AHAM Meditation Retreat and Training Center

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


AHAM Retreat Center

Sharing The Teaching

Training Programs

Events & Calendar

AHAM Community

Bookstore / Media

india center

Our Staff Members

AHAM is a conscious environment where work, play and spiritual attention are combined into an enlightening experience. We would like to acknowledge all of the support AHAM receives from the many graduates who come to the center and help with sacred service.


Stan Davis
AHAM’s Spiritual and Executive Director

I was first introduced to AHAM in 1981 when it was located in a small bookstore in Greensboro, NC. Between then and 1988, when I became a full time staff member at the Asheboro, North Carolina Center, I realized Self-Inquiry as the way to directly and instantly connect with and express from pure Awareness or the Source of Being, prior to the ego-mind. From this place, we are able to consciously share real and lasting peace and well being with those around us, which becomes their own experience.

Prior to becoming a full time staff member, I spent many years in the newspaper publishing business. Since 1989 I have devoted my life to fulfilling AHAM’s purpose and mission.

“Through my association with AHAM and its founder, A. Ramana, as well as participation in AHAM’s programs, I have awakened to true and lasting freedom. I have discovered and experience the abundant joy and grace in unconditional or self-less giving. One’s life is not complete unless they give. I am happy to say that I now experience what is meant by the statement, ‘it is in giving that we receive.”

(Stan also serves as an AHAM meditation instructor and trainer.)



Jan Sundell

Jan serves as the manager of our Arunachala Ramana AHAM Ashram which is located near the Holy Hill Arunachala in South India.



Linda Swanson

I discovered AHAM in 1996, while living and working in the Washington, DC area.  Though I went to that first AHAM program with persistent physical ailments that I thought might be eased by meditation, I was so thrilled with being able to touch in on Being-ness itself by using Self Inquiry, that the physical ailments quickly took a back seat (and also disappeared completely after 6 months).  I took every program in the curriculum as fast as Elizabeth (Elizabeth MacDonald, then Senior Trainer) and Ramana would let me.  By 1999, I’d bought the house next door to the AHAM Center in NC and moved here with my youngest daughter, then in middle school.  After a couple of years we put an addition on our house to serve a group of AHAM families with children.  Working with the other parents and hosting AHAM’s Family Network until our children went off to college was lots of fun and very humbling in the face of the children’s insights and honest questions.  I make a living as an economic development consultant and donate a much of my time to AHAM in a variety of roles—as trainer, buddy, sponsor, Board member, coordinator of the AIC field-groups, editor, and animal care-giver.  Continually striking a balance between living in the “regular world” and yet being so involved with AHAM has allowed greater empathy and insight regarding the concerns and questions that students bring to the teaching.



Steven Jacobson

I graduated from the Boston University School of Communications and worked in the film industry for 13 years, producing sponsored films, working as a production manager and editor, and re-cutting feature films for U.S. theatrical distribution, TV syndication and cable. I left my career in film to research the use of hypnotic techniques in mass media after receiving the results of private medical research investigating mental programming and deprogramming and recognizing its far reaching implications and consequences for society.

The desire to know what is true, why I am here, why I find the world and life to be as I find it goes back as far as I can remember. Even at 5 years old, I felt an existential angst. I did not know that was what I was feeling back then, but I knew that I did not know and understand what was going on here. And so the spiritual quest and journey and the recognition of its importance began early. Even though I did not know what I was looking for or where to find it, I had a deep, abiding faith that one day I would be shown and it would all be revealed.

I spent years reading the Vedas, meditating, exploring different teachings, and meeting with different teachers, and first came in contact with AHAM in 2003 shortly after reading the book, The Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi. I went to a Body, Mind and Spirit Expo at the Winston-Salem convention center where AHAM had a table with books and audio cassettes. When I saw a photo of Ramana Maharshi on the back of a book by AHAM's founder and spiritual director, A Ramana, I was immediately interested. I bought the book and a cassette and filled out a raffle ticket for a drawing for an introductory program. Three weeks later I got a phone call saying I had won the raffle. I attended the weekend program and took the very next Intensive Self-Inquiry Training and then the very next Neutralizing Your Negative Past Training, followed by several work-study programs. I was visiting AHAM weekly until I left for a while, only to return in 2008.

I’ve been living and serving at AHAM since February, 2008, managing the bookstore and mail order book, CD and DVD orders, preparing program materials and serving in numerous capacities for program support wherever needed. Our occupation is to serve. Everyone does whether they realize it or not. We either serve our family, employer, the gratification of bodily senses or God and the highest of ideals.


Who is the worker? Let him who works ask the question. You are always the Self. You are not the mind. It is the mind which raises these questions. Work proceeds, always in the presence of the Self only. Work is no hindrance to realization. It is the mistaken identity of the worker that troubles one. Get rid of the false identity.

— Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Jeannie Rehder

In the summer of 1981, standing on my porch in Bellingham, WA., I had a yearning to “go home.” In my heart I knew the home of my parents was not what this yearning meant. Only a few months later, I met Chuck, who was planning on returning to his home state of North Carolina. In September, 1982 we were driving across country to NC, and in January, 1983 we visited AHAM for the first time. After taking my first program, I knew I was home.

In May 1984, Ramana married Chuck and me. We have both participated in all of AHAM’s programs and have served AHAM ever since. My current role as AHAM’s bookkeeper brings me to the Center most Mondays.


Jim Dillinger

I learned about AHAM 30 years ago, while attending a spiritual retreat in Black Mountain, NC. Even with a room full of meditators, I was drawn to the peaceful presence of AHAM's Cofounder, Elizabeth MacDonald.

