In my forties, I felt the desire to gravitate to a higher place. I confided my yearnings to a friend who had immersed himself in spiritual endeavors.
"First," he said, "you read The Only Dance There Is by Ram Dass. Then you take EST. Then I will introduce you to my guru."
I read the book, which told me to be in the moment. EST was a two weekend training done at New York hotels. It was grueling and exhilarating. The gist of the training was that you are responsible for whatever you think , whatever you do. It's all you, all the time 24/7. It doesn't sound like much but group think was in the air and it seemed like a revelation Blaming was out. Estranged siblings called up and apologized. Powers were shared by people who now found parking places before impossible. This sense of inner growth and power lasted about two months.
And then it faded.
The guru's name was Munishree. He hung out at a loft on 86th street between Park and Lex. About 40 of us would go there one evening a week to hear him lecture and to meditate. Muni claimed spiritual powers. He knew our past lives. He told my mentor friend that he had once been head of a monastery in Peru. He didn't tell me anything. Maybe I was a stockbroker from Richmond who bet on the Confederacy.
In time I didn't believe and drifted away. But there is no drama in not believing. Drama is in believing. So I wrote a play in which a guru ran rampant. It was produced in Los Angeles and New York and was a nice experience for Iris and me.
My time with Muni was therefore not wasted. And I did learn to meditate. Eventually, however, I gave that up. I also gave up reading books about zen buddhism. Sorry, Mr. Rudyard Kipling, many years ago I shed the East and that was no Occident.
If you want to gravitate to a higher place, seek if you wish. But you may be on that higher place right now.
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