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Coptic Martyr

The Coptic Martyr of Cairo

The latest international thriller from best-selling author Martin Roth

Four Americans in Egypt on an archaeological dig. In the blistering summer heat they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they unearth a body. It is an old priest who has been murdered.

The gruesome discovery sets in train a sequence of events that leads to a deadly Islamist attack on the ancient church where the Americans are working.

The leader of the expedition, Professor Rafa Harel, must decide whether to withdraw his fractious team or continue on a mission to unveil a controversial series of wall paintings, knowing that these images have the power to spark even greater violence.

Meanwhile, watching over all of them is a dreamy young Egyptian Christian named Amir. His only quest in life is to become a martyr...

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A Spiritual Journey

Excerpted from a talk given by Michael Graham in Mill Valley, California, May 21, 2005. It has been published as a booklet titled "An Autobiography of a Yogi".

Perhaps the most rapidly expanding form of spirituality today in the Western world is Yoga and Meditation. Actually the two words belong together. Today, practised in its many forms, yoga promises physical wellbeing and spiritual growth. But for the yogis of old, the mystics of the ancient East, Yoga was far more than a life style choice; theirs was an ardent quest for Enlightenment--a release from all bonds of suffering and unsatisfactoriness both here and beyond the grave--a reach for Ultimate Truth.

The word yoga actually means: to be yoked to or united with God or Ultimate Reality. The word refers to both an end and an activity. In its active form it involves the practice of a variety of techniques, both physical and mental. There are up to fourteen types of yoga, each with different practices designed to lead to the desired goal.

I was one such person captivated by the promises and practices of yoga from a young age. The quest that I undertook threw me into a heady world leading to many remarkable personal encounters and mystical experiences.

On one particular day I was astounded. I found myself right in the middle of what is regarded in the Indian spiritual tradition as the classic fourth state of consciousness called the Turiya1 state. The yogis consider it to be one of the marks of Enlightenment, existing beyond the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep that are familiar to all people. I’d read about it, but to have the experience was quite another thing. My attention was riveted. It was as though I had entered another reality. Though my surroundings looked the same, every trace of the weight and sting of life had vanished.

The first sign of its appearance was a widening of my field of vision. Fascinated, I walked a few paces into a room where two men were talking. One was standing; the other was seated leaning against a wall. They were fixed in earnest conversation. As I watched them they seemed no more real than puppets in a puppet show. The meaning and significance of their conversation was as nothing. Every sense in me was alive; the people and the physical environment were as I’d known them, but the sense of “realness” was gone. Nothing of the human condition with its concerns remained.

The veil of ignorance had lifted and from this new perspective life wasn’t what it seemed to be. It was more like a dream--a mere apparency. Half an hour passed and this perception started to close down. Was this the Ultimate Truth?—no, not even in this tradition. That realization and beyond was to be realized later, and is described in the book I have written, of which this booklet is a short synopsis.

Many adventures were to follow.

So, this quest for Truth began at the age of sixteen. I began reflecting on the meaning and significance of life at a time when I was unclear about my interests and future direction and was restlessly unable to chart my course.

My father was a doctor, a psychoanalyst and something of a philosopher. Two books on the Eastern spiritual tradition, from the shelves of his huge library grabbed my attention. They promised a life free of suffering, personal transformation and an experience of the Highest Truth. That was enough for me. I had found what I was looking for.

By the time I was twenty-two, after motorcycling throughout Sri Lanka and India and having high adventures in Afghanistan, then traveling all the way across to London, I returned to India to the ashram, or abode, of Swami Muktananda Paramahansa. He was a guru. He came to me on very strong recommendation as one whose mere touch or presence could transform a person’s life.

Upon my arrival, he was away. Thankfully, within a few days he was due back. About twenty-five of us assembled outside the front of the ashram to greet him on his return. There was an American, an Englishman and myself, an Australian. The others were Indians.

