Take Me for a Ride PDF Book by Mark E. Laxer


Click here to Download Take Me for a Ride PDF Book by Mark E. Laxer Language English having PDF Size 1.9 MB and No of Pages 137.

After I left Rama’s inner circle in 1985, I occasionally bicycled to Walden Pond, where I read about Thoreau’s experiment with self-reliance. My seven years in the cult of Rama —Dr. Frederick Lenz, who was known early on as Atmananda—had deeply shaken my confidence.

Take Me for a Ride PDF Book by Mark E. Laxer

Name of Book Take Me for a Ride
PDF Size 1.9 MB
No of Pages 137
Language English
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Atmananda often assured me that I was possessed by Negative Forces, that I was barely able to function in the real world, and that I was fortunate he did not drop me off at a mental institution. I met him in 1978, when I was seventeen. Thoreau helped me recall a time, before Atmananda, when I was strong and selfreliant.

I had been an avid cyclist. Pedaling thousands of miles each year helped strengthen both my legs and self-esteem. Throughout my teenage years bicycling and self-confidence were inextricably linked, and I grew to believe I could ride anywhere, under any conditions.

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I tried to approach life with a similar gusto, which may explain why, in 1979, Atmananda invited me to move with him to southern California to start a spiritual centre. From 1979 to 1981, I lived with him by the cliffs of La Jolla where I witnessed his rise to power.

Today, in 1993, he controls the minds of several hundred computer consultants, businessmen, doctors, and lawyers. Each year he extracts from them roughly ten million dollars. As I gazed at Walden Pond in search of calm, the wind spawned new waves, and the surface swelled with complexity.

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I recalled what Atmananda had said after I returned from a five-day bike trip in California. He announced in front of other disciples that my aura was dark. He also said that I had been attacked by nocturnal, mountain-dwelling Entities which “cause neurosis and psychosis, obliterate lifetimes of spiritual evolution, and can possess your soul.”

Atmananda’s Entity-prevention program included studying with a fully enlightened teacher, meditating regularly, and avoiding solitary excursions into nature. Yet in the spring of 1986, nearly one year after I left him, I reminded myself that I would rather be possessed in my world than potentially perfect in his.

I planned to pedal across America not with an exorcist, but with a puppy. On May 31, 1986, as warm, moist air pushed pockets of fog over Walden Pond, I lifted the four-month-old Siberian husky, Nunatak, into the doggie-carrier. The carrier rested on top of the bicycle trailer, attached to the frame of my 12-speed. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book

Strong headwinds soon strained my muscles, shook the lush canopy of foliage, and pelted me with large drops of rain. As I began the journey west, the front tire raced through puddles while my mind raced through painful memories and questions. How had my years with Atmananda affected me?

Why was it so difficult to leave him? What was it about my past that led me to him? “Cheeriao,” we echoed, waddling down the driveway, imitating his imitation. On the way to the train station, his words reverberated in my mind: the path, spiritual, awareness, see, sea of consciousness, dream-time, vibrations.

Energy, chakra, subtle, metaphysical, pyschic, unseen forces, traps, Entities, light, and darkness. The language defined for me a world in which I chose at each moment between good and evil. Put that way, there was not much of a choice. I believed now that ours was a pure and noble quest, and that I was a warrior of Truth, not a casualty of rhetoric. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book

On the train ride into the city, I sat next to Paul, a happy-go-lucky Swede with blond hair, a broad grin, and a magnet-like attraction for devices that were electronic. We both were Stony Brook freshmen who had learned about Chinmoy through Atmananda’s lectures. We both sensed that there was something out there beyond the surface world of reason.

We both intended to do something about it. “What’s the penguin doing on the tehlee?” he quipped, quoting from Monty Python. Green and grey scenes of Long Island sped by through the train’s window frame. “The penguin on the tehlee,” I squawked, “is about to blow up!” “Tickets, tickets,” announced the conductor.

