Matthew VanFossan sharing with Traveler John Morton at Windermere in October of 2012
We pulled up in front of my apartment building on one of the quieter residential streets in Santa Monica. I was talking to a fellow volunteer who was driving me home from the children’s class we’d just assisted with.
“I’m so glad you’re playing guitar for the kids.” she said.
“Me, too.” I said. “And the energy in the classroom is like — wow. It’s just like USM with Ron and Mary only there’s a bunch of kids instead. The energy is so amazing. I wonder what that is.”
“Oh,” said my companion. “That’s the Traveler.”
As the words left her mouth I had a moment of that same magic from the class. A soothing pressure on my forehead, a gentle warmth through my body, a sense of indescribable freedom and joy. Then it was past.
“Wow,” I said. “There it is again. That’s amazing. How do I get more?”
“You have a computer, right? You can go to the MSIA website and…”
I did go to the website. I read about the course of study they called ‘Discourses.’ I noticed how even just the website had a subtle light to it that made it easier for me to navigate than other pages. I read that the first year of Discourses was $50. That’s where I stopped.
“No thanks,” I thought. “I didn’t just spend tens of thousands of dollars on a Masters in Spiritual Psychology to waste my time subscribing to monthly booklets from a church. I’ll keep my fifty bucks.”
Weeks passed. Then I found myself talking about the Discourses to a friend who was graduating with me from the University of Santa Monica. She’d heard of them, too. And no, she hadn’t tried them, either.
“Well, maybe we should,” I said, playing devil’s advocate. “I mean, energetically, there seems to be something to them. And I heard you can get your money back if you don’t like them.”
A week or so later I went back to the MSIA website and bought the Discourses. I chose the PDF files instead of the paper booklets. They came as an e-mail attachment. I opened the first one and hit the key for my computer to start reading it aloud.
“Introduction into Light.” As I listened to the first paragraph being read aloud I felt a wash of that same energy. The Traveler, they called it. It was the strongest I’d ever felt.
“My God,” I thought. “This is incredible.” I continued listening. The actual content was not nearly as spectacular, I thought. But the energy…
My first John Morton seminar had been at the USM building in Santa Monica. I’d left pretty unimpressed. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard from Ron and Mary at USM. That was before I’d gotten on Discourses.
Two months into my Discourses I headed to Santa Barbara for a picnic at Windermere Ranch. John Morton was going to talk. I hoped there’d be more of that energy. He was already giving his talk when my wife and I arrived. As we got closer to him I started getting really excited. I could sense the presence of something amazing. “That’s Jesus Christ!” I said to myself. And that made absolutely no sense to me. but I was so moved! I knew I had to share with John.
I pulled away from my wife. “What are you doing?!” she asked, horrified. But I was determined. I bumped into someone who guided me to the line of people waiting to share. As I took the mic I said, “John, I – I love you!” And then I felt really embarrassed. “I’m like a teen-aged girl at a rock concert,” I thought. But even though I felt stupid, the compulsion to stand and profess my love to this stranger didn’t leave me. I just stood there listening as he asked me about my blindness.
That was about nine years ago. The urge to serve this energy, this man, and this phenomenon that somehow relates to Jesus Christ hasn’t gone away.
After studying in MSIA, I understand a little better intellectually what it is, but when I try to explain it to family, friends, or anyone who isn’t studying in the Movement, I’m totally at a loss. Sure, I can tell them that MSIA is part of a line of masters extending back into history right back through Jesus Christ, that it’s a way to access higher realms of awareness and loving through a kind of enhanced meditation practice, that it’s the most meaningful and profound thing I’ve ever experienced. But what good is telling people all this? It’s just a fanciful story unless someone is really inclined to check it out. And it’s just dogma until someone becomes aware of the blessings for themselves.
There’s another part to this disclaimer. MSIA, the Mystical Traveler Consciousness, is not for everyone. Not everyone likes to go deep sea diving. Some people prefer snorkeling or playing Marco Polo in the pool. And that’s all perfectly fine. But for those that are honestly seeking direct and profound spiritual experience and are ready to overcome the resistance they’ve unconsciously built up to having it, MSIA is a one-stop shop.
My biggest resistance has been, “I don’t need a spiritual teacher or some spiritual organization to find divinity. I’ve already found it and it’s inside of me. It’s inside of everyone. So why should I look to some external thing?”
We’re now in an age of the self. Self-esteem, self-exploration, self-knowledge. This is reflected in edicts like “follow your heart,” and “be who you are.” The idea is that in doing so we’ll live more fully, we’ll be happier, more congruent people. And we’ll avoid getting stuck as a peon, a cog in the wheel, or a soulless yes man.
But this doesn’t mean that the age of the spiritual teacher has passed. It’s just as important now as it’s ever been. Even in this age of the self, people who want their cars to work better still go to car mechanics. People who want to eat delicious food still go to restaurants. And people who want spiritual experience can still look to a teacher or way-shower to reflect back to them their own light.
What is often overlooked by people who want to be their own spiritual teachers, what I overlooked during years of telling myself that I didn’t need anyone, that I could do it myself, is that pearl of wisdom from John Donne which says, “no man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
No matter how high we climb, no matter how expansive our awareness, no matter how great a master we become, we need others. And we need especially look to others who have climbed higher, expanded more, or touched into greater mastery. It’s true that we can only learn what we teach ourselves, but in teaching ourselves, we look to others who have learned it first. To try to do it alone is arrogant and foolhardy when there are those who stand above us with outstretched arms, smiling and eager to accompany us home.
MSIA is full of people like myself who have resisted following others. Loners in high school, rebels against all sorts of causes. It also has its slice of normality running through it. How such different people are brought together to worship God and love one another is a miracle in itself. But it’s the awesome nature of the Mystical Traveler that is the real miracle. And this miracle can only be experienced through one’s willingness to sit at the foot of another, to look to one who has gone higher, to learn from someone else about the divinity within oneself.