A Spiritual Experience in Australia That Changed Everything
By Daniel, California
I was nineteen, going on twenty, and working late nights at a restaurant in Brisbane, Australia. A few months earlier, I had dropped out of Queensland University where I had been studying engineering. Academic life wasn’t what I had hoped for. I was yearning to grow as a person and to rub shoulders with life, but university just seemed to be a much more challenging version of school with very little scope for personal growth. I was a seeker.
I loved the nighttime crew that I worked with. Many were travelers saving money for the next leg of some exotic overseas backpacking or ocean adventure. Late at night, after the restaurant cleanup was complete, we would often sit around one of the big, round tables and share stories of adventures. While I felt happy, I was conscious that I was getting my enjoyment from other people’s lives rather than living my own adventure—and I knew that wasn’t going to keep working forever.
Late one night at the restaurant, I had the first in a series of spiritual experiences that, over time, changed everything. I was serving a large table of about twelve people, and I noticed right from the start that they felt special. There was a glow about them, and they seemed truly happy. I have always been sensitive to people’s emotions and states of consciousness, and I’ve learned to trust my perceptions. I knew these people were genuinely happy, and I also knew, from all the tables I had served over the previous six months, that this wasn’t too common. What I noticed more than anything, though, was how good I felt—I was like a bee buzzing around a beautiful spring flower.
Time passed all too quickly that night, and it wasn’t long before my table of happy, smiling people departed. Afterward, while clearing away the dishes, I noticed they had left a green paper bookmark on the table. On it was a quote that I knew I had to read, but it was the busiest part of my shift, and there was no time. So I pocketed the bookmark for later, all the while feeling that I was carrying some great secret.
After my shift ended, around midnight, I sat with a coffee and read the quote. And something happened—something hard to describe. It was as if an inner explosion tore through my consciousness and connected me to something limitless and true that I had known since the beginning of time. It was unexpected, amazing, and very real.
The quote was from a book called Eckankar—The Key To Secret Worlds, and this and later experiences ultimately led me to the spiritual teachings of Eckankar. It didn’t happen overnight—in fact it was a few years before I became a member of Eckankar. But when I look back today, I can see how the hand of Spirit was moving quickly to make changes in my life that would bring more meaning, happiness, and freedom. Just a few months later I had moved to Sydney and was back at university. And even though I faced huge challenges, there was a real purpose and direction in my life.
Today I feel such gratitude for all the rich challenges and experiences that have come my way. I wanted to share this experience and acknowledge Eckankar, the spiritual teaching that has been such a foundation for my life.