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my journey, my seeking, my story

soul's journey

The Revelation

Every soul in this world may have a revelation, the same one that Peter had. That revelation will be a testimony, a knowledge that ishwar is a Friend first. A testimony is not an exhortation; a testimony is not a sermon (none of you are there to exhort the rest); it is not a travelogue. You are there to bear your own witness. It is amazing what you can say may change someones’ life


meaning of life

The surprising chances of our lives can seem like they’re hinting at hidden truths, but they’re really revealing the human mind at work.

A coincidence is in the eye of the beholder. If a rare event happens in a forest and no one notices and no one cares, it’s not really a coincidence.

I’ve always been a yearner. Even though there’s no question that the conditions in my life this time around have been good on the outside, there’s been a deep pain/ loneliness/ longing/ knowing there’s more-ness- on the inside from day 1. Inside there had always been a missing hole. There was always a sense of pain. I used to go through a lot of internal ups and downs, periods of sadness. It seems like the Master Power served up a string of dream come trues and then, quite literally, as soon as all that was set, then all those manifested ‘things’ proved to be mirages.

About 20 years ago, I was out of college and saw a flyer advertising an instructor offering lessons in something I was interested in. I set up an appt. We became friends. She shared that she had a Master named Kirpal Singh. I knew nothing about this, though I always knew that there was a whole lot more going on than what met the eye. I did have a curiosity about religions and had grown up going to a religious school though organized religion didn’t do anything for me. I always classified myself as ‘spiritual’ and was interested in metaphysics; open to esoteric philosophies.

My friend had tons of pamphlets and books around. She gave me a few that I still have. She introduced me to Sant Ajaib Singh…I totally ‘got’ it. I attended a few satsangs and started meditating. I became a vegetarian and was about to apply for initiation. Then, my ‘future’ wife showed up. And before I truly moved forward with the path, Sant Ji left the body. I wasn’t ready.

So, I put it in the back pocket. I was told that there would be no successor. I tried another path which did not require a living master. I stopped that but always knew someday I would move on from the worldly and get with what’s really going on. Maybe when I was much older and the kids were grown etc?

Fast forward to late winter of 2015. I see that one of the books my friend gave me by Kirpal called “Morning Meditations’ is lying around. It’s not being put away. Not sure how it wasn’t packed up in a box somewhere. It kept moving from here to there…seemed to always be on top of a pile or near me on the floor. One day, it ended up in my hands. Instant re-ignition. I start meditating again, I quit eggs. Vowed never to drink alcohol again though I hardly drank anyhow. AND, I started to think, who’s the living master? I emailed the ashram devoted to Kirpal and Ajaib and found that they didn’t recognize a successor. I looked all over the internet but nothing was clear.


So, I found the ISHA site, looked at the schedule, chose Toronto in June (about 3 months off) and made my way. I hope to someday be able to describe the feeling when I first laid eyes on Him. Magical. In my personal interview, I asked Ishwar Puri if He’d accept me for initiation…He laughed and said ‘Yes. You know why? Because you are ready” but you’ll have to come to Rice Lake in April, or September”. I said, well, I like September. On my way out the door He graciously called out, “I’m your friend from today, formality in September”. Thank You Thank YOU Master.… September comes and I along with a small group of others were formally initiated by the great Ishwar Puri Ji.

In 2006, I met my future husband at work.  He was following the path of light and sound and had a living master.  I read some books on santmat and realized this is the path that I wanted to follow (have a lot history to it) .  I was initiated by the Master nearly a decade back.  Although I was initiated by the master, I always felt that I need more direct interaction with the master which was missing in this case.
A good friend of mine than happened to mention about Ishwarji and his famous youtube videos.  I listened to some of Ishwarji’s satsang and was really hooked on to it.  What fascinated me more back then (when I was thinking technique is important :)) is the detail step by step instructions that ishwarji gave on how to meditate.  I started using that method initially but was drawn towards Ishwarji and felt guilty that here I am thinking about another Master when I have a master of my own.  Also Ishwarji’s satsang where Ishwarji spoke about this lady who was much initiated struck a chord with me and so I thought I should focus more on the master that has initiated me. 
Back in 2014, I think, I learnt that Ishwarji was coming to London.  Something inside me prompted me to meet Ishwarji.  I thought if I am not meant to be Ishwarji’s marked sheep he will anyways not accept my initiation request.  So I met Ishwarji in the London event, explained about being already initiated by the present master and requested him to initiate me.  Ishwarji said “you are ready” and when I had heard that obviously I was all water-works :).
Finally by his grace, got initiated in Germany.

