But one thing should be remembered: maya keeps us in ignorance and keeps us entangled in the world, whereas daya makes our hearts pure and gradually unties our bonds. God cannot be realized without purity of heart. One receives the grace of God by subduing the passions – lust, anger and greed. Then one sees God (161).
THE GOSPEL OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA, copyright, 1942, By Swami Nikhilananda, New York, Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center 1969
I was born in Wisconsin to a Roman Catholic family. My mother June was a talented writer and started her own service club. My father Joe was a Right-of-Way agent for Bell telephone. Joe was an avid golfer and overall sports enthusiast. Joe would play sports with me and I became a life-long athlete.
I was known as a rebel and was expelled from the Catholic school I attended at the age of fourteen. I was arrested at nineteen for being a thief and was placed on probation. Around this time, not being happy, I turned inward. I worked at different jobs that did not satisfy my budding inner life. I traveled down south several times reading books trying to find myself. In 1980, at the age of twenty-seven, I enrolled at a local college. I was now in an interesting environment. I was curious about almost everything and I eventually majored in speech and psychology or speaking and thinking.
Many people told me that I was funny. I was able to make them laugh about unusual subjects. In the summers of 1981 and 1982, while still a college student, I traveled to Minneapolis and pursued the art of stand-up comedy. During these summers I would write comedy, run twenty-five miles a week and perform comedy at night. I was also a juggler but did not juggle in my stand-up act. I took up Hatha yoga and studied nutrition. In Minneapolis, I interacted with the local up-and-coming comedians. Minneapolis at that time had a small close-knit comedy culture that produced a good number of comedians and some became quite famous. I was making audiences laugh shortly after I started. During this time I was also performing comedy in other cities. I planned on being a professional comedian.
Catholicism conditioned me to have a clear inner voice. I had to make people laugh and the only way I could see to do it was to be brutally honest with myself. I thought honesty would align me with common reality. The Sisters of St. Agnes, who taught me, always told me to tell the truth. So I was continually examining myself and weeding out delusional thinking. This became my way of life.
One day in 1983, I was alone at my parents house and all of a sudden I had a massive spontaneous kundalini awakening. The awakening of this spiritual energy made me realize my self. I achieved the ability, among others, to see through other peoples egos or read their hearts. I was forever changed. In 1983 there was no internet or otherwise easily accessible information for me to be able to find out what had happened to me. Because of the massive explosion of energy my nervous and digestive system had to rebuild.
Due to what happened to me, I changed my plans and soon moved in with my best friend and her son. We lived together for many years. I hid out in college going on and off for thirteen years. I read one book after another to understand what happened to me. I eventually received an M.A. in Speech/Rhetoric and also amassed many extra college credits. Currently I am an investor and forever a student.
I am repentant of the trouble I got into years ago and the embarrassment it brought to my parents. People that knew me when I was a kid remark that I sure changed my ways. I went through what I call psycho/spiritual/physical alchemy or I transformed myself by healing the past and living in the ongoing present.
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