Over thirty years ago a tall, curly haired teacher of meditation and self-discovery, named Atmanada, took some of his friends to a remote area in the Anza Borrego desert to learn and grow. This young teacher was going in and out of samadhi every day. He was transforming and re-integrating with knowledge and power from his past lives. The forces in the desert were helping him and all of us.
Atmananda shared this desert oasis with us on other occasions and each time we learned new aspects of ourselves and the infinite. When our teacher became fully enlightened, he told us about this transition and his new name - Rama – in this desert oasis. How young we all were.
Rama always reminded us he was no more special than any one else. He was not doing anything that we could not do ourselves. This was hard for us to accept. How could we compare ourselves to someone who could light up the sky, who could help us to glow and transform, who could show us eternity in so many forms?
At New Year's Eve/Day 2013/2014, 20 of us made a journey to this desert oasis, including 12 who never met Rama when he was in the body. We stood in this magnificent place of light, beauty and power together. We stilled our minds. We tried to go beyond our limitations. We meditated and reached to the infinite. We opened ourselves to light and beauty.
Those of us who knew Rama when he was in the body shared stories of our teacher, the desert, and our spiritual journey. The new students had so many questions about Rama, about the path of self-discovery, about the desert, about our journey. Who was Rama? Is Rama a philosophy or a religion? Why did we get to meet and study with him? Are we special? Why did Rama pick this place of power to spend time with his students?
We responded as best we could, sharing our perspectives and experiences. Then we asked the newer students some questions: What does Rama and his teachings mean to you? What are your goals for your meditative practice? What are you learning from – Rama, your teacher/mentor, those of us who are sharing tales of power with you, each other, the desert?
We learned and shared with each other.
Those of us who attempt to open doorways for others know that we are not special. We know our limitations and our struggles. Rama would say we have only one choice – to do our part, be it great or small, with humility.
The desert was so very humbling. It was so strong and present. Rama said that places that can hold themselves clear in this world, at this time, have tremendous power. We were so tiny compared to the desert's majesty, beauty, and stillness. We have so much to learn from its mysteries.
Each one of us traveled to this desert oasis as part of our journey of self-discovery. Whether we met Rama while he was in the body or not, we each seek light, knowledge and silence. We are all spiritual seekers.
Each day in the desert we made a circle of power and expressed our gratitude to our teacher, the teachings, each other and the protective forces in the desert.
Following the example of our teacher and the desert, may we each continue to embrace our spiritual journey with strength and humility.