Most people I have met on this path have spent years trying different religions, yogas, paths and reading everything they can get their hands on about eastern thought etc. on the way to being initiated into Sant Mat. In my case, I was raised Christian (Methodist) but couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of some churchgoers and one minister in particular. I always fought my Mother about going to church and distanced myself from all religion as soon as I left home. Mostly, I had a hard time with the concept that I could and should develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Many people, my Mom included, would exclaim that they had a wonderful relationship with Him. How could that be when he had been dead for 2000 years? I tried on several occasions to talk to Him but it felt empty and I thought there must be something lacking in me. So I officially left the church in 1992.  

I began dabbling in metaphysics and spent many years studying astrology but didn’t get much satisfaction from it. I also very briefly tried Sokka Gakkai Buddhism and then a “path” called Religious Science or Science of mind for a few years. More emptiness! Ultimately though, I sort of resigned myself to the fact that I would try to be as good as possible for the rest of my life so I could get to heaven and away from earth once and for all. 

I have always believed in reincarnation but thought that we could quit coming back whenever we wanted. I was expressing this belief to a friend of mine over coffee one day in July of 2014. I was very depressed and declared that this was my last life. She looked at me and asked, ‘So you think you can just stop coming back whenever you want? What have you done for your soul lately? You eat meat, drink alcohol, etc.’ I got defensive and started arguing with her. Then she asked me what my beliefs were about creation, God, Satan etc. and I told her what I had been brought up to believe. Then, she told me about Sat Purush and Kal. This friend has been a Sant Mat initiate since 1983. I was hooked!

​ I started asking questions and couldn’t stop. I became a vegetarian and stopped drinking alcohol immediately. 

The thing is, I had been a friend of this woman since 2000. I knew she had a “Master” but didn’t know what that meant and we had just recently reconnected after having been out of touch for almost 8 years. It took until that day in 2014 for my introduction!  Then I started devouring everything I could get my hands on about Sant Mat and reading many books by Masters. I have to say that I sort of panicked and wanted to be initiated as soon as possible. After all, you never know if today is your last day right?! So my friend gave me two options. I could go to the disciple of Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji (IshwarJi) or she would take me to meet some Satsangis from her Master’s line (not Beas). I chose the latter and began a 3-month intensive preparation for initiation. I was initiated privately by a representative of her Master’s (currently living in India) successor in December of 2014. I made the choice to go there because I had missed Great Master’s Bhandara 2014 and didn’t want to wait until 2015 to see Ishwar Puri Ji. 

Well, my mind was definitely influencing me (fear/panic) and I made the wrong choice. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that I “didn’t connect” with this other master. I watched a few YouTube videos of Ishwar Ji’s and was struck/touched by His beauty, humility, and love for His Master. Everything that he said resonated with me. So, I met Ishwar Puri Ji for the first time at the Newport Beach, CA 3-day program in February of 2016. When he walked into the room it was as if I was instantly electrified and I felt my eyes filling with tears. Sitting in the front row during the program it suddenly occurred to me that I now knew how Jesus’s disciples felt in His presence 2000 years ago! Here I was in the presence of a PLM sitting, almost, right at his feet!!! I had a personal meeting with him and he told me that he would initiate me at the Rice Lake Bhandara 2016, less than 2 months later! So, I went and was initiated.  Ishwar Puri Ji IS my Master! When I get his darshan and drishti I can feel the love and God power in Him.

A dear Friend pointed out to me that he found the PLM through another Friend and that i can see him on YouTube. There i watched a video and the feeling of being blessed came over me, with a flood of blessed tears. This was in 2015. Having met Ishwar Ji in Spain this year, gave me the feeling of belonging and my meditation has deepened.Very much in the flöw and deeply grateful and blessed, feeling very close to him and Hazur Sawan Singh Ji. Sitting behind the eyes and ears on the sixth floor morning and night. So happy.

