In 1971, I joined Paramahansa Yogananda's Self Realization Fellowship and began a journey of self-discovery that has taken me through many different traditions and practices of esoteric learning and experience. The practice of Kriya Yoga has provided a firm foundation in experience and theory for understanding many esoteric traditions. I was raised in the Catholic Church and in the process of separating emotionally from the Church from an early age, I have reached a surprisingly fruitful fountainhead for my gnostic and magickal work. I began my studies in Mathematics and Astronomy and that too has provided a great resource for understanding aspects of esotericism that might otherwise remain opaque.
Before I began my formal studies of Kriya, I was pursing my first BA in History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. During 1970as a result of experiments with visual perception I began to have experiences of feeling that the the visible world was metling away and another, deeper, more silent and focused emerged. What was significant to me was that these experiences were attained as a result of these experiments in visual perception. I discovered that Art provided its own spiritual path. I had painted and written poetry in the Surrealist context since I was 13 years old. I think that despite Andre Breton's avowed hatred of Metaphsics, something crept into my subconscious mind from reading his works and those of his fellow Surrealist poets. As I reflect back, I can see a clear connection between my early artistic mystical experiences and the Pittura Metafisica of Giorgio DeChirico, Alberto Savini, Carlo Carra and Giorgio Morandi.
During 1974, as I continued with my studies of Kriya Yoga, I had an intense and shattering experience one evening. I was sitting in the dark, watching my breath and just allowing it to take its' own course. As it naturally became slower and slower, it actually stopped. I suddenly became aware of an infinite Emptiness I could feel the whole Universe "there" but there was nowhere for it to "be." I later tagged this as the Pregnant Emptiness: all things manifest and unmanifest existed but didn't. More horrifyingly, I couldn't feel myself either and had no directions or sense of reference. I had a moment of insight that ego really was a construct and that nothing existed save the Emptiness. It was decades until I read Nagarjuna's "Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness" and finally understood exactly what I had experienced and the staggering reality of it. I have to say that despite the Cosmic Terror of that moment...it was probably just few seconds long, it lead me through an amazing journey of self discovery. The story of that journey is really the story of the Institute for I felt that I had to memorialize my experience into something lasting in order to help others that might be struggling with the Mysteries of Life and Death, Space and Time, Spirit and Body.
I have struggled with this website probably more than anything else in my life because it is so difficult to encapsulate what I feel and know into mere words and images. I have finally begun to think of it as a work of art in its' own right. After I finished my AB in Art History U.C. Berkeley, I began another six years of studying studio art at the San Francisco Academy of Art, where I worked in Design, Painting and Drawing. During that whole period, I also began to study the Rosicrucian tradition with AMORC. Eventually, I worked for the Order in Rosicrucian Park in San Jose as Director of Audio-Video productions. I was made a member of the International Research Council and Joined the 13th Degree as a member of the Illuminati.
During the 1980's at the same time that I was documenting my mystical and magickal work in a series of paintings and journal entries, I was writing for various books and magazines and finally became a staff writer for Gnosis magazine, published here in San Francisco by Jay Kinney. The fruits of that period comprise a large archive of the arts, esoteric traditions and my own writings that I am collecting into the ground-work of the Institute. I did over fifty lectures and seminars for Gnosis and the Rosicrucian Order and I am re-vamping those for new presentations in the light of all of my research since the 1990's.
The work of the Institute involves teaching, archiving and interepreting, but most importantly, preserving precious gems of Wisdom for future ages. If you have any interest in any of these areas, please contact me to become involved in our work!