Anyone who was close to Rudi sensed that there was something in his being that you could not really grasp. An element of lucidity that was turned on and off in what was directly related to your own state of openness at any given moment. There was a sense of mystery and simplicity all at once. The impact of his words was unimaginable, like water coming straight from the source. You drank, you didn't analyze.
With the years I realized that some of what he said or evolved into was his own unique path to God. That his realizations and enlightenment were tailored for him and that mine are going to be uniquely different. There was one incident where this uniqueness and difference was illuminated and I had to come to terms with that understanding.
Once in passing Rudi mentioned to me that he finds the flow of love between himself and someone else diminishes if there is no vital on going connection over the years. I accepted his words and internalized them. Then with the years as I examined myself I realized that I still feel love towards people I once loved but hadn't seen or talked to in many years. I was afflicted with a 'chronic love' syndrome.
All that came to me as a grave and traumatic incident occurred concerning a very beloved couple of my students/friends. The lord of Karma had struck down a beloved daughter of theirs and i was devastated. I haven't seen or heard from them in over 30 years yet when we talked few days ago I felt my love and their love embracing.
Our uniqueness is designed to be uplifting, an antidote to depression and lack of self worth. There is no more of 'us'. We are it. How can you be depressed when you are holding the fort of you?
Four years ago on a sunny day in May, I drove to the Maximum Security Prison in Soledad to teach a Kundalini yoga class there. It was my routine, twice a week for the past four years. Only this time I ended up on the operating table with three magnificent angels breaking my chest open with an electrical saw. This angels were disguised as medical doctors and they were holding my heart in their hands and fixing it.
All I had was Rudi standing there next to the table watching me lovingly and with tons of compassion. What ensued were four spectacular years of total recovery and enormous growth. Before that I was certain I knew one or two things about life. After all I was a Kundalini yoga master for the past forty years. Coming out of the hospital I realized that all I knew up to that point was dust.
Rudi, on his last week on earth, knowing that his time was up, spread his essence fast and furious. 'Alik,' he said to me few days before his departure, 'question everything, question even me'. That was a dynamite in my chest which slowly gathered force before I was ready to really act upon it. The total inner security and humility in him was at times hard to contain.
And I questioned. A great deal. Especially all those sacred spiritual 'Mantras' I was trained on, A student teacher relationship, the 'sense of surrender' and ultimately the relationship with Higher creative energy. One of my favorite teachers, an old Sufi master once said: You can cheat, you can lie, you can even burn all the holly books. But do not hurt people emotionally for this is a Karma that's hard to erase.
And while laying there on the operating table, surrendering my physical heart to these special angels, I also allowed all the emotional scars around my heart to dissipate as well. Scars I carried for a great long time and no amount of deep inner work had totally erased.
What an epic journey this has been. And ongoing.
In 1970 I was a young desperate man living in New York City. All I wanted was to survive the day and not have everything inside me collapse. I was scared to the depth of my being.
Few Acid trips had shuttered my insides and made me want to continue being alive and find some answers. I started spiritual shopping search. I met Baba Ram Das , then I met Yogi Bahajan. Both nice people who laughed a lot and talked of joy. Then came the perfect master, the 14 years old kid from India who I, on a gut level, immediately distrusted and avoided. Next was Sachidananda, the yogic master with whom I shared few weeks of Hatha yoga exercise. None of these people were able to provide the water I needed to stay alive. I was ravenous for something, I kept spiritually window shopping.
Next I met the trainer of Silva Mind control who, with urgency in his voice, told me to go and meet Rudi. I met Rudi and in his eyes I saw that which I was searching for.
He did not wear an orange robe, nor did he laugh all the time to show his lightness of being. His moments of serenity and silence were powerful and penetrating.
I had spent 9 month with Rudi, 18 hours a day at his presence. Only towards the end of his life did I find out that he was a swami. Rudrananda. I asked him why and he said that becoming a swami was the only way his teacher allowed him to go to India and study with him.
He was, is, and I guess will always be A Rudi.
With the years passing I witnessed many of his students run around with orange robes, appearing as swamis. I still am not sure what that means. Does being a swami enhances the fire in their eyes?, Does the title provide more nourishment?