When I was a child, I used to dress up and play “Maharaja”. I don’t know where that came from since I was born and raised in the US and we didn’t have a TV etc. We were poor and my parents were devout but tolerant Christians. During my teen years in Catholic high school, I dreamed of living a cloistered monastic life.
During the 1960’s and 1970s I had become disillusioned with organized religion and was somewhat of an atheist.  By way of sublimation my spirituality took the form of one of those old fervent, devoted revolutionaries / progressive activists-hippie-ish types.  
During the 1980s my passion to change the world of duality turned into disillusionment. My informal spiritual apprenticeship and initiation began under an enlightened dear friend/ “guru” /martial arts master steeped in Eastern spirituality. Like myself he had also been a progressive political activist, so he was able to help me make the transition to spirituality. I had kind of idolized him and became disillusioned with him too when I realized he wasn’t God. So I kept searching. 
I became a follower and received Shaktipat (kundalini-Siddha Yoga initiation) from Guru Mai. The mantra was soothing and uplifting but eventually felt insufficient. At the same time, my inner work on mind and emotions began in earnest against self-defeating mental and emotional patterns or attachments with self-help methods including A Course in Miracles, and the Living Love system based on the book, Handbook to Higher Consciousness. 
For about 10 years in the 1990s I practiced Vipassana intensely (a type of Buddhist meditation also called “Mindfulness” or viewing the mind like a movie), and began to meditate like a monk in near solitude,  detaching from the world. 
When I felt there was more than nirvana, I started searching again and came across a Sadh Guru master of Light and Sound in 2001 and was initiated by him. I also became disillusioned with him early on but stuck with him because I just knew the teachings contained Truth. In Oct 2014 when I was feeling most uneasy about him, I found out that he had been influenced by someone named Sawan Singh Ji. I wondered who that was and started buying his books and those of other Sant Mat Masters, where I found some discrepancies with the teachings of this Sadh Guru. 
I also decided to research whether there were any Sant Mat paths in the US. Wikipedia had all the names of Sawan Singh Ji’s disciples who had formed separate spiritual missions. So one by one I checked out each of them online until I came to Ishwar Puri’s name (I have heard that he asked that it be removed) and saw that he was here in the US. I soon found a YouTube video of one of his talks. I was awestruck. I immediately found an email where I could contact him. He responded and told me to meet him at the next Bhandara. Since he was 89 years old at the time and I didn’t know how much longer he would be in this world, I was a nervous wreck until I met him in person at the 2015 Bhandara where he said as I walked in the door “Welcome back!”; and when I asked tearfully, “You gonna take me Home?” he answered, “Of course!” and told me Great Master had accepted me. Tears continued to flow and I fell in love. 

During those 6 mos prior to meeting him, I had essentially taken a 5-year crash course by immersing myself, listening to all the hundreds of His recordings since 2010. Disillusionment is gone and all my passions have turned into one passion: to leave this world and return Home.

As a child I was raised in the country and baptized Episcopalian, however, that changed when my parents moved to a rural area and the closest church was Methodist. There were approximately 50 total members. I stayed at that church until around the age of 14 when my family again moved and I did not have anything to do with the church until around 18. At 18, I joined the Army National Guard and moved to Texas a year later with my mother who encouraged me to go to a youth retreat. I became a “Born Again” Christian at that time and realized just how life in the church was as I was shown things I did not quite understand, people going through the motions without any real drive or desire fueling their search for God. So precisely here is where I began to have a drive and desire to seek God. About 19 years of age and I had no idea what I was in for. 

I joined the regular army and went full time active duty. Here I met an interesting group of gentlemen a young Jewish man, a devout Catholic, an intellectual and someone who was sort of a bag of tricks, then there was myself. I didn’t know who I was. In 1984 I selected a book store in Burlington, VT. which had some different kind of Christian literature that I had never seen before, my friends all told me they were not good, but what was not good about Love? So, I began reading this book and repeating a mantra, before long I was out of body consciousness and became spiritually unbalanced for a good number of years. It was just the kick start I needed. 