The first sign of his arrival was the honking sound of a Klaxon horn. A blue, 1962 Mercedes Benz pulled up, and out stepped a handsome sixty-year-old man in silk orange robes, wearing gold-rimmed sunglasses. This was not quite the image of a holy man that I’d imagined. Muktananda glanced at me as he swept through the crowd of prostrating Indians, lightly kicking them with his feet saying, “look out, look out, this is a fast train” (someone translated that to me).

Within two days I had a private audience with him. He probably spoke no more than forty words of English. Through a translator, I told him that I had come to have my meditation fixed. All attempts to meditate successfully in Australia had failed. Instead of settling down into a quiet state, I’d become positively knotted up. He simply said, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”

A week passed, and I was meditating all alone in the meditation room, on a real tiger’s skin. All of a sudden I was startled. Muktananda was standing over me. He stroked both cheeks, passed his palm over my forehead, turned on his heels and left. It took all of three seconds. Well, I thought that was wonderful. The guru had touched me and I knew that was supposed to be auspicious. I expected something to happen. It didn’t. Each day thereafter, Baba (as we affectionately called him), would ask me in his few words of English, “Good meditation?” “No Baba,” I would reply. This must have gone on every day for a week; his asking me and my saying no. I got a bit frustrated.

A few days passed and I was not to be disappointed. One afternoon, while meditating all alone, a strange phenomenon began. All of a sudden my body began to revolve in a circular motion. I thought to myself, “How interesting.” I’d stop it, and off it would go again. Up to this point whenever my body moved, it was I that moved it. With each minute that passed this movement grew stronger and stronger. I was delighted. I knew that I had received the “awakening” that Muktananda was distinguished for being able to activate--the awakening of kundalini2 or the divine power within. All the while I was in a cool state of mind, watching with fascination. No suggestion or hysteria were involved.

This was the awakening of the Kundalini Shakti3, an intelligent aspect of the life force itself, which lay “asleep” or dormant in potential until awakened through the guru’s grace. It was to be surrendered to or given over to, since it was the spontaneous “grace-driven” means to Self-realization--a most attractive concept. In the fullness of time one would be cleansed of all impurities that veiled the recognition of one’s true identity as being identical to the Supreme Reality--Brahman.

Some days later a Canadian chap turned up. We decided to go and meditate together. As we sat, he began to recite the famous Twenty-Third Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake. Even though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I remembered that from a light Christian enculturation during my schoolboy days. Being deeply moved by its beauty, that second, the “awakening” that had begun a few days before, exploded into ten times its power. I was flung down and started crawling my way across the floor, growling like a lion, with the strength of ten men coursing through me. It was not as any ham actor could do; it was devastatingly real. I was amazed. I didn’t resist it, since that wouldn’t have been the idea. The poor Canadian chap (as he told me later) had never seen anything like it. He commented that the nearest thing he’d seen to it was an LSD4 drug freak-out; but this was something else! He was scared out of his wits and was trying to settle down the situation by repeating the mantra5, guru om, guru om, over and over.

From that day on, whenever I gave over to the “awakening”, there was continuous spontaneous activity. There were powerful breathing rhythms (pranayama), movement into classic dance formations, vigorously executed hatha6 yoga-like postures, utterances like the sound of different birds so real sounding, speaking in an unknown language, weeping bitterly in one second then laughing hysterically in the next with nothing to weep or laugh about, cross-legged hopping across the ground like a frog juddering of the body, classical hand gestures (mudras), the seeing of inner lights, journeys out of the body and innumerable other experiences. It wasn’t as though I was tuning in to some impulse to move in a certain way and going with it, as in psychodrama. It just grabbed me in a powerful non-volitional (spontaneous) manner and moved me about. And there were moments of “dynamic” stillness. The predominantly physical manifestations were called kriyas7. They were said to have a purifying effect, but as to why some of the more bizarre manifestations took the form that they did only theories could be given.

All this was set into a typical Eastern framework of thinking. Muktananda would say, “God dwells within you as you,”--the inner self or Brahman or God were identical. Sadhana8 or spiritual practice consisted of faith in the guru as the Self-Realized master. It required surrender to his person and to his instructions, singing chants in the Sanskrit9 language to his glory, and devotional service. Its purpose was spiritual purification leading to the experience of one’s own divinity, called Self-realization or Enlightenment.

