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The Image: A mountaintop in Malibu. A guy sits on a rock formation watching the sunset, a letter in his lap, a smile on his face.

It was one of those perfect mornings. You know the kind - you open your eyes and know that you're ALIVE and that there is some tremendous adventure waiting for you out there.

I had spent the day before in ethnic heaven at the Irish Faire, but had come home feeling a little tired and had fallen asleep in my evening meditation. I slept through until sunrise and woke up feeling better than I've felt in months. Then I remembered that I had planned to spend the day hiking and meditating in a local power place and got even more excited. What a great day for it! I bounced out of bed (not my usual style, to say the least!) and watched the sunrise special effects show outside my window for a few minutes before bopping downstairs for a shower.

On the stairs was a blue envelope from Lakshmi. My roommate must have put it there yesterday, but I had been so tired when I came home that I hadn't even seen it. I knew that the envelope contained a letter from Rama informing me whether or not I was still one of his students. I had been thinking about and dreading this moment for over two months, but such was my mood this morning that I thought, "Hey, I'm going on a hike today, and I'm not going to let this letter spoil a minute of it, whether the answer is Yes or No. I'll take it to the canyon with me and read it in a place of power." I just swooped the letter up and stuck it in the knapsack I had already packed.

I showered, meditated, got dressed and hopped in my car for the drive up the coast to La Jolla Canyon. It's one of my fave places to meditate, and since I hadn't been there for a few months, I was really looking forward to seeing it again. During the drive I thought about the letter in my knapsack.

Rama had let us know a couple of months ago that he was going to change the Center so radically in the Fall that many of us would be unable to make the leap in consciousness necessary to fit in. So he embarked on a spiritual urban renewal project, trying literally anything he could think of to help us make that jump. It was an intensely uncomfortable two months, at the end of which all of us had to fill out new applications, send them off in the mail, and then sit back and wait for the reply, knowing that over half of us would probably not be accepted.

The wait had been, if anything, more intense than the previous two months. But somehow, now that the envelope had arrived, I felt a curious sense of freedom. I was higher than a kite and I hadn't even gotten to the canyon yet! When I did, I parked my car, put on my knapsack and my Walkperson, and headed up the trail, listening to the Spiritual Crossroads lecture tape as I walked. Even though I had heard this particular tape several times before, this morning it was like hearing it for the first time, and after about 20 minutes of listening I had very little doubt what the answer in the letter would be. I felt curiously detached from the whole thing, however, and just concentrated on enjoying my hike and looking for the perfect place of power to actually open the letter.

The power was up in the canyon. The air felt electric and my face and upper body were on fire with energy. Every time I would stop and try to focus my gaze on the mountains around me, they would start to shift and change, literally dissolving in front of my eyes. You must understand that even though I am a dedicated hiker and spend a lot of time in places of power, I don't normally have perceptions like this, even when I'm with Rama.

I was feeling higher and more clear with every step, marveling at the perfection of the day. I stopped and meditated in a couple of interesting places, but they just didn't feel like the right spot. I knew what I was looking for, even though I had no earthly idea what it looked like or where it was. I finished listening to the first Rama tape and put on another, Non-Doing In Meditation. I knew that my personal power spot must be around here somewhere, and I figured that if I just walked far enough and kept my consciousness at a high enough level, I'd find it.

An hour later the tape ended and I was still on the trail, looking. I said to myself, "This is getting ridiculous. Maybe I'm just indulging my tendency towards avoidance." So I stopped, whipped open my knapsack, and pulled out the 'soundtrack' I had selected for opening the letter. It was a new tape by Edgar Froese called Pinnacles, and I had decided in the car that I wanted to be listening to my favorite cut while I learned my fate. Indulgent, maybe, but hell, if you can't do things with a certain sense of style, what's the point in doing them?

The cut I had chosen, Specific Gravity of Smile, was about halfway through the tape, so I knew that once I put the tape on I would only have about twenty minutes to find a place to stop. But it seemed a fun way to force power to come to my assistance, so I pushed the PLAY button and set off again on the trail. Sure enough, as I rounded the next bend, I saw it. It was perfect, a conical peak overlooking both the mystical valleys and the ocean. I could already see a lovely rock formation at the top which would be a great place to meditate. Unfortunately, this peak was about half a mile from where I was standing, mainly up!

But I figured, "What the hell, I made an agreement with power, right? I have to make it in time." So I started climbing. That mountain was a killer, let me tell you. I was scrambling over rocks and bushes, running at times, crawling at others, literally screaming trying to get up that sucker 'in time.' There were moments when I thought it was going to be heart attack city and I wouldn't need to open the letter. But I made it.

I reached the top just as the long title cut to the album was ending. I sat on the rock formation I had chosen earlier and caught my breath while surveying the canyons and the ocean beneath me. The 'soundtrack' I had selected started playing. It was my cue - I was on. I opened the letter and read it. Then I meditated.

It turned into a long meditation, and afterwards I just sat and gazed out at the beauty of the Malibu coastline for a few more minutes. Finally I reached into my knapsack and selected a new tape for the walk back to my car. This time I chose Jackson Browne's Lawyers In Love - there are times in your life when only rock & roll will suffice! This new album is one of my favorites, mainly boppy, up-tempo songs, with little of his maudlin, self-indulgent stuff. Dance Music for the Sunset of Time. So as the first song started, I pulled on the headphones, cranked up the volume to the max, and danced down the mountain.



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