Title: Guns and Gurus
Author: Keith Varnum
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Guns and Gurus
by Keith Varnum
"Treat death as an ally," the shamans advise.
I often wondered what Native American medicine men and shamans
meant by this saying. One idyllic summer afternoon, I got my
answer. The messenger was Indian -- not from America, but from
His name was Muktananda. My friends in Boston wanted to visit
this particular Indian guru they'd read about in books. I usually
went along with my friends' spiritual adventures. We had a track
record together of very good karma. Our intuitive guidance was
almost always in sync. Whatever they were attracted to usually
turned out to be something that was valuable for my spiritual
unfoldment. We were what I call "karma buddies."
I agreed to go with them to visit this newfound sage. Leaving
Boston Friday morning, we drove the length of Massachusetts,
ending up at an ashram retreat in the middle of upstate New York
for a weekend of communing with Muktananda. That evening, we
attended our first satsang, a meditative, question-and-answer
session of truth-telling with a spiritual teacher. Satsang is a
term from India that means literally "abiding in truth."
As soon as I laid eyes on him, I liked Muktananda. Of short
stature and dark complexion, he sported a closely cropped beard
speckled with gray. His countenance radiated calm acceptance. He
was friendly, jovial and humorous. Exuding a delightful spark, he
spoke with penetrating wisdom. In front of several hundred,
aspiring disciples, Muktananda talked for a brief period and then
answered many detailed questions about spiritual practice and
discipline. After countless, lengthy exchanges, we all meditated
together in silence for a full hour.
My first encounter with this unassuming master had an
unexpectedly dramatic effect on me. Muktananda's passion spoke
directly to my soul, and, in so doing, stirred up uncomfortable,
challenging issues for my personality. The meditation stimulated
many disturbing memories and intense emotions within me. Wave
after wave of energy releases rippled up and through my body.
Overwhelmed, anxious and unnerved, I crashed out in my room
immediately after the Friday evening satsang.
The next morning was one of those crisp, cloudless summer days
that people in New England long for, but seldom get. I decided
I'd rather take off, find a lake, go swimming and enjoy the sun,
instead of staying cooped up inside with Muktananda and my
emotional baggage. After all, my personality reasoned, I could
meditate anytime, anywhere, in any weather. I felt an overpowering
urge to take advantage of the day's extraordinary external
conditions. In truth, the overpowering urge of my ego was to avoid
the day's extraordinary internal conditions. Looking back, it
should have been obvious to me how threatened my ego was that
morning. I was antsy and fidgety at the breakfast table, and
irritated with everybody and everything around me.
After breakfast, my friends went to Saturday morning satsang. I
took off by myself in search of the perfect swimming hole, or,
more accurately, in search of the perfect anywhere-but-here!
A thick evergreen forest surrounded the ashram property. Although
there didn't appear to be any trails leading into the woods, a
pair of railroad tracks cut a wide swath right through the trees.
Deciding it was as good a path as any, I walked along the tracks
into the quiet, cool cathedral of pines. Eventually, to my delight,
I came upon a small, secluded, crystal clear lake encircled by
dense green growth.
Since there was no sign of human presence in or around the lake,
I stripped off all my clothes and pierced the serene, mirror-like
surface of water. Totally enjoying the refreshing water and sense
of complete freedom, I swam out to the middle of the lake and
floated peacefully in my own slice of Heaven.
Suddenly, two rifle shots shattered my reverie. The bullets
punctured the water within a foot from my head. I quickly hid all
but my head below the water and looked around. It took only a few
seconds to identify a boat about fifty yards away with two men in
it, shooting a rifle -- at me!
Where that boat came from I'll never know. As far as I could see,
the pond was totally enclosed by a primeval wilderness. There
were neither roads leading to the lake nor houses on shore. After
they fired a third bullet in my direction, I darted beneath the
water. Under water, I could hear more bullets whizzing within a
few feet of my body. A sharp thrust of panic rippled through me.
I had no idea why they were shooting at me, or why they felt they
could get away with it. Then it struck me that this lake was so
isolated and remote, I could be killed and no one would ever know
what happened to me.
I felt very helpless, alone and scared. Every time I surfaced for
air, a round of menacing shots encircled me. I couldn't stay
under the water forever. Frustrated and desperate, I dove as far
as I could into the dark recesses of the water and called out
silently to God for help.
