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  • Writer's pictureRon Brent

16. An Unexpected Birthday Present

Heading north up Highway One, our first overnight stop is Esalen Institute in Big Sur. It’s a 24-hour stay, with Baba holding a small evening program inside one of the cabins. It’s October 14th, my 28th birthday.

Several incidents take place during the day that are particularly memorable for me.

Perhaps it’s the boldness derived from it being my birthday, or perhaps my naive innocence, but after our arrival, when everyone has been informed to rest, I wander over to the cabin where Baba is staying and quietly enter through the unguarded door.

Peeking into each room, I come upon the one in which Baba is staying. He’s asleep on his bed with a blanket pulled over him. Without consideration of protocol I tip-toe into his room and quietly sit down on the floor with my back against the wall. The energy in the room is palpable. I close my eyes and glide into meditation.

Shortly afterward I’m brought out of my meditation by Baba’s characteristic humph, as he arises from his slumber. This sound signals Amma into the room, bringing Baba a warm drink of some kind. As Baba sits up in bed, he gazes at me sitting on the floor and immediately says something to Amma in Hindi. She leaves the room and returns a moment later, handing me an article written by Baba.

The title of the article is Pleasing the Guru: The source of all attainments. As I begin reading, I feel my heart open and tears well up in my eyes. I begin to weep. At this moment I’m filled with so much love and gratitude that my cup literally overflows and the tears come pouring out.

When I finish reading the article I dry my eyes, pay my respects to Baba, and return to my cabin to meditate and rest in anticipation of the evening program.

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