For many years, I had been living my life moving swiftly from one idea to the next. There was always a thread of similarity to the principles, but much of my life has been spent ‘trying on’ things. For this missive, I want to explore how I came to the spiritual values that I hold. I was born into a Christian faith, but my mother was never consistent in bringing us to church every Sunday and I had only attended Sunday school a handful of times. So in my early years, I was ‘trying on’ Christianity without a full commitment to wearing it like a Sunday-go-to-meeting dress. But from the time I could comprehend even a semblance of a connection to God, I began praying. I always loved saying my prayers at the end of every day. When I was a teeny, tiny child I would feel the prayer in my body– the blessings, the naming of my family, spreading peace to everyone in the world. I prayed and felt the love move through my body. That love feeling was God. Although I didn’t grasp the mystery of the Bible, my intimate relationship with God and Jesus came early and swiftly. I loved God and Jesus because I could feel them smiling at me. I could feel them moving through my body as joy and happiness, and when I felt sad or anger, I could feel them gazing at me with compassion. When I turned 15, the planets aligned so that I felt very connected to more of the religious structures of Christianity and I got myself baptized at Pastor Frederick KC Price’s church in Los Angeles. I loved the feeling of all those lovely people in that large theater– our hands raised to heaven, head rolled back in ecstasy, tongues rolling out the holy language… Mysterious and inspiring. Oh yes… My deep and intimate connection with God was now amplified in the beautiful people around me. My heart was singing the affirmation of God wi
As much as I loved the cohesive, joyous embullience of my church home, I expanded my knowledge and began exploring the myriad of ways that God comes through people. My curiosity inspired me to ‘try-on’ Buddhism in various forms. My connection to Buddhism began with an introduction to chanting, which totally appealed to my core value for prayer. The sensual nature of Buddhist ritual was also endearing and I found myself connecting to Source through a powerful combination of heart and sensuality. With the chanting practice came the beauty and intimacy of an altar, the mystical visual of colored incense, greenery, a golden vessel of water, a sacred way of sitting, an awareness of breath, and a movement toward self-awareness of the Buddha within.
The stillness of Buddhism was challenging especially considering that my spark of love for God came partly from glorious gospel music ushered from voices that were clearly channeling wisdom from Mother Earth and Father Sky. Holy Spirit moved through my fellow church goers and myself, and we danced and shouted, “Hallelujah,” with authentic joy. But I learned to appreciate the somber charcoal robes of the monks at my Zen Buddhism temple, and this stillness defined my spiritual growth over the next several years.
It’s interesting, because when I was ‘trying on’ Christianity, I found myself challenged to behave and to think in a way that pleased God and pleased the people around me. When I was ‘trying-on’ Buddhism, I found myself challenged to be still. Both sets of challenges were difficult at the time and I found myself entering a period where I rejected all of it and went without any kind of spiritual practice– no prayer, no meditation. Nietzche was my Spirit Guide and I lived my life from my mind, feeling like I was a human being subject to physical and mortal law.
That didn’t work for me. I found myself untethered, not at the level of the soul, but at the level of logic. Logic seemed illogical to me because I could find so many places where conditions locked so many people out and nothing could reconcile the differences. I appreciated the logical, rational perspective, but for my human experience, it left me feeling void of meaningful connection, and I became scattered and confused.
I had a talk with God one day and I probably started off by saying, “Are you there, God? It’s me Keicher.” That began a new relationship with Source that was an aggregation of the Christian God and Buddhist ritual and meditation practices. I started referring to God as “Universe.” My love of travel and all things colorful lead me to exploring Hinduism, and I tried that on, getting a good healthy dose of it while living in an ashram in Haridwar, India for two months. That was a lovely experience which deepened my meditation practice, connecting me fully to the art of Stillness and raising my intimacy with the devas and their influence in my life.
Today, I have ceased ‘trying on’ different ways of being and have settled into the things that make me feel amazing physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. There is no name for this way of being in the world, unless you want to call it, “I AM that I AM.” But really, I don’t want to name it because that would be to limit it. This way of being is not a religion, like Christianity, but it involves a relationship with God/Goddess/Source of All (my most trusted and authentic name for EVERYTHING) and it is not a philosophy, like Buddhism, but it does have a few key principles that help me recognize if I’m in integrity with it or not. These key principles are absolute unconditional love, absolute unity of everything and inclusion of everything (even the things that are technically excluded) and a KNOWING that Life Force Energy is the fabric of the Universe. Ha! AS I write this, my awareness of other dimensions and my disbelief in the illusion of time and space are creeping in to discourage me from sharing my perspective. My awareness is saying, “How are you going to explain _____________ (you fill in the blank with any mystery you want)?” At that, I release the need to be seen, understood and accepted and I surrender to the I AM that I AM. I release, I surrender, and I enjoy. I enjoy the experience of being human and expand my mind, my world and my satisfaction with being right here, right now in all my innocent glory.