“All tickets please!” I remembered how, as a kid, I rode the trains without paying. I had stayed ahead of the ticket collector, gotten off when I reached the front car, and then caught the next train… But now I no longer believed in free rides. It did not matter that the Ultimate Destination could not, according to Atmananda, be described using words. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book

I still felt that I should pay to get there. By postering I was not only paying for myself, but was affording thousands the opportunity to be taken for a ride of their own. I handed the conductor my ticket. My brother and Sal sat across from us. Their backs were straight, their eyes closed.

I too tried to meditate, but could not. Instead, I thought about my parents. I had followed Atmananda’s suggestion and told them that I was studying spiritual mysticism. Nonetheless, they seemed convinced that their sons were getting sucked into a cult.

I was sensitive to their reaction to me and intentionally saw them less as the weeks went by. I also thought about Chinmoy. He had instructed followers to memorize four of his disciple-published books. I opened one and read, “When you choose you lose.” Take Me for a Ride PDF Book

Chinmoy, it seemed, believed that major decisions should be left to the Supreme, his favorite word for what Atmananda called the Infinite, which the Rabbi had referred to as God. “Help, Guru!” I thought, doubting I could memorize the numerous aphorisms without divine intervention.

“Penn Station, Penn Station,” came the reply. “Last stop!” We left the train and were funneled onto the escalator by the crowd. Paul and my brother headed uptown on Third Avenue, while Sal and I worked Second Avenue. Dodging cars, bicycles, and more crowds, we entered a supermarket and found the manager.

“Excuse me, sir,” Sal said sweetly. “We are sponsoring a workshop on relaxation and were wondering if we could place this in your window.” He told me that he was starting a Centre for Guru in La Jolla, California. Then, in an enchantingly anesthetizing voice. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book

He explained that southern California rested upon a mystical power spot around which had congregated the nation’s largest population of spiritual seekers. “Would you like to go?” I realized that San Diego—San Diego!—was driving distance to the Sonoran Desert and to UCLA—Castaneda’s frequent haunts!

I remembered Atmananda telling me that California boasted many lovely, friendly women! I realized that such a move would distance me from my parents, who continued to worry that I was in a cult! I also realized that such a move would distance me from Guru. But I now believed that the Light would reach me in whichever state I inhabited.

Besides, I sensed that without Atmananda as a buffer, Chinmoy’s highly regimented brand of spirituality would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to conform to. And what a buffer Atmananda was! I pictured him striding about with his chin jutting forward, exuding that aura of confidence; joking and singing, inspiring and enlivening us. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Download

Challenging our intellects with the known and unknowable; framing and reframing the way in which we viewed the world; and generating mystical experiences—not on his own, of course, but with the Guru’s Spiritual Light. “Yes!” I replied, without considering the feelings of my brother, who continued to support me in my quest with a faraway smile.

I was proud that Atmananda had chosen me to be part of his team. I did not know, however, that he had embellished stories in his book Lifetimes. Nor did I know that he had told the San Francisco Examiner that he never experienced a past life remembrance.

Nor did I know that he had once asked a girlfriend to slip out the window when another appeared at the door. Nor that he had recently been in deep trouble with Chinmoy. Nor that during the height of the controversy, he had admitted to Tom that he might leave the Centre before Chinmoy kicked him out. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Download

“What would you do if you left?” Tom had asked him. “I’d move to California and teach meditation,” Atmananda replied. On August 30, 1979, Atmananda, Dana, Rachel, Connie, and I left the ground in a jet bound for San Diego. In the excitement of packing and leaving, I had forgotten my wallet and daypack back at my brother’s.

Now, without money or ID, I watched rays of light play off darkening clouds and thought about the frog. “No pro-blem-mo!” Honored that Atmananda would trust me with such responsibility, with such a secret, and with so much money, I felt guilty for not having thought of the idea myself. I understood that Atmananda was being a sneak.