Rudi talked of becoming nothing as the ultimate achievement,
I have watched once a snake shedding his skin. Once done, the creature crawled away. Being free means surrendering the 'skin'.
Yet the question still persists:
Couple of days ago I saw the movie: 'Francis - A man of his word'. I was move and touched, at times tears appeared. Words of love, empathy from the dear man. Eyes of all the trodden, the hungry, the miserable, looking back at him with longing and adoration. Your heart breaks.
I wiped my eyes again and went out to take a breath. I came back to the same words, same verbal compassion. Yet the question still persists. How is it that the head of one of the richest organizations on the planet earth does not use these fortunes at his disposal to build hospitals? to create shelters? Work places?
Moral support is essential but it does not pay the bill in the grocery.
Always back to the giraffe in the center of the room: We live in the time of nourishing words so why are so many starving to death?
I walked out of the movie before the end.
Ode to my (all) mother
My mother was so endless. My mother was all love. She was a lioness and an highly emotional being.
My mother was the reason for my rebellion and the person who gave me fuel and strength to rebel. She was the woman who made me fear relationships and the one who gave me the heart full of love to embrace relationships.
Roman Gary said that mother's love is a promise at dawn, no
woman can ever fulfill. Times have changed and to rephrase: Woman's love is mother's promise fulfilled.
I personally am not aware of a day that is not mothers day.
Every woman, whether children at her feet or scattered all over the universe, is a mother. Mothers day is really an ode to life. Just like our birthdays, we need a designated day to remind us to celebrate. All the time.
NOSTALGIA- DID IT REALLY HAPPEN?
For many years nostalgia was fun. I indulged in it, loved to reminiscent and certain stories and decades brought tears of joy to my eyes. Then one day I asked him a very far fetched nostalgic question. He looked at me quietly and said 'why do you need to know? 'I am curious', I answered . He replied: ' curiosity just brings more curiosity'.
Today I hardly remember the past. I guess that is why it is called 'past'. It's over, gone. It may have not existed. We are stuck with the present, with the gift. So wonderful, really full of wonder and yet our mind tries to go back.
Our childhood, days of glory, all the painful past that we now glorify.
What is the hardest thing in the world, He once asked me. I didn't know. 'Reality' he answered.
And reality is fun when we are totally immersed in it, our mind is quiet, emotions have subsided and as a great teacher once told me, ' there is silence in the center of the heart'.
So i have learned how to trick myself out of nostalgia and sway back into blessed reality.
It will remain forever the greatest challenge we will face. Rich, poor, men, women ,'spiritual' so to speak and hard core materialists: living in the moment and enjoying (almost) every second of it.
A BLUE MOON
A blue moon was trailing the skies, hovering over us while we were sitting on the balcony having our very minimal, practical Seder celebration. We skipped the Hagada, and just raised a cider toast to happiness and the Passover. For one of the attendants who had never been a part of the Passover ceremony, we run through a brief history of time and tradition.
Mostly hearsay and myth but nevertheless pure fan.
It was as i mentioned, a blue moon, twice in a month moon. The energy was intense and the food was scrumptious. Except for few traditional dishes, it was mostly vegan, vegetarian delights that made our palettes make all kinds of funny noises expressing joy.
And the moon was there all that time looming over us. The very witty civilized talk turned to the marvels of the universe as on one end a glow of bright orange was sinking into the ocean and over on the other side a creamy hazy moon was shining without the sun to contest it. Creation baffles even the wise. Here it is two super engines, performing their job for as long as there was a universe,and as some of my Hindu friends say that there wasn't a time when this universe was not here and there will not be a time that it won't be here. Their version of infinity,
And you witness these humongous engines in the sky and all wisdom subsides. Just a feeling of awe and gratitude to belong to this mystery, to be an integral part of this puzzle, to know that you are the center of this universe and so is everyone else.
And then slowly and meticulously the energy around the dinner table gets stale, dry and somewhat repetitious. How long can you hold on to the miraculous before your mind brings it down to the mundane?
At this point we all walked in to sit and meditate. To take all this primordial beauty and force and allow it to absorb into our psychic muscles.To make it ours.
