Although it was marvelous, it was not a surprise to see Wayne post, “Love that musing,” about Sharka’s last post. In fact, I would also not be surprised if he found her words and photo spine tingling, soul-touching and heartwarming. After all, 40 years ago this spring, Wayne was a sophomore at St. Helena High School and he had just devoured Richard Bach’s powerful little book, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” Ironically, Bach’s “New-Age Spirituality” resonated mysteriously with the ancient wisdom of Wayne’s Native American, Choctaw heritage. What became a monumental turning point in his life evolved from the simple acceptance of Bach’s challenge:
“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” ― Richard Bach
The hybridization of beliefs led Wayne to enroll in a fledgling, experimental advanced biology class called Biodesign. This eventually led him to a beach in Mendocino Ca. where he underwent a spiritual awakening that can only be described as a modern miracle. The event not only radically changed his life, but mine as well and the evolution of the Biodesign Class.
Understandably, he wanted to share his miracle with others and so he went on to become an ordained priest and dedicated his life to serving the spiritual needs of others. It is not hyperbole to say that his life and work have touched the minds, hearts and souls of many thousands of people around the world, and include planting seeds of love and laughter in India. His latest calling is ministering to people whose lives have been spiritually ravaged by alcohol and substance abuse.
As a biology teacher, trained in “traditional methods and materials of biology,” the word “miracle” was not in my lexicon. Wayne’s spiritual encounter was a “wake-up-call” that perhaps I was missing some of the most important lessons of biology.
“ For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark: 8:36, KJV
Neither one of us knew it at the time, but Wayne’s epiphany was a catalyst for me to add the unprecedented “spiritual dimension” to the Biodesign Class. Actually, this was nothing more than illuminating and emulating the works of John Muir, R.W. Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and countless other inspired Naturalists. Their collective message that man must go into the wilderness and seek being “born again” is the same message that Richard Bach, Black Elk, Rumi, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Moses and Jesus Christ all described as an essential aspect of becoming a harmoniously balanced physical, mental and spiritual human being.
A few years later, I discovered the amazing book, “The Immense Journey,” by Loren Eiseley who wrote:
“The reader who would pursue such a journey with me is warned that the essays in this book have not been brought together as a guide but are offered rather as a somewhat unconventional record of the prowlings of one mind which has sought to explore, to understand, and to enjoy the miracles of this world, both in and out of science.”
Wayne’s story, briefly recorded in “Biodesign Out For A Walk,” is potentially a very scary story. Every reader will draw his/her own conclusions, but some will likely be forced to view Wayne, as one British scientist described C.S. Lewis, as either a liar, lunatic or “Bozo the Clown,” or an honest young man who went through a transcending experience that cannot be described in Earthly terms. Those who are courageous enough to read it may intuitively understand that for such an event to occur, their egos will likely have to be diminished. For many, the bright lights of “civilization” have spiritually blinded them and they will not be capable of:
“overcoming the limitation of believing what their eyes are telling them and discovering how to spiritually fly.”
As far as the evolution of the Biodesign Class, it is impossible to discern the overlapping boundaries between Wayne and Me. Truly, without him, and countless other spiritually curious and courageous students, I would have spent my teaching career thinking that dissecting pigs was the ultimate experience for high school advanced biology students.
Little wonder Wayne commented, “Love the Musing.” (that Sharka posted)