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How I Found the Urantia Book—PHILIP GEIGER (1970) 


It was 1970. The Vietnam War was raging, Nixon was lying about bombing Cambodia and the National Guard was killing fellow war protestors at Kent State. I had just graduated from high school and was heading for Alaska to begin my adult life, far from the madding crowd. My first spiritual longings were being fueled by reading D. T. Suzuki and the novels of Hermann Hesse.

I never made it to Alaska, ending up in Hawaii instead. Broke, jobless, and friendless, I took up residence on a boat in noisy Ala Wai harbor in Waikiki. One day my starving stomach got the best of me and I allowed a local squad of Krishna devotees to spirit me away to their temple in the lush Manoa Valley. There they stuffed me full of vegetarian delights and introduced me to a lifestyle of serving and worshipping God. Most of them were recent arrivals from a commune on Molokai and had backgrounds similar to my own. After long hours of conversation, they talked me into joining the temple.

Our daily regime consisted of a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call by a monk shaking our shoulders as we slept on the hardwood floor, saying, “Krishna needs you now.” We’d then trudge up a wet hill under the stars to take a cold shower under a garden hose. After dressing in a traditional orange dhoti, we’d drag our “skin-encapsulated egos” into the worship room and begin chanting Krishna. After breakfast and chores, we’d head into Waikiki to spread the good word, chanting and praising God for five hours nonstop in our bare feet on the skiddle-hot concrete in the scorching Hawaiian sun.

After three weeks I decided that this wasn’t really my path in life. During a worship session in the temple, I remember saying, “God, I don’t mind serving you, but get me the hell out of here.” I left the next day and accepted an invitation to stay the night at a house on the shores of Waimea Bay. That evening, lost and confused, I headed out to a natural jetty to meditate, to seek some sort of purposeful direction for my life. Armed with a healthy dose of traditional American Indian sacrament, I sat in half-lotus and let the universe know in no uncertain terms I wasn’t budging until I got some answers. Hours passed and absolutely nothing in the way of answers emerged.

On an impulse, I got up and returned to the house. A young woman there asked whether I was aware that it had been raining for the last couple of hours. I absently responded no, and headed over to the bookcase. The first book I put my hand on was Big Blue. Opening it up at random, my eyes alighted on the beginning of “Energy—Mind and Matter.” I was enthralled. I turned back to the table of contents and read as much as I could of the dancing, rainbow-enshrouded letters. But it was enough to convince me that my prayer had been answered.

I rushed back outside, resumed my meditative position, and thanked the universe profusely.

I had one further request: a place to read the book, hopefully uninterrupted. Suddenly a single word entered my consciousness: “Makenna.” All attempts to elicit further information were fruitless. The next morning, I casually asked the other members of the household if they knew who or what Makenna was. Someone responded that he knew of a beach on Maui by that name, and that it was occupied by a loose community of a hundred or so hippies living naked in the kiawi trees. I thrilled to this information and, counting up my remaining funds, determined that I had just enough for a one-way ticket to Maui. I left the next day.

Having settled into a comfortable camp between two gorgeous beaches in southwest Maui, I began a daily regime of meditation, yoga, and reading. I read The Zen of Suzuki, Hui Hai and Alan Watts, perfect accompaniments to my simple lifestyle. A gem of a book written in the first person, The Impersonal Life, introduced me to the idea of an interactive God within.

When a couple of months later my mother sent me $20 for my birthday, I bought the only Urantia Book available on the island. I began reading it sequentially every day over the next three months. More than anything at the time, the book introduced me to my real spiritual family, my real place in the universe.

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