After this I realized most of my friends thought I was crazy and distanced themselves from me. I took a different road. So me and my 5 passions began to read every book we could find and lay our hands on, Hindu Mysticism, the Gita, Zen, Secular Humanism, and all sorts of things. I though I was some sort of spiritual advisor or something. I then joined another religion for a number of years off and on, which had the light and sound teachings but was mostly outside. I couldn’t get anything done there. I needed to go inside. 

A few more experiences and pretty soon, I had stopped smoking, I kept having experiences I could not explain, one day, I can see karma in everyone around me and what ties us together, I have an experience where the word Moksha (Liberation) comes back with me. I was a member of another organization but was not quite getting what I was seeking,  a year later, I found Ishwar Ji on YouTube and began taking an interest, at first lightly. Then, everything he said took me back to my first major experience of being out of body consciousness. This is where I realized for the last 30 years I was trying to leave the body, not realizing it is only a projection inside. That is when the magic happened. I knew I was not just a body, but something more. At the October workshop at Rice Lake, WI, I became initiated on the path of Sant Mat. 

I, an American, became conscious of a sound in my head around the age of 2 1/2 or 3.  My mom was still putting me down for naps and being the clever woman that she was, she would also put me in her room where there were no toys to play with.  I almost never went to sleep, so I would lay there, listening to the sound.  I thought the sound was a bit annoying at the time and tried to ignore it, which was impossible.  
Around the age of 12, I started questioning our church leaders and I concluded they did not know what they were talking about.  My parents allowed me to go church with friends and their churches.  I discovered that most people did not understand the words they shared.  
At the age of 18, I read all spiritual texts I could find.  At 20 I found a western ‘conscious, spiritual’ school and studied, learning much for 18 years.  After leaving this school I studied with various teachers until coming across Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana.  This seemed the end of my (there is no me and mine) search.  Inward changes occurred and the inner sound became suddenly very loud ever since.  There was laughter for almost a year, because of such inner joy and the feeling of inner freedom.  However, still there was no explanation of what caused the sound.
Fast forward 10 years, I have had throughout my life, 3 near-death experiences and was attending a city meeting for those who have experienced such happenings.  There was a new fellow attending that I did not recognize so we ended up talking and decided to go to a Starbucks to discuss the topics further.  During our conversation he mentioned that he had a spiritual teacher who talked about the ‘sound’.  I told him that I had been listening to an inner sounds for years and could he tell me about it.  He said that the sound I heard could not be what Ishwar talked about.  Of course I was very interested and had to check it out for myself.  He wrote out Ishwar’s name on a napkin and we parted ways.  I have never seen him since that day, either in this city or at any ISHA event.  Curious.
I went home, looked up ISHA and found out there was an event in a city a couple of states away from my home and I just happened to have a ticket to a close by city to see my mom, for the dates listed, which was a few months away!
I attended the 3-day event, ask Ishwar if I could be initiated and he said yes, in Rice Lake, so there I was, a couple of months later, initiated.  I wanted to understand the ‘sound’.  And now understanding is.  Of course there is so much more . . . however, it was the inner sound that lead me to this great group of individuals and Higher ( there is no hierarchy of higher-lower) beings.
In the search for answers to my questions in life I searched for the word “Sant Mat” on YouTube. Before this happened I had attended a few satsangs with representatives of a Master and once even attended a satsang with a Master from India. When I searched for the word ” Sant Mat” On YouTube a man with the name of Ishwar Puri came up on the screen. When choosing one of the speeches that was recorded this man answered some of the questions I had been asking myself for a long time. The following days, weeks, and months I continued listening to these talks (satsangs) of Ishwar. 
