Belief, especially when cloaked in the mantle of faith, may be a source of solace and hope for many, but I consider it the lowest form of processing information. My beef with belief is that people deeply invested in a belief system typically become so averse to shifting their point of view, that what they see never changes. And they think this is good – a sign that they’ve latched onto truth. But have they? As best-selling author Robert J. Ringer (“Action: Nothing Happens until Something Moves”) observes, “People say they love truth, but in reality they want to believe that that which they love is true.”
To my way of thinking, if I go to sleep believing something and wake up in the morning with the same belief, it’s a sure sign that I’m stuck.
At a relatively early age, to the dismay of family and friends, I strayed off the beaten path of cultural belief, setting forth on a journey of self-discovery that continues to this very day. The key to being on such a journey is to visit a belief only long enough to be touched by it and then move on. Believing nothing creates space for what is called in Zen “beginner’s mind”—seeing, touching, tasting, and experiencing everything as if for the very first time. I often say: “Yesterday, I thought I knew something, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to remember what it was.”
My metaphysical quest has taken me through many traditions and physically several times around the world, seeking initiations available at the power vortexes that dot our fragile planet. I have visited shrines and temples, traveled to sacred forests and lakes, meditated in caves and on mountaintops, spoken to trees, and studied with shamans, healers, and extraordinary teachers on six continents. I am, in every sense of the word, a spiritual junkie in search of the ultimate cosmic orgasm. What a trip! Each morning, the old me fades away, and a new me arises to greet a welcoming sun it has never seen before.
A few days ago I spent several days at a truly singular energy center. I’d liken it to other sacred sites I have visited over the years, except for one thing: it is more. The source of power at places like Mt. Shasta, Uluru (Ayers Rock in Australia), Sedona, Glastonbury Tor, Chartres, and Jerusalem is rooted in the past: The Paradise Sanctuary, occupying a modest acre and a half just outside the town of Ashland, Oregon, is a portal into the present. Reverend Lawrence Katz, steward of this sacred land, has spent twenty-five years preparing the site for its current role as an energetic vortex to help earthbound beings adjust to the quickening frequencies of the Shift – the impending transition into the next dimensional paradigm.
A sanctuary is love in physical form. It is a holy of holies, a safe haven for the beleaguered, and a place for spiritual transition. My wife, Arianne, and I were sitting in the sanctuary garden when Lawrence mentioned a crystal skull he had received a year earlier. During the ensuing months, the nearly opaque material had become virtually transparent. What is considered a scientific impossibility he explained with poetic simplicity: “Give anything sanctuary and it will automatically rise to its highest divine potential.”
I gazed out to the trees and ferns that form a living temple on this land, sheltering crystals, statues, and other sacred pieces of art and realized I was looking at a living testimony to his words. Surrounded by llamas, doves, dogs, and other animals both domestic and wild, I breathed in a moment of perfect peace. My reverie was interrupted by Lawrence’s intense gaze. “You need some work,” he said. “Are you up to it?”
His meaning was clear. However far we may have traveled on our path, at each moment we are again caterpillars in a chrysalis, awaiting the next change into a higher vibration. Given the free will allotted to each human, we can elect to stay in the warmth and apparent security of our earthly identity, or risk everything and break free. Lawrence was asking if I was ready to die and be reborn yet again.
We arranged a session for the following day so I had time to tidy up loose ends and make peace with my old me. “The work,” as Lawrence calls it, is done on an altar table in a shrine room filled with geometric shapes, copper windings, amplifying crystals, and sacred artifacts. In true shamanic tradition, he invokes ancient chants, tonings, and vibrational sounds played on an array of indigenous instruments. In truth, there was nothing gentle about the process. Using breathing techniques as instructed by Lawrence, I was able to open my body and heart/mind to receive the amplified vibrations he invoked and be realigned with the potential of the new moment.
This is not a process to be undertaken lightly. Death rarely is. However, for those who find themselves temporarily trapped in a spiritual cul de sac and are committed to emerging from the chrysalis of yesterday’s beliefs and taking the next step into the eternal mystery, I can commend no finer process. Having recently crawled as a caterpillar and then flown as a butterfly, I have to say that it’s good to be free to fly again.
Jean-Claude Gerard Koven is a writer and speaker based in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. He was a featured weekly columnist for the UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum and is the author of Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense, recipient of both the Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice Award and the USABookNews.com Award for the Best Metaphysical Book of the Year.
©2004 – 2021. Jean-Claude Gerard Koven / All Rights Reserved.