When I Was 54
So many changes happen in our lives. One day we look into the mirror and our hair is grey, our wrinkles can't be washed away, our vision is blurred. But more than any of that, the people that we loved and the things that we had are gone. We are left with ourselves and the choice to take a step forward - the choice to look into that mirror of life within ourselves where the real happiness dwells.
When I was 54, I lived in a beautiful home in the New England countryside. My husband owned his own business and we had a Cadillac and a cottage on a lake. Our seven children had grown up and were settled down with their own families. On summer vacations, the grandchildren would come. Holidays brought laughter, the smell of home cooking and everyone gathering around the table - sharing, caring and surrounded with love. My life was my family and home. I wasn't searching for anything. My prayer was that my family would find peace and real happiness before I died.
Sometimes, when I would sit by the ocean and watch the powerful waves crash against the rocks, my husband would ask me what I was thinking. All I could tell him was that I felt a loneliness and a yearning inside me. He could not understand and told me that I had everything: his love, the love of
our family and friends, a beautiful home, involvement in the P.T.A. the Garden Club and other volunteer organizations.
He didn't understand that I didn't know how to be with myself.
I had the time to do whatever pleased me, but I didn't know what I really wanted. I became president of my local Country Club and went there every day, but so many times I found myself asking, "Is this it? What am I doing here?"
Then one day one of my daughters told me about Knowledge and Maharaji. I didn't want to listen, but I felt something very special when she spoke about what she was feeling. It wasn't the words. It was the love and the feeling that eventually brought me to receive this experience. And three months later my husband did, too.
My husband and I were so happy. My life was so rich and full. I felt truly content for the first time in my life. So full of love. So glad to be alive. Everyone in our family felt our love and commitment and had such respect for what we were doing.
Eight years ago my husband passed on and I was left alone. It was very sudden and, of course, I miss him. I always will. The touch of his hand. His beautiful smile. And sharing in the growing of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I wanted so much to spend the autumn years of our lives together. And yet, still there is such richness and joy in my life. Every day is a new beginning.
Two years ago I was given the opportunity to be trained as one of Maharaji's instructors. These days, I am doing what I love, speaking about this gift called "Knowledge" - something that is given with such care by my teacher, Maharaji.
I am now 70 years old, walking with pride, dignity, and joy - and knowing within myself that there is beauty, love and life. Laughing. Crying. Being comfortable with myself. Being true to the thing within me that is real.
The day I received this experience was the most important day of my life because it put me in touch with myself. And it continues to be a never ending process. I thank Maharaji for showing me a way to reach deep within, to really know the true joy.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I'm here and looking forward to the future because there's someone who is traveling around the world, bringing happiness and love to anyone who wants it. MARIE CARSON
PLANE TALK: Lear 55 Avionics Upgrade
The Lear 55, purchased by Elan Vital in early 1987, for all its pluses, was not equipped with an avionics system suitable for long range flight. (Avionics, short for "Aviation Electronics," are the aircraft's radios and computers that enable a pilot to locate his position through the use of "triangu lotion. ' )
Prior to purchase by Elan Vital, the Lear 55 had been used primarily within the United States. Since it had been flown only over land, flight position could be determined through the use of radio signals from a network of local ground transmitters. While this method of navigation was adequate for the previous owner, it was certainly not adequate for Maharaji, whose tour schedule requires long-distance flying between continents. Such long-distance flying requires a more sophisticated navigation system - a system based on a global set of signals called "VLF/OMEGA."
After repeated attempts to get the Lear's original VLF/OMEGA receiver to work correctly (during which time it quit over the Atlantic), it was decided to replace the avionics.
The cost for researching, purchasing and installing the new avionics system was expensive - over $200,000. Nevertheless, thousands of people around the world responded to the need and contributed. Other fundraising methods were also employed. The old avionics were sold. The net proceeds from the Long Beach birthday program and the video tour that followed were contributed. Extra funds from the Rejoice programs were also used. It took a lot of determination, but in a month or so, the entire avionics bill was paid - just in time to pick up the plane.
Digital radios and a new Dual Universal Navigation Flight Management System (EMS) were installed in January. These not only use the VLF/OMEGA method, but can be upgraded to use other global navigation networks, automatically computing the best position estimate. This system saves considerable expense by calculating the optimum use of fuel and also provides valuable landing approach assistance. The EMS is also lighter than the old equipment.
The result? The Lear 55 now has one of the finest, most reliable navigation systems available. Maharaji is very pleased with the new system and arrives at his various destinations more relaxed and refreshed than ever before.