This particular path was SiddhaYoga; the word Siddha meaning “perfected being”, and yoga meaning, “yoked to God”. So this was the union with God that was to take place through the grace of the perfected Master.

It sounded like an appealing truth. It was promising. It had an engine that moved things.

So I stayed on in the ashram for five and a half months, participating in the rigorous daily routine. We’d arise at four in the morning for ninety minutes of meditation. If you were fortunate enough to receive the “awakening”, you’d surrender to its workings as a dispassionate witness. If it had yet to stir in you, you’d sit in formal meditation repeating the Guru’s mantra, Soham meaning, “He I am” or “I am God”, in the hope that it would happen soon. That was the understanding in those days. However, instructions changed over the years. Then we took a cup of chai; a spicy Indian tea. This was followed by ninety minutes of chanting the Bhagavad Gita10 in Sanskrit. Then we were off into the beautiful gardens or marble courtyard to do a couple of hours of work, a form of devotional service to the Guru, followed by thirty minutes of chanting the mantra, Om Namah shivaya (meaning: I bow to Shiva) before lunch. I called it “Hindu army chow”--delicious. Then there was a one-hour voluntary chant followed by another two hours of work, followed by forty-five minutes of meditation before dinner. Finally, a sixty-minute chant was sung before we collapsed into bed at 9 p.m. Phew! Not a routine for the faint hearted. This went seven days a week, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. It was like something you might find in an eleventh century Benedictine11 monastery.

This path of spirituality became my core spiritual practice for the next sixteen years. I returned to India many times. I spent a total of four years in the country. But despite all the amazing spiritual experiences, signs and wonders (many more of which are described in my book), my deepest hopes for inner fulfillment were unmet. But the dynamism and apparent intelligence of that “awakening” had me tantalized.

At the same time, I had been casting around for supplementary means to add to this Eastern practice that might have opened a crack to the light I had been looking for.

So, in the seventies, eighties and nineties I did a number of the leading edge personal development programs of the day: Landmark Education (once called EST, then Forum), a sort of no nonsense pragmatic12 spiritual boot camp and Silva Mind Control, a get-down-into-low-brain-wave process, heal people, throw open some doors of psychic perception, and reprogram yourself for success, type of program. Then there was The Hoffman Quadrinity Process, an expensive turbo-expunging of impeding parent-induced past psychological impressions. And then I studied and sought to practice A Course in Miracles (a book) a very well developed argument for transcendence, which I buried into for a year with great discipline. I was intrigued by the observation: that though I understood and believed something, I would continue to think, feel, act and perform as though I’d never heard of it. My other friends on the Course had the same experience. I was starting to discover that the mere cognitive approach to transformation is impotent to do anything much.

I saw a gain here and there. Whenever I was exposed to a new perspective, information, data or technique, there would be a slight shift, just enough to lead to an increase of interest. Then there would be a plateau, a falling off and then a “what’s next?” Within days there was always a leak-back to the old familiar self. This stuff wasn’t delivering on its promise. I wasn’t a dilettante13. I usually drilled down close to the bottom of these things, enough to see whether I was dealing with iron pyrites14 (fool’s gold) or something more substantial. My basic Siddha Yoga practice kept on as the mainstay.

In 1982 Swami Muktananda died. Shortly thereafter, for one tour, I fell into the role as one of the international tour managers of one of his two successors, the young Swami Nityananda. Months after I left this work a “coup” took place. Gurumayi, his sister and co-successor ousted him, for unseemly gallivanting, among other things. The whole affair unfolded like a palace intrigue that Shakespeare would have made something of.

