As I become clearer about the path I have taken to this point, I see that it was my early immersion in nature, combined with a native need to know about the natural world around me, that gave me motive and direction. I had always been easily distracted by Nature going on all around me. It was a profound mystery that kept unfolding deeper and deeper layers as I observed. I never questioned people much. Teachers and parents went way beyond my simple questions, and didn’t really answer what I was asking in the first place. I guess I didn’t know how to put my wondering into words. So I just engaged and wondered and engaged some more.
An early teenage push, by the death of my older sister Alisa, raised very personal questions in me about the depths of reality. Near death, she portrayed an angelic world that was as visible to her as my natural world was to me. Her reality set me in motion down a path that I know leads both to the depths of the natural world and the loftiest heights of the existence, at the same pace.
Practically before I could read difficult sentences, I searched for and found the Quaker meeting, at which I was encouraged to seek god in my own soul and honor god’s manifestation in others and in all of creation. A year in south east Asia as a teenager, exposed me to Eastern thought. I even tried-on Transcendental Meditation for a few months at the age of 16.
Then, at 17, I found an English translation of the works of Goethe, specifically his work on the phenomena of color. This prompted me to get a prism and make my own observations. The Idea, as a fundamental principal, struggling to reveal itself through natural phenomena, took on as great a significance for me, as the natural phenomena themselves. Gradually, all of my casual recollections started to string together into a growing fabric of understanding. This process inevitably raised even more questions than I had had before.
My very fortunate childhood acquaintance with Dr. Franz Winkler, started after Alisa’s death. Dr. Winkler was a man who did listen to what I was asking. He was absolutely convinced of the truth of Alisa’ visions. In answer to my questions, he eventually offered me simple meditative verses, and gave me careful guidance in meditation that still rings true to this day. He helped me understand that, by developing the capacities of the soul, I would gain an ever-deeper penetration of the realities of the natural and spiritual world.
Further delving into the works of Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, a look at the writings of George Fox, founder of the Quakers, and a lengthy dalliance with the works of Rudolf Steiner, all further grounded me in the love of a spiritual reality that I understood to be the essence of both my own being and that of the natural world.
With this impulse and direction, I entered college to learn everything I could about the scientific nature of the universe. I was one of those students whom teachers remember for their questions. What I studied about, I had to then discover for myself. What I discovered, I had to apply.
But by studying other peoples’ notions, especially devoid of spiritual vitality, my whole orientation became more and more directed toward abstract explanations of the world. My growing awareness of modern world realities began to draw a grey cloud over the childish enthusiasm that had lifted and propelled me to this point. Now, all the abstractions of thought and the harsh realities of a very imperfect world, gave me no comfort. Studying for finals in the library with recordings of Bach playing in my headphones, was as close to finding my old self as I could muster. I was homesick for a real home, and I did not know where to turn.
I was 21, walking back from my studies in a dreary December drizzle, crushed by what seemed the weight of the world. Years of sadness seemed to all be there at once. All these ideas that I had to hold in my head were now a burden rather than a vital reality. I hardly saw the world in front of me or knew where my feet were taking me. For a moment, the image of Christ flashed spontaneously across my mind and vanished. I continued my earlier thoughts. Moments later I looked up to step off the curb into the street, and saw, through the drizzle, the line of stately pin oaks that lined Chester Avenue and faded into the distant mist. They were enveloped in the scintillating twilight. Something had changed! I now, really felt the drizzle on my face. I skipped off the curb. My heart leaped in my chest and I was filled with a firm certainty of the rightness of the world. It was going to be fine! I was going to be fine!
In that moment, I came into my own being for the first time. I had arrived! I was here!
Some simultaneous experience of my self and the world will bring me to that point ever and again.