Like so many stories this one starts with my birth. My current earthly birth of course. The only reason I mention this is because at the finish of this story (the whole story is of course far from over) I understood how each event of my life, like a pinball bouncing from one bumper to another, led me to the experience I'm about to relate.
I won't bore you with the details of my youth, (awesome a story as it may be) except to say I grew up in a small, somewhat isolated town near Buffalo, NY. We'll start this story with a brief stop in what was known as the Allentown area of Buffalo. The 'artsy-fartsy' area.
The time was late middle 60's and being one of the town's few 'long hairs' I was well aware Allentown was where you could go and pretty much have any kind of experience you wanted and experience I did. It was during this time I had my first affair with acid or LSD. (Yes Jimmy, we are experienced)
I guess you could say it was my first big pinball moment as the experience was so profound it changed the course of my life. When I think about it that was probably the day I became what I would call a Hippie. I became an absolute pacifist. It reset the values in my heart to such a point that at times I would break down and cry in heartache for what the people of the world were doing to each other.
It was also here that I was to meet and get involved with a young women known as Dee Dee. (I mention her because she is pertinent to the story later.) She was, shall we say, gypsyish. She was a beautiful free spirit and it was while I was with her I began to understand and appreciate how wonderful and sensual life could be.
We fast forward now to San Francisco, circa 1969. It was my second trip to the Lady by the Bay and I will say this, I LOVE San Francisco. I couldn't wait to get back there. It was like coming home.
I managed to hook up with a room in a flat that cost me $40 a month. (I tell that to people who live there now and they always look at me like "Yea, right" but that's what it was.) The guy that sublet the rooms was named Joe. (He probably still is.) Now Joe was what you might call a spiritualist. He liked to read the bible and was kundalini this and chakras that and into astral projection big time. And he talked about God all the time. Not evangelically but in a personal way. Like he knew God personally. Now it's not that I didn't believe in God, I just never gave it much thought. I lived free and spontaneous and that was good enough for me.
A lot more pinballing and we are at a day when I was having maybe the only bad LSD trip I ever had. Paranoia and fear took hold and no matter what I did I couldn't shake it. I thought I'd be alright if I went to this coffee house I liked but when I got there and looked in the window it was 'oh no, no way'. I remember thinking, "What the hell am I going to do?" Then like a small bolt of lightning the answer came, "Why don't you go home and read Joe's bible?" And it was like, "Yea!"
All the fear and paranoia dissolved away as I made a beeline home. I think I was smiling the whole way.
When I got there I asked Joe if I could read his bible and he looked at me quizzically and said, "Sure." He handed it to me with some reading recommendations and I went to my room and opened the book. A few moments later came a knock on my door and there was Joe who handed me a couple joints and said, "This might help you read it."
"Wow, thanks!" (Joe always had the good stuff.) ;-)
By this time my pinballing had crossed paths with the Hari Krishnan's and I enjoyed going occasionally to their temple and chanting with them (and eating the wonderful food afterward of primarily rice and fruit.) but from the "Joe's bible day" I became what you might call hungry for God. I eagerly attended a storefront church until the preacher badmouthed the Krishnans. It wasn't that it made me mad or anything, if anything it hurt my heart as I just knew intuitively it was wrong. I never went back but I did go to the temple a few more times.
Now somewhere in here, and for the life of me I can't remember how, Dee Dee and I hooked back up. She was living in a spirit commune in Oakland and every so often we would get together and make a play day of it.
One day she, another friend from Buffalo and I dropped a hit of acid and went to play in the park. Golden Gate park that is. We tra-la-laed and laughed and explored the time away and had a great time.
The day was getting on and night was beginning to settle in as we started heading back to the Haight-Ashbury. As we were walking we came to a place next to Hippie Hill that was called Playland and it's exactly what it sounds like, a playground.
As we're walking across the area Dee Dee said, "I'm going swinging," and proceeded to start skipping her way across the playground to the swing set. I watched her go and something inside of me wanted sooo bad to go with her but I held myself back. For a moment. Then whatever it was holding me back be it false pride or ego or whatever, the child like joy that was building up behind it was too great and the dam broke! Out of my mouth came "f**k it!" as I took off running in full stride. I hit the swings full steam and she and I swung and laughed and laughed and swung like two children in full glee. And when we stopped... Oh boy. When we stopped I was in a different world.
When I looked around I didn't see trees, I saw God. When I looked at the earth I didn't see ground, I saw God. When I looked up I didn't see a beautiful bright full moon in a clear night sky, I saw God. And I saw and understood unity. And I understood purpose and I could see how everything was related and its inner workings. And I saw how every event in my life had led me to this moment. Pinball! I'm not sure but I think my mouth was hanging open in absolute awe!
Everything glowed with a soft light, the trees, ground, even the very air around us. Everything. I understood not only reincarnation but many other things some of which I really never even thought about before. The Universe was ALIVE and I perceived in an instant it's vastness and all the things attributed to it. Its power, its love, its compassion, its absoluteness! You name it, there is was.
I felt very, very small and yet had the realization that I was the sum of all I was seeing and experiencing. I understood that God was, excuse me, IS, my Father.
I looked at Dee Dee and no longer saw a woman, I saw my sister God. I looked at our friend with us and no longer saw a man, I saw my brother God.
Can you say, "Life changer!"?
We played a bit more and all thought some wine would be fine so we headed out of the park. I was again in for a surprise. As we exited the park I didn't see hustle and bustle, I saw a great plan in operation and did I see streets full of people? Uh-uh. There before me was the divine family, brothers and sisters every one.
This is where I will end this rather long tale of what I call my spiritual awakening but know that there were many strings and avenues and people that were catalysts in the unfolding of these events but it would have made this a novel rather than a short story. Know this, that I love and miss all of them.
In conclusion I will say, if you ever have an experience like this hold on to it like it was the heart of your heart. I was not wise enough and over time and a series of 'earthly' choices over Spirit choices my eye fell back asleep and the rest of my life has been a tale of "How Could I be Such an Idiot?" But fear not, I finally feel like my feet are back on the path, or at least heading in what looks like the right direction.
Thanks for listening and may peace and love be the winds that fill the sails of your life's journey.