In April of 1998, I was living in a nice apartment near the college in San Bernardino, CA. It was one of the few nice areas in the City, and I loved my little apartment. It was on the top floor at the end and had a view of the mountains. I was teaching at various places throughout the West and this was my happy little nest.
Each day my early morning routine was dictated by my spiritual practice. For years, every morning I would be awakened to the sound of Zazen playing inside my head. There was no particular album or song, each morning I would hear a different song. When this happened, I would get out of bed and, with the song still playing in my head, fetch the CD disk that had that song and plop it in the stereo and play it. Once the song had finished playing, I would sit in silence. Recently, I had attended a Kalachakra Celebration that Rama held in New York. So now, after the morning song, I practiced the meditation technique that Rama had given to me at the recent gathering. The energy of the morning song and the meditation would set the tone and was a wonderful way to start the day.
Easter and Passover were coming up in less than a week and I had already started to feel the energy of this time of year. This particular Passover and Easter was a rare one. First there was “Good Friday”. Then, on Saturday, Passover began at sunset, and finally, Easter was Sunday. This year, 1998 was one of those special years when these two celebrations coincided.
As the energy of the coming Saturday night and Sunday morning approached, I was also beginning to feel a pull from Rama. This “pull” was as if he were calling or drawing me towards him. It was growing stronger every day and it was getting to be very powerful. In fact, I had not been pulled so strongly by Rama like this since I was called to New York all those years ago to resume my time with him as a formal student. This was that powerful!
As the inner calling of my soul increased, it hit me. I felt that Rama was returning to the desert! This was his favorite place of power and the place we referred to as “The Gorge,” was where he loved to take his students. I loved the Gorge. For over ten years, as a Teacher of this lineage, I had taken my students to this place of power many times. There were powers and magic that this place would awaken in me that were awesome. It was a place where I would always feel Rama so close to me. Every time I took my students there, it was almost as if he were walking right next to me and directing me in ways of magic.
The Gorge! Of course! Rama was coming to the Gorge one last time! And I was being inwardly called! I was so excited.
I called a few Rama students who were friends of mine, and a few of my students in the area and told them that I was going to the Gorge on Saturday and planned on spending all night and catching a sunrise there on Easter morning. Almost everyone I talked to had felt the energy. So it was planned… I did not tell them that Rama would be there… I wanted it to be a surprise. Although when I told Linda Jane, who was an old Rama Student about the trip, she mentioned that she thought Rama would meet us there.
On Friday, the news about the weather did not sound so good. The entire southern California area was experiencing a prolonged rainstorm, especially the San Diego and Anza Borrego Desert area. It was a slow moving storm that would blanket the entire area through Sunday.
Friday evening, the people I had invited started to call, asking about the weather. I said that I was going no matter what. I encouraged them to make up their own mind and then come along if they felt really pulled to do so. I knew that I was going, even if it was pouring down rain. I was going… No question about it. I told them that if they were coming, to meet me at the gorge about 6:30PM, just before sundown.
On Saturday I traveled alone in my new Toyota Camry. I loved this car. It was a dream come true, and it had this really great CD changer in the trunk that held six CDs. As I traveled down the road I decided to give this new gadget a whirl. I had recently purchased the new Zazen album, “Cayman Blue” and I queued it up. As the album started to play, I concluded that this album was my least favorite. I just did not like it. So after flipping through a few of the songs, I changed to some other albums that I liked.
It was always an interesting experience for me when I traveled down to the desert. As I drove, I felt the usual shift in my occult body that indicated that this would be a really powerful evening. This happened to me every time I would teach or go to a place of power. After fifteen years of Teaching, this power still was disconcerting and required me to really trust that my higher self was protecting me and was in charge. So as I approached the Gorge, my higher self became more and more in charge of the driving and my awareness. My everyday awareness tended to slip into the background into a witnessing mode… My personal thoughts were few and far between.
It was raining and I had the windshield wipers on as I topped the rise that overlooked the Gorge. When I looked down, I was astonished! There was no one there! I had been so sure that Rama would be there with his students. I was very disappointed, however, my higher self was unconcerned. It just kept amping up and taking more and more control of my realities. I sat alone inside my car as the rain pelted down. Soon those who had felt the pull to the desert were parked behind me.
At the appointed time, I emerged from my car and looked around. It was raining 360 degrees around us, however above us was clear sky. The dark grey of the surrounding clouds were tinged with a beautiful red and orange color with an outline of gold and florescent white in the sunset. It was so beautiful. I had everyone gather at the spot where Rama always pulled us together and we meditated for a few minutes. It was so powerful. Then we began our walk up the gorge and into the night.
All night long, the magic was off the charts. The different planes of existence and dimensions of awareness flowed and shifted. We disappeared and reappeared, the mountains breathed, the stars shifted. As my higher self would call up a wind, it would come. The South wind, with its warmth of love; the East wind of selfless giving; the cold North wind of discrimination; and the West wind of the occult and mysticism.
