Looking back now, my path to “A Course in Miracles” probably all started in 1969 when I accepted Jesus my personal Lord and Savior, under the influence of the Campus Crusade for Christ. However, after joining a Christian brotherhood of aspiring monks, where I was daily quizzed on how many Bible verses I had memorized and could recite verbatim, I was totally confused by it all. Their version of reality just didn’t sit well with me. I felt like a parrot of Bible verses, that I didn’t even begin to understand, or the town crier that nobody wanted to hear. Jesus would show me more, much more.
As divine synchronicity would have it, I ingested a hallucinogen that resulted in a near death experience the day after Christmas, 1970. When I was in the black void, with only the consciousness that “I Am”, George Harrison’s song My Sweet Lord began playing. That was my voice singing to God, not George’s! Soon a brilliant white light began appearing out of the darkness, as my soul sang “I really want to see you Lord”. Then somebody started to emerge out of the light. This Holy One oscillated between masculine and feminine. As I’d been praying to Jesus, I thought it might be him, but without a beard. I began crying from the depths of my soul, as the Holy One communicated telepathically into my heart. I knew this Being to be nothing but pure love. Then it was over. I was shot back into my body, hearing the words to a new song telling me “it’s been a long time coming, it’s going to be a long time gone.” How true that has been.
A year later, I saw the cover of Autobiography un curso de milagros of a Yogi. It was Paramahansa Yogananda who had come to me! Next came meeting Baba Ram Dass, who confirmed that I wasn’t crazy and stated that Yogananda had appeared to many young spiritual seekers on drugs. He also autographed my copy of Be Here Now. My next decade was spent being an aspiring yogi and practicing Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship lessons and exercises, chanting, meditating and receiving initiation into Kriya yoga. Yogananda’s path and linage of gurus brought the much needed clarity for me to understand Jesus and Christianity better. Yogananda also showed me the essential truth behind the oneness of all religions. And he brought me to Babaji, the Mahavatar who sent him to America back in the 1920s. Ever since I heard the name Babaji, I knew I knew Him. He and Jesus work together, behind the scenes, in the cosmic scheme of things. And Babaji was to be the next step in my ongoing spiritual evolution. However, I did not know at this point that He had supposedly manifested a body again and was residing in the small village of Haidakhan, in northern India. That would come later, along with the mystery and myth of this current manifestation.
After hearing Bhagavan Das sing, I bought a dotara and began chanting mantras to God daily. This simple, ancient two- stringed instrument is easy to play and lets one follow the drone sound into silence. At this point, I purchased my own place in the woods and met a man who’d lived with Babaji. He conducted a Vedic fire ceremony that Babaji had taught him to initiate my new abode. I questioned and grilled him repeatedly, asking if this new Babaji was the same entity Yogananda had written about. Yes, one and the same but peoples egos still question His true identity. Babaji’s new Kriya yoga was the path of truth, simplicity and love while performing karma yoga- work – and keeping one’s mind on God, through repetition of the ancient mantra Om Namaha Shivaya. Babaji stated that this mantra alone was more powerful than a thousand atomic bombs and His 1-800 number. I began at this point seriously doing japa, or the repetition of the mantra on 108 rudraksha beads, to get this vibration into my sub consciousness. I also learned many ways to chant it on my dotara. With all of this going on, I bought “A Course in Miracles” and began the daily lessons immediately. I tried to make sense of the Text but got nowhere; each sentence bogged me down and had to be re-read over too many times to assimilate. I was just too young, I told myself. I was thirty-three. I’d deal with this Text later, someday, maybe.