaita vedanta approach to self-inquiry
  • Expanding awareness to the eight dimensions of being
  • The roots of traditional psychology – and its limits
  • The false core and the false self
  • The biological dimension: dissolving the boundaries around the physical body
  • Finding the space between thoughts and before thoughts
  • “Delabeling” – working with your emotions as energy states
  • The enneagram – its origins and its understanding of the false core types
  • Identifying the trances of common spiritual systems
  • “Uncooked seeds” – addressing undigested psychological material and early trauma
  • Attention-focusing methods from the Vijnana Bhairava
  • The dimension of Essence
  • Understanding the I AM, "the seed of consciousness"
  • How the One Substance condenses into consciousness
  • Archetypes and the collective unconscious – a Quantum psychology view
  • Modern physics on causality, the observer, and the observed
  • Through the Void to the Nameless Absolute


From 1983-1994, Wolinsky maintained a private psychotherapy practice. In addition, he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe presenting workshops to the general public until late 1999.

In December, 2000, he stopped traveling and offering workshops to the general public and began offering retreats about every 2 years. At the present time, these retreats are open only to those participants with prior training or by invitation.

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

You Are Not: Beyond the Three Veils of Consciousness

by Stephen Wolinsky


Reveals undifferentiated consciousness as THAT ONE SUBSTANCE of which and from which the universe appears to appear; and yet undifferentiated consciousness veils itself. Catapults the seeker into piercing the three veils of consciousness; the body, spirituality and enlightenment.

Recommended DVD & Video: 
Cover image

I Am That I Am: Experience the Teaching of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


I Am That I Am: Experience the Teaching of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj DVD

Cover image

Nirvana Means Extinction: I Am That I Am Part Two


Following his mentor, Sri Nisargadatta Maharajs' basic premise, "All you can teach is understanding, the rest comes on its own", Dr. Stephen Wolinsky takes us on a three hour excusion traversing the roots of Advaita-Vedanta, neuro-science, philosophy, linguistics and tantric yoga, to provide a long neglected understanding which lies at the core of all of these teachings; "All spirituality and psychology are dependent on the existence of a separate independent individual self." BUT what if this self is an illusion, a product of the nervous system, a miss-perception, then not only does the "I" disappear, but so does the foundation and basic premise of all spirituality, spiritual paths and psychology. Continuing where I Am That I Am Part I leaves off, Part II explores how the revolutionary discoveries of science validate, support and prove the wisdom of the Buddha's Heart Sutra, the underlying Science of Yoga, and the foundational discoveries of Quantum Physics and current research in neuroscience.

Recommended Audio: 
Cover image

Waking from the Trance: A Practical Course on Developing Multidimensional Awareness

by Stephen Wolinsky

(Audio Cassette)

The author of Trances People Live explores the myriad dimensions of consciousness, guiding us through many experiential exercises to see beyond the inner structures that limit our awareness so that we may experience the many dimensions of who we are more fully.

Pro Opinions

Zero attachment here - Wolinsky is uncompromising and true.

vimutti's picture

After initially looking into the shocking antics of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I decided that there had to be other ways to know the Self. Wolinsky changed that for me.

dhani_w's picture

He introduced me to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I am thankful to Him. Firstly I read his book on Quantum Psychology and get shocked at that moment. When he mentioned Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, then I just curious to find I AM THAT and I get double shocked. An awesome dialogue!

Thank you Mr Wolinski, you are still one of my guru.

Sincerely, Dhani

dhani_w | Tue, 02/21/2012 - 08:15
Kwagmyre's picture


I owe a debt of gratitude to Stephen because his Guided Meditations saved me from dropping meditation completely, this after seventeen years of having gone from one technique/style to another(i.e., the Dzogchen open eye technique). I was disenchanted to the extent of wanting to just hang it all up but when I saw a video of his experiences with Maharaj on You Tube, I was intrigued enough to invest in the meditation CD. The results were instantaneous. I don't think I felt such an overwhelming self confidence in any of my prior practices and just KNEW this would be the technique I would follow, even though that experience was perhaps a couple weeks long. This led eventually to the discovery of a local Guru(Edji) also profiled here on this site and that confirmed for me the value in the practice of the "I AM"(he too had "evolved" from long term Zen practice to the "I AM" and has never ceased to extol its value on his site).

