Meet our Teachers
Cynthia Lea Rose and Peter Bampton are the Founders and Teachers of the Awakened Life Project. They have very different teaching styles yet transmit a coherent essential communication through which they catalyse and guide the development
of the Awakened Life Project.

Spiritual teacher, co-founder of the Awakened Life Project
Spiritual teacher, author, co-founder of the Awakened Life Project
Cynthia Lea Rose
Co-founder of the Awakened Life Project, spiritual teacher
"I have found peace and passion. I am learning everyday to surrender to that which I can't see with my mind but is so very tangible deep within my Being. And most importantly I am finding joy and happiness in responding to the call to God which constantly pushes me beyond what I think I am capable of.

For me co-creating the Awakened Life Project is and continues to be my response to this call. Simply, I am devoted to giving back what I have been given, I am devoted to be a full expression of Love and a vehicle for Consciousness and I am devoted to the path of purification so I can fulfill my purpose for being in this body. In my view there is nothing else to do."


Cynthia was raised in a conventional, upper-middle class American household in California. She didn't have a strong background in spiritual matters but from very early on she knew there was more to life than what seemed obvious. After trying the conventional route of getting married, having a good job, making money, buying a house, succeeding in business she felt empty and bored as it lacked the heart and purpose she intuited was possible.

When Cynthia turned 30 she surrendered to the call of her heart and gave it all up. She moved to Japan to practice Aikido and Japanese Tea Ceremony for 4 years. She was introduced to meditation and was in an environment that thrived on spiritual dialog and alternative thinking. While in Japan she acquired a black belt in Aikido and after returning to California she co-ran an Aikido Dojo for 6 years. During her time in Japan she made her first trips to India and it was there she met spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen.
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During the 6 years running the Aikido Dojo Cynthia incorporated the teachings of Andrew Cohen with the philosophy of Aikido and her own intuition. She engaged with students directly through teaching and also by having live-in students who wanted to give themselves to their practice. She continued to engage with Andrew Cohen's community which was located 3 hours from where she lived.

But it still wasn't enough.

Cynthia decided to commit herself fully to her longing to be free and to community living so for the next 8 years she gave herself to live in a spiritual community called EnlightenNext, led by Andrew Cohen. She learned about the movement of ego and more importantly got grounded in her True Self beyond the bodymind. It was there that she found a deeper joy of communion with others in a community with a common purpose.

When she left the community she got into a relationship with her then partner Peter Bampton who she had known for many years in the Enlighten Next community. They were and are both dedicated to God Realization and spent almost two years giving themselves to practice and natural living in a remote area in Spain. It was there that a shared vision for the Awakened Life Project arose.

From the moment they came to Central Portugal Cynthia absolutely loved it. There were the obvious reasons; the gorgeous scenery, the extremely friendly people, the slow moving way of life where people took the time to speak with one another, but it was mostly the stillness and quiet that she experienced all around and within her that told her that this was the place!

In December 2007 Cynthia and Peter bought the abandoned farm Quinta da Mizarela which today is the heart and Ashram of the Awakened Life Project. The Awakened Life Project was co-founded and developed over the following years.

In 2009 Cynthia started a women's group which over the years has evolved into a thriving collective of over 40 dedicated and passionate women. Shining a light on egoic patterns and inspiring the surrender towards God realization, Cynthia has been paving a path and is inviting all of her students to surrender to the call of their hearts. One of her greatest gifts is the piercing clarity when she works with a group of people or with individuals, as well as her unwavering determination to walk her talk and keep leaning into her own evolution and purification.

As the project changed her role within it changed too. From building project manager, financial manager, people manager to teacher and mentor to the growing number of international female and male students who are engaging with ALP and comprise the Awakened Life Sangha.

Cynthia teaches public retreats, Sangha retreats, offers monthly webinars for the public in which she covers diverse themes that are relevant to all aspects of life. With depth and humor she draws people out of their separate problem mind, into their spontaneous and responsive and joyous heart. She also continues to work with individuals in the Sangha, facilitates the spiritual activities of the ALP Ashram and focuses on her own spiritual practice.

Cynthia's main spiritual influence in the last years is Adi Da Samraj, an American Spiritual Master that not only has clear and concise teachings but a strong transmission of Love. He is a teacher that kicks ass for those who want to be free and simultaneously opens the door to a relationship to God that is only about surrender and Love. Adi Da teachings have confirmed and taken her understanding of ego patterning further within the context of the already free position of Reality.

Cynthia is forever grateful for all that she has experienced in this lifetime and for all the love and support she has been given and continues to receive.
Peter Bampton
Co-founder of the Awakened Life Project, spiritual teacher, author
Peter is the author of The Fire of the Heart, co-founder and spiritual director of The Awakened Life Project, founder and leader of The Men's Collective, and the founder of Evolusa.

