Ozzie and I both had experience facilitating spiritual workshops and working with individuals to bring them more inner peace, joy, freedom, clarity, and spiritual awakening. Both of us had studied in MSIA for over 45 years. Before we found John-Roger, we both had read dozens upon dozens of metaphysical and spiritual books. So, you could say we were both sophisticated consumers of this stuff. Also, we were both smart enough and humble enough to know that from time to time we can use a little extra encouragement and guidance. Here’s a relevant passage from the story, “The Teacher is Within You.”
“Through all these years, I’ve come to know my teacher, to know who he was. This was not necessarily easy. I’ve seen a lot of bullshit in my life, and I’ve done my share of bullshitting. That’s the honest truth. I had a mind that was always questioning, Is this real? Or is this just somebody’s clever bullshit? I kept testing these teachings. I kept looking to see if they were really working. They were.
One way I have built my wisdom is by questioning what I read or hear. I check everything out. I only believe in those things I have come to know as a fact by my experience. Having the proof in my hands is the only way to go. When I’m studying, I usually learn the terminology of that subject. But does my ability to say the right word for it make it true or right? Not really. And, anyway, it is the essence of the experience that I wanted and still want. We do the best we can with our words. Again, I’m not trying to convince anybody. Let people do their own research. You can’t give people their essence because they already have it. It’s right there. How do I explain to someone something that they already are? It’s all inside, within us. But for so long, I had been looking outside.”
I imagine we can all agree that the gold standard in being a counselor, teacher or facilitator is to live the teachings we are expressing. I certainly aspire to this.
When we hung out together, Ozzie and I encouraged each other. Sometimes we referred directly to John-Roger’s teachings. More often it was via teasing, joking, and laughing. Ozzie was a very solid guy. Very. And, once in a while, he appreciated some support. I was doing very well in my life, Yet of course I hit speed bumps here and there, and appreciated a boost.
I am familiar with all of this, and enjoy this kind of mutual support with several close friends. What took me by surprise is that, as I got deeper and deeper into the intensity of the book project, the wisdom in the book, itself, was encouraging, supporting, and guiding me.
Why was I surprised? My God, all the spiritual teachings I have been studying talk about getting the answers within. Ozzie’s story “The Teacher is Within You,” eloquently describes how he came to that realization. I have experienced many different kinds of inner connection in my close intimate relationships. It could be intuition. Sometimes I imagine or even experience the other person speaking to me: as a loving caution, a tender gesture, or a hilarious joke.
I started having this in my relationship with Ozzie. OK, that didn’t surprise me. But then I started having this inner relationship with the book, itself. I would “hear” guidance from the book. I would remember book passages and realize they were immediately applicable to my life. I would extract a piece of wisdom in the book and put it into practice. I would feel buoyed up, encouraged during stressful times. In moments of self-doubt, I’d hear Ozzie’s authority, ringing through his baritone voice, “Oh come on John, don’t worry about it. No problem. You’re doing great. Just keep going.”
And so I did.
I asked myself what I was doing inside myself that might make me more susceptible to this connection. I don’t have solid conclusions. As Ozzie recommends, I’m still checking it out. It seems that my immersion in the material is part of it. Another key may be my great love for Ozzie—a love that overcame geography when he was in Mexico, or when I was in Australia or Chile. And, this love transcends his having passed into spirit. He is still very much alive in me. This is such a profoundly beautiful gift to me because it shows me how to have that rich inner relationship with my spiritual teacher, John-Roger, who has passed on. We grieve our loved ones who have gone on. There is a place inside where we can still know them, be with them. Of course, it isn’t the same. I’m not trying to say that. Yet it is rich, sweet, joyful, sometimes hilarious, and deeply fulfilling.
Why would I be surprised by my ability to mine gold out of the book? I had certainly gained so much from John-Roger’s books and media. I had even implemented this principle in some of my own projects.
Ozzie encourages us to live more boldly, to enjoy every part of life, even when it seems impossibly difficult. He inspires us to forgive and forget our so-called mistakes. Abundance and joy are available in all conditions. If things are tough, Ozzie shows us how to accept it all in unconditional loving.
Let’s do it.