Kwagmyre | Mon, 07/04/2016 - 19:46

He introduced me to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

dhani_w's picture

I am thankful to Him. Firstly I read his book on Quantum Psychology and get shocked at that moment.

Con Opinions

Unfortunately he failed to understand Maharaj's teachings

lucas's picture

I am sorry to say but although he was a direct disciple of Maharaj, it is clearly evident in his book "I Am That I Am" that Wolinsky unfortunately failed to grasp the essence of Nisargadatta's teachin

Omkaradatta's picture

I feel...

I feel that Ramesh Balsekar also failed to grasp N's teaching correctly, although this view is apparently very rare. He seems asleep here, despite popularity of his teaching.

Omkaradatta | Wed, 10/08/2008 - 07:22
lucas's picture

unfortunately, i agree with

unfortunately, i agree with you 100% percent. attended his satnsangs in mumbay 2 years ago and was dissapointed. a truely nice, sincere and kind person but too analytical... and too much focused into the analysis stemming from "you are not the doer"...

lucas | Wed, 10/08/2008 - 13:46
Phroggy's picture

Me too, me too

I've wondered the same about him, and also about his student Wayne Liquorman. I remain open to the possibility of a different focus/mode of teaching. I've often pondered his comment, "If you have a choice between a million dollars and enlightenment, take the million....."

Phroggy | Wed, 10/08/2008 - 17:53
Omkaradatta's picture

The comment...

"I've often pondered his comment, "If you have a choice between a million dollars and enlightenment, take the million....."

From here it's a silly comment, even given the followup "because you aren't there to enjoy it", blah blah. It doesn't mean something is missing, like a tooth has been removed. Absence of the 'me' is freedom, not limitation. People tend to have the strangest ideas about what freedom from personal identity means...

Omkaradatta | Fri, 10/10/2008 - 02:06
Phroggy's picture


Yes, his comment seems to feed that delusion of personal freedom rather than dispelling it.

Phroggy | Fri, 10/10/2008 - 02:55
Agni's picture

Balsekar and Nisargadatta

I too feel Balsekar misunderstood Maharaj's message, but am unable to properly articulate how. Could you plz elaborate?

Agni | Tue, 04/20/2010 - 19:01
nancy pro's picture

The differences

I agree with the conclusion. The main difference is that which is between Maharaj and Ramesh Balsekar also - misusing intellect and logic. Maharaj is touching the beyond but Ramesh and Wolinsky stay in the mind, rely completely on mind's logic, they are secular and rational and skeptic. They epitomize the erroneous path Pseudo Advaita has taken.

The main issues of difference that I saw are:

(1) In a nutshell. It's either you have it or not and it is very hard to fake it. It is like asking why one poem is magical and the other is not. You can analyze it technically but the main difference is in the essence behind the words - Maharaj has something that manifests in his words, Wolinsky does not.

(2) I feel Wolinsky is like a first grade student: he memorized that 1 + 1 = 2 and 6 - 4 = 2 and so can repeat it but he didn't grasp the mathematical essence and so can't answer what 14 + 12 is and so some of his answers regarding Advaita or explanations of Maharaj words are simple errorneous.

(3) Maharaj does use words and logic but in some genius way they remain as tools only, signposts, he is never get drawn into rationalization and intellect. Wolinsky (and also Ramesh Balsekar) did get rational and addicted to words and logic and therefore arrives at ridiculous and paradoxical conclusions.

