Editor's Note: This month Views from the Lorian Community will feature two donors whose contributions enrich and nourish our community. We are pleased to share with you their personal stories and the gifts they have fashioned of their lives in service to Our Living Universe!
A master of many trades, Jerry K spent over 40 years working in IT, finance, government, consulting and higher education. After retiring in 2013, he has focused on "environmental activism and consciousness education with the Institute of Noetic Sciences." Below Jerry shares one of the spiritual experiences that has shaped his life and also how Incarnational Spirituality helps him to focus his life's work.
I am Jerry K. I wasn’t born in Wisconsin, but I spent most of my life there and consider myself a “cheese head” in every sense of the word. I came to Texas in 94 on a job change that it turns out didn’t work out. And I found myself unemployed and alone in a strange town. It was a very confusing time and I was reaching out looking for answers.
I had always sought purpose in life. Purpose is the most important thing to me in life along with the sacred…if you knew what your purpose was. And of course I didn’t. Cause no one had ever told me. And so I would tend to seek purpose through my job. I thought, well that’s what men do. I realize now what a mistake that was and I wasted a lot of my life doing it. Jobs come and go and the workplace in the past 20-25 years has become so unbelievably toxic that it’s just anti-human.
Anyway there I was just kind of floundering. And I thought, what am I going to do? I’d always heard about this place called Esalen and I wanted to go there and had some airline miles and saw this weekend seminar called “Reconnecting Business With its Soul.” God, did I need that! So I used my miles and I went there. There were 45 people in this seminar and it was an unbelievable experience, so unbelievably intense. It was organized by these people from what’s called the World Business Academy, which is kind of a spiritually purposed group of executives. There were all of these incredible business people there and there were also just a bunch people like me-- some employed, some unemployed--looking to answer the question: How do you integrate business into your world view, into your life?
Now the year before up in Milwaukee I had organized a weekend seminar called “Is God Alive in the 9-5?” It was very popular, very intense, kind of under the same theme. And here I was at this one that was being organized by these other people. It was a very powerful experience for me. When I had some free time, I went down to this this little meditation chapel at Esalen. There’s this canyon that divides Esalen into two parcels and this creek that flows out of the mountains and they have a bridge leading to a little Zen meditation chapel down there. It’s known to be a very spiritual spot.
While I was there, I had what I can only describe as a mystical experience. I haven’t had a lot of these in my life, these kinds of mountain top experiences, but I had one. And I realized the purpose of my life. I thought back on everything that I had been studying and doing for 20 years before this, like that seminar I had put on just the year before and saw that I had always been looking for a spiritual component in my work. And I’d never found it. Then I realized, “Oh I’ve been doing this all along. I just never gave myself credit for it.” So it was one of those ideal aha experiences. It wasn’t like the Monty Python thing where the sky opens up and there’s God saying, "I want you to search for the grail." It was more like, Oh yeah, I always knew this. It was a confirmation or affirmation of something I always knew. And I said, that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to bring the sacred into the profane.
How does Incarnational Spirituality relate to my quest to integrate the Sacred with my work to promote a sustainable world? It has to do with how I have been such a failure at traditional spiritual practice that seems aimed at becoming perfect, other-worldly, ascending. Incarnational Spirituality is about accepting that the world in its natural state is good, including the "cracks" in life and that sometimes you need cracks for your Light to shine through. So Incarnational Spirituality provides me with a worldview to integrate more fully with the wholeness of life around me and that is why I have found it beneficial.
As I am involved in environmental activism that so much of the time is about fighting resource companies and developers to preserve wilderness, Incarnational Spirituality has enabled me to see that fighting, while necessary, also just gives energy to what it is I am fighting. At some point, people have to want to live in harmony with the earth and that is where I am moving my focus now.
Has an experience with Incarnational Spirituality impacted your life in an affirming way? Please consider making a donation to help support our research, the development of our online educational center, and our ability to keep David's Desk, Views from the Lorian Community and other educational resources, available on our website at no cost. Your contributions actively support our "mission...to advance the experience of wholeness in the world and in ourselves through an incarnated spirituality."