Why? So tomorrow this event will not be just a conversation about the magnificence of creation but a living experience imbedded in our being.
Do we go to the farmer market to enjoy a conversation with the venders, friends. and then go home? usually not. We go there to buy fruits and vegetables.
QUESTION EVERYTHING ALIK, QUESTION EVEN ME.
We live in the age of information. We reside in the the times of doubts.
We go to sleep with the knowledge we acquired during the day and then during our rest at night we wake up into different realities, baffling dreams.
It is hard for us to internalize that there is more than one truth. That what is true one moment can be so false the next minute. We need certainties to compensate for our deep insecurities.
The last words my teacher Rudi told me the night before his journey to the unknown, were: 'QUESTION EVERYTHING ALIK, QUESTION EVEN ME.' Only much later in life did I realize the freeing impact of these words. Rudi, to those who knew him, was the sun and the moon in one. The only quality in him that transcended his wisdom was the endlessness and depth in his eyes. His consciousness.
He changed his opinion and changed his ways in harmony with the new reality presented to him. The endless time I heard students come up to him and say' but you said...' . Rudi was no longer there.
Thousands of people roam around today holding on to their small morsel of Rudi. They all have parts of him. Like the four blind men who encountered an elephant in the jungle. Each one, upon touching the animal, came with a different answer to the nature of the beast in front of them.
It is so easy to reach for the conflict, for what is different and 'wrong'. It creates a better drama and we are so good in drama. The absence of conflict demands living ones life peacefully with a sense of gratitude.
I love the legacy of a person who is admired by so many different people that hold different views and beliefs, yet all are united in their enormous gratitude to a human being who has transformed their lives.
We don't pick our love, it hits us over the head with the force of a two by four. How is it that we have dividers in our heart, separating the ones we love and the rest?
Both my father and mother suffered from heart ailments. they passed on in their early sixties. I have received through genes their narrow arteries and and some of their cross. Yet when I think of my parents , only one feeling comes into my heart: the unconditional love they bestowed on me. Love that kept me alive in the darkest hours.
I met a married couple who woke up one morning and decided that since they have two kidneys each, they can donate two of their kidneys to couple of very sick people who were waiting for a transplant in the local hospital. The two patients had few weeks of life left.
These extraordinary people were wheeled into separate operation theaters and had their kidneys taken out and transplanted into the bodies of two total strangers. They woke up from the operation at about the same time, looked into each other's eyes and smiled.
Love is a confusing affair when it's conditional. Once the unconditional aspect of it is born, it's a cinch.
I was 26 when I met a man whose love to me turned on the faucet in my heart and opened a flow that never stopped to this day. He asked nothing of me in return.
We all are born with feeling of unconditional love. Then we lose it. Our life purpose is to rediscover it.
I was 27 yrs. old when I joined a spiritual commune in Texas. It was my desperate way of achieving balance and a sense of vision in my life at the time.
It was a wonderful place. It was a harsh place. There was a mirror placed in front of each one of us all the time, exposing us to our limitations and at the same time showing our path to overcoming these inadequacies. It taught me, like nothing ever did, about the unending mysteries of life and shoved into my stunned face the direct and detached solutions to each unpredictability that popped up.
I was part of the house painting group that helped the lower middle class neighborhood in our vicinity with renovating their dwellings. I was miserable and unfulfilled and found myself on one steamy Texas afternoon returning to my base with a racing mind and a load of self pity.
About a hundred yards ahead of me , I noticed a young boy sitting on a wooden platform, staring at me. The platform had four small metal wheels and and the boy had a rope to navigate his make shift board. A home made skate board. I approached him, still commiserating in my head about my present situation and hardly throwing a glance at the boy. Just before I passed him our eyes locked. The boy was sitting on his hips, the lower
part of his body was gone. My heart sank and I felt empty and pain drenched, totally identifying with this horrific situation. Then I looked at the boy's eyes and saw a great glow of sweetness and openness. There was fire and detachment in his eyes. Not an shred of self pity. I saw that which we all aspire to become : A vehicle for God's energy in our very silly planet earth.
With my head turned towards the boy, I kept walking. I never felt self pity again. Just the wondrous unpredictability of what we call life.