After four months an opportunity came up to go and listen to Ishwar Puri at an event in London. After reaching London and listening to Ishwar Puri “live” I asked one question from Ishwar Ji in person; he answered that personal question; and after that asking him for initiation, He accepted me as His eternal friend. And after that, and ever since, I’m very grateful for His friendship which he gave at that moment of initiation. Thank you Ishwar. God bless you!💕
Below is a picture of a dear friend of mine who we are celebrating his 91st year on this planet..He is the founder and Director of the ISHA Foundation.. Institute for Study of Human Awareness… not to be confused with ISHA organization headed by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Although I must say he seems very much to be a friend also!
My friend’s name is Ishwar Puriji and is an amazing human being just from the standpoint of his continued work in the world which includes a rigorous schedule of monthly, annual, events which include a tour of several countries, and multiple events in the US. None of his physical conditions or ailments seem to slow the pace of his work which involves monthly meetings in the Chicago area were he resides most often. This alone floors me when I have the privilege of being with him at events and private interviews.
I met this gentleman in 2012 for the first time at a small gathering in Socorro NM. We spent 2 days with him where he answered many questions and gave discourses on a range of topics. That encounter created a thirst that was only to be satisfied by spending as much time that I was afforded to be both in his presence and continue his guidance of a yoga that I have practiced since my twenties called Surat Shabd Yoga. It is an ancient yoga with connections to many of the great mystics of the past and present.. both in eastern and western traditions. His subtle yet very practical discourses on the meditation practices of this yoga where invaluable to me and it renewed a new level of awareness within my consciousness. The Surat Shabd yoga that Ishwar gives guidance on was passed on to him by his teacher who went by the name of Huzur Baba Sawan Singhji who lived and worked in the Punjab India.
I had many friends as teachers previous to my meeting up with Ishwar Puri from this lineage reaching back to Agra India.. as well as a plethora of other teachers, mentors, friends from other traditions and lineages. I guess you might say that I have been both eclectic and far reaching in my seeking of Truth and the nature of consciousness as it is expressed through all of life and humanity. This includes the access of understanding the nature of reality through the avenues of science which includes quite brilliantly in the math and propositions of quantum physics. AND in this regard I have found Ishwar’s discourses to be quite illuminating!
On this special day I felt to share some this somewhat intimate information with my friends here on FB for those who may have any endurance to read this far! My friends run a certain reflection of my life as so many come from very entertaining, amazing, amusing, endearing, inspiring, supportive, sporting, and overall jolly backgrounds from childhood, professional, intimate, current, worldly, brotherly and sisterly AND FRIENDLy connections.
Since meeting up with Ishwar my life has taken in some incredible changes including a move from the Rockies to the Pacific Northwest of US. My network of friends and acquaintances has exploded and spread through out the globe which always blows my mind when it is operating!
I know many within the family, community, sanghat of Ishwarji are celebrating their good fortune in knowing and participating in the work and teachings of this kind and loving man.
You may access his discourses and satsangs on you tube by searching Ishwar Puri.. there is a ton of materials…and many thanks to the years of work by so many individuals who have assisted in getting this information published for all.
So off to lite up 91 candles… what a blaze happens as you grow old!! What I’m celebrating today is that which never grows old… For that is what is the real deal!!