At this time I was in New York and got a call from an Australian friend who’d just landed a huge Corporate Cultural Change contract with Australia’s second largest company, Telecom Australia. He asked me Down Under, and together with a team of five others we put together a broad range of personal and organizational development strategies to set Telecom up for success in an emerging competitive telecommunications market place. It consisted of facilitating the creation of a corporate Vision Statement, establishing Core Values, defining Company Objectives and delivering a range of personal development strategies, such as customer service orientation, communication skills, negotiation skills, possibility thinking, goal setting, belief engineering and so on. I believe it was the biggest corporate programs of its type ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere15.

By now I’d had a broad and deep experience of the Eastern “Old Age” movement out of India, the pragmatic world of corporate consulting and the “New Age” personal development trainings.

Further, in 1988 and still a dedicated spiritual practitioner, I spotted this program called Avatar®, created by a fellow called Harry Palmer. It was a belief management program, not dissimilar in theory to what we’d taught corporately. But this guy claimed that he had the techniques that could really make the difference. Up till then I had found that core beliefs were not amenable to change. This was a “create your preferred reality” program. Beliefs are real forces; they determine the way you think, feel, behave and perform; change your beliefs and thereby change your life!

So I jumped on a plane for Los Angeles and found myself in the home of Marilyn Ferguson, author of the million- copy best seller book The Aquarian conspiracy. She was a participant along with me and nine others. It was an expensive course at two thousand dollars. It included tea and biscuits but no meals or accommodation. It went for four or five days. How interesting; one of the facilitators was Ingo Swann; a man I’d heard had the most accurate strike rate among psychics tested by Stanford University under controlled conditions. He’d been their research subject for sixteen years and later worked twelve years for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) experimenting with Remote Viewing (visual perception beyond the range of bodily senses) procedures. I got to know Ingo well and stayed with him in New York City. He was teaching this course quite independently of his psychic abilities. He’s no longer associated with Avatar.

The course was impressive. I experienced a temporary expansion of awareness and a peacefulness for a time. Knots inside me that I didn’t know were there unraveled. It was looking good. I was sufficiently impressed to fly to New York, spend another three thousand dollars for nine days of training so I could deliver the program under license.

I became one of the more successful teachers of Avatar around the world, delivering the program in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, USA and Canada. Further to this, I delivered my own program, the Decision Principle Training® in France as well. It proposes decision as the first principle of existence.

Palmer’s top Avatar course was called Wizards®. At seventy-five hundred dollars it promised the dominion of the gods. It didn’t deliver.

But again, with all this, the substance wasn’t to the level required. Nevertheless, those years 1988 through 1993 were kind to me. All the time I’d kept meditating.

Now, some of this work wasn’t silly. There were some accurate observations, coherent thought systems, ingredients of truth and some clever techniques that created effects. I was often grateful and never felt cheated, but admittedly nothing I’d discovered came close to the claims made for it. There were experiences, insights and shifts, but nothing sustainable. Further there were some absolutely spectacular spiritual experiences described and elaborated on in my book.

By now, I had many years of experience, thousands of hours of meditation, charismatic16 phenomena, study, and the company of spiritual luminaries17. By providence, I had arrived at these people’s doorsteps before most people in the West had heard of them. To name some: Swami Muktananda, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), Rudi (later, Swami Rudrananda), Sathya Sai Baba, Anandamayi Ma, U.G. Krishnamurti, HWL Poonja, J. Krishnamurti, Douglas Harding , Barry Long and Sailor Bob (with whom I ran a seminar). There were a couple of others. Israel Regardie, the esoteric writer, was a family friend. I was influenced by the works of Alan Watts, Wei Wu Wei, Franklin Merrell Wolffe; and then there were the Christian mystics. So, it went on. It sounds a bit like a dilettante’s line-up. But I do believe my walk was characterized by a considerable degree of discipline and application and it wasn’t too much to cover over a twenty-eight year span.

