Journeys: Fran

Date: February 28, 2000

I became a premie back in the hippie days. I was living in a commune and taking a lot of acid. I had reached the point where I "knew" that "nothing mattered." But, somehow, it mattered that nothing mattered. In other words, I felt an acute spiritual void and I didn't know what to do about it. Then, one day, a woman who lived in my commune came bursting excitedly into the house with the news that there was a guru who would give the "knowledge of god" to anyone who "asked with a guileless heart." That sounded like an answer to my deepest need.

A while later, I was walking in Golden Gate Park during a bad acid trip when I found a flyer about Maharaj Ji. I grabbed it and read it avidly. It said there would be a talk at a certain place in the near future. Needless to say, I went and brought a lot of other commune members with me.

I didn't receive the knowledge at that time because I objected to bowing down to Maharaj Ji's image before I verified for myself that he could give the "knowledge of god." I didn't see why I couldn't bow after I received the knowledge. Anyway, I changed my mind later on and ended up receiving the knowledge in New York.

My experiences were of an on again and off again nature after that. I would zealously follow the knowledge and go to satsang and meditate and all that. Then, I would turn off to it. I did notice a change in my spiritual state after I received the knowledge. I seemed to have passed a barrier that I had been stuck behind. But I went back to the commune and the drugs and didn't meditate. But I still felt spiritually a lot higher than before.

I moved to a commune in the country and, while I was there, I heard about a gathering in India which Maharaj Ji's followers could go to for a mere $300. I looked at it primarily as a cheap way to travel but, as I prepared for the trip, I began regularly attending satsang and meditating and I really got into it.

India was pretty traumatic for me. The sexism of women having to have male escorts to leave the commune really bothred me. The premies bothered me too. They seemed obsessed with finding fault with each other. It was always, "Sister, isn't that dress too low cut?" Always, "Sister" this or "Sister" that. I also noticed a tendency of everyone to become really closed up in hirself because if we have acted real, people might know we weren't as spiritually high as we were pretending to be.

Anyway, I did have periods of being a really zealous premie and doing service, satsang and meditation but at the end of my stay in India, I was fed up again. I returned happily to my parents' house where I enjoyed the material things I had been deprived of (and which I realized I was still attached to). But I started remembering how I had felt before I went to India and how high practicing the knowledge had gotten me so I again went back to it.

This time, I got in deeper than before. I moved into a Premie House. At the end of the month, everyone in that house had joined an ashram. I joined a teaching ashram in Colorado. We were going to build the perfect school. I was very happy there at first.

But, as part of our work, we studied various educational systems and our studies made me think. The more I thought, the more contradictions I found. It seemed the speakers we invited to tell us about their educational philosophies had more on the ball than Bhagwan Ji who came and gave us his ideas which sounded really trite. And I also became increasingly bothered by the way nobody ever wanted to be real but always had to act upbeat all the time. I tried being myself as an experiment and the results from the others were not positive.

Anyway, I reached a point where I knew that life was precious and a moment of freedom was better than a lifetime in a group where I wasn't allowed to be myself. So it ended positively for me. Leaving the ashram was just a detail which I managed to work out.

Here I am. I am free. And damned grateful to be, too.

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