"I was born in 1965 and grew up mostly in north Hertfordshire in England. I was raised a Catholic but rejected it when I was old enough to assert my adolescent independence at age fourteen. Thereafter instead of attending church on Sundays I began taking long countryside walks during which I'd sit down and be engulfed by a transcendent peace and presence that burned with a captivating intensity. Although I had no real understanding of what this presence was I later found a way to describe it as a Great Silent Fire. I intuitively trusted that Great Silent Fire and it's been my guiding light ever since.
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After studying English Literature in London, and inspired by an overwhelming curiosity about the world and deep longing for spiritual freedom welling up from that Great Silent Fire, I spent many years traveling in USA, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal and India. While in Thailand I participated in a 10 day meditation retreat in the Theravada Forest Tradition where I experienced a radical and ecstatic Awakening to what I later understood to be the nondual nature of Reality. This Awakening left a profound imprint and the trajectory of my life rapidly became purposed toward the rediscovery and deepening of that Revelation. Over the ensuing years of being an avid practitioner of meditation and the Dharma, I did many silent meditation retreats in Theravadin monasteries and almost got to the point of ordaining as a Buddhist monk.

At age twenty seven my trajectory abruptly shifted from being drawn toward a practice-oriented, traditional monastic path when I read the Advaita Vedanta classic I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, which transmitted the searing immediacy of Liberation here and now. Newly attuned to this radical intuition, I soon met a fiery young American teacher Andrew Cohen in London and became involved for the following thirteen years in a radical and controversial communal experiment in conscious evolution – EnlightenNext – based primarily in the USA. I'm profoundly grateful for all I learned during that oftentimes ecstatic and sometimes agonising adventure, both the light and shadow. In 2005 at age forty I made the decision to leave as I felt that Cohen's modus operandi as teacher, although sincere, was misguided in its heavy-handedness and his teachings, although stark and penetrating, were lacking in subtlety and heartfulness. I felt I'd fundamentally learned everything I could from that situation and so I took the enormous risk of leaving and starting over alone.

In 2007, after two years essentially "on retreat" on the island of Ibiza, Spain, while living on a secluded permaculture farm, I and my then partner Cynthia, bought the abandoned hamlet of Quinta da Mizarela in the mountains of Central Portugal. Living in a yurt we began the adventure of co-founding and developing what we came to call The Awakened Life Project.

After a few years I began teaching meditation retreats and, as I received invitations, I also began to give public talks and courses in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra. As participants grew and many wanted to continue the adventure of Awakening together, I gradually found myself in the role of spiritual guide, along with Cynthia, to a growing international network of students that we eventually named The Awakened Life Sangha.

In 2009 I founded the Men's Collective with a small pilot group. While I'd had some previous experience of the power and potential of a deep spiritual brotherhood, I soon found myself and the Collective developing in new and thrilling ways as we entered into unprecedented territory, especially on extended retreats.

As well as guiding the Men's Collective, I teach occasional retreats and courses that catalyse Awakening to the radical immediacy of the Spiritual Heart and facilitate the transformational task of embodying that Realisation in everyday life.

A great lover of Portugal and the Portuguese, I founded the initiative Evolusa, as a vehicle to illuminate and explore the underappreciated strengths and potentials in the Portuguese character. It's my conviction that the Portuguese carry in their collective "soul" an uncorrupted purity of heart, and receptivity to spiritual reality that is unique in the occidental world. My vision for Evolusa is that it'll be a potent catalyst and a vibrant, dynamic hub for a new "Age of Discovery" amongst awakening Portuguese. I'm currently writing my second book In Search of the Portuguese Soul – Em Busca da Alma Portuguesa – which includes my adventures touring the country by bicycle. You can follow my journey on my blog here.

In the winter of 2016-17 I embarked on a spiritual pilgrimage in India and experienced a profound deepening through the Grace of Ramana Maharshi, while meditating in Virupaksha cave on Arunachala Mountain, where he had lived in silence for many years.

Since 2015 my most potent Influence and Guiding Light has been a profound and ever-deepening Recognition-Response of the comprehensive, full-spectrum Teaching, Realisation and Divine Grace of Adi Da Samraj, whom I now regard as Master. The undeniable transmission and depth of Adi Da's Teaching has had a transformative impact in ways I could never have imagined possible on myself and also the wider body of the Awakened Life Sangha.

My other interests include playing blues-rock guitar with the Sangha band The Free Radicals, practicing qigong, cycling the country roads of Portugal, exploring and exposing the lies we have been told about just about everything, and a nice cup of tea and a sit down."

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