I stumbled up the curb from the roadway in Ganges on Salt Spring Island. My companion, Sydney Banks, reached out his jacket-clad arm to steady me.
We strolled, side-by-side up the concrete way toward the Thrifty Foods grocery store in the middle of the quaint, colorful harbor town. Behind us on the water, boats bobbed in the sun, straining against their moorings in a stiff breeze. It was one of those warm days that surprise in the middle of a cold snap. I tipped my face to the sun to catch every ray.
“What’s it like for you to be a sought after as a spiritual teacher?” I asked Syd. I am curious about others. I want to know what’s under the hood. There is beauty in everyone, beyond appearance. From the most brazen to the most unassuming, every stereotypic look hides a sparkling gem.
I had come to this small island in the Pacific Northwest to get to know this man and he me. We could have been any two people strolling leisurely in an artsy community, both in jeans, both in sweaters and light jackets, reveling in the cry of seagulls, sniffing the fishy smell of ocean tributaries.
But my companion, Syd, was not ordinary. He had become known as an important spiritual teacher who offered an understanding that bridged psychology (my profession) and spirituality. I had been searching for that rapprochement for many years.
Since meeting Syd a couple of days ago, he had spoken of the all-ness, the nothingness, and the is-ness, as well as the three principles of “mind”, “thought” and “consciousness” but I had understood little of that. I was more interested in him. People described Syd as enlightened, and I wasn’t sure what that meant. What was enlightenment like, I wondered? A small piece of discarded paper scuttled in the wind across the pavement in front of us.
“Well, dearie,” Syd said. “It’s quite boring!” He stopped in his tracks. His body swiveling left so that his warm brown eyes could look directly into mine, intense blue. I burst out laughing. Whatever answer I had expected that was not it! “I’m sayin’ the same things over and over agin’, and nobody understands. They focus on the metaphor I teach, the Principles, but miss what they point to – LOVE!”
“That must be frustrating,” I said, the words escaping before I could think. “It’s tiring,” he said, with a bit of pathos. “But I keep going.”
I reached out and touched his arm.That’s a habit of mine, a way that I connect with people when I want to convey that I understand. I’d met a good many spiritual teachers in my life in retreat centers, churches, conferences, Catholic universities, and indigenous gatherings. Those that seemed to have the most to offer were often ordinary. I looked for that. I wasn’t interested in artifice.
Syd patted my hand and we continued to walk. I was touched that he called me, “dearie,” and I was a woman who didn’t like diminishing endearments from men. He had spoken with unmistakable affection and warmth. I felt at ease with him, which was unusual for me with males I didn’t know well. The feeling of that moment was safe, tender, and neutral. I can’t say why, but I knew, even though I would intellectually fight what he had pointed me toward, that I had stumbled up a curb with a man who knew Truth.
Eventually, this spiritual teacher, an enlightened man, would answer a thousand questions about God.
Read more about my experiences with Syd.
Copyright 2022: Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.
Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D. inspires intuitive-creative women healers to use their healing modalities, speaking voices, and written words to unfold and share the wisdom of the Sacred Feminine. The Sacred Feminine embraces intuition, curiosity, connection, authenticity, humility, vulnerability, oneness, and the natural beauty of the body and the earth. Linda’s understanding of the Sacred Feminine is formed from a nonreligious spiritual understanding known worldwide as the 3 Principles. [for more information, see www.sydbanks.com.]
Linda offers sanctuaries, intimate small-group programs, to women healers who want to bring the 3 Principles into their work, and to women writers who are ready to share, get feedback, revise, and publish.
Through her Apprentice’s Way individual all-in-one mentorship program, Linda encourages her clients’ spiritual evolution, psychological health, effective writing, messaging, marketing, and content creation.
Visit www.lindasandelpettit.com to learn more about these programs and her array of masterclasses and courses.
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