I observed over the years, that people had different motives for following a guru or getting involved in such groups. Some sought personal development or victory over personal limitations. I was partially motivated by this. Some sought community; for others it was a life style choice. Some wanted position and power. Others wanted to be loved. Yet others were spiritual hedonists18 thirsting for the next experiential high. Being looked after was a priority for some. And the search for meaning may have been high among the reasons. In most people, motives were probably mixed, and not thoroughly reflected upon. Very few, I believe, went looking for wheat that it might be divided from the chaff. What was of interest to me, was what was actually true or false amidst all this. The Buddha repudiated19 the Vedic20 scriptures. Shankaracharya, the eighth century Vedantic21 Master, repudiated the Buddha’s teaching, putting a huge dent in Buddhism on the Indian subcontinent from which it never recovered. Ramanuja, another Vedantic Master from the twelfth century repudiated Shankaracharya’s view of Ultimate Truth and so it went, ad nauseam. Lord Chaitanya of the sixteenth century from the Lord Krishna tradition, repudiated the lot of them, declaring as heresy, the “I am God” statements of some of the others. This wasn’t just mean spirited. They believed that the objects of their critiques were teaching error.

I noticed that many contemporary seekers had no concept of error and seemed to swallow all they were told, hook, line and sinker, without discrimination or sufficient reflection.

Actually, I didn’t go into all this stuff, preoccupied, as though with a magnifying glass, like a truth sieve. I was openly interested, but with due reflection, learning where I could and tending to trial things experientially to see what was of substantive value or just ephemeral22. My life has been like a laboratory experiment but lived out in a very un-clinical manner.

With all this under my belt--exposure to luminaries, the spiritual experiences, and understanding I’d developed, I still believed that breaking through the Gates of Heaven in a sustainable way was possible. I took what I had been given in personal revelation and the best of what I had been exposed to: the Muktananda “awakening” described earlier, (which, by some mystery, I was able to powerfully transmit to others) and more. I put it all together calling it The Reality Training, fully believing that this amalgam of practices would build the momentum for breakthrough.

By now, for some reason, I’d become weary of trying to excite others’ interest in this or that program. So, as my professional life as a deliverer of personal development training, meditation teaching and corporate consulting started to wind down, so did my personal spiritual practice start to increase.

I’d begin my day in Melbourne Australia, at 4:30 a.m. with sixty minutes of meditation followed by a thirty-minute contemplation, then forty minutes of chanting the Guru Gita23--a Sanskrit language text referring to the guru’s teaching and virtues. I’d end with forty-five minutes of surrendering to the spontaneous workings of the “awakening”. From time to time, friends would bang on my door and join me for this early-morning vigil.

As if this weren’t enough, I decided to go into isolation. Since my late teens, I had thought of this as an interesting experiment and had never had the chance to do it. Now was the time. At the back of my home was a tiny apartment. I asked an accommodating friend to fashion wooden panels to cover the windows and a trap door through which food could be passed. I was sealed up thus, and spent ten days in there. Great; I came out on a Monday and it was as though, through new eyes, that the world sparkled. By Tuesday the old familiar perception had returned.

Seeing some potential here, I repeated the experiment some time later. On the second day a remarkable event took place.

I was settling myself onto a couch. I was in a completely ordinary state of mind—no meditation; nothing like that, and suddenly the image of Jesus Christ formed up within my chest cavity. And with this image came the conviction of who it was. One second following, there was an experience beyond all words can tell. If I were to step it down into the poverty of language, there was an openness and love coming from Jesus to me, of cosmic proportions, and an invitation and a welcome, as if to say “Give me your life and breath and I’ll take care of you.” Well, I was staggered, amazed, delighted all at once. The absolute and ultimate nature of that love was its feature. It was utterly real and personal, but I didn’t know how to respond. I was so committed and used to the Eastern oriented understanding and practice that I kept doing precisely that. This encounter, however, I could never forget.

A year passed and I’d gone to Berkeley, California to conduct introductory programs for The Reality Training I’d created. Here a second significant event took place. What happened was this: Over a three-day period, as if pressed into me from outside myself, came the conviction that everything I had done, the thousands of hours of meditation, the realizations and spiritual experiences, had all added up to a huge fat zero. It was a though a twenty-eight year investment had tipped over. It felt as though I’d been trying to draw water out of an empty well. Wow! I was sobered. “Well,” I thought, “I’ll just run plum ordinary now, and live out my span and do what I can. Simple.”