When [someone] first told me about Ishwar Puri about 4 years ago, there was a soul-stirring, heightened-alert, goosebumps reaction. Though the message was subtle, its impact was immediate, powerful and incomprehensible. All I knew for sure was that I HAD to see him. If I hadn’t been completely smitten by just the mention of his name, seeing him physically for the first time several months later, the game he played with me, which showed that he knows me better than I know myself, would have, well, done the trick. After all this time, I am still amazed that He could find me in “Podunk, USA”, pull me to His feet with such an irresistible force, and make me realize what the soul has been seeking for eons and eons. Color me Lucky List A. 

I was born in India to a family of followers of the Beas Masters. The first members of the family were initiated sometime before 1920 from the Great Master (GM) and the successive generations followed the subsequent Masters. I was circling around the Sant Mat path for years but never quite into it. But one day I heard an old recorded satsang of Ishwarji’s that brought me to his feet. I was so moved by it that I immediately inquired about Ishwarji and was told that he is a well-known satsangi of GM and used to visit Dera Beas in the past and was ordered by GM to spread the word and initiate seekers in the West.

I had heard lot of stories from older satsangis, family members and in local satsangs about how Dera Beas (DB) was built and also how GM often use to address in his local Punjabi satsangs that a day will come when there will be 100,000’s of satsangis in the US. Now more than 100 years have passed since the first American couple was initiated by GM in 1911 and I am awestruck to see how this magic is playing out in front of our eyes today. Maybe Dera Bruce might take at least our generation to become a significant place but I have a feeling that it is Dera Beas being reborn and coming alive in Bruce. The number of satsangis will grow and as Ishwarji says, more Masters will appear to guide them. I am astonished at all this as I since childhood had a chance to see some of that action in Beas and now seeing it being replicated here in Bruce. It is all the magic of these saints who do whatever is their mauj. But they only appear to the calling of their seekers who despite their best efforts can never understand them. 

The west-ward shift in spirituality is much wider and deeper than we can see. The Sant Mat itself has experienced immense growth in the East and America is on the path to experience similar in coming decades. We who are currently living in the West are supremely blessed and are bestowed with this immense opportunity which should only cultivate in us a deep sense of devotion, humility, generosity and service to others/fellow seekers. We should be acceptable to the fact that spirituality and Masters can never be contained in physical frames, societies, organizations and sects and they truly belong to entire humanity/creation. We who have already been initiated are still seekers trying to seek inside ourselves the true form of the Master, which indeed is one and that’s LOVE. The true Master deep inside us is one and as we try to mediate every morning we are only hoping to grow from many to that oneness.

I was raised by a mother who was active in the Presbyterian church. At age 5, I was dismissed from Sunday School for asking what the difference was between God and Santa Claus! 

In 1967, I was drafted into the Marines after my freshman year in college. They gave me a crash course in Vietnamese and I served as a field interrogator with a combat platoon. Here I witnessed death in massive proportions and thereby became certain that death was not “bad”. I returned to college and became active in Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
In 1971, I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation, but soon became disillusioned. Instead, I went on to get a PhD in Philosophy from the University of California at Davis.
I taught Philosophy at Humboldt State University for 35 years. I specialized in an esoteric interpretation of Plato (Socrates was his PLM), as well as in Kant (I know well his arguments re the Mind’s constitution of Space, Time, and Causality). I also specialized in 19th and 20th century Philosophies of Consciousness (Western).
After retirement in 2010, I began seeking in earnest for a significant spiritual orientation, as I felt totally spiritually impoverished.
Last Fall, by coincidence of course, I discovered Ishwar Ji’s videos on YouTube. I’m forever grateful to Mark for his seva. After passionately listening to app. 100 videos, I came full circle back to UC Davis for Master’s Satsang in February.
When I came up to Him during Prashad, I told him “I love you” and he pulled me close and said “You know, you are a marked soul!” In a personal meeting about an hour later, I asked him if He were my Master then. With a somewhat perplexed look, He responded with “I’m here to take you to Sach Khand”. Of course, I was blown away and, upon Master’s instructions , I attended Bhandara to be initiated.
As one can see, I’m really a newbie! However, I am dedicated and look forward to doing seva for Ishwar Ji.

My uncle, an initiate of Charan Singh Ji, kept encouraging me to watch Ishwar Ji’s videos on YouTube, but I kept putting it off. After seeking for a long time and having tried many other spiritual paths over the years, I was very devoted to a Master of the Kriya Yoga path who had passed, believing his teachings had finally provided the answers to my spiritual questions. However, since my dear uncle, who was very old and nearly blind, was eager to meet Ishwar Ji before he died, I decided to take him to one of Ishwar Ji’s events; and thought I should finally listen to one of his discourses before going. Although I liked the discourse, I thought he sounded more like an eloquent and intelligent teacher than a master. 

When we got to the event, my plan was for my uncle and I to go in together. However, when my name was called, I was told that I was also scheduled to meet Ishwar Ji alone. I explained I was only there to bring my uncle, but after some deliberation, I reluctantly decided to go ahead and meet him alone. 

After I went into the room and told Ishwar Ji why I was there, he told me that he would be my “friend forever”. I thought that was a nice thing for him to say but didn’t give it further thought; and went on to tell him I had one question about the importance of a living master, which I had heard him talk about in a discourse on YouTube. He responded, ‘I just answered your question’. I immediately fell prone to his feet. I left the room wondering what just happened, while breathing heavily and laughing uncontrollably. So I hid where no one could see or hear me because I thought that people would think I had gone crazy. 

