The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sri Chinmoy

This Christmas should be exceptional, a chance to see it all through Jason’s eyes, unfiltered and unjaded. I really want to see how much of the old feeling I can recapture. Should be great fun.
Sri Chinmoy interested me because I slowly became aware that this guy was playing with a few extra aces in his deck. Poet, artist, musician, and athlete…it wasn’t that his art or poetry or essays were so wonderful individually, it was that they existed in incredible profusion. A million bird drawings. Tens of thousands of poems. Tens of thousands of essays. Clearly, this guy could go into flow state on command. Interesting. I looked more closely, and found ultra-marathons, and odd concerts. He played dozens of instruments, and most of the time it was very untrained playing..but not exactly NOISE either. Something strange. Listening to him while meditating created odd states. Looking more closely, I found his weight-lifting, which is what really caught my eye. He was obviously looking for the “sweet spot” in a given overhead press, or squat, or calf press—that point in the power arc where your body maxes out. ON an overhead press, he would routinely lift adult human beings with one arm (in a special harness) and maxed out at over seven thousand pounds. He only lifted it about an inch and a half, but still. Bill Pearl, the bodybuilding giant, was a friend of his, and said that even at his strongest, he could never have done some of the things Chinmoy did. He also said that he saw the 7,000 pound lift, and couldn’t swear that Chinmoy had accomplished it. From his angle, all he could swear to is that the BAR HAD BENT under the pressure. Good Lord, that’s enough.
At any rate, I decided to check him out, and made contact with a lady named Bigalita, who ran the Los Angeles Sri Chinmoy Center. Nice lady, and her friends were nice, if slightly…spacey. I started meditating with them, and learned the “Heartbeat Meditation” I love so much. A year went by, and I decided to actually become a disciple. I submitted an essay and photograph, and a month later, got the good news I’d been accepted.
Another year went past (this was about 15 years ago) and I heard that Chinmoy was coming to L.A. on a stopover between New York and Korea. Would I like to meet him? Love it. The meeting was to be held in an antechamber at LAX. I drove out, and waited. His flight was delayed, and when it finally arrived, I remembered wondering how he would strike me. Someone with his insane athleticism…I figured he’d move like a panther. I was very wrong. He moved more like a puppet, like he wasn’t in his body at all, and was manipulating it from outside (if any of you have read Jed McKenna’s work, you’ll get the joke). Kind of shuffled, as if he wasn’t keeping perfect tension on the strings.

He sat at the front of the little room. I remember thinking that he didn’t sit like I’d imagine a Master to sit. He kind of figeted like a little kid, his leg crossed over his knee, wiggling his ankle as if he’d never seen one before. There were maybe 150 of his students there, and I sat in the front row. He asked if there were any questions. I forget what I asked, but I was one of the few who raised my hand. Then he spoke a bit about Universal Love or something like that (memory may be inexact) and a couple of his people came up and handed him a stack of envelopes. In the envelopes were essays and photographs—this was the process he went through when selecting disciples. I think he browsed them. Then he half-closed his eyes, and they began vibrating side to side very rapidly. He remained like this for maybe ten minutes. I got restless, and was about to ask the person sitting next to me what was going on, but was motioned to remain silent.

After another two or three minutes, I noticed that something strange was happening to the light in the room. More specifically, the light around Chinmoy was altering. IN the space around his left shoulder and neck, the light was changing color, becoming a sort of steel gray/yellowish hue. The light spread, down to his bicep, and up around his head to the other side. Took about two minutes. I kept looking around the room, wondering if there was something wrong with my contact lenses, or the room light, but the effect was local to Chinmoy. Ultimately, the light went from the bicep on one arm to that on the other, flowing up and around his head like an extended version of a painting of the Virgin or something.

Then it faded. And about two minutes later, he came out of the trance. In all? Maybe fifteen minutes. Then he started talking again. An hour or so later, he shuffled off to meet his plane.

Very carefully, I inquired if anyone else had seen what I saw, cloaking my intent. No one had. At least, not the five or so people I queried. Then I talked to the person I’d invited. I told him what had happened. He looked blank for a second, then said “Oh, Guru did that as a present to you. He knew you’re the kind who needs to be shown.”
Months later, I related the event to Swift Deer. His opinion was that my sponsor was wrong. That I’d seen it because I had the ability to do so. Years later I attended the aura reading workshop Swift taught, and discovered I have a talent for it. He may have been right. To this day, I don’t know if Auras are something outside my own perception, or what I call a “complex equivilent”, a way for your mind to crunch a huge amount of data and give you a rapid evaluation symbol. Like watching a red field flare around a mugger “innocently” approaching you. Your subconscious picks up a bunch of body language, but you don’t have time to process it consciously. I really don’t know…all I know is that that’s the way it happened on that day, to the best of my recollection. And that I’m grieved that I couldn’t follow him…the guy has something very special.


Steve Perry said...

I used to could see auras. But, of course, it was the sixties, and probably that has to be taken into account.

Anonymous said...

Steve, thanks for elaborating on your experience meeting Sri Chinmoy. Fascinating!