However, at the time I was doing a twenty-five minute run in the car to Marin County near San Francisco each day. I kept catching these evangelical preachers on the radio teaching the historic faith from the Bible. They were good speakers. It was a bit interesting and besides I was interested in the five Great Traditions (unlike the cults), that had stood the test of time: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity. So, here was Christianity being explained better than I’d heard it before, at least the biblically oriented form of it. At first I was noticing the similarities between elements of the Eastern and Christian teaching and worldviews; then it became the differences that got my attention. Listening to the broadcasts themselves, plus sending away for the tapes advertised on the radio over the next few months, I must have put a couple of hundred hours of this information through me.

With still no contact with Christians I was now being educated to the first principles of Christianity. I noted the claims Christ made for himself; his claim to Deity24, and the promises he made--it really got my attention. Thus, remembering my personal encounter with him, having been reduced to nothing, and therefore having nothing to lose, I resolved to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Yikes! Those words seemed uncomfortably religious to me. No matter.

This was going to be the most important decision I’d ever made. I knew about decision: its power, place and importance. I’d taught my Decision Principle® Training around the world. I could have made the decision in my living room, but I wanted to make a marker of this one.

I’m still not a Christian. So I see a billboard promoting Billy Graham coming to town. I’d heard of him, the biggest evangelist of the Twentieth Century. I thought he was dead. “What a perfect opportunity to make a decision in front of thousands of witnesses,” I thought.

This was 1997. So with considerable anticipation I awaited the day of his arrival. At the appointed hour I was probably the first one at the stadium and mounted the stands. He talked. When he invited people down to make that decision for Christ, down I went and was so close to the podium that I could have almost polished his shoes. When the moment came to decide, I made that decision, surely, definitely, no turning back.

It was from that moment, I was never the same again. It happened silently, undramatically. I knew what it meant to be born again (that strange phrase). A peace came over me that was back of feelings and experiences. With it came new meaning and purpose and above all there came a substantive change of heart and mind, which had eluded me throughout all those years of experience, meditation practice and charismatic phenomena. And this had come as a pure gift of the Grace of Christ independent of all my efforts or practice.

What do I mean by a change of heart and mind? Well, my temperament or disposition started to soften and change, among other things. I noticed it; my son noticed it. That was good enough for me. The seeker had died. I’d come to rest. Perhaps I could have used terms like that in the past, but no, this was new coin. And the old Michael Graham would have said, “Yes, I know what you mean,” and I would have had to reply, politely of course, “No, you don’t.” You see, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

So, here I was having found my sufficiency in Christ--no supplementation required. “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” as the Bible states.

And my attitude toward the concept of God changed substantially, was renewed and made proper.

Further, the Bible as a text came alive to me with a quality and a texture unlike other written works of an intellectual or spiritual nature. It became to me like sweet milk and meat to the soul. This didn’t mean that I had to like everything it said. Nevertheless I believed it. The adjustment had to be mine. I was no longer on the throne as arbiter of all truth. I had submitted myself to Christ and the living Word. This was quite a leap, and as I came to observe later, becomes a mark of someone who has enjoyed a genuine turnaround in Christ or conversion.

So here I was, reading the Bible with new eyes, spending time in prayer, listening to excellent expository25 preaching and enjoying church fellowship. What a change. This was a U-turn such that I couldn’t believe possible.

Now this was a radical turnaround—a turnaround at the root and a most surprising one at that. Nothing else but the Holy Spirit, not the spirit of the kundalini Shakti, or the spirit of the guru, could penetrate to the core of my ruin. What was the fruit of Christ’s Grace? Rest—existential rest—a rest pertaining to my existence, most assuredly superior to any passing interior states or dance of marvels on the periphery of my being--the yield of the cosmic conjurings26--the dance of Shiva27.

So I walk on in gratitude. With a thorough basis for comparison I cannot hesitate to declare the preeminence and supremacy of Christ, his Grace and the super-abundant sense of life He imparts to those who enter into a personal and trusting relationship with Him.

