© Graham Bell 2006. All Rights Reserved.
Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation
February 19, 2006

In the Name of God who is Mercy and Compassion.

In the 1970's, in my late teens, I had become a 'seeker' and was a Rosicrucian. I liked the idea of a Western mystical tradition. I was reading a lot of books, and today I brought along various useful books that are a part of my journey.

First, there is Be Here Now by the late Baba Ran Dass (or Dr. Richard Alpert). It really gives a good idea what it is like to have a spiritual teacher that knows the inner you. One really cool thing about this book is that it has a bibliography of other mystical books.

Next is In Search of the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky. This book is from the 1940's and introduced the 9 pointed Enneagram to the West. It says people are "asleep" and merely machines unless they become awake through the help of a teacher.

Third is the I Ching, which describes a way to read portents for both the present and the future.

At age 20, a good friend and I decided to take a back-packing trip across Canada, and through the U.S. It was something a young person has the audacity to do. We were on the road for 3 months and eventually made our way to San Francisco. As we started our Bus journey to the City I had picked up a flyer at Zen Bookstore in Shasta in Northern California. There was an article about a Teacher that was coming to the Bay Area, and it had a picture. I showed it to my friend and said "This guy looks like a real Guru." Even though we didn't intend to see Guru Bawa, we were directed to his meeting house by the kindness of an unknown angel.

In those early years of my association with Guru Bawa, I called him the encyclopeadic man. Today I would call him a true human being. In His journey, he had become extremely knowledgeable about all the various kinds of yogas, mantras, spiritual technologies that people had tried through out the ages. However He said none of these were the Truth, and were in fact blocks and illusions to experience the reality of God. What he said we needed was Faith, determination and certitude in God and to live the divine qualities of Peacefulness, contentment, trust in God, and give praise to God for whatever happens in our life.

Guru Bawa was from Sri Lanka. While conversant in Hindu and other traditions, he used the language of mystical Islam or Sufism to describe the states and stations of the path to God.

Now this Path that Guru Bawa described was not going to very popular, since its stated aim was to eliminate the ego, and the sense of the individual self and replace it with God consciousness.

Bawa plainly stated that believing in God is good for people and that the very firmness of belief will enable them to complete the transformation of their lives.

After experiencing Bawa as this extremely wise man, whose presence was wonderfully peaceful, I became a vegetarian, and stopped drinking and doing drugs, and started doing various silent Sufi prayers. When I start to feel the Divine presence, the prayers will begin to work by themselves and it becomes very natural to recite them and enjoy the sweetness of the divine presence. The divine in me is worshipping the Greater Divinity that is beyond the short span of our life here on Earth.

In my early 20s, I went to University where I met Allysson and we were soon married.

After we set up house we went to the local Presbyterian church. Now I was a student of Sufism going to a conservative Christian church, and this wasn't comfortable for me.

Eventually we emigrated to the United States to Irvine, California and went to a liberal Christian church in the United Church of Christ denomination. The UCC is sometimes jokingly referred to as Unitarians Considering Christ. Through various presentations and reading about the Jesus seminar, I could feel the various confusions associated with the Bible and Christian theology sorting themselves out for me.

I have prayed in Mosques, Buddhist temples, Shinto temples, churches, synagogues, and at Hindu puja services. My teacher Bawa said that one point of all these things is for the people to remove their divisions and differences and to come together in Unity and be able to treat each other with good qualities. We clean ourselves and then try to act like human beings.

I am a Unitarian Universalist because I need a place of worship that includes people of different backgrounds and religious perspectives and builds the unity we/I need. It is my firm belief that it is only in our unity that we will know the true presence of the divine.

And now for the commercial.

Next month we will be starting our canvass campaign and looking to a celebration and re-commitment of our UU community. Pledging big is a great way to transform your life.

Lastly, My love to all of you. If there is anything that I said that was incorrect, please forgive me.

Thank you.

Back to Top