Monday, April 8, 2013

Lucid Chapter Four: Fairy Tales

I didn't tell Kathleen about Jack. I didn’t want to sully the sanctified atmosphere of the programs with sordid tales from my botched romance. Besides, I hadn't come out to her. Somehow it didn’t feel right to divulge that either. After all, Kathleen was my mom’s friend first. She and I didn’t really have a relationship independent of theirs – or a connection beyond the one all three of us had to the Guru. My personal life wasn’t relevant.

But I did tell Kathleen about my dream, the one I had about Gurumayi the night after I walked out on Jack. I described the way Gurumayi stood barefoot on my head, levitated above me, and contorted my body. I told her how Gurumayi gave me specific instructions about my breathing, the use of my silver japa ring, and the mantra. I told her about the moment, six months later, when I discovered the image from my dream in a photograph of the guru's feet at the Welcome Gurumayi program.

As I shared each detail, Kathleen’s expression became fixed. For someone ordinarily in a perpetual state of effusive animation, her reaction to my dream was matter-of-fact.

“You should write Gurumayi and tell her,” she said flatly after I finished. “She should know.”

Her suggestion was so immediate and straightforward I didn’t think I should question it.

Between the second and final week of Gurumayi’s programs, my mom arranged for me to fly me back home to Colorado to attend a family gathering for my Grandmother’s 80th birthday. I’d miss one of the evening programs but still make it back in time for the last two.  The day before I left, I sat down and typed up a one-page letter to Gurumayi. Just the contents of my dream and a line that said, “Thank you for letting me share my dream with you.” I unrolled the letter from my typewriter and signed my name at the bottom. Writing to the Guru; this was something new. But for some reason, now that I’d done it, it didn’t feel as out of the ordinary as I’d expected. Maybe reaching out to her like this was the natural next step. Maybe this was what people meant when they said, "This is why we have a living master."

I creased the letter into precise thirds, sealed it inside a legal size envelope and addressed it just as Kathleen instructed – to Gurumayi Chidvilasanda, care of the address of the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland. I'd never written down Gurumayi’s full name before. It looked so long hand-written out like that. It went right to the edge of the envelope.

The next morning I walked down to the corner mailbox holding the letter in both hands like a bird I was about to set free. I wasn’t sure how these things worked. I couldn’t imagine my letter would actually reach Gurumayi. But whether it reached her or not didn’t matter. I was following a direction that felt like it needed to be followed. I stopped in front of the mailbox, closed my eyes, took a small breath and dropped the letter in.

An hour later my cab arrived and off I went to the airport.

My grandmother's birthday celebrations continued through the weekend in Colorado. Early Monday evening, after we returned to my mom's house from a family dinner, my mom called down the hall to me from the kitchen: “Michael, there’s a message on our machine for you – it’s from Melissa!”

I panic. Melissa and I never called each other when we were away unless there was an emergency. Something must be wrong.

I walk into the kitchen, hunch over the machine and press play:

“Michael, I’m sorry to bother you,” she starts, catching her breath, “But I thought you’d want to know right away. A woman just called from the ashram. She said she’s one of Gurumayi’s secretaries. She said Gurumayi read your letter! Can you believe it? Her name is Yolande. She said she wants to know if you can come meet with her during Tuesday night’s program. She said after you go up to see Gurumayi in darshan, all you need to do is speak with one of the attendants near her chair. She said just introduce yourself and give them her name and they’ll know what to do.”

I rewind the message and play it back. My mom and I stand there staring at each other with dopey smiles, shaking our heads in disbelief. I don’t know what to think. I feel hyper-aware and exposed, the way I feel right after bowing down to Gurumayi in darshan, like I’ve just received a sudden blast of attention bigger than I can contain. I’m excited, and a little scared. What can this mean?

When Kathleen prompted me to send my letter I never expected a response. Not something immediate and direct as a call from one of Gurumayi’s secretaries. Gurumayi had secretaries? I guess if everyone was writing just to tell her about their dreams, she needed them.

I walk in a daze back down the hall to my old room. The room I lived in from the time I was three until I bailed from Colorado just before I turned eighteen. The room that’s now for guests. My uncle Mitchell, who also flew into town for my grandmother’s 80th, is sitting in the over-sized corner chair, his long legs crossed, flipping through my copy of the ashram’s Darshan magazine. I must have left it sitting out on top of my suitcase. He’s smiling.

In the early 1960s my uncle Mitchell took a trip around the world with my grandparents, and their week in India was a memorable highlight. It’s the week from that trip they often recount tales from during family dinners while reminiscing about their world travels. My grandmother still refers to India as the place she’d return to in a minute, if given the chance. Once, when I asked her why India remained her favorite she said, “Because it’s the one place in the world where you never know what’s coming next – and the men have the most marvelous eyes.” Now, in his work with the government, my uncle Mitchell circles the globe annually, and India is a frequent stop. As he sits sifting through my copy of Darshan, as first I think maybe he’s smiling because he’s recognized something from his travels. Perhaps the image of a Hindu deity he once saw in a temple; maybe a familiar Upanishad quote. But when he notices me standing in the doorway and glances up, I realize his smile is more I’m-your-uncle-and-I-know-better than it is pleased. He fans the pages of the magazine closed with his thumb, looks at me over the tops of his glasses and says, “This is all fairy tales, you know.”


