Hi Patti and SDP members,
I say that, Patti, like I've known you all my life, but I've only read your books and heard references to you in various Eckankar contexts. It's a real (how should I put this?... honor? no, that's too worshipy; surprise, no, unexptected events are the norm anymore; thrill? no, you're just another Soul) - perhaps pleasure is the word I'm looking for - to see you here and be able to converse with you. To see that you have the same thoughts about life that I do and have personal insights into the things I have been through, like addiction and low self worth, bridges any gap I might have felt about you being a prominent author and I being just a regular guy.
So by the way of introduction, I am very gratified to find the Spiritual Dialogues Project. Although many here seem to be of the Eckankar faith or, rather, on that particular path, it's refreshing to read the thoughts (no, I don't mean mind reading
) about spiritual matters expressed in very universal and non-, uh, dogmatic terms. I embraced Eckankar in 1978 and have been an on-again, off-again member since then and have not found any system of spiritual exploration more compelling. But, even though I have progressed in the initiations I still have yet to learn much more than to simply work to trust my own experience, take responsibility for my life, help others and hold a joyous and optimistic outlook. My personal style has for a long time been to speak of spiritual matters in the most down to earth way I can without getting beyond my actual experience or too deep into organized ideologies. I went through my avid proselytizing phase in Eckankar and it left me feeling yucky in the end but ultimately more sensitive to my own reality and that of others. I look forward to listening and sharing with everyone here as the Goals and Rules of the Road suggest.
Besides considering myself an Eckist, I am also ordained in the Universal Life Church and also spent 6 years in the halls of Alcoholics Anonymous. This three-pronged involvement in spiritual affairs has given me a comfortably personal spiritual identity. Or as comfortable as a "lonely journey in the higher worlds" can be. One thing I can say with certainty is that my desire for greater understanding and awareness has only increased since I can remember and especially since finding a spiritual tradition the likes of Eckankar which offers a very good road map. If I ever find anything better, I will gladly and without hesitation embark on it, but so far such is not the case.
All the best to everyone,
Peter A. (not the other guy named Peter. See below.)