He said, “Come to me all those who are weary and heavily laden and I will give you rest.” He said, “I am the Way, Truth and the Life”; “I am the light of the world”, and “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” And he said, “Whoever drinks the water I shall give him, will become in him, a fountain of water springing up to Eternal Life.” He also declared, “I am the Alpha28 and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Further, he said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me.”

His invitation beckons! The “God”-word was big in those days, yet he pointed to himself as having a special saving relationship to the world. He wasn’t speaking as the “Christ Consciousness” or as the “Christ Michael” or any other contemporary, fashionable or mystic phantom, but as the once historic and now ever present eternal figure of Jesus Christ, “…the same yesterday, today and forever.”

I’ve been around. I’ve seen a lot. Only pride would bar one from reaching for this marvelous Grace by turning to him, who, on that cross at Calvary, consumed in one cosmic act of sacrifice, the groaning momentum of sin (and “karmas”29) that bind all persons interminably to an eternal separation from God.

This is not a light and fluffy subject. It warrants deep reflection. Its ramifications30 extend into life, the mystery of death and beyond. Take in more. That is why I have written the book titled “The Experience of Ultimate Truth”. It takes you on a ride beyond the veil and into the depths of this subject such that you might responsibly consider what’s at stake and perhaps be pointed towards “The peace that passes all understanding” and the “Truth that sets you free.”

Clearly, it is beyond the scope of this short account to trace out most of the incredible reasons to consider placing one’s trust in Christ. But it is the story of how one man did so and thereby found inner peace. Read on…

Michael Graham.

WORD DEFINITIONS:

1 Turiya: Sanskrit - fourth state of consciousness.

2 Kundalini: Sanskrit - coiled, as in coiled serpent.

3 Kundalini Shakti: coiled/sleeping spiritual power within. Outwardly expressed as the Divine Mother in Hinduism.

4 LSD: psychedelic drug leading to hallucinations.

5 Mantra: Sanskrit - thought or mental devise intended to 'to free from the mind'.

6 Hatha yoga: a form of yogic practice focused physical postures and breathing procedures.

7 Kriya: Sanskrit - 'action', refers here to outward physical manifestations of awakened kundalini.

8 Sadhana: Sanskrit - 'practice', means of Self-realization.

9 Sanskrit: ancient language of the Vedic and other Indian scriptures.

10 Bhagavad Gita: Sanskrit - 'song of God'. India's most well renowned scripture featuring a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, his disciple.

11 Benedictine: an ancient order of Christian monks

12 Pragmatic: of practical worth (as opposed to idealistic). Impacts something.

13 Dilattante: one who just dabbles in things - amateurish.

14 Iron Pyrites: a mineral found in the ground often mistaken for gold.

15 Southern Hemisphere: the area and countries below the Equator.

16 Charismatic: in spiritual terms, spiritual experiences and manifestations (as opposed to there being none)

17 Luminaries: people who influence and inspire others.

18 Hedonist: a pleasure seeker.

19 Repudiate: reject, disown, or protest.

20 Vedic, Veda: Sanskrit - 'knowledge'. Particular ancient Indian scriptures.

21 Vedanta: Sanskrit - 'last portion of the Veda'. Claimed to be the culmination of all knowledge.

22 Ephemeral: very short-lived, fleeting.

23 Guru Gita: Sanskrit - 'song of the guru'. Describes function, virtues and powers of the guru.

24 Deity: god or God. Refers to Christ's claim to be God in the flesh; the Creator not the creature.

25 Expository: to make clear the meaning of something, explanatory.

26 Conjuring: calling forth as if by magic.

27 Shiva: the high God in some schools of Indian thought. Here, refers to Shiva's sport of creation, Lila or play.

28 Alpha and Omega: the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

29 Karma: Sanskrit - 'action'. Those actions (good and bad) done with attachment that lead to eternal entrapment.

30 Ramifications: complex results of particular thinking, action or events.

 

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