Eastern Mystics, Western Mystics and Magic

This post has been sitting in a word file on my computer desktop for quite some time. I’m going to hit the button and post it. I’ve been hesitant because I am outing myself as someone having had experiences other than ordinary. But I want to. It is so much easier than playing “normal.” If you’ve read my poetry by now, you should know something is up.

click here for an accessible pdf of this poem.
I am the universe poster


Everything in the universe is within you.
Ask all from yourself.

I had in the back of my mind that this 2012 end of Mayan calendar consciousness shift was an interesting theory, a bit of global mythological idealism. As I overheard conversations, I knew that everyone who wasn’t Christian wasn’t suddenly going to hell, and I believed that people, hopefully people other than me, would undergo an expansion of their awareness of their true natures.  Hope springs eternal.

Palatable Mysticism, and Then There’s Fred Wolf

I have had the occasion to speak to a couple of mystics lately. You may be on the edge of your seat, waiting to hear that I ran across someone from far away, somewhere on the Asian continent like Tibet, or India. Americans like their mystics from the East, and American mystics need to be American Indian, of if they are Black, they had better be from Africa donning a very fancy headdress.

I am not placing any value judgment on how  “spiritual” any of these people are. I’m just saying that when someone from India like Deepak Chopra write books called Live after Death: the Burden of Proof he is called a mystic. When someone from Tibet like the Dali Lama writes a book called The Universe in a Single Atom he is called your Holiness.  When a spiritual leader from Culver City, California writes a book called Spiritual Liberation, and he’s been on Oprah, he is called a spiritual leader.  I’ve also noticed when people from America write books like The Dreaming Universe they are called kooks, especially if they have that PhD in physics like Fred Wolf. I loved his book.

People like me in the west read can Thích Nhất Hạnh and Jalal al-Din al-Rumi with anything from curiosity to awe, seemingly without moving a spiritual muscle. I know this because I did this for years.


We Americans occasionally let our creatives come close to being mystical. We call them like “crazy artists” or “bohemian poets.”  I think we put western creatives in the “vexing but lovable category,”  like  expensive dogs that need to be walked at six am every morning and occasionally pee on the carpet. I can say this as a poet and artist in America.  If I am at a poetry reading, and after having read my first poem, and  to give people a sense of who I am, I say, “I was driving down Clay Street a several of years ago and I had my first experience of my consciousness expanding.  And then pow, just like that, I knew I was one with everything.” people nod and smile. Maybe they  assume I dropped some acid, which, I believe is more palatable than me having had a spiritual shift out of supposed pure whimsy.

If I were to mention that I had a shift in consciousness outside of the context at a poetry reading, say, god forbid, to a doctor or worse, a psychiatrist, I fear that this person would be ready to whip out a prescription pad.  I suspect that it would not matter how I am feeling during this time in my life.  I have made it a practice to just stay the hell away from psychiatrists altogether. I believe that under the right doctor’s care, if I were completely candid, I would never write another poem, never paint another picture again in my life, period.

My Counselor and Toni Morrison…

When you seek Love
with all your Heart,
you shall find its echoes in the universe.


I  once forced myself to work at a soul crushing job surrounded by unhappy people who were actually dying of cancer, and  immune deficient and stress related  illnesses at an alarming rate. I went to a counselor because I felt like crap most of the time. I mentioned that I loved Toni Morrison. The counselor said something to the effect of, “Now she is one hell of a head case.” As far as I know, the counselor had never met Morrison, but she just assumed that Morrison was a nuts by her writing. I’ve asked myself if I might be nuts many times since my consciousness began shifting. I think I have been asking the wrong question.

It should only  matter that  Morrison  or anyone lives without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.  Said person should have the ability to live their lives moment to moment as much as possible, the ability to watch it unfold right before them. It didn’t seem to be relevant to the counselor if Morrison was happy or if Morrison was a brilliant, engaging writer who moved her readers and challenged their assumptions and perceptions. It didn’t seem to matter if she was living a big, courageous, beautiful life. The counselor felt Morrison needed fixing because she wasn’t enough  like everyone else.

What  I am saying is that the name for people like me, and the name for the mystics that I’ve come across is not “mystic” or “mystical poet.” Western mystics scare Americans.  Western mystics (and I chose this word because of its neutrality for me )are for the most part called by other names.