I have spent close to five years teaching spiritual work in one of California's most notorious maximum security prisons. I used to go there twice a week for three hours each time. At the end of each session I felt elated, torn to shreds, yet deeply grateful for having the opportunity to be of service.
Most of the inmates were condemned to life in prison, some without the possibility of parole. There were armed guards outside our classroom.
At the end of each meditation session, there was an hour of questions and answers. One of the most frequent questions pertained to the hidden monster we all share: anger.
How do we cope with anger, they asked. With Rage that is (almost) beyond our control.
Anger, I answered, is an energy force, a powerful drive, not unlike the surge of love. Except that anger tastes, smells and feels foul. The way I found effective is to dissolve it, to breath it down to our solar plexus. Take it away from our chest where it does irreparable damage and dissolve it into an energy quality that gives us stamina and joy.
There was not one class in this prison that this question did not surface. My answers, with minor changes , was always the same: anger needs to be dissolved through a conscious breath into our lower centers. Even if it takes a whole day, a whole month.
Hundreds of inmates came and gone in my classes. Like all miraculous undertakings, this one too, came to an end. I left feeling 10 ft. tall and humbled by the task that befell on my shoulders.
The greatest challenge I faced , when back in 'A civilian's life,' was to practice what I had preached. And that brought about possibly the greatest awareness I had obtained from these years in prison:
A teacher teaches that which he or she have to learn themselves.
There are two chambers in my heart. Both are very precious and alive. In one chamber resides Rudi, the other one is graced by Stuart.
I had spent one year with Rudi and forty years with Stuart.
The year with Rudi was all honey and the sweet shock of the unfolding of consciousness. The years with Stuart were like the crossing of the Sinai desert. He was there at all times to hold my hand and raise me up whenever my stamina and resolve wavered. If Rudi was my Shiva, the initiator of life, along came Stuart in the form of Vishnu and sustained my life.
My need for total honesty was blocked only at one place: That was in admitting to myself that Stuart was more prevalent in my life. More than Rudi. That my love to him was more profound. I struggled deeply to accept this reality as it is far easier to love someone who is gone than a person who is right there in your life. A person who is going with you through all the roughage and pain of growing spiritually. And comparisons are in place here, since these two beings were part of me, they were me, through all my life.
By realizing and accepting my inner feelings, I have opened myself to a greater degree of surrender.
We are living through a major historical consciousness shift.
The last three thousands years of male/female dichotomy is approaching its end.
The dominance in language, brute force, economic control and mental manipulation as a result of a thirst for power is being shuttered. Luckily , due to their high evolvement, women will not play this unconscious game as long.
We live in a time of 'Positive'. We all strive to be positive. The word NO had lost its value, yet No has a positive meaning. It says , 'you have stepped out of boundary' A very positive thing to say.
When different energies meet, there is either a time of magic , what we call chemistry, or karmically it's not the right time, and No is the answer and should be respected. Period.
My teacher once told me: 'Man! Woman!, it's all the same shit... ' I cracked up laughing. In one simple and succinct phrase he put this monumental struggle into proportion.
And once this era will subside , there will be human beings meeting each other, energies that come together to fulfill their Karma.
'One of the most powerful man in Hollywood', Media mogul', you read and hear this nonsense every time a celebrity is captured with their pants down.
What power? Men in their seventies, who are ten or twenty years away from the end of their journey on earth. Are they powerful? Really? 'Who are the mighty?' said an old ancient proverb, 'They who conquer their instincts.' And yesterday we celebrated the anniversary to a very unconscious, abusive remark by ,again, 'The most powerful man on earth.' This need for power that can never be satiated, never hide and replace our basic insecurities.
'My name is Ozymandias king of kings', wrote Percy Shelley about an ancient emperor buried in a small plot of land in the desert. '
'Look at my work, ye mighty, and despair', said the emperor who once ruled the world.
And it goes on endlessly till consciousness, earned by suffering, breaks through the clouds of thick patterns and life is never the same again.
And suffering reigns till we get tired of it and next stage is choosing joy and simplicity. And here I'd like to add to the saying that suffering is the fastest way to God. I believe that joy, while going through shit, is a faster road.
