My first PAT IV trip was in the summer of 1984. John-Roger with John Morton, as one of the trip’s staff, took along one hundred eight of us through a five week journey visiting Milan, Venice, Oberamagau, Assisi, Florence, Rome, then to Egypt and a 10 day trip up the Nile and then through the Sinai and into Israel. We took planes, trains, buses, camels, donkeys and walked. And it was hot, hot, hot. I remember standing in the six inches of shade by a wall in the Valley of the Kings and someone had an outdoor thermometer. It registered 120 degrees.
I’d never been to the Middle East and Egypt was this magical, mystical place that I’d only heard about and seen pictures of the pyramids and the Sphinx. I had no idea what I had signed up for when I got on the Air Alitalia flight that took me and eight others from the D.C. area to Milan, Italy and our first meet-up with the rest of the PAT IV group of people who came from all over the world. We stepped up into our buses (there were three labeled: BUS 1, BUS 2 and BUS 3). It was one sight, sound, taste, and smell after another. Experience, and let go, experience and let go. We practiced being Peacemakers, holding peace for ourselves, our fellow travelers, for the lands, and the peoples of the lands we visited.
The PAT IV kicked into high gear early on for me when our bus pulled into the parking lot at Assisi. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. I couldn’t stop them and I didn’t know why I was crying, I just was. Embarrassed with tears that were no longer controllable, I did my best to brush them away as we walked to our hotel. With only just enough time to put my hand-carry suitcase in my room and splash some water on my face, I picked up my FM radio, put on my headphones, and headed downstairs for a group meeting.
We were directed to walk as a group up to the Cathedral. By this time my tears were turning into sobs and shaking. I did my best to become as invisible as possible so I wouldn’t call attention to my unwanted display of emotion. As we walked up the hill I kept my head bowed and eyes down, feeling ashamed that I couldn’t control myself. After awhile I noticed there were these white oxford shoes and short socks keeping at a slow pace with me. Whoever it was didn’t seem to be bothered in the slightest that I was sobbing and sobbing, so I figured I must not be doing something too bad or this person would say something. I finally got enough courage to look at who belonged to the white shoes. It was J-R. He walked with me the whole way to the Cathedral, and by the time we got to the Cathedral door and met our loving guide, Father Max, the sobbing had melted into an occasional, gentle tear. That was my first experience of what I would call karma breaking loose for me on the trip and J-R masterfully holding ‘til I or someone else in the group made it through whatever needed to be cleared.
WATCH A MOMENT OF PEACE FROM ASSISI, 1984 PAT IV
Each of the PAT IV’s and PAT V’s were majestic and yes, magical, in their own way. When I watch the Moments of Peace from the PAT IV Journey to the East or listen to J-R’s seminars at the Mount of the Beatitudes, from Assisi, or sitting under the Sphinx watching the sunrise, I am transported in the Light, and Love and Sound that reverberates and are carried on J-R’s words that are timeless.
I am still on that Journey to the East. Perhaps that is why I was prompted to ask PTS if we could do a virtual PAT IV this summer so that others could join me and experience their own special Journey to the East. I’m so grateful that PTS said YES!
The creative staff in PTS and I were inspired to bring forward the opportunity of a five week online journey in the format of the PAT IV: Ministry of Peace class.
We have revised the format and added more excerpts from J-R’s seminars, meditations and talks from the ten years of PAT IV trips. We have maintained the key focus on peace as an inner process in every situation, circumstance, and environment. Although we are not going to the physical areas in the Middle East, we can awaken our inner senses and tune into the places inside of us that give us the experience that the physical places symbolize for us.