"Please get me out of this," I implored. "I'll go back to the
ashram," I promised. "I'll go back to satsang where I'm supposed
to be! Just get me out of danger."
Instinctively, I knew I should be at satsang with Muktananda
instead of swimming in a lake. On some level, I was very aware
that a soul morality play of sorts was unfolding here.
When I broke the surface of the lake again, a second motor boat
had mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. I was positive the boat
wasn't there before because I could easily see the whole
shoreline of the small lake. There were no corners or inlets to
hide a vessel. No docks or structures existed anywhere on the
shore. But there it was, another boat. From its bow a man was
yelling at the top of his lungs at the two shooters to stop their
firing. When the newly arrived boat sped toward the riflemen,
they turned on the motor and took off down the lake.
Well, that was enough excitement for me for one afternoon! I
swam to shore, put my clothes on, and took off as quickly as I
could down the railroad tracks to the ashram. As I ran, I thanked
the good Lord for the intervention. God had sent me a crystal
clear message in responding so quickly to my plea for help. I'd
promised to go back to satsang if I got out of this predicament.
I was going to keep my end of the deal. So, that's where I headed,
posthaste! I was returning to satsang to open my connection to
Spirit and my real self.
Scurrying down the railroad tracks leading to the ashram, I
vaguely discerned a person way down the tracks in front of me. As
I approached the figure, I saw it was another man with a rifle!
"Oh, my God!" I whispered to myself.
The man leveled his rifle and pointed it at me. I bolted off the
tracks into the forest. I never heard a shot and didn't care at
that point. I was gone. I ran through the thick timber as fast as
my Nikes could go, heedlessly pushing low limbs and bushes out of
my way. My skin was becoming laced with small nicks and scratches.
The lacerations were not my primary concern. I'd already created
being shot at once. I wasn't about to slow down and allow another
opportunity for my inner coach to motivate me with a second round
I ran through the woodland, stumbling and bleeding, all the way
back to the ashram -- just in time for the afternoon satsang!
Entering the building, I collapsed in the back of the room,
secure and peaceful for the first time since early that morning.
I'd have to explain all the cuts, but I was safe from the
materializations of my mind.
My suppressed fears have manifested physically before, but not
in such a dramatic and extreme way as they did this bright
Needless to say, I received a lot of value from the meditation
session that afternoon. I saw how scared my ego was of its own
death. My mind and its rigidly structured world were being
severely shaken and threatened by Muktananda. The wily Indian was
inviting me to surrender my ego control, and allow God and my
inner coach to direct my life. I saw that after the Friday
evening satsang, I became afraid the raw force of my lifetime of
repressed emotions would explode from within and kill me. I also
realized I was afraid of the freedom and personal power waiting
for me on the other side of resolving my emotions. Unconsciously,
I held the belief that if I owned and shared my true wisdom and
strength out in the world, I'd be killed. The fear of my
suppressed emotions and the fear of my innate, vast potential had
materialized in the form of a real physical threat. The gunmen
were reflecting my paranoia for me in such an unavoidable way
that I had to face it, feel it, own it -- and then release it.
What a blessing! Those fears needed to die. And they did die --
that afternoon in satsang.
Muktananda was walking around the hall, selectively touching his
meditating students lightly on the head or heart with his hand.
When his fingers landed on my forehead, I felt a sharp shot of
shakti holy energy shoot up my spine and out the top of my head.
This ecstatic electrical charge activated an outpouring of divine
bliss from the innermost recesses of my being, infusing my body
with euphoria. I entered a state of oneness with All That Is. I
allowed myself to be filled with the safety and serenity of my
own spirit and of God's presence.
This fateful weekend, with a "gentle" nudge from my external
environment, I surrendered to the care and comfort of my inner
coach and my highest destiny. Hallelujah!
Copyright © 2005 Keith Varnum
About Keith: Keith Varnum shares his practical approach to
transformation as an author, radio host and "Dream Workshops"
facilitator. Keith helps people get love, money, health and
spirit with his free Prosperity Ezine, free Empowerment CD and
free Coaching at www.TheDream.com.
List of articles by Keith Varnum: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
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