Medellin, Colombia J-R Marathon and Mystical Traveler Screening

By: David Sand, photos by David Sand

June 20th, 2016

Medellin, Colombia J-R Marathon and Mystical Traveler Screening

It’s great to be back in Jesus country. Actually, the whole western hemisphere is Jesus country, but the South American variety goes straight to the heart, warmed up by centuries of devotion and masses and rosaries and stories of saints. The northern part our hemisphere is getting a bit stiff and separative as it ages—still a haven of peace and creativity, but starting to get habituated to power and comfort, distracted by money and slapstick strivings to control the uncontrollable. All of these tend to close down the heart and the intuition. Here in Colombia I get a chance to live in the future, with the people who will soon be handed the baton by the Norteamericanos. Just a couple of days in this young culture and it’s clear why John-Roger told us all to learn Spanish many years ago, which I stupidly ignored because I figured that in North America I was living on top of the world both literally and figuratively, so why bother?

What I didn’t realize is that the spiritual growth of the planet, just like any progression in the natural world, doesn’t move up or down in a straight line, but there are swift reversals and phase transitions where everything suddenly flips, just like the periodic flipping of the earth’s magnetic poles that geologists have tracked, or, on an individual human scale, the quick U-turns of birth, adolescence or death. Everything seems like it’s in a beginning stage here, still sleepy, dreamy and messy, but also open, fun, warm and authentic—and those are the doorways through which the Christ enters “like a thief in the night” and transforms a human being or a society. We’re refugees from L.A.

Living in Grace, the week-long retreat here in January, was like the old days of MSIA—intimate, heartfelt, spontaneous, intense, the air thick with loving emotion. Our day-long marathon of J-R seminars, culminating in the showing of Mystical Traveler, the Life and Times of Dr. John-Roger, has that same quality.

We’re staying up in the mountains, and we make the steep descent into Medellin, glimpsing the city through lush greenery, often at eye-level with the tops of the city’s skyscrapers as we descend. It’s the day of the big soccer match between Colombia and Peru, and Jsu Garcia (the marathon’s host and co-director of the John-Roger documentary) and I are given yellow Colombian soccer jerseys by the participants. It seems that our stay here is no accident, and has been perfectly timed: Restaurants are packed with people watching the game, everyone is excited, and there’s a oneness in the air that the spiritual energy can ride in on. We’re here for a lot more than just a day of J-R videos, or just the people in one small room. If we’ve learned anything from J-R in all these years it should be that the physical level is a veil and a fun-house mirror, and that what’s happening on the inner levels is 90% of reality.

I sense the vortex of the Traveler energy everywhere, transmuting people’s karma, and even national and racial karma, just like on so many other MSIA trips. We keep getting pulled out of the body, spending a lot of time in spiritual exercises, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes getting tugged inward and upward in spite of ourselves. For entertainment we get to enjoy the show of people getting hit by the Light—and getting our fair share as well. I know I’m in the Traveler consciousness because nothing can touch me. I’m sleeping on a mattress on the floor of a living room, and who cares? God is here. And the loving energy that’s been created by our hosts Jorge and Nancy in their cozy apartment is a big part of how God gets in.

God also gets in through determination, through not giving up. J-R’s passing has been a front row seat in the spectacle of how people handle obstacles. We used to show the Mystical Traveler movie on first-class trips with J-R. Now we stay in people’s homes. The result is that we become part of the community here. In the oneness we grow stronger.

The energy builds with each seminar in the day-long marathon as people come and go. The coup de grâce is the Mystical Traveler movie, and at the end there are lots of hugs and prayers, and a spontaneous closing circle, in an outpouring of the loving that’s been filling people all day. Mystical Traveler is about 3 1/2 hours, but like all spiritual practices there’s a huge reward at the end: Everyone is melted and teary and looking at each other with smiles and soft eyes. I get that all-too-brief awareness that absolutely nothing in this life matters but love. People keep thanking us for coming as though it’s some sort of sacrifice. Pretty funny. At the end of the day a few of us have dinner at Ana Maria’s beautiful home in the rain forest, and anything that’s gotten stuck in our auras during the day is cleared by lots of laughter.

To a visitor from southern California, the people here seem oddly normal. There’s less separation. They pay more attention to other people than to things; children are everywhere; there’s a warm sensuality in the air (J-R called it “eros”) that’s part of a continuum of babies and family, rather than the insular, self-referential sexuality that’s been tainting the north. Someone wants to visit a mall and I don’t want to go because in the U.S. those are places of the walking dead, but when we go I find that the people here actually look relaxed, happy, and alive, moving in couples or family groups. Through a combination of enlightened politicians and a grassroots movement, the infamous drug cartels of Medellin have been defanged, the economy has stabilized, streets are safer than in some U.S. cities, and you can feel the vibrancy of a people that’s been freed and is starting a journey of expansion. As J-R says, emotions are like yo-yo’s, and like all emotional people the Latins seem to need to hit bottom before they can ascend. After the defeat of the drug cartels Medellin is on the upswing. I hope Venezuela will be next. Please send Light.

In addition to photos of the J-R marathon and movie day, you can see photos of our free day. With our hosts Jorge and Nancy we climbed the rock of Guatapé, a big outcropping of dark stone sticking up above the countryside, with a crack in one side that’s been filled with 650 steps, and restaurants with stunning views at the top. The countryside around Medellin is a subtropical garden, green and hilly, kind of like a slightly dryer and cooler version of Hawaii—fertile, young, unspoiled, permeated by the energy of nature. We’re near the equator but the altitude moderates the temperature year-round. They call this area the “land of eternal spring.” The papaya and pineapple are incredible.

OK, J-R, I’ll put more time into learning Spanish.


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You spoke of “…the vibrancy of a people that’s been freed…”. Now, during your visit, the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerilla group has been signed, drawing to a close a fifty-year old conflict. Peace is breaking out in Colombia. This accord will be put to a referendum vote by the Colombian people, so please send Light to the peace process in Colombia.

Thank you, David! Your article is inspiring and touching.

ok David Sand we will see you again here in Colombia with you improved Spanish, holding our hearts together.

Gracias. Una experiencia extraordinaria. Amor y Luz para ustedes dos Jsu y David.

Thank you David such a heartfelt article.