As Rudi once told his teacher, the Shankaracharya of Puri, that all he wants is to grow and suffer for God.
'That is not good', said the old man, 'Say that you want to grow and be happy for God.' I want to be happy for God,' said Rudi obediently.
Now, you will suffer like a jackass,' Answered the old man.
Grafting has always fascinated me. You look at people and you see different layers. The left cheek is red, the right one darker. The neck is red/brown and so forth.
then there is our soul. Not one unit, forever pure, but patches of our present and past lives shining through.
My teacher had told me that when in India he used to visit several spiritual psychic readers and later graft his own reading pertinent for his life. That is when I fell in love with grafting. Our ability to take whatever is essential and discard what we, on a gut level, feel is insignificant and trivial.
Imagine the courage required. We have to let go of self doubt, fear of making a mistake and the unknown.
A very close friend of mine on the East coast practices American Indian rituals. For years we had practiced (and still do) a form of spiritual discipline that was the bond of our relationship. His Native American practices left me cold. It took me a long time to realize the extraordinary grafting required to do that and still keep his essence active and alive.
Purists are impressive but boring where as life is multi dimensional and forever exciting and changing. Life is not 'pure' ,rather it is a patch work of so many factors that not to attempt and sew you own quilt is to misread your own inner map.
Sometimes we all feel left behind. The barrage of information, sound bites, bumper sticker wisdom. It's overwhelming. So why does all this overflow leave our hearts cold?
Every church, synagogue and spiritual master proclaim that God is love. So where is God? Not on the bumper of a car. How do we connect to God? By going inside. By training our spiritual muscles to stay open and receptive to energy.
When we have energy we are happy. When depleted, we go out seeking a 'pray', happy hour, anything to get us going again.
'He who saves one person as if he saved the whole world', that's the usual wisdom. This one person should be ourselves, then we can go on to saving others.
So when our focus goes inside we can never feel left behind. There is so much work to be done.
Once I asked my teacher how is it that every word he utters sounds familiar and known to me. Even though I have never heard it before. 'It's all inside you,' he said, 'all the wisdom of the universe is inside every human being, all I am is a reminder.'
Last week a renowned spiritual orator came to town. His eloquence and reputation gathered few hundred people who attended the few days seminar. The money paid and the money received were substantial.
He spoke beautifully, there was a feel good energy around. People were uplifted. And then everyone went home. The after glow lingered for few days, few weeks and evaporated
Forty years ago I sat at the feet of a teacher who transmitted his teaching,his energy, to those around him. He has done that for hours at a time, days and months. He taught his students a craft, A technique that can sustain ones development.
At one session, a student raised his hand. 'Why don't you charge money for what you do'?, he asked.
'How can i charge money for something that's not mine' ? he answered. 'It's God's work, not my work.'
There is really not right or wrong in these two opposing paths. There is a choice and ones own destiny.
The world is in a state of perfection, if it was not supposed to be that way, it would not be that way. Our judgement is the obstacle.
Just walked my seven mile stretch on the ocean.
I was listening to the 'Animals, Elton and ended up with one of my favorites bands of all time,' The Moody blues'. The longing in 'Nights in white satin' is heart wrenching. Over the years I started feeling it as an ode to the longing for the divine. As no human can carry the burden of that desperate love.
For years I did not allow myself to enjoy these great adventures which was my life as a young man. I was afraid of being carried back to the past. So I merely blocked it. With the years as I grew stronger I learned about attachments and detachments and how one can be totally involved in the past while strong enough to detach from it within minutes.
True inner freedom.
My teacher once told me that he gets very attached to people and then works his butt off to get detached.
Not distanced. Not aloof. Not removed. Detached.
Detachment.The secret in loving without suffocation.
The ability to enjoy EVERYTHING and yet let go of it without the pain of separation. Enjoy our emotions, our intellect, our gut strength, without remorse and self doubt. We are human and we are a total creation. We are Divine with a diaper attached to us for seventy eighty years. And perfection?
perfection is of God.
How easy it is (for some) to forgive others, how hard it is for us to forgive ourselves.
