Robert Augustus Masters was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1947. From an early age he was an avid artist, but in high school switched to the sciences, with which he stayed until he found himself at the age of 21 in a PhD program in biochemistry. Little more than a year later, only a few hours after a dream of dying, he left his doctoral studies, and began an odyssey of intense travel, initially outer, then inner.
As he did so, his passion for the arts reemerged, especially through writing. He began meditating, doing yoga, and exploring cutting-edge therapies and trainings. By 1978 he was working as a therapist and bodyworker. From the beginning his 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.
In 1981 he won his first literary prize — an all-expenses paid trip for two to Hawaii — for his story of a particularly perilous Indonesian adventure he’d had 8 years earlier. This spurred him to immerse himself more fully in his writing. He also deepened his psychospiritual work, which spread worldwide in the late 1980s.
In early 1994 his life abruptly and dramatically changed, following an extremely harrowing near-death experience, which is described in his book Darkness Shining Wild. Since 1986 he had been leading an experimental psychospiritual community (also described in Darkness Shining Wild), which had gradually gone strongly awry. He had become more and more of a guru, abusing his power, not seeing that what he was leading had become a cult. His near-death experience brought this to a halt, breaking him down so deeply that he could not resurrect his former way of being. A half year later, still shaken to the core and overcome with remorse, he disbanded the community (for more on this, see the page A Needed Shattering), soon thereafter beginning a very different journey, that of fully facing and working through what had driven him so far off track.
A year later he resumed his work, but in a much more compassionate, radically inclusive manner, centred to a significant degree by the practice of becoming intimate with all that we are — high and low, dark and light, dying and undying. He became a student again, completing a PhD program in psychology at Saybrook Graduate School in 1999; his dissertation received the highest award (dissertation with distinction). In 1998 he 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 his relationally-rooted psychospiritual work has been his writing. He is the author not only of fourteen books, but also of numerous essays. In 2000 his essay “Wrathful Compassion” won the Editor’s Award for the best article of the year in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. His essays have appeared in a number of publications, most recently Spanda Journal. His books have received critical acclaim; Christiane Northrup, Jean Houston, Ken Wilber, Harville Hendrix, and Jack Kornfield are among those who have strongly endorsed his writing. In 2008 his book Transformation Through Intimacy was a Nautilus Book Awards finalist (Silver Winner). His latest book is To Be a Man: A Guide to True Masculine Power.
His six CD program Knowing Your Shadow: Becoming Intimate with All that You Are (published by Sounds True) was released in the Spring of 2013. He has been widely interviewed, including by New Dimensions Radio, Tami Simon, and Ken Wilber.
In 2003 he began training students in his way of working, through yearlong apprenticeship programs.
In March 2005 he met Diane Bardwell. Diane found Robert through his website, read some of his poetry, and emailed (she was in California at the time, Robert in British Columbia) to ask if she could possibly convert one of his poems to a song. A year later they were married. They had an uncommonly close bond right from the beginning, and soon were working together. By 2008 they were doing all their sessions, groups, and trainings side-by-side. They have lived in Ashland, Oregon since 2010, and are now focused on professional training programs to teach/transmit their transformational, uncommonly deep approach to healing and awakening. They also are increasingly focused on doing couples intensives. Robert is also doing a number of men’s groups each year, inspired by the response to his book To Be a Man.
In 2011 Robert and Diane established the Masters Center for Transformation, a school through which their work and teachings can be optimally shared and embodied.
Robert’s books include:
Transformation Through Intimacy 2007