In my early twenties, my intuition kept telling me that the standard east coast doctor/banker/lawyer path was not for me. I was initially reluctant to listen. When I began my search for a truth beyond society's predominant paradigm, I searched for teachers to guide my way. When I was twenty I was introduced to a guide who was famed for helping people break out of their molds.
The teacher had earned a certain degree of fame over time. The message was simple: shut the reason down and access worlds of experience unbeknownst to the analytical mind. It had guided the indigenous peoples of the Americas for
millenia, opening minds to the hidden wisdom of the jungle and desert. Its knowledge remained confined to indigenous peoples until the mid-twentieth century. Beginning in the 1950's it worked with burgeoning counter-culture revolution in their rejection of perpetual war and search for love.
The teacher's tactics were harsh at times. The method was to intoxicate the system in order to shut down the mind's consistent survivalist instincts. When these faculties shut down, whole worlds within the mind and earth came pouring forth into the individual's senses. While the rewards can be great, the nervous system is put under tremendous strain in induce this state. People suffered terrible delusions and waking nightmares in such a condition. On the other hand, the revelations were beautiful. One takes a risk to access an immense beauty.
Initially I dabbled in this guru's teachings. Once or twice a year I engaged in its tough love. Sometimes the light of infinity shown forth, and sometimes the dragons of my subconscious manifested in their full potency. During these times I came to the foot of the teacher in social situations. It was more entertainment than exploration.
During the last half of my twenty-forth year, I became more devoted to my guru. I went on a pilgrammage to his feet in Costa Rica as he traveled with a gypsy band of Brazilian disciples. Beforehand I had purified my body through cleansing, my mind through meditation.
In the midst of a delicate ritual, it radiated the pure beauty of existence. The demons that lurk in my subconscious were helpless in the face of such a force. The guru did not only tell me, it made me experience the truth. I saw my body as a vessel in which an immense energy current flowed. I experienced the cycle of death and life as merely operating systems through which we experience the truth. This cycle could not harm those who do not subscribe to its supremacy. Judgment, dialectics, and thinking in polarities disappeared.
I just was.
As the ceremony wound to a close around dawn, I was willing to dedicate myself to the teacher and the message. I was shown the truth without any interference from lurking survival instincts. How could I not follow this new master?
I moved from Central America to the desert mountains of Southern California, and continued following this mysterious teacher. I sought him out whenever I got the oppurtunity. Each time the universe unfolded itself. The visual patterns that had ruled my experience of the universe unraveled, and all seemed to move in a flow of energy. Plants and animals began to communicate with me, and all became peace. I saw myself as a prophet of the earth, searching for a way to demonstrate the truth to those enamored with these lies.
While I was not studying at the foot of the teacher, my life was hectic. I consumed a decent quantity of alcohol most nights, several cups of coffee during the day. My lack of plans for the future ate away at me. My experiences with the teacher kept them at bay while I was at its feet, but soon as he departed I filled myself with fear. My nervous system was already strained, and I could not feel the level at which the teacher's syrum was harming me.
Right before I turned twenty-five, my life came crashing down on me. Many people in my life had not believed in the infinite truth, and thus cloaked themselves in mental instability and sorrow. My girlfriend seemed at the time to be the one exception. As time went on, our presence in each other's life restrained our inner selves. We were too caught up in our relationship to realize it. Her knowledge of this fact manifested, and ended the relationship in a crushing way. My life and all certainties came crashing down in the course of one afternoon.
I quickly saw that I need the power and discipline of another teacher or else I would sink deeper into a confusion resulting from a dirty-bombed nervous system. I packed my bags and drove to New Mexico in search of a new master. took off for I New Mexico to study under the new teacher.
Rather than poisoning the mind out of its survival orientation, the new guru taught a discipline of physical motion and quieting the mind to coax the demons to sleep. The body was built up in the process, the nervous system and liver
rebuilt. Discipline, a word that in the past conjured up a life devoid of God given pleasures, became a key to liberation. Thomas Merton referred to it as the four walls of newfound freedom. Joy was attained through a stable clarity rather than intoxication.
The other day I paid a visit to the old teacher. I climbed a mountain and bowed my head at its feet. I lay down and began to sing Amazonian songs of the divine ecstacy. As the intoxication came on, my system, unused to toxins, reacted with
sluggishness. The experience manifested the visceral sense of beauty, but something remained not right. I was accustomed to lightness, and now I was feeling weighted to the world. As I descended the mountain and drove back to Los Angeles, my body struggled to regain its previous clarity in the face ofthe poisoning.
People and things appear at different points in one's life for a reason. What once worked at one point does not necessarily work later. The ability to discern when something is no longer right is a skill that I have struggled to attain. I have grasped on to experiences long after the vibrancy had past. Change has been melancholy rather than exciting prospect for me. I work on the ability to discern what is helpful from what keeps me mired.
The old teacher has completed its role for now. Under its guidance, I devoted myself to shedding the ghosts that haunted myself. During a time where I was unable to still myself to let the light through, it struck at the nervous system's survival techniques. It led me to the foot of my current guru, a higher being. When I returned, the old teacher's message to me was that it had played its part its part for now.
May my old teacher continue to pull victims out of the jaws of despair, and show them, however briefly, of the bliss of this existence. It opened the world for me, and may it continue doing for others. It was useful to me in breaking through the structures of the old world, but could not provide me with the tools to construct a new one.