Updated: May 4, 2022
(This is from my Facebook Page posting of April 28th, 2022)
My turning Point
I have gotten several requests lately to retell the events that led to my turning point toward enlightenment. I have shared the details of this event to live audiences for several years now as an if-it-can-happen-to-me-it-can-happen-to-you presentation. The idea of enlightenment that is most known to spiritual seekers comes from the ancient Hindu culture and through present-day gurus who continue that ideation. We are of a different age now. The perpetuated ideations of then no longer hold.
In 1980, my first wife and I finally realized that we were not very compatible – our life directions were going along opposite paths. Our two daughters were the glue that held us in place. Finally, we decided that we could still be good parents to our children and live in different abodes. We divorced; she got all she needed and then some. We both saw to the needs of our new living arraignments.
I moved into a two-bedroom condo with a beautiful sunroom – windows all around and skylights - that I quickly converted into a meditation and yoga space with a water feature and many peace lilies neatly arranged around the room. A stunning prayer rug centered on the floor along with yoga mat and supporting props. I had been doing the same meditation technique since it was taught to me by my parental grandmother, Rowena, in my mid-teens. She had promised that if I were sincere, I would be gifted with a wonderful, eye-opening surprise. I meditated every day – yes – even when my body cried out for anything but meditation.
Even though the divorce had been mutually decided and cordial, it had been mighty stressful. The girls were confused and one grew more and more resentful. Managing the new behavior patterns was a bit of a stretch for everyone. I began to spend more time in meditation – up to an hour in the mornings and two hours in the evenings. The gift Rowena had promised arrived on a dreary Atlanta Sunday morning, rain pelting the skylights and windows, wind howling, and lightning in the distant clouds. I felt odd as I awoke from a restless sleep. I do not like thunder and lightning – I had a bad experience with both as a youngster. The hair was standing up on my arms as I attempted to settle into the deep phase of meditation I had come to enjoy for the past several years.
My mantra, oaum naum, automatically repeated as I pulled my legs into the lotus position. The space between each vertebra expanded as my breathing became fully yogic, with the inhalation filling my belly, the midbody, and upper back; the exhale first releasing from the upper back, then midbody, and finally exhausting out through the navel. I felt myself diving deeper and deeper into my mind, the place where thoughts are like white puffy clouds floating across an azure blue sky. It is such a place where judgments are insane and observations are instantaneously crystal clear. The deeper I went, the less dimensional I became.
In the very distance ai heard a small voice urging me to open my eyes. At that moment, I was too deep to command my body to do anything, let alone open my eyes. I ignored the voice and continued to dive even deeper into my super subconscious mind. It is such a wonderful place, a place filled with every potential. The voice got closer. I continued to ignore its suggestion to open my eyes. I had the thought to hide with a series of potentialities as a way of escaping the command. The voice yelled within my mind in a booming call, OPEN YOUR EYES! My eyes popped open at the demand.
I could feel that my eyes were indeed open. To check on their status, I closed them tightly and then quickly reopened them. Nothing was there – nothing except a peach-colored gold light. I closed my eyes and reopened them. The same – nothing. The voice said, “That which you seek is seeking you.” The joy I felt was so complete as to be overwhelmingly all-inclusive. “Everything is mind,” the voice instructed. I felt my eyes close as I returned to the deep state of perfect calm. I could feel Rowena behind me., lifting my mind back to the surface. “Open your eyes, the voice called from far away. Tiny particles of the peach-colored gold light began to form the details of my meditation room. The water fountain, then its water sounds. The windows and outside trees. The rug below and skylights above. The plants. The air moving in and out of my body. My body. My emotions. My thoughts. Everything is made of the exact same substance; everything was of the same source. The place within me expressing itself as existence.
I had received the gift promised so long ago. My sincerity and consistency had brought me to this moment. A moment I had longed for over many lifetimes. Rowena had put me on the path to this exact moment through the pure intention of her teacher, Parmahansa Yogananda.
AS REQUESTED A FOLLOW UP WITH A LITTLE HISTORY OF MY PERSONAL SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
(Also from my Facebook page)
This will feel like a walk down memory lane: Rowena gave me some of the original two-year Kriya Yoga lessons (still have them and have lent them out a few times), so Yogananda was my introduction into this wild world of mystical studies. I studied psychology at university in an attempt to understand myself as an abuse survivor. Once my daughters were in their teens and more focused on friends, I began my journey to find enlightened teachers.
I have met and attended presentations of the most popular awakened individuals and gurus in the USA. In the 60s I met and followed Francisco Cole’s Inner Peace Movement. Then caught up with a guy named, Mark Prophet, channeled as the Messenger of the Ascended Masters (did not like his wife, Elizabeth). Then I briefly studied a young, enlightened guru by the name of, Maharaji Ji, the leader of the Divine Light Mission. After that, I paused there for a little while to collect myself, then continued with: Ida Rolf, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and Stephen Levine, Ram Das, Wayne Dyer, Terence Mckenna, to name a few.
Backing up a little, in 1973, just before my first daughter was born, I initiated into TM through Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I practiced TM along with my Kriya meditation techniques. I met and spoke with a young man, I devoured as many books as I could about expanding consciousness. I met a Mystical Book store (The Sphinx) owner in Atlanta who turned me onto his teacher, Muktananda. I never got to meet Muktananda or attend his offerings from the Siddha lineage. However, it was Gurumayi Chidvilasananda (Swami Muktananda’s successor) from whom I received shakti. Understandably, I fell in love.
After that, I went to Pune, India, to connect with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (tantric master) and BKS Iyengar (premier yoga master). Then onto Lucknow, India to meet H.W.L. Poonja (Poonjaji). He was an amazing man. At evening darshan one evening, I heard him explain to one of the attendees (a young man that had come all the way from Paris) that all the man’s efforting would never bring effortlessness. Only effortlessness brings effortlessness. I got it. I immediately began my journey back home through Varanasi/Benares. I wanted to see the Ganges. It was there that I was introduced to pure trust as I sat meditating across the river from Deer Park the place where Buddha had meditated under the Bodhi Tree.
I did study for a short while with Hawk Little John, shaman of the NC Cherokees in Murphy, NC. That’s another story.