The Long Way Home

It was a nice moonlit night. My body was tired, but I felt wonderfully fresh inside as I sat on the hillside looking out over the Humpi Valley in central India some time in 1977.

We sat around 12-15 young Western people there in the middle of the night, on a barren hillside, listening to the monotonous but rhythmic chanting from the top of the mountain.

Next to us, a small stream gurgled its quiet trundles out into the night. I sat and listened to the beautiful sound that flowed over the mountain from the temple high up.

A loudspeaker from the temple had been cunningly immersed between two large mountain faces perpendicular to each other, so that these formed a kind of gigantic natural amplifier for the speaker signal.

This allowed it to be heard for miles around. It was a kind of praise of some Hindu deity that sounded through this stone amplifier. At that time I was a practicing Hindu myself, trying to the best of my ability to put myself into this religion.

I felt I understood what was being chanted. What I experienced was that the message was about the total cosmic connection between man and everything around us.

Meditating Nature

Suddenly, there was not really a border between myself and the mountain. The mountain was part of me and I was part of it. We were part of the same thing. We were the same. Made of the same fabric. I was also part of the view that was in front of me and it was part of me. I don’t know how long I sat there overwhelmed by this feeling.

At one point I became thirsty and went to the stream to drink. There was only one way I could get water, namely by lying down on my stomach, reaching down to the water and scooping it up in my hand, which I did.

And just as I lay on my stomach, totally engrossed by the feeling, that everything basically belonged together, I knew with every cell in my body that the whole world is governed by one and the same power, and that I lay there on my stomach before my God.

It was not an intellectual or rational finding. It was more of an overwhelming feeling coming from deep inside. I had no doubt at all that I lay there stretched out for the Creator. That He has put me in a position, where I had to throw myself in the dust for Him.

Searching for the Ruling Power

Only much later, when I thought back of this night on the mountain, I understood that the sensation I experienced there was my first clear and unequivocal realization that there is only one God to worship and that we all have to throw ourselves in the dust before Him. We have to yield to His will and surrender to Him. Spiritually, mentally, intellectually and physically.

Brought up in a fairly ordinary Danish home, I had no real relationship with God when I was a child. I confirmed my Christianity at my early teens, just like my peers, but in the same process I began seriously to think about whether I really belonged to the Danish national church or if it was just something I was culturally influenced to feel. If it was merely something I had inherited.

Quest for the Truth

At the age of 16 I left the Christian belief, not to stand there under false pretenses, and now I wanted to find out where I actually belonged. I felt that I could do this best from a position of not being aligned to any religion. So it was not in protest that I opted out, but simply not to be a hypocrite until my choice was made.

I quickly realized that it seemed quite clear and beyond any doubt that a governing force existed. This was most clearly reflected in the uniformity of the atoms. From the simplest atom to the most complex, they are built on the same basic model.

It was impossible for me to believe that this was due to chance. All the substances were obviously somehow related – made of the same “building blocks”. And when a structure similar to that of the atom could be seen in the macro-cosmic perspective of the solar system, galaxies and mega galaxies, it became clearer that there was a ruling principle.

At that time I did not dare to give this “force” a name, and merely thought of it as a force.

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Starting the Journey

From the age of 21 to the age of 25, I spent most of my time travelling around Africa and Asia, where I was trying to connect with the big world. Together with a friend, I set off from Denmark in 1975.

We were two young people hitting the road with our musical instruments and a great appetite for the World in our young hearts. We had our instruments with us, because we figured that once in a while we could make some money by playing music.

We visited and lived among people of many different nations and perceptions of life, and we gained many experiences by constantly facing new challenges.

As the months went by, I began to travel inward as well as outward, and I saw that many of the people I met along the way could add new aspects to my own life.

For example, I experienced that even very poor people who did not have as much as a place they could call their home, could still smile real human smiles – that is, smiles that came fully and clearly from a sincere heart. Not the professional smiles that can be common among people.

I met people who had deliberately forsaken all earthly goods, and had made it their life’s mission to walk on an eternal pilgrimage without any possessions – and some of these people almost glowed with an inner strength and power so intrusive that it seemed as visible on their outside as inside.

I met a man who, at the age of 178 (that is what people said he was), still sat and meditated for several hours every day, and took a bath every day in a river that was at most 4-5 degrees warm.

I met people who showed me that there were other ways of viewing existence than the traditional Western material view, that I had been brought up with.

Searching for the Original Source

At the same time, I saw that there were so many similarities between the different world religions that they nearly had to be from the same place. They seemed to me to be water from the same source.

In some of the rivers that flowed from the well, some extra water had been added, while something had been taken out from others along the way.

My immediate goal, as I saw it, would be to find a way to the original source, so that I would get the “pure product”. An original product without anything being added or taken out. So I just had to go and find the source and drink from it, was my logical deduction.

And since all the religious “streams” appeared to come from the same source, I could jump into any of the rivers and “follow it upstream” to the source.

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