Early Intimations of Spirituality (Autobiography)

February 11, 2008

My father was an ordained minister, though he left the active ministry when I was about two. We still had Bibles in our bookcases and other books about Christianity.

One of them, entitled The Gospel in Art, contained many black-and-white reproductions of paintings – including one, from the late middle ages, showing Jesus’ baptism . He was standing in the river Jordan, completely naked. This was, as far as i can remember, the first picture I ever saw of a naked man.

I had seen my father naked. My parents thought that if I saw them naked from an early age nudity wouldn’t be a big thing. But after my father left the ministry, his worked required frequent traveling. I was raised by my mother.

I read about Eastern religions, but the books said you had to be vegetarian and study with a guru. Mother planned the meals, and the only gurus were in India, so I had to be satisfied with Christianity.

I remember setting up an altar in my bedroom’s walk-in closet. Each night I would kneel there, naked; light three candles for the Trinity; and pray.

I now realize that being naked was and still is a way for me to enter sacred space – a way to make contact with the Divine. This was an early instance of sensing my own truth, and I later found that truth confirmed in several traditions. Before the British conquest of India, Hindu and Jain sages meditated and practiced yoga naked. Native Americans prayed naked during sweat lodges and vision quests. All of the practices that I will present in this blog, when I have privacy, I do naked.

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