Mike's a dream reality of greatness!
When I was 21 years old and just out of the RAF a visit to the library in Birmingham sparked an interest in the Upanishads. Don't ask me why 'cause I have no idea.
Having just spent three years of hard drinking and general debauchery, perhaps the appeal of something cerebral grabbed my attention. I don't suppose I'll ever know why it was this particular subject.
This interest continued over a period of several years, with lapses in-between. It was all about reading rather than doing and the Upanishads had given way to books by Paul Brunton who sparked a great interest. This was followed by lots of spiritual stuff - not religious, as I'm a complete atheist - and a great interest in reading all the wonderful and enlightened spiritual Indian yogi teachers.
By my mid twenties I lived in Vancouver, and it was there that I finally began to learn something about meditation, at a practical level.
I was visiting a bookshop opposite the library downtown when a chap came from behind a curtain and started talking to me. His name was Carlos, a young Cuban of about 21. He was very mature yet had a childlike nature but apart from that he had the answers to every question I had ever thought concerning Yoga. I'm a skeptic by nature yet Carlos never failed to give an answer that I doubted.
He ran a small class of students and after talking to me for a few minutes asked if I'd like to drop in on a session. It was free and was just a few friends and colleagues.
I'm not a people follower and have always done things my own way, always following my own instincts and ideas. But with Carlos there was a period where I was sort of mesmerized, partly because he seemed to know everything there was to know, and partly because I was very quick and took naturally to meditation.
After the first few weeks I had an experience where all thought stopped and I was suddenly in another place! I don't have the words to describe what it was or how I felt but at the time it felt like a life-changing event. I have never experienced it since.
I was married but this was before my children were born and after practising for a few months I wanted to give up everything and go to India and experience what I thought would be my true calling.
Carlos, in his gentle way, told me I was caught up with my ego and should abandon these kind of thoughts. He was right, of course, as he always was, and when I really thought it through, I realized I was living in a dream reality of greatness! I thought I would become part of everything I had been reading about for several years.
No chance! Just because I suddenly wanted to help old people cross the road, I seemed to think I could become a Guru!
Once realized, that was the end of it, reality kicked in and it was back to wondering how I could make a fortune.
Still working on this one!
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