As a child, I was constantly looking to see if I could find answers as to why I was alive, as well as figure out an underlying meaning to life. I would ask myself, “Why am I here? Who am I? Who is everybody else? Why do I feel so connected yet disconnected because I can’t figure out what is going on behind the scenes? Nobody else seemed to know either. Because of my curiosity, I was always aware of people’s awareness. I could just look at people and know, they didn’t have what I wanted to understand.
I left this stage when I got into my teens. I went away to school and attended Riverside Military Academy for my full high school career. Riverside Military Academy had been the top military school on the nation for 50 years. Here I learned self-discipline, and how to be a positive and effective leader. I became the master sergeant for 1’st Platoon Alpha Company. I was the drill sergeant for the biggest, strongest, toughest and most rebellious cadets in the school. I had the schools top athletes reach as close to perfection as achievable with rifle drill in formation. I was able to train my platoon to be the battalion’s best due to my experience being on the nationally competing rifle drill team called the “RMA Fusiliers”. We became the runner up national champions the year I was a part of the battalion’s top 12, otherwise known as the “Majestic 12″. Led by Master Sergeant Singletary and Captain George Adis, we were the definition of “precision and accuracy” with an artistic blend of the magnificent art of rifle spinning and throwing in perfect platoon formation. One could search Youtube for rifle drill teams all day long and never come close as to what we did. We were unlike other rifle drill teams that were darkened by ego before and after our recent time. Where ever we went, we lit the place up. We were like a vibrant humble family of young soldiers. When it was time to make an appearance, we were “one”. Our demonstrations blew every school’s rifle drill team, including the United States military colleges, out of the water. We were highschool military JROTC cadets. Out of respect for the United States Military, I am not saying we were better people or soldiers, though we did have our specialty at rifle drill, and we were most likely best in the world compared to any military’s drill team. To this day since 1988, I haven’t seen a demonstration come close. It was a wonderful experience and would love to see us come together and do it again. George Adis was the best commander anybody could ever ask for.
After graduation I moved to Ashland Oregon. Coming from a military environment to Ashland Oregon was quite a culture shock. If there is a sense of freedom anywhere in the world, Ashland is certainly one of those places.
I began college right away. I developed some great friendships and felt good about my new found freedom in civilian society, however something seemed to be missing. I was not at the place where most people my age seemed to be. I felt like I was back where I was before I entered my teen years. I needed to figure out who I was and I needed to figure out a deeper meaning of life so I could implement the missing links into daily living. Following the societal rhythm of going through school, choosing a career, getting married, acquiring some toys, having children and so on made me feel like big things were missing.
Growing up, I was a spiritual kid. I did have a religious affiliation and my connection to that religion was strong, but it lacked depth. It is a religion based on faith that seemed to be missing some key elements. Elements that would help me understand myself, my impact on my surroundings and ultimately the world. Elements that enable me to evolve, to become a better person, become more aware, more intuitive, more selfless, happy and to live for the right cause of each circumstance without concern of personal gain or loss. Elements that would help me become healthiest in as many ways I could be, and experience results that would manifest from that. Those elements, I later found to be the results of the practice of Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is simply a lifestyle. It is not a religion but a perfected art, utilitized in the laboratory of our own mind and body, that allows us to evolve spiritually. I now have the depth and understanding of life’s purpose to move on with life. What I have recieved from the yogic lifestyle is how we can imrove the body’s capability to allow more of God’s presence to live through us more and more every day. I knew there was more to life than what I was learning in church. There was a passage in the New Testament Jesus Christ stated that I laways resonated with. “You can do just as I do and more.” His mission was to teach us how we can all become like Him. Human capabilities are limitless with God’s presence. Just to give a brief summary, how to allow us have more of God’s presence, would be like to live how we would percieve God to live, if he was a man with a long, gray beard. Completely honest; completely clean in thought, word and action; complete nonvioloence by thought word and action; loving without attachment and expectation; compassionate instead of judgemental and so on. As qualities such as these increase, so does our spirituality, understanding of life as well as our life’s purpose becomes more magnetic and powerful. These qualities become natural when perfected, being we don’t have to try anymore. The results of gradual increase in divine attunement is my definaition of spirituality. The results of gradual increase in divine attunement, well, as Christ stated, “You can do just as I do and more.” This is what Jesus was teaching His disciples.
