Many philosophers, writers, musicians and artists of past centuries were mystics. At the very least, they had numinous visions from time to time. Yet many ordinary people are mystics. Some might be considered eccentric or even wacky. One of India’s most revered saints wore rags, sat on a dung heap while smelling like a rose, and appeared to do nothing while helping the poor and performing miracles.
I’m hiking alone on a Himalayan mountainside; my companions are back at the Snow View Hotel, when suddenly a wild looking man with a head of matted hair and tangled beard appears in my path. Barring my way, he engages in a non-stop, one-way dialog. Barefoot and naked except for a tattered kaupina around his private parts, the man is impervious to the cold.
Tibet has already fallen to Chinese forces. Yet my friends, one who is the son of the hotel owner, have all but convinced me it’s safe to trek with them to Lhasa. We’re to leave Nepal in two days. But I’m frozen in my Abercrombie boots, while this extraordinary mountain man chatters incessantly. Not once does he stop his constant singsong prattle-in my face, nodding, chortling and gesturing. When finally he turns and disappears into the mist, I realize I haven’t understood a word he’s said. Yet here I am alone on the icy slopes of the Annapurna massif, with profound knowledge of something I quickly forget. I know I’m searching for something. I know I’m not going to Lhasa. I also know I’m no longer young and stupid-just young.
In my life’s journey I’ve always been attracted to quiet places, usually in nature, but not always. The cathedrals of Europe, when they are empty of people, are among those places. Whereas words are often lifeless, the sacredness of the silence and enormous space within those thousand-year-old stones unites me with the silence and space within my Being.
There have been many spiritual masters in my life. I’ve learned countless practices from mystics and gurus: various yogas, meditations and healing techniques. I’ve studied in ashrams, taught meditation, and listened to spiritual teachers like Deepak Chopra and Michael Beckwith who, along with Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston, Bruce Lipton, Barbara Marx Hubbard and others have formed a high-minded association called “The Evolutionary Leaders.” Together they are working toward a spiritual renaissance.
Deepak’s legendary talks, books and retreats have enriched the lives of millions. “You are the luminous mystery in which the entire universe with its forms and phenomena arises and subsides,” says Chopra. In “How to Know God” he says, “God is always there for you.”
But if I am the mystery and God is always there for me, how and where do I find God to help me solve the mystery?
Michael Beckwith suggests, “Take this amazing mystical journey of your soul to engender a new vision of your life.” Beckwith has found the secret to wealth, as have many of the Evolutionary Leaders who are also successful entrepreneurs, and that’s fine. Who says you can’t be evolved and rich? But wealth never was the measure of who I am. I guess that’s why a lifetime of public service suited me.
Bringing in The Light
My encounter with that implausible being in the Himalayas left an imprint on my consciousness that remained with me all my life until I met a dynamic young man named Panache Desai. After years of consciousness-speak, and spiritual intellectual-speak, and scientific proof of the biological effects of spiritual practices, and “mystical journeys of the soul,” finally I understood T. S. Eliot’s, “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Like illuminating a dimly lit room, a subtle shift in my awareness began to take root. A young spiritual master who walks the talk and transforms lives through his love and light, Panache guides people to the realization of their own Divinity. And he has given me the experience of a silent presence within that some call the Christ Light.
America’s Destiny-A Spiritual Awakening
Contrary to conventional wisdom of some cable channel ‘opinionators,’ I believe our country is not at the end of its greatness. Our present circumstances do not signal the decline of the American Republic. The most creative society on earth has not yet reached its zenith. America is on the threshold of a spiritual awakening that is its destiny, willed to us by our enlightened Founders. The Evolutionary Leaders are an educating force for an evolving consciousness. One of a fresh generation of spiritual masters like his friend Eckhart Tolle, Panache is among the visionaries devoting his life to this purpose.
The Chattering Mind
When I take a few deep breaths and mentally ask myself ‘who am I?’ There’s no reply, nothing but silence. The “egoic” mind is stymied because it doesn’t know what to say. I am present in the silence of my being. I Am That Divine Silence. I didn’t really ‘get it’ at first. In the spiritual search, there’s nothing outside myself. Reaching the mountaintop, traversing the Sahara, braving the Amazon brings fulfillment for five minutes.
But there’s nothing out there that I don’t already have right here within. There’s only to be conscious of what is, at the present moment. Tomorrow is yet to happen and yesterday is history. This is how a human being can live in this world and be a loving human being: not constantly judging, not being pulled in every direction, not always having to be right. As you read this, is there actually anything wrong with your present moment? As the Bard says in Hamlet: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” We just have to stop paying attention to the mindless chatter.
Many people are becoming aware of their inner stillness, here and around the world. Their personal stories are on bookshelves and the Internet. Take note of this former First Lady’s philosophy. She and Amelia Earhart were pals, and both lived their lives in the present moment.
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” -Eleanor Roosevelt