The entire night, as we meditated and played with the desert, the sky was clear above us. We saw stars and this incredible full moon that was so bright that we did not need any flashlights. All night long, not one drop of rain fell on us while we were in the Gorge…
Around 3AM, we started our hike out of he Gorge and back to the cars. I had intuited a special place where my higher self wanted to catch the sunrise. It was a viewpoint located on state highway S 22 that tops out over the mountain range to the east of Borrego Springs. It was many miles away, but we had time to make it.
As I drove down the narrow desert highway on the way, the sky continued to be clear above me. Then something caught my eye off to the East. I had to pull over and got out of my car. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever witnessed. It was a moonbow! A rainbow by the light of the moon! It was perfect and bright and was all silver! I did not even know such a thing existed! Yet, there it was. It was breathtaking. A bright silver moonbow! Soon it started to fade and we resumed our journey.
The twisting highway topped the summit of the pass and we descended down for a mile or two until we came upon that viewpoint that I had seen inwardly. As we parked, it started to mist and rain lightly. It was pretty cold and so I opted to sit in the warmth and dryness of the car until the daybreak was about to take place.
Soon it was twilight and the rain continued to occasionally fall. To the East, the sky was clear with just a few clouds in the distance. The glow of the coming sun was starting to defeat the night and the mountains and all of nature were regaining their definition and color. In the distance, the lights of the village of Borrego Springs and the Salton Sea could clearly be seen below us.
I emerged from my car and stood on a huge rock outcropping that was in front of my car and awaited the coming sun.
For the first time, all night, the rain gently peppered my face. It was as if I were wiping away tears from my cheeks. I did not care. I was determined to face this sunrise, even if it meant that I would be soaked to the bone. I stood there watching the glow to the East grow brighter and brighter. The sun was about to break.
As I kept focused on the light to the East, I heard this gust of wind coming from the West behind me. I heard it break off to the South as it roared across the canyon to my right and then made its way on down the canyon to the east directly in front of me. Then it climbed up the mountainside to my left. Moving quickly, it was now North of me and was headed back to the West. Once it was directly behind me it turned and started to come toward me. During this entire time I did not turn my head to watch the wind, I just heard it. I was totally focused on the rising sun. Then Light filled my head as the sun peaked above the mountains to the East. Then as the light reflected off of the Salton Sea, that wind hit me from behind with such a force it caused me step forward in order to regain my balance. It nearly knocked me over! It was as if a giant hand had slapped me right between my shoulder blades.
Then the rain stopped, the sun was up and it was strangely quiet. We just stood there for a while in silent meditation. After a while, we gathered together and, as a group, expressed our gratitude to the desert and to Rama and returned to our homes. It had been a most incredible night and sunrise.
The next morning I was surprised to be awakened by a song from the album, “Cayman Blue”. I got up, pulled on my pants and house shoes and went down stairs to the carport to fetch the album from the CD player in the trunk of my car. I then went back upstairs and plopped it into my stereo and sat down to listen to the song. This song was the first song on the album, “Hurricane Vayu” (Vayu is a primary Hindu Deity, the Lord of the winds). Considering the events of the past evening, it was most appropriate. But this morning’s routine varied from my usual pattern. Instead of just listening to the one song, I listened to the complete album. It was so beautiful! I loved every song! Wow! My meditation was off the charts and after an hour or so, I got up and took my shower as I started my day.
Shortly after breakfast, as I was doing my dishes, I got a phone call from Helena (a long time Rama student). She told me that Rama had died. She did not have a lot of details, but she would keep me informed… I hung up the phone and just stood there in stunned silence.
All of the memories of my time with Rama, all of the encounters and adventures I had had with him, came flooding into my being. I headed off to the bedroom to cry and grieve. However, Rama met me at the door and started to make fun of me. Inwardly I heard him scoff at the idea that he was dead. “I just dropped that body! That’s all.” he said. He would not let me morn or grieve. I wanted to. But it was just not allowed. However, he did allow me to shave my head, which I kept shaved for one year. Initially, I did not know why I wanted to shave my head, but later, when I visited Nepal, I learned that shaving ones head for a year is done sometimes done as a sign of mourning.
During the following year, a different tune from “Cayman Blue” would wake me up every morning. Finally, after a year, I started to let my hair grow and some different music started to wake me up every morning.
Rama picked his time to go. For me, I consider this experience to be the second part of Rama Kalachakra. The first part was in New York and now a few of us had finished it in the desert. The Kalachakra tradition… According to Wikipedia it “revolves around the concept of time (kāla) and cycles (chakra): from the cycles of the planets, to the cycles of human breathing.” Rama picked his time to go. It was the ending of a cycle in his reincarnation process. It was a special evening and time. It was a rare occasion when Good Friday, Passover and Easter all fell together on successive days. I love that. I feel so lucky and honored that he pulled me to the Gorge during his time of departure. What an amazing Teacher!