I write this with a certain amount of trepidation because the need for a spiritual teacher is a not so discussed subject.
I was searching for the truth and the real meaning of life for so long and it took me to many strange places. I just want to recount some of it.
My first spiritual teacher
I met my first spiritual teacher in my early twenties in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. He owned a vegetarian restaurant. He had named himself Yahowah, it is another name for God, but his given name was Jim something.
My boyfriend and I used to frequent his establishment because we were vegetarians and there weren’t many places to eat. Yaw, which I will call him, had a lot of charisma and was very dramatic. He would enter the room with the aim of getting your attention.
Yaw had electric long white hair and a long white beard. He wore long white robes and was obviously presenting himself as a holy man.
One night while we were dining he came to our table and sat down. I had a terrible case of poison oak which I could not shake. He said to go to the ocean and scrub the patch of poison oak with sand until it bled and then wash with salt water.
I tried it and it worked! I was so impressed I decided he was the savior and I would follow him. I guess I wore the pants in our relationship because my boyfriend decided to follow him also. We got rid of all of our colored clothes (dumb idea) because he would only allow his students to wear white.
Then, we had to rise at 4 am and go to a small room where he had a bright light positioned behind him to illuminate his hair and beard. We sat in front of him in full lotus and were not allowed to move a muscle for 2 hours while he beat on a drum. Most of his students were drugged out street people.
We weren’t allowed to use any intoxicants or eat meat which we were already doing, except for an occasional joint or two. I never did understand exactly what his philosophy was but I think he said he was a Sheik.
We were trying very hard to follow all of his adherents but one day through a curtain blowing in the wind I saw him with many young women students smoking a joint! We were out of there in a flash and never looked back.
Although, we did see him one more time at his restaurant. He came to our table and sat down and said: “you are in the jaws of a tiger and I will get you in this life or the next“. I heard later he was hang gliding and landed in a dumpster, dead.
My second spiritual teacher
The second coming, so to speak, of the “gurus”, was called some Yogi. He was very popular at the time. I guess it was the thing to do at the time. I bought in by paying $60 for a “mantra“.
Finding out later that he was the one profiting because you can’t sell the absolute truth. I gained nothing from this experience. I was still lost and bewildered.
There was another one whom I never met was popularly known as the Messenger. We were hippies then, just really looking for a way not to join the establishment, like all of the others had. I watched so many of my friends put on suits and ties and go to work for the “man”.
I was determined not to do that. So we joined this group of which we didn’t even know were communists! Everything belonged to everyone and we were not paid for our work but just given food, housing, and occasional clothing.
This group of his followers owned a restaurant and a clothing shop on the main drag in Lahaina.
My third spiritual teacher
I eventually was fortunate enough to cross paths with my new spiritual teacher for the third time. We saw a poster at the restaurant for a free retreat at the Boy Scout camp in a nearby town. We had no money or car so we hitchhiked to the retreat.
It was there that I heard my spiritual teacher speak and finally got a glimpse of what I was seeking. A kind student of his took us under his wing and taught us about the Absolute Truth.
At one point I gave that kind person the book of the Messenger. I asked him to show it to my spiritual teacher, he did, and my spiritual teacher threw it in the bushes and said maybe a dog would find it. I thought, maybe the Messengers weren’t the right group to be in after all.
In the search for the truth, we must persevere and remain determined. We must sincerely search our hearts and listen for that still small voice within directing and guiding us to the Absolute.
I had to cross paths with my spiritual teacher three times before I could recognize him. What tribulations I could have saved myself if only I had recognized him the first time around.