The next two weekends I found myself in a seminar conducted by A. Ramana, AHAM’s Founder and Director, and asking myself, “how did I get here?” I had been on a serious spiritual path for many years and thought I had a handle on ‘the Truth.’ Ramana blew my ego-mind apart, i.e., my concepts and beliefs were seriously challenged.

I tried to make some sense out of what I had experienced with A. Ramana, and when that didn’t work, I took weekly trips to Greensboro, NC, AHAM’s original home. After a year of these trips, I moved to North Carolina to be closer “to the fire” of transformation. Through Ramana, and AHAM’s simple and direct teaching, the clouds of ignorance have cleared and allowed me to realize “the peace that passes all understanding.”

One day about 30 years ago, Ramana gave me the title of ‘tape minister’ and that is still how I serve AHAM today. During those years, along with other grateful volunteers, I have sent out thousands of tapes, CDs, DVDs, books and photographs, thereby assisting folks in their own process of awakening.

Side Note:
Jim’s talents and abilities as a professional photographer have served AHAM and its purpose well, culminating in the creation of the book/album Arunachala, Sacred Mountain of South India, published by AHAM Publications in 2007. Jim says “This book, as a meditation on Stillness and Peace, is the pinnacle project and product of my entire career.”


Chuck and George

Chuck and George

George Lutman

I was born in Missouri in 1939. I attended college and medical school there and eventually became a pathologist. I served a year in Viet Nam while in the army, and practiced in New York State and in North Carolina until retiring and moving to Asheboro in 1993. I am married to Loretta, the greatest person and we have five children and a cat.

Since about the age of 15 I have been on a spiritual search which has taken me into several different religions. In the 1970's, when I was practicing Zen, my teacher mentioned the supreme attainment of Ramana Maharshi and, much later, (about 30 years later, actually,) this bore fruit and I found, to my great amazement, that the Maharshi's teachings were available to me at a center (AHAM) only 11 miles from where I live.

I began to attend some of the programs, was able to benefit greatly from association with A. Ramana, founder and first spiritual director of AHAM, and began to volunteer every Saturday as a maintenance man in about 2006. This has been a very good situation for me; I have been able to benefit from being regularly at the Center and working alongside my AHAM sponsor, who also volunteers in these capacities on Saturdays.

Gratitude to Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, to A. Ramana, to my Zen teacher, and to all others.


Chuck Rehder

In July of 1980 I had the experience of the Heart, but didn’t know what it was, and it lasted for several weeks.  The first time I came to AHAM, to attend a Sunday service in 1983, I experienced the presence of the Heart again. I have taken all of AHAM programs and have followed the Teaching as a way of life.

As a result I am at peace, and it is much easier to accept the events as they occur in my daily life.

In August, 2001, I moved to Asheboro to be closer  to the AHAM Center, and since then have participated in Sacred Service by giving one day a week assisting in maintaining the building and grounds.

I am grateful for this opportunity to work in a conscious environment and to give back to the place from where I have received so much.

Doug High

Doug High and his wife, Carol, came to AHAM because they were led to do so, even though it seemed scary and totally unreasonable at the time. It was literally a "leap of faith," and has proven to be a blessing beyond description.

Doug says, “I volunteer at AHAM because of the opportunity to serve in and be blessed by conscious company.” One of his volunteer areas is as the coordinator of AHAM’s Prison Ministry program. Since he had worked for nearly ten years as a teacher in a large, metropolitan jail, Doug brings an "insider's" context to AHAM's prison ministry. This context both invites and allows contacts with inmates to be real so the teaching can be the one and only focus.

Doug also serves AHAM as the moderator on several of the weekly conference calls AHAM sponsors. As Doug says, “It is a wonderful opportunity both to serve and to experience more relatedness with the Conscious Community members who participate in those calls.” In addition, Doug serves as AHAM’s computer wizard.

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Doug holds a graduate degree in Business Administration, is a Certified Flight Instructor, has been through three intensive foreign language training programs, and has worked and lived abroad.

In 2006, having retired from a successful career with a Fortune-500 corporation, Doug and Carol moved from Naples, Florida, to Asheboro, NC to be near AHAM.

He and Carol recently started their own healthcare/wellness business in Asheboro. He loves gardening; reading spiritual books; gentle, nourishing music; public speaking; networking; marketing; writing; and supporting and nurturing his and Carol’s business in service to the community.


Patricia Thompsom

With gratitude for what I received during AHAM's very first Self-Inquiry class in 1978, I opened my Greensboro home to A. Ramana to both live in and conduct classes for many years. AHAM eventually opened its first center in Greensboro, NC, where I set up AHAM's audio and video recording systems to share this transforming process of Self-Inquiry.

I am now serving on the A. Ramana Archiving Project, dedicated to the preservation and worldwide distribution of thousands of hours of formal and informal Self-Inquiry gatherings with A. Ramana. Over the years, I’ve also served as a Buddy and Sponsor for graduates who are integrating AHAM’s Self-Inquiry meditation process into their daily lives.

I graduated from East Carolina University in Interior Design and worked for 12 years as a designer in the High Point, NC furniture business. A work transfer in 1983 took me to Europe and a career change where I became a Tour Guide for a European travel agency.

After each summer season of travel, I return to the AHAM USA Meditation Retreat & Spiritual Training Center in Asheboro, NC or to the AHAM India Ashram to participate in programs and generously offer Sacred Service.





"He taught us that work is love for others, that we never can work for ourselves. By his very presence he taught us of God and that all work is His. He used cooking to teach us religion and philosophy."

Bhagavan in the Kitchen by Sampurnamma
Ramana Smrti Souvenir


Become a part of our team and join us for Sacred ServiceTeresa
More info on Sacred Service . . .