I didn’t know that I would fall in love with a man. (My wife and kids are now in love with him too ) But now I know he is more than just a man.  As Ishwar Ji says, a  Perfect Living Master brings his marked souls to HIM by the power of  coincidences.  

In my youthful folly in high school I took a weekend course promising enlightenment – of sorts- called Silva Mind Control. I was on a spiritual path even that long ago. It proved to be a dumb move and negative experience. Though one segment of the training consisted of (creating in your imagination) a pair of helpers to assist with experiments in your mind. (It was really more complicated than that.)

My male creation was, of course, a Wizard (that made sense as I was a semi-professional stage-magician even that far back!) Long after I fled Silva, this Wizard appeared in my meditations and dreams, unbidden. It was a bit of an annoyance, him popping in on his own. Even when I started to practice Transcendental Meditation in my mid-twenties I could not shake him. (TM stopped working for me after about ten years and became a deterrent to my growth.) Whatever flavor of meditation or contemplation or spiritual work I did that Wizard, in his magical robes and tall hat, seemed to catch up with me.

I’ve always fought depression, it runs in my family, and I’d been on medications on and off since college. Then in my forties I was leveled with debilitating depression and pretty much a breakdown. I was mush, helpless and hopeless. I had instant mashed potato flakes in my house and managed to mix them with hot water everyday for weeks and weeks. Thats all I could do, all I had, and all I could eat. TMI alert: did you know you could poop white with a diet like that? I could not follow the plot of a one-minute TV commercial, let alone make sense of a half hour TV sit-com plot.

Unable to hold a job I sat on the sofa and rotted there for weeks. My dear friend Bobbi came one day. She said: I think you’re going to die. I think you’ll die soon. I don’t want that to happen. You know the kind man Will (her boyfriend) introduced me to in Wisconsin? He’s very wise and very loving. I want you to meet him.

No. I gave Bobbi a firm No. I told her I’m all guru-ed out. I’ve met dozens of masters and taken more courses than I can remember, and learned about more religions and spiritual paths than I care to recall, and I diligently practiced at least a dozen kinds of meditation. so No.

She would not give up. Look, I have lots of frequent-flyer miles, you can share a room with Will and me, they feed you at the Dera. I’m going to dress you, and drag you, drooling, onto a plane, and you’re going to meet Ishwar. Period.

I was too weak to fight her. And half-conscious I flew with them to Bruce, Wisconsin. I have no memory of the trip there. This Dera (retreat center) was outside a tiny hick town. And was a small ramshackle, slowly imploding, farmhouse with a mud driveway. Oh, goody.

There was a gaggle of some thirty people inside, mostly on folding chairs, some on the floor, a few on a saggy sofa, all packed tight against the fake woodgrain paneled walls. Oh, goody. There were three seats in the front and before us a canopied rattan chair. To the right of the chair was a huge framed photo.

Lightning flashed through my mind, my knees gave out, my jaw dropped, I could not breathe or speak. I trembled. There before me was the large photo… of my Wizard. The man who’d haunted my meditations for decades on the inner was looking straight at me, in the outer, a tiny smile about to form on his lips, staring at me from this sepia photo. The long white beard, the stern but loving eyes, the creases and crinkles of an aged face, and that darn smile just about to dawn. I was floored. Trepidation flooded through me.

Then a murmur of conversation floated about the crowed, and then a hush. Total silence. Everyone was standing, fingers pressed together. And a man entered from the little kitchen in the back and made his way down the narrow aisle to the front.

His eyes, oh his eyes. And the eyes in his head, See the world spinning round. The song Fool on the Hill (The Beatles) came to mind. And that smile. Sincere, loving, kind, forgiving. He said a word here and there, to people here and there, and sweetly touched people here and there as he made his way to the front…to me.

Ishwar looked me straight in the eyes, took my hand, and said: Finally! Then he sat in the hooded wicker chair and began his discourse. The workshop was three days of talks and meditation practice. Not the meditations I knew of though.