I had couple of teeth extracted last week. Not a big deal, we go through worse. Yet these were my teeth and now they are gone.
The ravages of time. Now when my tongue scouts the hole in my mouth I am constantly reminded that we are all on a loan in this universe. there is only one purpose to our lives and that is to be a channel for goodness. To do good.
Boredom and lethargy is our number one enemy. We mess up when we are bored. When our energy is dormant. Our minds get into play and we come up with all kinds of crazy ideas to 'feel good' again. To flow again.
Political leaders go to wars because their creative juices are stale and their feverish mind is racing. Anything but boredom.
We go to movies so our brain will stop talking for couple of hours.
We all have a need to be creative. It's inbred, it's our DNA. You know you are creative when your 'creation' helps people. Either an old lady in need of groceries or oneself in dire need for affirmation of one's own humanity.
Once we learn how to discipline our mind, every second of our life is packed with creativity. We are flowing. There is no time for depression, self hatred, self pity. We are human again.
Boredom is a product of the heart being closed and locked. It allows the mind to run rampant. Years ago in New York city I spent time totally immersed in myself and my problems. Till I got very fed up with my state of being. I woke up one morning and signed up as a volunteer in Sloan Kettering hospital at the the children' oncology ward. I did that for myself. I needed to open up and feel human again. Not full of my own misery/greatness.
We are all on loan in this earth, might as well make use of our tools before we are required to return them. And with gratitude.
Gratitude, the essential oil in our human car. Without which, just like in a vehicle, our engine will stop running.
I heard the news today oh boy.
A nurse had just won $750 million dollars. And immediately quit her job.
Here is what I had hoped to read: The winner from
Massachusetts decided to keep her job and donate all that money, except a million or two to building another hospital. Or buying thousands of goats and giving them away to families in Africa so they have milk around the year. When my son was ten he decided to take all his Birthday money and purchase a goat. there is actually a group that does that.
And back to the nurse and my inner wishes. What human being needs $750 million?
Life is virtually over. All you have to do from now on is guard, think, and mange your money. Wall street is your constant shadow.
About two years ago I had spent couple of weeks in the hospital. Long after the physicians and surgeons were gone, one solitary nurse stayed with me at night. Being in between worlds, I saw her as an angel at my side. Which she was. What a blessed calling.
No words can describe that nurse life challenge better than the words of this magnificent being: It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.
And now a question to myself: It's easy for you to talk, you do not have that money. If you won,would you do that?
I answered myself: Definitely yes.
I never liked politics. I found it such a bore.
I could never get really excited about making tons of money. Money had a ceiling to it. A limitation. I always worked very hard and made enough for my self and my loved ones. I could never bring myself to bury my life in the process of making fortunes.
And then there was relationship. There are endless number of
book written about the ins and outs of relationships. It's the R word. The one we are always encouraged to mention and examine. Like the tongue in our mouth that is drawn to the emptiness of a tooth without its filling. And all it really takes to have a deep and fulfilling relationships is unconditional love.
So why all the enormous waste of time in analyzing what is so simple.?
All we need is to open our heart not only when we feel this passion inside but and especially so, when w'd rather see the other person disintegrate. It's like dancing a slow dance to a rock n' roll music. We go against our grain. That's where growth is.
This is the holly trinity. Politics, money, Relationship.
Where, I thought to myself, where is the Holly grail? Where is the engine that makes the sun slowly rise and slowly set?
How does our soul force travels through time and space into a woman's womb?
At that point in life I met my teacher. I saw a man who through his personal experience was a manifestation of all my hunger and thirst for more.
To my questions he would respond:' Why do you need to know?' 'I am curious' I said. He would answer: 'Curiosity brings more curiosity'. I looked at him and knew that I have to grow within myself to experience this vastness I saw in him.
Our life is a search for the holly grail. And then, according to our Karma, we attract and connect to the path leading to the Grail. Our own unique way. A path that needs to be respected by all of us. Even when our journey appears to be so vastly different.
When God closes a door, sometimes he also closes the window.
But he opens a gate .
At times nothing works. All our efforts, hard work, praying , all amounts to nothing. That happens to all of us regardless of our place in life.
