2/24/76—Experiences With Murshid Sam—Khabira Morgan
I had been going to Murshid Sam's Sunday afternoon dance class for some time, early in 1970, when one Sunday I suddenly knew I wanted to be initiated by him. I didn't know why or what this meant, I just knew I was going to ask him. During the break between the class and dinner, which Murshid always served to all on Sunday, I went up to the living room where I found Murshid watching television, as he often did after this class. I was extremely timid about talking to him at that time and hadn't the slightest idea how I was going to say what I needed to express. But as soon as he knew I wanted to talk with him, he was so gentle and receptive I just found myself blurting out the words: "Murshid I would like to be initiated." I was also very emotional at the time, and found that my heart was kind of trembling with emotion as I said these words. Before I knew it, he was laughing and hugging me and saying, so gently and affirmatively, "All right. All right." And he was just bubbling with joy. Then he glanced at me, and said something like: "But you know, this isn't the normal way," or "I don't always do this." It was very enigmatic and of course I didn't have the slightest idea what he was talking about. But that pretty much ended our meeting and I got up to go after he gave me a few words about talking to Wall Ali.
I left the room and started walking down the front stairs. I don't know to this day exactly what happened, but by the time I was three steps down I started having very strange experiences. Literally speaking the world started whirling around and physical matter seemed to dissolve. All I knew was that I was going to the park across the street and somehow I got down the stairs and out the door. By then it was as though the cover over reality had been lifted from my eyes and heart and I was in that unbelievable paradise, dirty, grubby little park in one of the poorest sections of San Francisco. (I had had very little experience with drugs and so had no frame of reference for this experience.) Everything on which I glanced was absolutely awesomely beautiful.
This part, the description of the hal is very dissatisfying to me, because of course, it is not the experience, so impossible to put into words. Anyway you can do it better, please do—
The children running were PERFECT. The trees in the breeze were PERFECT. The cars parked everywhere were PERFECT. Everywhere was total harmony and total beauty. And even more incredible than that was that, as Walt Whitman puts it "Everything I looked at, that thing I did become." All energy and matter was flowing in and out of itself and united by a single source. More than ever before in my life, I experienced God running through all things. The blissful love I felt for all existence, all one brotherhood, all as close to myself as my so-called self, was greater than anything I had ever known (in the moments of duality), I would feel as though I were seeing the world through the eyes of the Divine Mother. And then, then there were the eyes of Murshid, and the eyes of God. Everything was PERFECT, and the love that I felt for everything was the total fulfillment. And I was then crying for joy.
Sometime later I found myself back inside the Mentorgarten, and eventually I wandered back upstairs to the front room. This time it was empty and I walked to the window and looked out to the park below. My vision was no longer quite so expansive but my heart had been opened and I was not the same as ever before. As I looked out I spied a little old man in baggy pants and a very old sweater walking very slowly, slightly bent over, but very concentrated, around the park. In one hand he had a cardboard box, in the other a stick, with a nail on the end of it. He would pick up trash with his stick and put it in the box. He could have been one of a thousand bums I had seen in my life in cities across this country. It was the perfect disguise. Never again could I assume to know who lies behind what outer guise. It was Murshid Sam.
Months later I was finally to have my formal initiation, along with about 14 other people. I was very excited, all ready for some very "high" experience. I spent the whole day in anticipation and excitement. Evening finally came and we were all in the basement of the Mentorgarten, the 14 of us lined up while others looked on. I was near the end of the line and watched and listened as each person came before Murshid and was given the ritual of initiation, each in precisely the same manner. By the time my turn came I was about to burst with expectation; I knew something GREAT would be sure to happen. And it did; but not what I had had in mind. Murshid grabbed me by the shoulder and fairly shoved me, lovingly, past him and over to where the people who had just been initiated were, saying something like, "Oh, go ahead; you've already been done!" That was it. I was initiated.
Once, as a young initiate, I was working in the office of the Mentorgarten, which I did once a week. I was mailing out flyers for a summer camp, folding them, sticking them in envelopes, addressing, licking and stamping. It was indescribably boring and my mind would frequently go over thoughts like, "What a waste of time, when I could be doing something important" or "I wonder how soon I'll be finished" etc. Then Murshid came walking through the room, papers in hand and obviously busy. He saw me and stopped, looked intensely at me, shaking his paper-filled hand, and said loudly: "That's what I like to see: somebody doing something!"
Murshid once wrote me a letter, which contains most of what I need to know. One of the last lines of it is probably the concentration of my life: “Although we seem to be in the world of song and dance we are most concerned with peace on earth.”
Murshid was a great psychologist. When I would drive him on errands around S.F., whenever we came to an intersection or blvd. I would wait, timidly, to pull out into the traffic but Murshid would always push me, saying “Go ahead; go ahead!” until I learned to be more aggressive.