After the clear and supportive talk with my friend Matthew, I decided to attend the weekly meetings to prepare for Reshads’ return. Just after this decision, Jamal sent a message about the attitude we need to be part of the Living School. We must come with both hands open. This created stress for me imagining I might be asked to stop being a kundalini yoga teacher. I understood a few things about spiritual traditions. If I am asked to receive something, I must have my hands free. Could I do that? Could I stop holding on to the idea I was a kundalini yoga teacher? I imagined I could. The attraction to learn from this man and the teachings from his schools pushed me on even with the fear.
In the weekly meetings, I began to experience the beauty of the practices. I enjoyed the meditative quality of zikr, The group study was good training to be more aware, and I appreciated the people who were committed to personal transformation. I soon realized I was the only person in this weekly group who had not been at Reshad’s talk the month before. I decided it was time to find out more about what was calling me so I decided to read one of Reshad’s books. I went to the Ark bookstore and removed every book written by Reshad and placed them on the bench available for people to sit and read.
I began a process of asking yes or no on the question of which of the ten books to read first. One at a time I held a book in my hand and felt for a yes or no inside. If I got a clear no, then I put the book back on the shelf. I went through this process for each book, some more than once, and came to one, Alchemy of the Heart. It was a collection of talks Reshad gave over a few years and put into an order to produce the best experience. I started reading the book and was about halfway through when Jamal announced we would begin using the book Alchemy of the Heart for discussion in our weekly meetings. I was on my way. I eventually read all his books, even some unpublished stories. His storytelling skills were a rare gift.
My connection to Reshad began many years before we met. The first distant link was just after his first book, The Last Barrier came out, my then-wife was reading a copy. She offered to lend it to me when she was done. I declined. It turns out Reshad and Yogi Bhajan knew each other. There are photos of the two of them together. Reshad used to joke about his retreat at the healing center in Arizona, 3HO Super Health, where they did sat kriya every day. But he was impressed enough to ask Yogi Bhajan if he could use some of the kundalini yoga teachings in the Living School. Yogi Bhajan gave his permission. This was a great surprise after my worry Reshad might ask me to give up teaching kundalini yoga, he was already using kundalini yoga in his school. This was a huge surprise and reminder of how spirit does work in mysterious ways.
About a year later Reshad returned to Santa Fe to live for a while, teach classes, give lectures, write books, and lead a 6-day conference for members of the school. People came from different countries for this 6-day event. Simultaneous translation was set up in three different languages. Over eighty students attended. It was a grand affair with much planning, organizing, and cleaning. The Living School was very big on cleaning. It is where I learned the energetic cleaning technique I teach and use in all my trainings.
At Reshad’s request I was leading a daily sadhana for members of the school during the 6-day event. About six people were disciplined enough to get up an hour earlier. On the third day just after we finished the sadhana and just before Reshads regular class was to begin, he approached me and tells me the conference could use a boost. The energy was a bit slow and he would like me to lead the group in some yoga to get the energy moving. I was surprised but agreed to do what I could to support his work during these six days. I asked when he would like me to teach. He said “Now”. In a slightly unsteady voice, I asked, how long the yoga class should be. He told me to take as long as needed to get the energy moving. I was further shocked at the trust and responsibility he was asking of me with no time to think. I said ‘Okay.”
Reshad then announced to all eighty students who had gathered for his talk, they were now going to do some yoga with guru guru. He liked to call me this. It was affectionate and also poked fun at the idea of ‘gurus’. The group was surprised as they had come to hear Reshad speak, not me, and certainly not to do yoga. But these were his orders. The chairs were quickly put aside, Reshad left, but his wife Penny took a spot directly in front of me. I gulped and not having any time to think about what was going on, I began. It was my first time teaching this size group. I grew more relaxed with each passing minute and did my best to ‘get the energy moving’. Just as I was feeling it was enough, Reshad appeared, ready to start his talk.
I learned much about myself from this experience. I greatly treasured the opportunity he offered me. And the way he did this was perfect. I would not have asked to be thrust into such a situation but could recognize it was the best way for me to gain more confidence and trust as a teacher. It was also a huge introduction to the Europeans who made up the majority of the attendees.
A month before the start of the 6-day conference, Reshad asked for my support. He wanted to get in better physical shape for the event and asked me to be his personal trainer each morning. We agreed to meet at the fitness center at 7.00 each morning. We did some warm-up exercises together, then we went on the machines, and finally some meditation to finish. Reshad had never been on an exercise machine and insisted I take photos of him to show everyone. He also expressed his disappointment at the two mornings I was 2-3 minutes late. Reshad teaches in his school the need to always be on time.
At the end of the 6-day conference, and in recognition of my contribution as his personal trainer for one month, Reshad gave me a present. A sweatshirt with the word, ‘Breathe’, printed on it. I carried this with me for more than twenty years only recently passing it along to another.
This introduction at the conference and encouragement by Reshad, inspired some of the centers in Europe to invite me to come and teach. I was now invited to the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. I began to prepare for my first trip to Europe and to deliver the teachings. It was another amazing, divine unfolding of possibilities I had never imagined.
All this felt truly like a divine blessing. Reshad became a powerful supporter of my work both as a teacher and a spiritual being. I loved the challenges and opportunities. It was a great blessing. I began my preparation for Europe and for the next phase of my life to unfold.