Like the pursuit of education in any other sphere, my spiritual education has included many different classes and teachers. The apparent difference is that there will be no graduation day; the call for continuing education credits is ceaseless.
The way of the Veda or Vedanta influence in the 60’s captured the attention of my spirit while it permeated the philosophy that influenced the “flower children.” I was immediately drawn to the words of Yogananda and Maharishi–little intellectual understanding was necessary, as the vibration of the words found their way to my heart. I suddenly knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a spiritual seeker. There has been no turning back.
Over forty years later, my education continues with enthusiasm, I walk the spiritual path characterized by diversity; my soul has been touched by a number of practitioners, from many different spiritual paths.
The Twelve Steps act as the solar lights that line the path, guiding me in the right direction. Embracing the Eleventh Step enables me to fly free to continue my awakening.
The words of the Christian Mystics resonate within me–Brother Lawrence, St. John of the Cross; I have also hung on the words of Thomas Merton, a Catholic Monk who at the end of his life became close friends with the Dali Lama.
I’m drawn to the words of The Buddha; the principles within his teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path have enhanced my spiritual journey for the last twenty years. The word Buddha means “awake.”
It is common to read suggestions to those who are new to a spiritual path; to follow one teacher or one religion, lest the student become confused. Some say that without a realized Guru, one cannot find God. Pretensions such as these can have a shaming quality, to a beginning seeker, causing him or her to fall into the insidious trap of “I’m doing it wrong.”
My book The Mindful Addict outlines the path I have pursued; the pages will guide you through the journey of the last forty years, a journey that continues each day with a new breath. Like a butterfly landing upon one flower and then the next, I also have been drawn to many teachers; the unchanging factuality of my practice is meditation followed by service.
In the darkness of pre-dawn, the hours before the morning sun, I sit with candle light reflecting off crystals, the alluring smell of sandalwood finding its way to my senses, and the booming sound of silence pulls me deep within, I’m again blessed with the untranslatable feeling of joy, the spiritual seeker within is ignited again and again.
I’m certain that the ascended masters and teachers of the many religions and spiritual paths sit together and giggle at the boundaries we impose upon each other, accentuating the feelings of separation we perceive to exist.
My aspiration is to sit with each of you, and in silence be mindful of our breath, knowing when we breathe in and breathe out, and walking in the Pure Land of the beautiful moment.