I attended my first MSIA home seminar in North Miami, Florida in January of 1973. My mom must have been curious as to what I was into, as later that year I took her to a home seminar at Laren Bright’s in Coconut Grove, FL. Being that she was an accomplished artist whose paintings were exhibited at art shows and galleries, I wanted her to see Meredith Miller’s spectacular paintings that were on the walls of Laren’s studio apartment and in the front (main) house, where Meredith lived with her husband, John David. Afterwards mom said she liked the audio seminar, but “why did he (J-R) have to talk about Jesus?”. I may have told her of the Christ consciousness that was in Jesus and is in us all. Within a year or two of my ordination in November of 1973, J-R told me, between his Light Studies at Meredith and John’s house, something like: “no need to tell your parents you’re a Minister. Why rock the boat.” Another J-R gem on one of those occasions was when he told me to “be careful about putting me on a pedestal.” That brief admonition has stayed with me, and has been a valuable awareness and impetus for forgiveness, when I have seen myself do that with J-R or anyone, and when I observe others who seem to do so as well.
My folks flew to LA for Kathleen and my Prana wedding in August of 1980, and a handful of local distant relatives and Jewish friends who they knew from years ago in Chicago also attended. So I imagine they all got touched by the Spirit and beautiful energy at the Purple Rose Ashram of the New Age, an acronym J-R shared with us for Prana! A month or so prior to the wedding I asked J-R if I could temporarily remove Jesus’ picture from the South Wing wall outside my bedroom. He said “no, as it’s community property.” My folks didn’t say anything. However, without my asking, Prana resident Jim Matson took down the lit purple cross, beautifully crafted by Toby Raetze, from the large seminar room. A fun evening shortly before the wedding was when Jim and about 8-10 guys blindfolded me and drove to a West LA restaurant for a surprise bachelor party! Living at Prana for 2 ½ years in the late 70’s, and for another year after we got married in the early 80’s were wonderful experiences.
The next year, in the Spring of 1981, my parents joined Kathleen and I at a live seminar in Hollywood, Florida. We had planned a visit at that time, for Kathleen to meet my three brothers and the rest of my mom’s family (Dads family mainly lived in Chicago and vicinity) and to coincide with J-R’s staff trip to South Florida. Interestingly, at the live seminar J-R asked who was an MSIA Minister. I was sitting to the right of my dad, with my mom to his left and Kathleen next to her. I sheepishly raised my right arm part way in the air. I don’t recall ever hearing J-R do that at another seminar, and thought I may have needed to get over the fear of my parents finding out….which I don’t know if they ever did! They also went to an Insight guest event during our visit. J-R was there as were Roberta Babinet’s Jewish parents, who my folks did a process with, even though they never took a training. I think they felt comfortable with J-R’s ordinariness vs. preachiness, and in later years they’d watch That Which Is, J-R seminars on cable TV. They apparently were touched by the Spirit as communicated by the Traveler, and perhaps they realized that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who didn’t start Christianity. Though I had attended lectures by various spiritual and new aged teachers for a couple of years prior to January of 1973, as well as read books on such topics and gone to hatha yoga classes , they never showed interest until I got involved with MSIA.
In reflecting back on my parents hearing and seeing John-Roger, and then taking the initiative to watch his seminars on TV, I’m reminded of what J-R shared with me on a Light Study in 1973 about the value in the experience. I had told him that I went to hear a young East Indian guru in Boulder, Colorado in August of 1971, who was imparting “knowledge” to those of us in the audience who were interested in receiving it in an initiation ceremony. J-R said that “your own high self placed you in the form to be part of that as knowledge, but not the type of knowledge you went to get, but as knowledge as to that path, as to what that is.” He went on to say that “your high self has placed you in many forms and paths for knowledge, so that you can know what that is. And then when you came into the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness under the focus of the Mystical Traveler, your knowledge was then transcended to experience, because it brings experience; and the experience validated then the spiritual beingness within you, which then validated all your knowledge of all the other things, then became validated into their place.” It now occurs to me that my parents were drawn to J-R for a spiritual experience, which transcends the word level, including any that may create separation due to a religious connotation.
Growing up, I did attend four years of Hebrew School, after regular school hours, per my parents’ request (though they weren’t very observant) and got Bar Mitzvahed at age 13, even though I would have rather been out playing ball! I’ve probably been to a synagogue a handful of times since, for weddings and Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, though I have fond memories of the singing, and enjoyed zooming into a song-filled service at Central Synagogue in NYC earlier this year. My youngest brother (11 years my junior) sometimes does an impression of our dad (as he likes to do of various, mostly dead, relatives!) which cracks me up laughing. He says “are you still giving all your money to that Roy Rogers?!”. I don’t recall hearing dad say that to me, though I do remember mentioning to them that we tithe 10% of our earnings; I think in the early 90’s. Oh well, I’m sure there was a blessing in my sharing that with them, and of course in their experiencing John-Roger. God bless their souls on their journeys, as dad passed in 1996 at age 85 and mom in 2014 at age 96. I’m grateful for them having brought me into this lifetime when I had the good fortune of being initiated and ordained by the man with the keys to the Mystical Traveler and Preceptor Consciousness!
LL, Daniel (aka Danny) Safron