looking for the beginning...
once upon a time, I was a happy healthy intellectual Bohemian poet and tech writer and book author and musician, living in the hills of Boulder Creek, California.
Boulder Creek is a remarkable place, a seemingly remote Santa Cruz mountain town that used to be a logging village more than a hundred years ago. there is evidence to suggest that gold miners, in the mid-1800s gold craze, traversed the forests and streams near Boulder Creek.
Boulder Creek today has about 6,000 people living in its outlying forests and off dirt roads, some of which are still off the grid. its inhabitants tend to be fairly iconoclastic, and although many work 'over the hill' in Silicon Valley, still many others are retired hippies, hermit authors, web designers, rave producers, top-level scientists, artists of all walks, n'er-do-wells, and an assortment of other kinds of people who enjoy living in the somewhat rugged and wild environs of the redwood forests.
there are 2 Buddhist monasteries to be found there, one Tibetan Buddhist, one Burmese Buddhist, tradition. the Heartmath Institute (a courageous and stealthy organization that researches the scientific and mathematically quantifiable affects of open-hearted living), is in Boulder Creek, as well as a beautiful Mother Divine temple, and an Ananda (Yogananda) meditation center.
but I'm digressing.
the story I want to tell in this blog, about how an ordinary 30-something got broad-sided by spirituality and wound up living in India for several years, is a little complicated and may well sound to readers like a fantasy novel rather than someone's real-life account of events that actually transpired. okay, no problem -- I didn't believe, I mean, really believe, that a lot of the things that I've witnessed and experienced directly, or heard about from other people who have, were possible, either.
the funny thing is, I'm a fairly skeptical person, at heart.
(sure, I'm also a poet & musician, meaning someone who can read between the lines of life and pay attention on the level of intuition, loose connections, non-linear thinking, and energy rather than factual analysis.)
I was raised by two scientific parents (my father was a surgeon, my mother a nurse) who were at best agnostic in their spiritual beliefs. my childhood and adolescent years were spent in Missouri -- famous as the "Show-Me State," not without reason. there's a mid-western hard-headedness in my inner make-up, a part of me that, even when a credible source reports news of a miracle to me, stands up tall and declares, like that senator of old Missouri did, "gentlemen, you have got to show me!"
that disclaimer being made, I have to confess that this IS a blog about spirituality, and about miracles, and about the super-natural channels one can find in India, if one is lucky and perseverant and has the superb guidance from another person who already knows the way.
another disclaimer: in my life, I never actively sought after spirituality or spiritual things. I was interested in them, sure, but then again I was interested in a lot of things. and yet -- spiritual subjects and insights kept presenting themselves to me, from weird and unexpected angles, through friends, or acquaintances, or even complete strangers.
I did NOT actively seek spiritual teachers, channels, readings, whatever. I came to California from the East Coast, where I went to liberal arts college for four years.
I had all the intellectual snobbery I could gather there, in my emotional arsenal, so my reaction to anything New Age was to look askance at it, laugh derisively and wonder how seemingly otherwise intelligent people could actively espouse believing in things ranging from the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicines, to crystal healings, from gurus to accounts of UFO sightings.
I had a profound distaste for organized religion in any form, having been sent to Catholic school for eight years in my youth (the only non-Catholic in the place). I thought it was truly the 'opiate of the masses' -- although I also thought that most ideologies, in any kind of dogmatic form, were the same.
my strong opinion, when I occasionally encountered people who had found some alternative faith, like Buddhism or having a guru, was that only insecure, unself-confident human beings (ie, Losers with a capital L) were attracted to religions where someone ELSE would tell them how to run their lives, so they could abrogate personal responsibility and individual thought. relying on an external deity, or worse, another human being who was posing as such (and probably a total charlatan, taking advantage of weak-minded, credulous souls and extorting vast sums of money from them) -- was anathema to my way of thinking.
I didn't, couldn't, differentiate between spirituality and religion -- there was no range broad enough in my vocabulary to encompass the stretch and landscape that lies between these two words.
at the same time, mysteries and mystical coincidences had always accompanied my life, strange little moments and signs and incidents of feeling intimately connected with nature -- I couldn't ignore them but had nowhere to put them, other than relegating those kinds of experiences to poetry and music expressions.
so I evolved into a strange dichotomy -- intuitive and sensitive to synchronicities and mysteries on the inside, sharp, rational, hyper-critical and condemning on the outside.
but even the sharpest rocks DO soften when they're pummeled by ocean waves long enough -- and somehow credible spiritual teachers came into my life, as if accidentally but surely the perfection of the timing (in my own evolution) was beautifully suspicious.
I began studying actively with a Dutch yogi named Jack Schwarz in the early-to-mid 1990s. Jack was then in his 70s, and had many well-documented (gasp! even scientifically, by such establishments as UCSF Medical School and other reputable organizations) supernatural abilities, or siddhis. he was the first person I heard of who was a spiritual character who DIDN'T sound like he was self-aggrandizing or a fake, charlatan-type of person intent on bleeding the hopeful out of their money.
his story is a whole beautiful epic in itself that I'll tell at a later posting if people are interested. the high points (besides the fact that he had well-developed siddhis, or supernatural abilities) are that he gained his enlightenment in Auschwitz, where he was interned during the 2nd World War as part of the German's forced labor program, he diagnosed medical conditions by reading the energy field, or aura, of a human being and taught medical professionals to do the same, and he was famous for demonstrating 'mind-over-matter' to large audiences by driving a graduated sail needle through his upper arm, lecturing while it was stuck in there, (bleeding or not depending on what the audience requested) and letting the observing audience see the substantial gouges on his arm created by the needle heal spontaneously within a few minutes of removing the needle.
he was a super-love character, who lived in loved, worked in love, and died in love.
he took his final trip from this lifetime (he described life like borrowing a rental car from the lot and then driving it for a while, taking it back to the lot, getting another one....) in 2000, right as I was coming to India to live. transitions, passings, traffic circulations, red lights, green lights, life and death.
& I still haven't got to what brought me to live in India yet. hmmm. maybe that's a longer tale than I originally anticipated!