I’d visit Rudi’s gallery two or three times a week in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was an opportunity for me to meditate with him, one on one, without the presence of a large group of people. His mother was often busy with bookkeeping chores in the back room. “Albert!” she cried out while he and I sat and meditated. “Do you want some lunch, some noodles Alfredo?” It was a mother’s sweet love for her grown up child that could be quite annoying, even embarrassing. He shrugged his shoulders, “What am I going to do?” he laughed. “There’s no amount of money I could pay a therapist to do for me what my mother does in five minutes. She knows the exact thing that’s wrong with me, the button to push, and show me what I must work on and how deeply I must surrender. She’s my mother. I must love her.”

He taught me about unconditional love. It began with his mother and continued with a large group of meditation students that would attend his classes, a nobility of soul that transcended likes, dislikes, and personal opinions. He was the first person who cared enough about me to put up with my bullshit and help me transform it into a spiritual life. I didn’t have to be sucked into the world’s three-ring circus. I could embrace it, laugh at it, and use whatever I learned from it to develop a strong inner life. The craziness was just a mirror image of conflict in every human being. If life twists itself into pretzel-like forms and delusional happenstance, its zany, no holds barred treatment of human beings must have deeper meaning. It showed me how not to live, how important unconditional love and compassion are in the scheme of things. They are spoken about all the time but rarely displayed in day-to-day behavior.

There exists in every human being a hidden cache of love. There also exists layer upon layer of fear that hides a treasure trove of tenderness that can transform one’s life.

“There are things wrong with me,” Rudi said. “And my mother points them out. I can take it. I don’t have to wield a bat; I don’t have to become a crazy person. What’s wrong is wrong and everyone needs a person like my mother in their life.” She had a microscopic lens when it came to right and wrong. She once said to me, “You get your energy from spirit, I get my energy from diamonds.” I smiled, hugged her, and every time I saw Rudi give her a piece of jewelry, I knew the gift came from his heart.

There’s dysfunction in every human being. No one can be excluded from life’s mistake laden club. If purity is a state of mind that’s almost impossible to make manifest, enlightenment is an all-inclusive state of being that forgives the entire sphere of human culpability. It brings good and evil together, eliminates both, and reveals internal conduits that lead to God, and keeps tension from interfering with the real purpose of life. And what is the real purpose? To learn to transform pain and trauma into an open heart, joy, love and a connection with spirit.

We’re born with tools to do this: mind, breath, chakras, will, need and Shakti. It’s a matter of learning how. Any master craftsman, be it an artist, musician, actor, carpenter, plumber or whatever, teaches the basics of his craft to an apprentice, then guides them into finer points of the profession. The chakra system is like a musical instrument. It must be fine-tuned to make it work properly. Meditation isn’t a religion or cult, it’s a craft. When mastered, it opens internal pathways to a spiritual life. A proper use of mind and breath heals disorders and enables one to make conscious decisions. An open heart, love and happiness are what is needed to navigate maya’s playground and embrace Higher Energy in the Universe.

Most people want to live with a safety net. They need something to remind them that life is more than a rabbit hole dwelling; they need something to inspire visions of a universe without limitation. In a world of well-defined mediocrity, there are always irritations that bothers us as we go about our day. But people rarely expand their horizon beyond self-interest. Years of habit and conditioned reflexes control the way people interact with each other. Spiritual enlightenment is a foreign term that exists in theologian fantasy lands. Change threatens people and chakras are also part of a fantasy land. People prefer to spend an eternity living in the status quo and complain nonstop about things that bother them. Irritation forces one to re-examine their life and discover ways and means of breaking down complacency and embracing new realms of consciousness buried beneath layers of dissatisfaction.

There exists in every human being a hidden cache of love. There also exists layer upon layer of fear that hides a treasure trove of tenderness that can transform one’s life. A world without problems and pressure is a world filled with people who don’t explore the unconscious and convert their problems into inspiration, knowledge, wisdom, and love…

(To be continued…)

Diagram of a cherubim

Diagram of a cherubim, based on Alanus ab Insula (Alain of Lille)’s De sex alia cherubim, from the De Lisle Psalter, England, c. 1308 – c. 1340