by Sarita Earp
It probably all started consciously when I was nine years old. I was inspired to go to church every week. As my family slept I dressed myself in Sunday clothes and went to the closest church – not Anglican, which my family was, but it was close to walk to. When I was 16 years old, I was still attending church. One Sunday during a prayer, my inner voice cried, "I want to understand!"
Over the next six years, I was seeking and at the same time trying to be happy in all the usual outer ways. During university I became interested in meditation and took a course. When I was 21, my inner voice told me that if I was not happy then I would never be happy.
The search continued, but obviously it was not yet my time. They say when the disciple is ready the Master appears. After a year travelling in Europe, I was working in a café in a tiny Swiss village. One day in the mail I received two letters from two sets of friends – the first I had heard from these friends since I had left Nova Scotia. When I opened the letters, I was astonished to read that both sets of friends had Gurus! The first Guru did not resonate with me, but when Sri Chinmoy's picture fell out of the second letter, I reacted strongly to it. And when they said their Guru was Sri Chinmoy, I said to myself, "I wonder if he could be my Guru?" Then my mind responded, "You have to find your own Guru."
Later, however, when I went up to my room, I posted the photo on my board. When I left the village to continue travelling, that letter with its photo came with me in my backpack. On a train between Spain and Portugal, as the miles and hours were rolling by, I had a revelation about life: no matter the country, with its variations in language, customs, dress, culture, everybody is born, grows up, usually has a family, works and dies, and in the process tries to be as happy as possible. At that point, I felt I was ready to go home.
A few weeks later I was in London, England, on my way back to Canada. I felt a void – not a loneliness, but a total inner emptiness. Intuitively, I knew that I was going to start a whole new way of life, though I did not know what it was going to be.
The morning after I landed back in Halifax, as I was walking downtown, I saw a poster advertising a film – "A Day in the Life of a Spiritual Master" with Sri Chinmoy. I immediately decided, I was going to see that. During the film there is a scene where Guru is sitting in a room in his house meditating. The close-up shot of him was so powerful that I felt pressed into the back of the chair and knew that something was really going on. At the end of the film, I did not want to talk.
Soon after I started coming to the meditations, and then asked to be a disciple. When I got the photo taken in one of those photo booths, I inwardly said to Guru, "If you don’t accept me, I don’t know what I will do." I had finally found what I had been searching for all those years. And 34 years later, I still say the same thing.