|A Journey Through Mysticism and Brush With the Occult...|
I entered the dimly lighted room. As my eyes grew used to the darkness. I noticed there was an altar with portraits of Indian holy men. The room smelled of sandalwood incense and there were candles flickering. A lady in her late twenties wearing a granny dress & smelling of petuli oil, accepted my offerings of three pieces of fruit, flowers and a white handkerchief.
She lay the fruit on the handkerchief. Then, she motioned I sit. She bowed before the portraits of the gurus and began the puja ceremony in a language I didn’t understand. I later learned she was thanking the line of gurus who had brought the tradition of the mantras, and through the ceremony, empowering the mantra she was about to give me.
Abruptly she stopped and began repeating a word, looking at me and wanting me to say it. I said it a few times and then she took me into an alcove and instructed me to keep silently repeating the mantra with my eyes closed. She returned ten minutes later and told me to spend twenty minutes twice a day doing this Eastern mantra yoga. We were told the mantras were meaningless sounds. An older instructor later told me the mantras were the “favorite names of the gods.” He didn’t say which gods.
After a few weeks of meditating I noticed that I was becoming sensitized to external stimuli. Ordinary things like the swishing of cars, the rustling of paper, people walking briskly by were all irritating I now knew why a sadhu, engaged in mantra yoga, would seek a solitary existence in a cave. A meditation instructor explained I was starting to experience other levels of consciousness, and this was normal.
The goal, I was told, was to reach a state called cosmic consciousness in which I was one step removed from myself and would watch myself talk or drive. It did not occur to me that to ask if I wasn’t doing the acting what was.
I got hooked on this meditation. It drew you in. I couldn’t live without it. I had bad cravings to meditate, but didn’t like the side effects afterwards, the nausea, the dizziness. This was as addictive as drugs or alcohol. A hippie on a course who’d dropped a lot of acid told me, “Man, this is better than LSD.”
I didn’t like being hooked on anything. After a few months I tried skipping a morning meditation, but by mid morning I was nervous and shaky. I rushed to the library at UCLA and got a meditation fix. After that I didn’t skip a single meditation. For six years I continued doing it. I attended weekend courses, week long courses and also a one month course in Humbolt, California, known for its giant redwood trees. Several hundred meditators were there. So was the Guru. The college dormitories were packed, so we were lodged in neighboring apartments. We were “rounding,” doing meditation and yoga six times a day. When sleeping I and my roommates had horrible nightmares. Why were we having these nightmares. This was supposed to be a blissful spiritual experience.
The second night some Jesus people attended the evening assembly held in a large auditorium. They criticized the Guru for endorsing the caste system, saying we are all created equal in the eyes of God. The Guru got nervous and “lost it.” He laughed in a high pitched, eerie laugh, which sent shivers down my spine. The next day we were issued security badges and guards checked them before we could enter the auditorium.
When I returned from the meditation course it was like I was on speed. My mind was racing and wouldn’t focus. I was spaced out for months. I’d read a homework assignment two, three times and it wouldn’t register. I only passed the UCLA MBA program “with a little (actually a lot) of help from my friends” to quote the Beatles.
I graduated and took a job as a credit analyst with a Swiss bank. Banking is dry, so I took a film script writing class and wrote several film scripts, a western, a script about some guys on motorbikes who travel back in time, and another one about two archaeologists who end up resurrecting the Lords of Thule in Tibet ….this was two years prior to the first Indiana Jones. I took a job at Twentieth Century Fox to sell a film script. I was stuck in the accounting department and wasn’t selling anything.
My father gave me a prayer and advised me to try praying to God . The prayer was a type of Aladdin’s lamp. You rubbed it and your wishes were answered. I prayed to sell a film script. I didn’t believe in God, but when I read the prayer I felt a Power outside of me. A Power I hadn’t encountered before.
Two days later I bumped into the son of a well known film director who I’d gone to high school with. He liked a film script on UFOs I’d written. The prayer must have worked!
I was about to quit Twentieth Century Fox, pay $10,000 to go to Switzerland and become a meditation instructor. The course was several months. However, I wasn’t comfortable with the transformation of a friend of mine. He’d gone to the course and come back a different person. He’d been a business student and a party animal. Now it seemed his personality had “checked out.” All he wanted to talk about was meditation, yoga and going to more long courses. His pupils were distended, as if he was seeing a distant landscape, and he was robotic in his talk. I didn’t want to go to Switzerland and come back “hollowed out,” a zombie. If this was cosmic consciousness, I didn’t want it.
So I prayed to this Power I didn’t know for a sign whether I should attend the course in Switzerland. That Saturday morning I had a powerful meditation and got into my little green Ford Pinto on the way to a weekend retreat in the desert. My car started pulling to the left in the third lane of a four lane freeway and I braked, stopping the car in the middle of the freeway, and got out. I saw a flat left tire and I was so “spaced out” I walked off the highway. Some Jesus hippies in a beat up VW bus pulled over and one of them ran up to me. He told me I needed to get the car off the road.
I agreed and started to dodge the oncoming cars, walking to the Ford Pinto, when a big station wagon came barreling down the freeway, slammed into the Pinto, sent it flying in the air, its back end smashed in like an accordion, a total wreck. It seemed like a silent voice impressed itself on my mind, “If you continue on the road you’re on, you’ll be destroyed like this car. “ I’d prayed for a Sign, this was it.
The driver who’d hit my car, a guy in the Navy reserves, was all shaken up. When the police arrived and were taking the accident report he told the officer he had “killed somebody.” I just stood there feeling like a ghost standing next to him.
I went back to LA in a bus, picked up a Bible I’d been given at a YMCA camp I’d never bothered opening, and read about the wolves which will come in the “latter days and deceive many.” At the local meditation meeting on Sunday I silently prayed to this Power I didn’t know instead of repeating the mantra. After the meeting, the starry eyed instructor asked me what was wrong. She’d somehow detected in her spirit I was switching sides.
I told my doubts to a friend of mine whose former girlfriend had been telling him yoga was bad news. Yoga is much more than exercise. Its goal is to open up the “chakras” along the spine to raise the kundalini power which facilitates, along with the mantra, the hollowing out. He gave me his former girlfriend’s number. I called her and she invited me to a fellowship of believers on the beach.
We went. The people seemed normal, not hollowed out. The children seemed normal, not hypnotized by walking mantras. At the end of the service I raised my hand and accepted Jesus on a dare. From that moment I couldn’t meditate. I’d sit down to meditate and instead of the mantra came the name “Jesus” and I’d get up, not wanting to meditate.
A peace and joy flooded my heart. I experienced a sense of spiritual vastness and light, a sense of eternity. It was like through “Jesus” a new dimension opened up. He is the key. Jesus said that he is the way, the truth, and the life. If you believe in Him you have eternal life. I can’t tell you how many molecules in your mind have to believe. I didn’t believe in Him when I raised my hand on a dare on the beach, but I guess the desire to know him was good enough.
Amazing, I thought to myself! Suddenly, while lying on my bed one afternoon, the clear impression of my Indian guru appeared six or seven feet above my body, horizontal and looking down at me. Suddenly I went into a quiet state in which I became aware of my body doing extraordinary spontaneous physical movements all around the room. My physical body was inert on the bed, but I was conscious of some part of me doing all these things. This went on for about five minutes. Then suddenly a tunnel of energy came down from the guru upon me, and I was invited ‘out’, so to speak. The next thing I knew I was rising up out of my body in a blind swoon. continue reading "White Yogi"..