Anonymous said...

Lovely ending Lucid.

Anonymous said...

Wow, SeekHer. Wasn't sure what day you'd post this but you're timing turned out to be perfect—April 8th would have been my grandmother’s 100th birthday. She be tickled to know she was quoted on the occasion.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anon, April 9. It continues to be the great discovery of this experiment that the best lines are the ones I'm simply repeating verbatim. Words that at the time almost seemed said in passing, in the end turned out to be the most potent. Proves to me I must have remembered them for a reason.


Anonymous said...


You are so blessed with your family. I hope they know you are now part of the disenchantment brigade and fairy tales are not your thing. ;-)

Sometimes I find I can distance myself from the time in SY but hringing back the ordinariness of it makes it understandable how the hook was made. Deliberate manipulation with the way phone calls were placed. You bring it back.


Tony H said...

Why did I dream of Gurumayi tonight, 14 years after leaving Siddha Yoga? I was looking at a photo of her and noticed how she had aged when, suddenly, the image came alive and she began chanting, but a chant that I had never heard before. I awoke and googled her name to see if I could find a recent image of herto see if my dream of her face was, at all, similar. No luck with that, but I did find your wonderful blog and was mesmerized by your story. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yet another connection, Tony H. Buried way back in the archives of this blog is a post of mine very similar to yours. I discovered RoD in much the same way, one night five plus years ago when I wondered, and googled aloud: "Where is Gurumayi?"

Just for fun, after reading your post, I plugged in "Dream about Gurumayi" and sure enough, google pulled this chapter up to the top of the list.

The internet has become its own collective unconscious.

Thanks for tuning in.


Daniel Shaw said...

HI Seekher - is it possible to submit something to be posted on the site? How could I do that? Thanks. from Dan Shaw,

Daniel Shaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


If there aren't going to be any more entries, perhaps this blog should be taken down?

A full year (and more) with nothing else added...makes one wonder if its existence continues to serve a purpose?

artsquiggle said...

I hope I am not too late. Looks like no movement has happened for over a year. I like to revisit ROD every couple of years to find out if there is any current, honest information on Gurumayi. What inspired this visit, is seeing my post-Siddha Yoga teacher Adyashanti go on Oprah. How come Gurumayi never did that? Or maybe she did and I missed it. Though I doubt that. Note: A lot of us who got disillusioned with SY then got on board with Adyashanti for awhile and were slapped into sober. No need to follow him much more than the two years I did back in 1999. But, the difference is, when I occassionally listen to one of his talks, it still makes sense. There is still the mystery, grace, unexplained. With Gurumayi, I have too many too-good-to-be-true memories. And reading the current SYDA site makes me gag, when not sad for lack of evolution and any sense of expanded awareness. OK, enough already. I repeat myself. But, thank you SeekHer, Lucid and others for telling your truths.

Anonymous said...

In response to April 17th 2014 Comment "...makes one wonder if its existence continues to serve a purpose?"..... It does!

Last week I was "in" Siddha Yoga. I recently attended Gurupurnima celebrations at my local Centre where I chanted, meditated, when up for darshan and participated in the "traditional practice" of offering dakshina at this time. I signed the lovingly made card to thank Gurumayi. But something was missing (and has been for sometime). This week I googled Siddha Yoga to find out the date of the next satsang at my local centre and google gave me a list of "related searches" which included "Gurumayi scandals". I clicked on it...... and after a short time found myself at RoD. I have spent many many hours over the past few days reading this blog and all the discussion/comments from start to Lucid's fairy tale ending. It's been quite an experience. I had wondered earlier this year - how can I walk away from a path that has given me so much (freedom from the depression that I suffered in my teens and 20s) and that I have been on faithfully for over 25 years? Then here in these pages I found people who had done just that even though some said that SY had saved their lives.What a relief, what a community, what liberation!

Today for the first time in many years I woke without a picture of Gurumayi on my bedside table. It felt good. I'm not yet ready to take down my puja but thanks to SeekHer and the many contributors to this site over the years I know that I am not alone in leaving SY. Thank you to SeekHer for the way in which this blog has been so respectfully run over the years and for leaving it available even though it seems you have moved on from it. I could not have related to an angry anti-SY site but the genuine self inquiry of those on this blog has spoken to me even though I come to it years after many of the comments were written.
With great respect Natalya

Anonymous said...

And a special thank you to Janny for the Shaktipat lyrics to "Yesterday". In trying to get the old feeling of SY back I have paid for the new year message audio satsangs over the last few years and each of the recent SY Chanting Tour programs here in Aus. So I laughed out loud at those lyrics!
With love Natalya

me said...

Gurumayi has been my guru since 1999 when she appeared and asked me to "come be with her." This visitation is one of many amazing spiritual experiences I have had with Gurumayi. I moved to Muktananda Ashram and lived there for three years.

I have never looked at your blog before. Now I find it interesting, and I am not all that threatened by it. Actually I have an ulterior motive. I am looking to see if anyone has torrents I can download of Gurumayi's talks, especially her latest one, "Perceiving Shri Guru’s Grace satsang on 7/31/15. I have looked around and found several chants on torrent sites, but I was hoping to find this talk. Thanks.

Even though we may disagree, I still thank you for your service in having this blog.