As a child growing up in the Appalachian mountains I longed for a guru or wise sage to help me remember the truths that I felt buried in my being just out of reach. But none was forthcoming. I had an innate love of god and sense that god was indwelling, omnipresent, and transcendent. But I grew up attending fundamentalist Christian churches that spoke of god in ways I did not understand.
Having found no wise teacher or guru and being somewhat scared by my early religious experience, I eventually became a cynical agnostic. The spiritual worldviews presented to me were incoherent and contradicted my deeper knowing. So I adopted the more rational worldview of modernity. God either didn’t exist or had no involvement with his creation. We were alone in a universe of dead matter to fend for ourselves. That worldview persisted through college and law school.
This all changed when I had my kundalini awakening in 2012. I was reading a mainstream article on quantum physics that postulated the universe was a great thought rather than a great clock, and that consciousness was integral to matter not emergent. This description of panpsychicism was enough to give me intellectual permission to look at my secretary at the time and think “You too are me” and believe it. That was enough to open my heart and awaken the kundalini energy in the base of my spine.
Immediately I felt lightening bolts of bliss shooting up and down my body. My perception of being a separate self ceased to be. I had become blissful loving witnessing awareness. For weeks I existed in this state of bliss while living an ordinary life. I continued to go to work and practice law. Though I did not want food or need to sleep, and frequently found myself weeping with joy in the bathroom and in my car.
Eventually the bliss receded. Though since that day a part of my consciousness has remained established in that place of witnessing awareness, and I can absorb myself in that bliss whenever I move my awareness to the crown chakra.
This experience reignited my desire for a guru or wise sage. I had awakened to something profound and wanted the guidance of someone who had experienced something similar. Ironically I was living in my hometown in the Appalachian mountains when this awakening occurred, so again I found myself without wise counsel nearby.
So once more I took to the internet, which had grown considerably since my childhood searching. Soon after awakening I found the Law of One which provided a metaphysical and epistemological framework that comported with my experiences. All is One, we are the creator experiencing separation governed by the laws of karma and our delusions of separation. We are all evolving from our perception of being separate beings back to oneness with the infinite creator. I had found a new theology to match my mystical experiences.
But I still had found no wise teacher to guide me through my awakening process, and the Law of One while rich in philosophy had little practical guidance for how to embody these truths. Its main guidance was to meditate. So I did.
In those early years I meditated in the bathtub at night before bed. I didn’t know how I should meditate so I focused on my breath and sometimes would focus on my chakras. Eventually I would move my awareness upward to that still blissful place just above my crown. But I still had a mind. The initial awakening had opened a channel but the mind was still there, though about 80% reduced. So for years I would sit with my thoughts for a time during meditation.
A few years after my awakening I found the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. It resonated with me so deeply that I frequently found myself crying as I read his words. All the characters felt like aspects of myself. The India he described stirred a memory deep within me of home.
This was my first introduction to the Hindu faith and the yogic science of consciousness. I had finally found an embodiment of my mystical experiences and philosophical truths. But Yogananda left his body in the 1950s. Was there anyone living who could show me the way?
After reading Autobiography of a Yogi I decided to learn the Kriya yoga meditation techniques discussed in the book. In my research I learned that a few organizations existed that taught Kriya yoga, including Self Realization Fellowship founded by Yogananda and a few other organizations founded by his direct disciples.
Most of the organizations have a one size fits all approach to teaching Kriya, which takes a few years to get to the formal initiation. However, I was impatient and wanted the teachings now. So I continued searching and eventually stumbled upon the Youtube videos of Ryan Kurczak, a student of Roy Eugene Davis, who was a direct disciple of Yogananda.
Ryan had received permission from his teacher to make the techniques freely available. I consumed the material over a few days and started practicing Kriya yoga. As I practiced the techniques I became increasingly sensitive to the subtle energetic currents in my body, and found my mind getting lighter and lighter.
About six months into practicing Kriya yoga daily I received a visit from Mahavatar Babaji in a dream, and received initiation. Babaji is the deathless guru and master who gave Kriya yoga to Lahiri Mahasaya who taught it to Yogananda’s guru. Since then my practice has been empowered, and his subtle hand has guided me along my path.
I was born into a place with little knowledge of authentic spiritual experience and wisdom. I have lived in a place throughout my life with no nearby masters or gurus. But by god’s grace I have found the information I have needed each step of the way during my awakening. Then finally I found my deathless guru, who guides me from the inner planes toward my soul’s remembrance of its perfection.
I believe god gives each of us what we need when we need it. When we take one step toward him and our self-realization he takes nine steps toward us. My path isn’t for everybody. But it is the path I have walked. Wherever you are at, keep stepping toward god and you will find your way.