All my life I’d suffered a lot, a whole lot, from debilitating migraine headaches. Doctors fed me every drug on earth. They got bad and frequent by the time I was forty. They were unbearable. My insurance covered biofeedback therapy. So over several weeks of sessions I was guided by this amazing doctor to find -and stay- in a place in the center of my head where the pain did not exist. I had to build enormous courage to actually walk into and through this circle of flames and lightning of headache into that peaceful center. It worked.

Now, I’d heard about head centered meditation for eons, but I knew it was a dangerous thing to try without a thoroughly trained master. Here in a country house with the floor sinking into the basement, was a kind man from India who could safely take me on this journey. He taught us what I knew as third-eye meditation. Perhaps I was not as guru-ed out as I’d thought.

I’d like to say everyone was sweet and friendly and welcoming. They were not. One or two people acknowledged my existence, but the group was divided into little cliques and did not want their numbers to increase in that crowded Dera. I was discovering the Master’s love, and that was I what I was there for, not the community.

It was announced a rare thing would happen on the final day. Ishwar (who was becoming a dear friend) would hold meditation initiations.  It was considered both a great honor and a serious step. I watched as devotee after devotee kneeled before Ishwar and he asked them a few questions. Some were told to wait to his left, some to his right. I’d learned some of these folk had requested initiation for six or seven years and told they were not ready. This was momentous stuff and the gift did not come easily.

I leaned towards Bobbi and whispered: Maybe, in a year or two, when I get to know him better, I’ll ask. But, I’m suspicious I’ve been burned too often and I dont know enough about this stuff. She nodded in agreement. Then an odd and curious thing happened.

Suddenly Ishwar seemed very close. I was kneeling before Ishwar. I had no recollection of standing. Or walking down the aisle. No memory of a decision at all, but here I was looking into those deep dark eyes. And he was asking me questions. I looked back at Bobbi and Will -it was like looking through the wrong end of a telescope- they were so very far away.

Their eyes were wide and mouths hung open in total surprise. Only then was I aware Ishwar was asking me questions. Was I vegetarian (I had been since my mid-twenties) did I drink alcohol (I had stopped at thirty-two) was I serious about meditation (I’d been doing it since high school.) And he pointed to the right of the room. Along with five or six others I was taken downstairs and given the methods and mantras. I had been adopted by my new Master.

When I returned upstairs, just before the afternoon meal, everyone, yes everyone, was suddenly my good friend. They all smiled at me, hugged me, wanted to talk with me. Like I was some celebrity. This one guy who’d been nice to me, another gay guy, gave me the story: Everyone thought I must be a bigshot, for only once before, it was a young woman, had anyone been granted initiation on their first time meeting Ishwar. Oh. I did not feel like a bigshot. I felt small and humble and blessed and elated and anxious about the future. I made one or two friends I treasure to this day, twenty-three years later, others were just faces I saw twice a year.

I’d burned a lot of karma and received a lot of grace downstairs. Back in San Francisco I got on my feet, found a job (well Master did that really) and was now a satsangi for life. Some things did not change, that Wizard did not leave me, he stuck with me through thick and thin. Ishwar once told me I was a retread, after being with Great Master in one lifetime, I was under Ishwar’s care for this one. I’m in love with two Masters, lucky me!

We’re building to almost six-hundred people at the Autumn Meditation Workshops and the Spring Bhandaras. Thats fine, thats wonderful! Ishwar said long ago to appreciate the time we spent with him, that someday it would be difficult to get near him, so I expected this. I go to see Ishwar, close by him, or far across a large auditorium. I go to visit my good friend. In a way I envy the new people getting initiated. I love to see their faces glow, eyes sparkle, grins glued on grateful faces. They are fresh and new and about to begin an electrifying journey! Some dont understand that Master is about to put them through a shredder – as he also builds them to wholeness. Doesn’t matter if they realize it or not.

It’s been a long ride of karma-burning and grace. Decades. As Ishwar said, it’s a warriors path, not easy, sometimes filled with pain, sometimes with indescribable joy. Master is not Santa Claus to give me what I ask, Ishwar a good friend who helps me with what I need. He knows what I need to reach the next level of consciousness. 

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