Have you ever met someone whom you have never met, yet once you meet, you feel as if you have known them forever? I think we have all felt this with people we meet along the way. John-Roger was one of those people for me.
Here is my story. I was introduced to John-Roger through my boyfriend at the time. It was 1978 in Los Angeles, and I had just moved from New York. I left my big Irish-Italian family of three brothers and four sisters. From the outside, leaving my family didn’t make sense, however, some part inside of me knew that I needed to move west. At the age of twenty four, I was seeking to experience a new way of life in California. Little did I know, what this great leap of faith in moving across the country would lead me to.
My boyfriend Danny was so excited about this wonderful man that he met called J-R. He said, “You gotta come hear him speak!” Of course I went along, I wanted to meet this spiritual teacher, who was so relational and funny to boot! I had no idea how J-R was going to change my life as I knew it.
When I went to hear him speak, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, as I was accustomed to the seriousness of sermons in church. In contrast to what I was familiar with, J-R’s talks were insightful, educational, relevant to current lifestyle and hilarious. After that first seminar, I wanted to be involved and I wanted to discover what my heart was yearning for.
As time passed, I understood the reason why I moved across the country. I needed to meet my spiritual teacher, my mentor, my inner friend for life.
In J-R’s seminars, there were times where we would all laugh so hard we’d cry. There were times when he would simply give a look, or a twinkle in his eye and we busted up laughing. It didn’t take much to get this crowd laughing. He was our spiritual jester, confidant, and I always felt his love through his words. He was teaching how to be joyful and loving. He was demonstrating living love.
There were other times during his talks that we all thought: “he was talking to me, he really knew just what was going on inside of me, and he answered my question without raising of my hand.” When he spoke to a group he took in the information, the vibration as it were, of the entire group and was able to touch each one present.
He was truly a magical being. I have never met anyone quite like John-Roger. His presence would fill up the room with love. I could feel his loving presence in my heart and the joy would fill my entire being. I can tell you, it’s a rare experience, and a treasured memory deep within me.
In looking back through my life, I see that I matured through the teachings of John-Roger, in my ordinary life. In my twenties especially, I took every workshop that blew through Santa Monica. Insight Transformation Seminars 1, 2, 3 and Insight 4 BCD. Then I participated in ‘Fear into Power’ with Tony Robbins, and we all walked over hot coals together to transform our fear into our power. It was a time of great inner expansion and spiritual growth. Even though it may not have been apparent, we were all changing from the inside out.
When I heard about being an Initiate and a Minister, I wanted to participate in everything that was offered. I was volunteering for The Movement Newspaper, attending weekly seminars, going to PRANA for classes. I just couldn’t get enough. It seemed that I was exactly where I was supposed to be for the first time in my life. I was learning, growing in wisdom and knowledge, having a community of friends and colleagues. Life was good.
I recall moments with J-R: a hug before a seminar, answering my question when I stood up, scared out of my mind to ask a question. He would answer in a way that touched me deep inside my heart. I would write a letter from time to time, writing about life situations. There was always the most logical and loving answer, allowing me to make the decision. He always offered options, shared an experience from his own life, and was a great listener. He was the best teacher I have ever had.
When I wrote to the MSIA Ministerial Board to ask to become a Ordained Minister, I was required to ask three people to write a letter on my behalf, as well as having a clear idea of how I was going to use my ministry. I made up something that I thought at the time sounded worthy of ordination. The thing is, we are all worthy, it’s just in the asking and the doing. Everyone can serve each other and everyone can be loving.
The ordination ceremony took place at PRANA, 3500 West Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles, the place where we met for seminars, classes and Ministers meetings. I had no idea what to expect with the ordination. I walked into a room full of ordained ministers, many that I had known for the last two or three years. The energy in the room was peaceful, joyful and loving. John-Roger was on the little stage. I felt that I was transformed back in time to a place I had been before.
The Ministerial Blessing that came through the words of my ordination are extraordinary. Even though at the time the blessing appeared to be too large for who I was at the time. I grew into my blessing and it is who I am today: “The ability to stand in your strength and hold the Light.” At first I thought, they cannot be talking about me, I was just twenty nine years old and didn’t consider that I was strong inside or had the ability to hold Light. The other blessing was: “to bring harmony and balance to those around me through my strength and wisdom.” Well, I discovered as I listened to the other ministerial blessings that day and other meetings, each blessing that is brought forward is particular to the essence of the individual Soul, written by God.
At the end of all the ordinations, J-R guided us through a closed eye meditation with all the ministers in the room. He was teaching us to go inside and find the answers. In this closed eye process, he asked each of us to reach out our hand to receive a gift from the Traveler inside of us. In my hand the Traveler placed a golden heart. I had a solid gold heart necklace made and I still wear it today as my gift from my Traveler.
My relationship with J-R mostly took place on the inside, through Spiritual Exercises and dreams. I didn’t physically travel with him and I was not apart of his inner circle. That was not my part to play. Mine was another calling. I would see him a lot when I worked at Baraka, the holistic Medical Center that was located in the Insight Building. I volunteered for Insight Transformational Seminars, MSIA and worked at Baraka. John-Roger was involved with all the organizations and I was in the middle of all of it, and he was always around the building when he was not traveling.
In 1986, I moved from the hub of all the organizations and moved to Northern California, first San Francisco then settled in Napa, about an hour north of the city of San Francisco. Moving away from the hub in Southern California made me realize my strong inner connection to the Traveler.
I got married, and was blessed with two children, Michael and Sophia. Throughout my marriage, I would write to J-R about the challenges, and his response was always loving and supportive. As soon as I wrote the letter, I could sense the situation shifting. After a while, I stopped mailing the letters, I would simply write the letters, burn them…and J-R would read the smoke. Then I graduated to closing my eyes and allowing our conversation to come from my hear to his heart. He is always with me, even though he is no longer walking this planet.
John-Roger passed from this earth in 2014. I miss him. I miss his humor, the twinkle in his eyes, his voice and his tremendous loving presence. I miss the time in my life when the Christ Consciousness in John-Roger walked among us. Now he lives inside my heart.
Rev. Sharon Trieste