This is a true story of my spiritual growth. I hope these stories will help you to understand spirituality as I have come to understand it.
Back in the mid-sixties a guy named Kreskin, was very popular. He would go on all the popular talk shows, and do feats of ESP. My dad said he was a quack, but I was much more open minded about it than he. I was in fact intrigued, with Mr. Kreskin. My feelings were, if ESP is real, why not develop it.
. I had nothing to base these feeling on, other than a child's naivete. Then Christmas of 1965, my dad bought a "family" Christmas present. It was a Kreskin's ESP kit. In this kit there were probably seven, or eight different ways to test your ESP. The pendulem, was the most popular, everyone could make it swing by concentrating on it. That was cool, but then my dad pulled out a deck of cards from the box. Since all the other kids were off playing with their other presents, I was the only one near him (fooling around with the pendulem) he called me over. He read the instructions, and said I'm supposed to look at a card, and send it to you mentally, and you try to receive it. I said ok, let's try. He took a card, looked at it, then said here goes nothing. I could see he was really trying to send me the image, so I decided I was really going to try and get it. I closed my eyes real tight. You know how when you close your eyes really tight, you see little squiggly things? Well, I saw thousands of squiggly things. All of a sudden, all the squiggly things formed a whirlpool, spinning around, then they formed a perfect heart! My jaw dropped to the floor. Its a heart! I blurted out. My dad, (a little taken aback) said you're right, how did you know? I said, dad, I SAW it! I think my dad laughed it off, but that moment changed my life. From that moment on, I "knew" ESP was real.
At the tender age of ten, I then bought any book on ESP and occult, I could get my hands on. I had a small library, of occult books by the time I turned 17. At that time I was very interested in astral projection. However in 1972, there were very few "how to books" on astral projection. One day at Walden books, while looking through the occult section (now called the new age section), I found a book titled, "Eckankar, Key to Secret Worlds" by Paul Twitchell. In this book Mr. Twitchell talked of "soul travel". I of course equated soul travel, with astral projection, and bought the book immediately. This, once again changed my life forever.
I brought home Eckankar: Key to Secret Worlds and read it. This book did, indeed, give various methods on how to leave your body, but the reasons to leave your body were different from mine. In Eckankar, one leaves his body to discover God and the inner worlds, not to check out the planets (or some girl's bedroom when she's changing)
. I was a Catholic, and God was to be feared, not loved. But I could not shake the fact that everything I read in that book rang as truth to me. This caused a major catharsis within me. I decided to set the book aside for awhile until I came up with a resolution.
In the Fall of 1976, I was in my third semester at SUNY Brockport, after transferring there from the University of Miami. I met, and became friends with, a guy named Marty. Marty was a big guy who had played quarterback for the college football team. One Friday, Marty and his girlfriend invited myself and my fiancée over for supper. We had a few drinks and smoked a couple joints when the conversation moved to ESP. Marty's girlfriend believed she was sensitive and told of her experiences. Marty, told me of a recurring dream he kept having. In this dream, there was this "swami" guy trying to get through to him, but there was an invisible barrier (as a big pane of glass between them) and they couldn't connect. He asked me what I thought. I said that the "swami" person could be an Eck Master, and told him of my Eckankar book. He asked if he could read it, I said yes, brought it to class on Monday, and gave it to him.
About a week and a half later I walked into the Student Union to have lunch. The place was packed with students milling about. I wondered why the place was so crowded. At the end of the hall, where the entrance to the cafeteria was, I could see a bright light over the heads of the crowd in front of me. "There must be a television crew there filming; maybe that's why it's so mobbed," I thought to myself. I finally made my way to the cafeteria, and looked for the TV crew. There was none. There, standing in front of the doors as if waiting for me, was Marty. And the bright light I saw was coming from him! My jaw fell to the floor. No one else noticed anything as they walked around him to get inside. Standing there agape, Marty walked up to me and said, "Mike, I read your book, and made contact with the Eck Master. I have been soul-traveling ever since." I stammered, "I can see that!" He told me he was dropping out of school, and moving somewhere in the Caribbean, and that his girlfriend would return my book. I never saw him again.
After encountering Marty for the last time, I was shaken. I had never seen an aura before, let alone seeing one from down a long hall with hundreds of people in the way. I was left with two thoughts: (1) maybe my gut feelings were right, and there was something to this Eckankar, and (2) perhaps God had used me like John the Baptist to awaken a spiritual giant.
I felt honored to be part of Marty's awakening, but I was leery of how Marty just dropped everything to answer his calling. I was only 21, and I liked to have fun. I was not ready to drop everything and run off to some ashram. I only had the one book, and many unanswered questions, about Eckankar, but I felt that maybe God does have a plan for me. I was also afraid. I left Eckankar: Key to Secret Worlds on the shelf, and went about my life as a student.
In February of 1979, I was a supervisor for airline catering at the Rochester, NY airport. I got to know an employee named "Mike W". He was a loner, and kind of an odd duck, but he was also very intelligent. Mike ran our airline liquor department so he was alone in this room filled with mini-bottles of liquor. I would sometimes check on him, and talk to him. I found out that he was an initiate in Eckankar. This floored me, because I had never met anyone else who had even heard of Eckankar, let alone someone who had been practicing it for ten years. We became close friends, playing chess (he always beat me, and I was pretty good), and talking about Eckankar.
One day he was riding in my car with me; it was a very cold and gray winter day. He told me that everyone is divine because everyone is soul. The major religions had everything backwards. "You are not a physical body that owns a soul, but you are soul, and you take on various bodies to gain experience."
To him, soul and the Holy Spirit (The Eck) were one and the same. I asked how could this be when there are billions of different people. He maintained that we are all manifestations of the same great power, but we all operate from different states of consciousness. He also maintained that each person is not only in control of his or her state of consciousness, but that they are also supreme ruler of that domain.
"Each person is God! That is why love is so important. We exist because God loves us. Without love, there would be just God. By loving God with all your heart, you complete a circle of love, enabling you to inherit your birth right, The Throne of God!"
I drove silently, mulling over his words, when I noticed up the road, off to the side, was a police car. I thought to myself, "If I'm in control of my state of consciousness, I don't want that to be a police car!" We came up to the car and, to my shock, it wasn't a police car, but instead it was a convertible with the top rolled back...in February! I immediately thought to myself, "that wasn't a police car after all!"
Mike then looked at me and grinned. "That was pretty neat what you did to that cop car."
I said, "You saw that?" He said, "Yes...look over there!" I looked where he pointed, and there was the cop car, driving though a parking lot. "You didn't destroy it, you just moved it from one spot to another."
"But what of the cops, won't they be shaken up, sitting along side the road one second, then popping up in a parking lot the next?"
"Remember", he said, "they are in control of their own state. They believe they drove over there."
"Well I'm glad you saw what happened because I was convincing myself it wasn't a cop car after all."
"We all do that all the time, perform miracles or little feats of magic, and then we convince ourselves we didn't do them."
That was the day of my awakening. I realized that I don't have to run off and join an ashram. I didn't have to go to church. I don't have to do anything. I don't have to be anybody but myself.
I just have to love God, love my neighbor, and love myself. The rest will be taken care of.
May the blessings be.