In late 1973, an actress friend of mine, Sally Kirkland, stopped by my home to visit with me. She was newly married, and eager to share about her wedding. For some time she had been encouraging me to meet her “spiritual teacher,” John-Roger. I had refused heartily, saying that I was a “one-guru woman” as I had been working and studying for several years with Baba Muktananda, a great Indian Siddha guru. On this day, in typical and wonderful Sally style, she left me with three of John-Roger’s seminar tapes. I must admit I was curious, so I was inclined to listen with no resistance.
I don’t know how to fully describe the effect these tapes had on me. John-Roger appeared to ramble. He had a Utah accent, and a very funny, simple and colloquial humor. It was an extremely different approach from the formal Hindu style and grandeur that accompanied Swami Muktananda. In fact, John-Roger almost sounded rural to me. However, as I continued listening, something inside of me was deeply moved. I was excited, and I kept thinking to myself, “He is answering my deepest questions”.
I recognized that what he was saying was true for me. I experienced a great feeling of relief. I felt that what I’d been seeking for years was being more fulfilled and addressed by this man. It took nothing away from all I had experienced and gained in my studies and practice with Muktananda and other teachers. It simply felt like home. I had come home.
The next day I called Sally and asked if I might meet John-Roger, and a few days later she took me to a seminar where he was speaking. When John-Roger entered the room, he came over to me, took my hand and said “welcome” with what seemed like all the warmth and depth of the universe itself. Once again, I was experiencing an unusual excitement and admittedly I was also a little confounded. He appeared so ordinary! There were no frills about him whatsoever.
He began to speak, and it was not a “glamorous” way of speaking. He was blunt, direct, funny, and yes, he did ramble, however, there was an extraordinarily powerful and loving energy present as he spoke. I fully and profoundly experienced the presence of Spirit.
The next day I ordered all of his books and many of his tapes. Soon afterwards, I asked to meet with him. We met, and kindly, but directly, he said that I should always check out everything he taught and make sure it worked for me and for my life. If it worked for me, he encouraged me to take it and use it for mg upliftment. If it did not, he said the door was always open for me to go on to what would work for me. I left that meeting, feeling a peace and an awareness that I had found my next steps in my Journey home to God.
While I’ve never been a “joiner” by temperament or spirit, I am proud to be involved with the Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA), because I am joined in my heart with good people who love God dearly and enjoy the processes and practices for Soul Transcendence taught by John-Roger. His teachings are inclusive and respectful of all faiths and affirm quite simply that the greatest value in living is loving. He teaches the ancient path of Soul Transcendence, that all things come from God, God loves all of its creation…and not one soul will be lost. Not one.
Since studying with MSIA, I have never felt confined, organized, suppressed, controlled or ritualized. In fact, in MSIA, personalities and vocations are about as diverse as you can get. The common goal is to know more intimately and dynamically the God in each one of us. This is what connects us. These teachings are available to all, however as John-Roger has said, they are not for everyone. Just as there are six billion people on the planet, there can be that many ways to love and seek God.
Over the years of my spiritual studies, I have learned that it is so essential to be discerning where I place my trust, especially in the area of my inner spiritual development. It is a sacred and sensitive journey, but ordinary at the same time. It has proven wise for me to carefully explore what works for me. I then remain responsible, self empowered, and master of my own spiritual destiny. I have always found it essential to be around people who inspire me and uplift me to a greater awareness of who I am. I work hard to stay vigilant in order to stay free. This is my responsibility, and every day is a new and glorious opportunity to focus on, and affirm my partnership with God.
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