(2) Maharaj discusses metaphysical aspects, Wolinsky stays in the mind, world, ratio, he is a tacit skeptic who does not believe in anything beyond. Ramesh "solves" this by naming it "the cosmic law" to close enquiry regarding anything metaphysical which ironically is the essence.

Plus, Wolinsky, as opposed to Ramesh, simply has errorneous understanding of major concepts in Maharaj's doctrine: self, "I Am" anf so on. You can easily see it in his books.

nancy pro | Wed, 04/21/2010 - 07:10
Ahimsananda's picture

Where is Bhakta?

That which is missing in both Ramesh and Wolinsky, as well as most "neo-advaitins" is the element of Bhakta that is "personified" in Nisargadatta Maharaj.

While jnana is the Yoga; the "path", the mind will not take one all the "way". Only when Jnana and Bhakti are wed can the Truth be known. Just as we must "be" seeking, rather than seeker or the sought, we must also become Love, rather than loving or lover.

This is the teaching. It is not the words, or the concepts, but the being.

Ramesh and Wolinsky, like many on this forum, delight in the intellectual. This is natural, as many are followers of jnana, and jnana is of the mind. Some engage in mental gymnastics trying to describe "enlightenment" or "awareness". Some argue, and often get testy, if not angry at others. Even those who would be gurus, delight in "oneupsmanship", feeding their own egos.

Nisargadatta engaged in chanting and other Bhakta exercises every day. He was not afraid to talk both from the relative or the absolute "reality" standpoint.

Nisargadatta engaged in Bhakta strongly in his early life, as evidenced by his "Self Knowledge and Self Realization" written in his early years. Those who would turn "Advaita" into an "instant" path to enlightenment, without the devotional, renunciation characteristics it has traditionally held since Sankara, lose the compassion that is so recognizable in truly "enlightened" beings.

Just as Christ said the shepherd knows his sheep, so too, the Guru; the truly Enlightened, knows how to address the "seeker", and at what "level". He will not give meat to those not weaned off milk. He will challenge only the arrogant.


Ahimsananda | Thu, 06/17/2010 - 18:33
Kwagmyre's picture


Judging from the DVD's he's made and his appearances on You Tube, Wolinsky if he strays at all is so insignificant as to be virtually imperceptible. Contrary to what you state, he demonsrates a fairly thorough knowledge, though I'd concede that in the last DVD about his trip through India, he got needlessly verbose and repetitious; perhaps he was overly concerned the viewer might not understand unless he continually hammered away at the points he was making.

Kwagmyre | Mon, 07/04/2016 - 19:39


kamil's picture

Do not regard Wolinsky as a means to understand the simple and direct teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj. He distorts Maharaj's teachings completely and clearly misunderstands their very essence.

mgb's picture

Stephen Wolinsky

I studied for several years with Wolinsky. Yes, I learned some things. What really struck me was how much he played the favoritism card in his workshop. He deliberately asked some people to dinner and not others; he had his disciples;he is sooo creepy, unable to hide his voyeuristic tendencies; he comes off as nice, but only if you kiss his feet. If you want some of this information, try the books but avoid him personally. He is not the only one on the planet to learn from. Who the heck cares about self or no self if the person holding the carrot is still sucking on his own thumb because he cannot stand to loosen his grip on his own small false self.
AS you can tell, I feel ( oh, BTW, his feelings are way more important than the students he braises) burned bad by this man and after 35 years of teacher seeking he wins the medal for the creepiest, most out of touch personally of what is true and not even close to walking his talk. It is only a front for him to create another false core as he runs from his true his false core.
My very personal advice: find another direction. He is dangerous to your spiritual path.

Yours truly,

mgb | Sat, 01/14/2012 - 08:03
mrsnacks's picture

kamill:No problem with

kamill:No problem with Wolinsky.I wold say beware of kamill. When is your book coming out?

mrsnacks | Mon, 07/30/2012 - 12:49