Now, this gate won't open just because we are nice and sweet human beings. It will open if we kick, scream and shout inside.
Despair is good. Brings the best in us. It allows humility to shine.
Simple knocking and praying isn't enough. The gate keepers are having too good of a time to stop their party and come to to gate.
And again the incredible Rudi :' we are living underneath the mattress of the angels. Unless we kick and push and create a riot, they won't budge. You have to disturb their nap with your asking and demanding, otherwise you will always get just crumbs of their table. Demand the whole loaf '.
For those who did not meet Rudi in person, it is hard to imagine him going through the self doubts, moments of despair, the 'nothing works' feeling. But he did. And then he started kicking and screaming, almost overturning the mattress with the angels on top of it. Till an opening appeared.
I woke up this morning thinking about Ray Rudolph. And Alfred.
Ray was Rudi's mother and the person through whom, in his words, he had made the deepest connection with God.
I knew ray from her once a week visits to Rudi's store, where she kept doing the books.
Our deeper connection was formed a week after Rudi's passing. I walked into Rudi's store and found Ray sitting in Rudi's desk sobbing and muttering Rudi's name. I came and sat next to her quietly. I looked around the store and saw all these old dusty statues and Thangkas. I had no idea or knowledge of the value of these works and felt that Ray was in a financial bind. As my father had left me some money, I approached her and offered to give her $50,000. She looked up with shock and started crying even more intensely. Then she got up and hugged me for a long moment. She declined and we became very close.
Since that time Ray and I had a bond. My spiritual search took me to Denton,Texas but I made it a point to travel to New York city three or four times a year. Each time I would call Ray and she would have me over for Bagel, lox and eggs at her apartment.
On my first visit she handed me a key and said that I could spend the night at Rudi's room in his house. 'There are only two people I allow to sleep in this room', she said. 'Bring it back next morning'. I left Ray and went onto my day in New York.
At night I returned to Rudi's room. I opened the door and looked around at the wealth of art. The room was buzzing with energy. The Om sound was piercing and I was in paradise. I turned off the lights and went to sleep. As soon as the room fell into darkness I started hearing whispers and movements. I opened my eyes but could not see much. I closed them again and the whispers and movements resumed. This time I notice that the large statue on the shelf was not in its original place. My heart froze, I closed my eyes and waited for morning. Did not sleep a minute that night.
In the morning after returning the key to Ray, I have made some calls to Rudi's old students. Hesitantly I told the about my experience with the statue. John, one of Rudi's oldest students, laughed aloud. 'Yes', he said; 'That's Alfred'.
'Rudi purchased this statue in India and named his Alfred.'
'Why Alfred'? I asked.
' Because the statue used to walk at night and Rudi was petrified. He figured out that if he calls him Alfred, the fear would disappear. Who is going to be afraid of Alfred?' We both laughed.
Next time in New York I visited Ray and once again received the key to Rudi's old room. I walked in and looked for Alfred. The statue was gone, as Ray had sold it to a collector. Since then often wondered what had become of Alfred. I have a feeling that taken out from Rudi's room, the statue resumed his statuesque nature and never walked again.
Years ago, when my son was growing up, I purchased for him a large trampoline. While watching and at times participating, how he and his friends compete with each other how high they can jump, I realized that our universe is merely a humongous version of this trampoline and we are thrown into it for on reason: To learn how to jump so high that eventually we reach the cosmos and never return. Our life takes place on this trampoline. we stumble, twist our ankles, but slowly with fierce determination can evolve into a master trampoline jumpers. If we postpone and neglect, we simply flank the course and have to return next life to this blessed trampoline,
Years ago I have sat a whole year with a very great master. We would sit in his Antique store for 10 hours hardly leaving the place. We had our lunches in the store. A sandwich was enough. Watching this being, Rudi, I was perplexed at how at the end of the day his all being was transformed and I was looking at a new face. Rudi used his own trampoline to grow and transform
his state of being without any dramatic and external events.
Every early morning I walk 7 miles on the shores of Pacific grove. I watch this great ball of fire emerge in the sky and I deeply feel a surge of sweet gratitude for being alive. For being given the chance, yet again, to embark on the wondrous journey on my inner trampoline.