US (1947 - ) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist
Secular or Eclectic
Poems by Chris McCombs
Then, in November of 1969, Chris had a vision that would change his life. He was 21 years old and had no previous religious interest. The war was on in Vietnam. He had been able to graduate at San Diego State by agreeing to become a Navy pilot after graduation. While training in T-34s at NAS Saufley Field in Pensacola, Florida, an unsolicited vision arose.
The vision raised the question, in a serious way, "What if there really were a God?" I mean, really were a God. And you could know Him directly. What then? This question had never come up before. But his gut response was: "...Well, if there really were a God, then I would want to know Him! Yes, I want to know the Truth."
In the language of Joseph Campbell, Chris had heard "the call" and was responding to it. A series of events quickly unfolded. The base commander called a meeting of all the Aviation Officer Cadets currently in flight school and said, "Gentlemen, the Nave overestimated its need for pilots. We have too many. Anyone who wants to leave the program please do so now; you are free to go."
"I'll take a couple of years off and explore this God issue. If it's the truth, then I want to be involved. If it's not the truth, then I'll be ahead of the game by knowing it now!"
While processing out of the Navy, he borrowed a book by Hans Holtzer on ghost hunting from another cadet. The book mentioned Arthor Ford, a famous psychic from the 1920s who had helped Hans. On the drive back to San Diego, Chris purchased an Arthur Ford book. It seems Ford had, in turn, been helped by the yogi Paramahansa Yogananda. As Chris arrived back in San Diego, he learned there was a Yogananda hermitage just up the road in Encinitas. Two hours later, sitting with a monk at the Self-Realization Fellowship hermitage, he bought Autobiography of a Yogi.
"Two chapters into the book, my hair was standing on end: self-realization, enlightenment, living illuminated masters, reincarnation, levitation and miracles, not in the distant past, but all going on right now. I knew deep inside my being that this was true. My bones knew it was true! I had never heard of such things, and yet somehow I knew."
With guidance by mail from the SRF, he began to learn how to meditate, how to still the mind and sit in the vastness of silence.
Then a draft notice arrived from Pasadena. Yogananda had declared that anyone who sincerely prays to Babaji, the living immortal Yogi-Christ of India, would have their prayers answered. That night he went to sleep with the Autobiography beneath the pillow and opened to Babaji's picture.
"I prayed: I don't want to go to war, I don't want to kill people, I want to find God. Help me avoid war and I will passionately search for God." And that is what happened. Three weeks later a 4-F notice (physically unfit for service) arrived unexpectedly from the same draft board. To this day, no on can explain how that happened.
Thirty years flew by: Kriya Yoga, Meher Baba, Maharaji, Sufis, Sai Baba, traveling to India, Bubba Free John, EST, Actualizations, a career in real estate, aikido, Lazaris, Buddhism, Bartholomew, Rumi & Kabir, Papaji, Ramana Maharshi, and Gangaji.
In June of 1997, everything flipped. "The sense of entering the vastness, which had been discovered in meditation years ago, was gon. No one had ever entered it or left it. There was just no "one" there at all. That vastness was my Very Self! Nothing changed, yet everything changed."
Chris lives on Orcas Island, Washington, writes poetry, and runs a business.
Poems by Chris McCombs
- Beauty & the Heart
- Come Have a Drink
- Divine Lovers
- Finish Me Off
- From I to You
- Go Deeper
- Is This Your Time?
- Open Secret
- Roos O Shab
- Swan Born
- The Friend Is Always There
- The Tavern