But he did work for the good of others night and day. And ours was the fastest growing Chinmoy Centre in the world. And the Guru’s mission would suffer if Atmananda worked a traditional job. Besides, I was drawn to the idea of sneaking for a noble cause. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Download

The disciples gave generously, and Atmananda soon shifted the garage door opener from Rachel’s car, which he had frequently borrowed, to the glove compartment of his shiny, new Renault LeCar. Rachel, who had donated generously to the “surprise” gift, felt that they should share the garage door opener.

She decided that Atmananda was being unfair and told him so. The next day, Atmananda instructed Dana to tell Rachel that, spiritually speaking, she was heading for some serious hot water and had better apologize quickly. Unaware of the “Garage Door Opener Incident,” I was feeling pretty good.

I felt even better when Atmananda, who liked the new car, reminded the Centre of how advanced a soul I really was. When the disciples began to treat me with a mellow kind of reverence— a phenomenon local, perhaps, to southern California—I was thrilled. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Download

I had an intuitive grasp on how to wield the ad hoc power, but I did not grasp that it was the power which was actually wielding me. Meanwhile, Atmananda had added “money collector” to the growing list of my responsibilities. This task, he cautioned, was not without its dangers. “Money is physically dirty,” he said, as though telling me a secret.

“It also retains and transmits the greed of its handlers. Always wash your hands after you touch it.” But he did not always ask me to collect it directly. Painful, dizzying hours of drinking water passed. Several devotees, including Atmananda, claimed that their meditations were growing increasingly powerful.

In contrast, my efforts to empty my mind were interrupted by gurgling complaints rumbling up from the caverns of my gut. I found myself concentrating not on eternal salvation, but on persistent growls. I found myself thinking not about God, but about vast quantities of food. On the sixth day of the fast. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Download

I stood at the edge of the meditation room trying not to think about the sharp pains now forking my belly. I gazed at the larger-than-life Transcendental on the tall, wooden table. Atmananda typically lectured from beside this shrine. It was also from here that he continued his effort to spread Spiritual Light.

To play guru—during public and private meditations. After weekly Centre meetings, Atmananda often cooked for the nearly one hundred Chinmoy disciples. It was a joy to watch him sing and dance around the kitchen, adding spice to our lives and to the simmering vats of Indian curry.

On occasion, he asked Cheryl to cook for the Centre. He loved the way her eggplant parmigiano patties tasted. Leftovers were wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in the freezer. On the seventh day, I opened the door to the freezer and there, wrapped in aluminum foil, were eggplant parmigiano patties waiting to be plucked like gems from a cave. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Free

I felt weak and disoriented. I was so hungry. Memories of the peppery patties brought back the luscious aroma. I thrust my hand toward a shimmering treasure… On the eighth day, I wondered if I should confess that I had cheated. I recalled the story of a priest who, out of concern for his congregation, hid his doubts about God.

I, too, chose not to confess, and the ensuing guilt served to strengthen my resolve not to stray from Atmananda’s suggested path again. And though I did eat part of a patty, I still shared with the disciples an overpowering emptiness and a heightened receptivity to the fast leader.

During the second week, my meditations began to improve. Typically, when I gazed at the Transcendental, I only saw a subtle glow around the photo. Now I saw thousands of swirling dots swimming before me. Typically, when I meditated on my heart chakra, I had to remind myself to visualize the ocean. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Free

Now I became immersed in a world of blue light. Typically, when I realized that I was having a powerful mystical experience, I found it difficult to reenter a state of meditation after a self-congratulatory interruption. Now I found it easy to resubmerge my awareness into a thoughtless calm.

My newfound calm, however, was broken by what Atmananda said at a Centre meeting several days later. He announced that he had recently attained levels of consciousness so powerful and sublime that he was no longer the person that we thought him to be.

Each time he dipped into these higher realms of perception, his old self died and a new one emerged, forged in the fires of what he called perfection. Take Me for a Ride PDF Book  Free

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