In early 1972 a friend and I moved to California to
explore the spiritual groups and communities that were more common there. We visited a
whole array of India groups: the Ramakrishna-Vedanta center, Self-Realization-Fellowship
(SRF), an Aurobindo center, the Krishnamurti foundation and several other gurus and their
ashrams, which all taught me something.
We also visited Buddhist centers, including Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan
and Theravadin traditions. The direct approaches and the connection with nature in Chan
and Zen were very appealing. The Tibetans with their deities and Tantric Yoga practices
appeared much like Hinduism. I felt a special affinity with Taoism and its connection with
nature and found a good Chinese teacher to guide me in its study.
Taoism is a religion free of dogma, close to the Earth, one with nature
and not seeking converts. It was tolerant, open and non-judgmental, free of any sense of
sin or moralism. I studied Taoism and the I Ching in some detail for several years,
though more as a secondary path, which eventually led me to pursue Traditional Chinese
medicine as well.