I met this crazy old man in a New York coffee shop. His 300 lbs. lumbered in wearing nothing but raggedy slacks and plentiful chest hair, his beard stored a winters provisions of crumbs. We had coffee. He changed my life.
David Pearlman was a member of our Gurdjieffian group of spiritual seekers. Because of his narly appearance and rather nasty demeanor, many would navigate around his perimeter.
He took me aside one evening and told me there was something he had to tell me.
So here I was at the Lexington Ave Cafe.
“What are your three Gods?” He demanded.
“Huh?” Or something as profound dribbled with my java out of my mouth.
He stirred his coffee looking up at me, “Go home tonight and think about the three most important things in your life. Or three most imperative things you want in your life. The three things that you want to evoke to devote yourself entirely to for the rest of your life. Come back with this list of three things.”
I didn’t have to wait a week, I was, in his presence, clear of heart and mind.
I had been struggling for years we the demons thrashing in the chasm between my life and the man I wished to become. I beat myself up a lot for not living up to my own expectations. I was a morning meditation master who drank gin and tonics to oblivian every night.
“I want inner peace.” I blurted.
I was tired of being fired yearly for not caring about working. Even as a photographer in the biggest city on Earth, I couldn’t see a future in it. I failed to see the point of shooting rock stars until I died of liver failure. I wanted to feel good about my job, I want to be self supporting and do what I love, “I want love.”
The man I saw within me was deep and creative and had something, god knows what, to share with the world. I wanted to write a novel, or create sculpture or lead my own cult. I wanted to leave a lasting positive impression on the world. I wanted to spread joy, “I want joy!” I sang.
There is was, my three Gods before me, Peace, Love and Joy.
“Ok, whatever they are. Write it down. You need to write it down. If it changes, OK, but don’t forget them. From now on serve these Gods in everything you do, every little thing.”
He leered at me through bushes of brows, “Now before you do anything, ask yourself, does this serve my first God? Does it help me nurture this important thing of mine, or does it hinder it, even in the least.
Now do this, ask this question with every little thing you do, whether to have that next cup of coffee, whether to allow this person in your life, or do this job. If what you’re about to do serves your first God, great. If it doesn’t, even in the slightest, cut it out like a cancerous cell.”
Then go down the line and ask it about the second God and so on.”
I got what he was saying. If somehow guzzling another gin didn’t serve my inner peace, I would stop it. If feeling negative around negative people didn’t inspire me, stop hanging out with them.
It was a more myopic focus on conscious intention. I took this present with both hands.
In the next few weeks I lobbed off several cancerous friendships. Quit my job. Stopped doing anything that didn’t feel warm and fuzzy inside, awesome.
I shared this simple formula with everyone I met. It was so simple but explained in a way that was sustainable and applicable.
Over the years, I would occasionally check in to see if my Gods had different names. I found and lost inner peace many times over and found peace in that. I developed several self sustaining careers that I loved and I’ve learned that every time my children smile, I’ve created a masterpiece.
Now, my inner peace is a shelter, a nourishing home for others to be in. Now my job IS love. Now I am creating a whole world of jouyousness, awakening the God-Self in others, healing many and helping others to become healers themselves. I still serve the same three Gods.
I still thank that nasty ol’ Pearlman guy. I always remember that Spirit sends us messages in many forms, I listen to those who posses that light, even if thier in the shadows.
We never know what our next guru will look like.
…. I want to thank all those who have helped me serve my Gods along this path and even more so those who’ve I’ve had to leave behind.