My first dharma book was T. Lobsang Rampa’s book The Third Eye [1956]. I read it as a teenager and was enthralled with the stories of the author’s training as a lama in Tibet. Even though later I learned that the author was actually a plumber’s son in England who fell from a tree and claimed to have switched consciousness with a Tibetan lama, I found much inspiration in it.

A few years later, as a hippie, psychedelic explorer, and student of Buddhism at Dartmouth, I read Lama Anagarika Govinda’s book The Way of the White Clouds. It confirmed my initial inspiration about Tibet. In the seventies, I actually got to teach with Lama Govinda and heard him tell the story of walking on foot up the Tibetan plateau and on to Lhasa, how the sky became luminous and how the energy of dharma filled Tibet. I felt these timeless teachings were being carried to the West.

Growing up in a scientific household, I was taught to be skeptical about what science couldn’t explain. After discovering that consciousness creates everything, I am ever more open to mystery. I thank these early pioneers for opening my mind and heart with their marvelous and surprising stories.

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