I'll come back and flesh out some of these bullets...But, for now here's the story
Raised Catholic by parents who were faithful practitioners, good examples
Went to Catholic schools thru my second year of college (there in a religion course, read a book by J. B. Phillips called "Your God is too small."
In Fall of 1968, I told the Dean what he could do with his religion and the school, withdrew from Iona College, got my tuition money back and bought a VW Bus, so I could explore all the surfing beaches from coast to coast
Around the same time, I had some type of spiritual experience on a weekend "retreat" in my Richmond Hill apartment while eating brown rice and reading Ram Dass's "Be Here Now"...The most significant part of this weekend was being introduced in his book for the first time to a loving version of "G-d."
The image and words on this page pierced me and opened my heart and mind.
This was the first of many-to-come examples...still happening...of how everything and everybody can be used as messengers of LOVE.
In this case, here's a guy, originally Richard Alpert, Timothy Leary's sidekick at Harvard, high priest of LSD, who went to India in search of a different kind of teacher, became a disciple of Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, who gave him the name Ram Dass, which means :servant of God). HE introduces me to a G-d of LOVE...
On the Monday afterwards, I called my Dad and said I wanted to meet with him after work. When I arrived at his house, I said, "Dad, how come we've never been able to express love for each other?" And hugged him...At the time, it felt like a one-sided hug...but a lot more opening up followed...
I returned to the Catholic Church...???
Each summer (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972) my friends and I left for surfing adventures to Southern California. On one of these my younger brother Mike rode shotgun.
In 1973 I made a decision to relocate to California. My Dad and Mom asked if they could accompany me...So, we set off to look for America...Dad taking pictures and Mom writing poetry.
From 1973-1975 I lived in Orange County, CA...got a civil service job with the DMV giving road tests (had done this in NY as a provisional employee until NYS gave a test and appointed full-timers) and stated attending a Catholic Church that my brother Mike had attended on our summer safari.On that one, while he was inside, I remained outside in my Bus. And, I completed my B.A. in sociology (10 years, 3 colleges and 2 states after I started in 1966.
BUT, I was restless...even though I had a secure job, a loving Church community, surfing whenever I wanted...So,
In the summer of 1975, I left for NY with my sisters accompanying me on the return leg.
Meeting the "other" versions of "G-d"
Lest we get too serious...
With all my medical "adventures"...I still quip,
"More parts work than don't"