How to Not be Shirley McLaine

Here is what you do to skate away from the kook category as much as possible when America. If you feel any spiritual stirrings go to theology school so that you have something to stick on the wall so that your family and friends can look, something tangible to wrap their minds around. Then, get a church and make sure that it is of a Christian denomination.  However, if you are not solely Christian you can get a special Awesomeness pass by being American Indian, or from Asia, or perhaps Africa (with the right outfit). Or, you might even get on Oprah and call yourself a spiritual teacher and get a special social acceptability  pass, unless, of course, you are Shirley McLaine.

However, all of this varies and the lines blur and change from day to day. I went to a mostly black church and I sang in the choir. We sometimes chanted ohm  before we sang.  Boy, did we clear the room backstage during a church choir singing completion. We were  un-categorical and completely upsetting to the other choirs.

My Mystic

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

But, lately, I found myself in the need of a mystic so I went to an venerated elder with a long white beard from a little village in India. Or, I went to a woman possibly from New Jersey, or may someplace back east. Image, if you can, that each person has the same depth of wisdom. Each one has the same ability to help me through this leg of my journey.

The mystic was concerned because she is noticing a new and unsettling energy moving through different people. This vibe has been disturbing people since around the 2012 shift, the shift that I thought would be interesting… the shift that I thought  I would not notice… the one that would make everything come up like springtime and daffodils because after all, what is wrong with a little bit more consciousness?  This vibration is a psychically heavy one and it appears, at least to me,  to be getting around like the chicken pox. It wreaks havoc on the sufferer’s abundance flow. The sufferer wakes up covered in a disturbing, heavy vibe.  It is sticky and cloying and hard to disengage from, like quicksand.

My First Yoga Class Taught by an Indian

On another vein, my regular Sunday morning American yoga teacher turned me on to this yoga immersion program that starts next month.  This mystic thinks that it is good that I am starting a yoga immersion program because this kind of movement with breath work will help move away the unwanted energy vibration.

I was taken off- guard when I discovered that the yoga studio with the immersion program is actually run by an East Indians.  I heard a conversation I after my latest class. One of the teachers learned yoga from her father, the way American kids are taught to ride bikes, or fish with a cane pole. She learned  yoga the way most American boys (or some lucky girls) get baseball gloves from their fathers and learn to play catch in the twilight of long summer evenings.

The answer was under my nose

Don’t Pray to be Healed and look for ”some other world”
You are the soul and medicine for what wounds the soul.


The first mystic that I went to could not help me,  and I was distraught. She wanted to do everything for me in one fell swoop. That’s what I wanted, too. Still, I did not believe that I had come this far to live a half-assed life with this malignant energy in my body. I had been told over and over that we are in this world to reach a state of love that makes all things new. So, I found another mystic.

With the help of this mystic, I am learning how to exercise a psychic muscle that I didn’t know I had a year ago, a muscle that clears away the stuck, disconcerting, persistent, low energy that does not belong in me.

Moving this energy is an gradual process. The first time I tried it, it was like a new workout in a gym, like lifting weights with arms that felt like cold noodles. It was exhausting and my efforts felt futile, but my stubborn streak paid off.

I had looked and looked and looked for an answer. The magic that I had gone searching for was me.

Self Love Vibes

Love is our steady guide on this road full of hardships.

Along with moving the negative energy for something higher, I have found it to be helpful to give myself lots of self-love. The universe reflects the energy that I give to myself. So, I  make up affirmations. This is one of the tools I learned during my ohm-chanting church-going choir-singing years.

I love myself ceaselessly throughout all directions in time.
I feel God’s love ceaselessly throughout all directions in time.

Using my know-it-all smart cell phone, I made an mp3 of these affirmations in my own voice and played them over and over in a loop on my ancient first generation iPod. Here, the word God does not unhinge me because of my confusing childhood religious experiences, because in my affirmations,  I hear the word in my own voice and I direct the statement to me solely.

I invite you, if you are feeling weary, to try your own self-love affirmations, even if you don’t think much of all of this  consciousness shift stuff, since you can never get too much unconditional love, and since the these times seem to be what they are. Peace, out.

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