On a more grounded note, on a physical and an athletic level, I knew there were methods that didn’t seem significant to the normal American seeking supernatural athletic capabilities. I was a good athlete growing up and through high school with certain talents that were above average, but nothing extraordinary. However I had a knowing of certain qualities I was looking for to increase my athletic performance. I was looking for an effortless explosive strength and agility that would operate quicker than I could think, with the precision and accuracy of perfection. Hatha yoga did just that for me.
After much reading and implementing lifestyle changes, I had an understanding of a couple practices that would help me achieve the results I was looking for. At 22, I had an inner calling to learn yoga. I immediately felt the spiritual and physical effects I was looking for. I took the practice to an intense level by practicing up to 5 hours at a time, several days a week. My athletic abilities sky-rocketed. I was an avid snowboarder and mountain biker that rode with professional riders on a daily basis. I developed an endless stamina with an effortless strength for mountain climbing. Sure, I was limited in speed in climbing, however, many times, I gracefully broke trail through several feet of snow leading professional skiers and snowboarders to mountain peaks all over the Pacific Northwest, and not only without cursing, but I had a great feeling of an unlimited power generated from my yoga practice. My practice was unlike most yoga practices you would find in yoga centers. My yoga practice focused on attaining as much raw power, agility and balance as possible. I would take my body to the edge several times with each pose with proper form multiple times until my body didn’t want to do it anymore. If one understands the dynamics of energy, you will realize that a simple yoga flow or rolling through a set of poses a couple times each will get you somewhere, but it will not maximize the results. The energy generated more than doubles the energy recieved from a yoga practice. I was into maximizing results each time I practiced. That being said, I got out what I put into it. I now know that with a specific raja yoga practice, significant gains in athletic performance are generated more than any other type of cross training. In a way, it’s too bad, yet sweet at the same time that yoga doesn’t have a name like “Cross-Fit” where athletes would gravitate toward it more. In fact, for a couple years before I practiced yoga, I made fun of it. Paramhansa Yogananda, a Yogic saint, at one time had a boys school in India. He had a national championship soccer team. Their training consisted mostly of yoga. I feel confident that if I could provide any NFL team a yoga practice I have and less of their own crosstraining, they would win the NFL title.
A year or two into my yoga practice; a friend gave me a book to read called the Autobiography of a Yogi, written by Paramhansa Yogananda. I knew then, I had found someone very close who would show me where I wanted to go with my spiritual understanding and life. Years later after mountain climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking and surfing the Pacific Northwest, while living a solid yoga lifestyle, I moved back to Ashland and started school. I entered a yoga class led by Carol Gray who is now a professor at the Ananda College of Living Wisdom. Ananda Sangha, is a worldwide organization of spiritual colonies where people live and practice the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. I knew Yogananda was my teacher, but I didn’t know where I would receive his teachings. After learning Ananda’s history and purity, and after feeling naturally connected to the people there, I knew that Ananda was my new spiritual home. It was here that I witnessed a place where people were doing the work in daily life to dissolve their egos and allow God’s Grace to lead their life. It’s one thing to know about a spiritual community such as this, it’s another to witness the results. The light behind their eyes, the grace in their actions, the youth the elders hold, the magic that happens on a daily basis, and the energy of the environment is undeniably amazing. People’s spiritual attunement reflected the conscious attunement with their master and by utilizing meditation every day. Sure things come up and people have issues to face and work with, but that is what evolving is all about; facing challenging circumstances and dealing with them appropriately. It was here I learned the practice of Kriya Yoga. I went through the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training, led by Gyandev McCord, who is also one of the founders of the American Yoga Alliance and the president of the American Yoga Alliance for many years. I also went through an advanced intensive yoga class as well as other classes. Gynadev McCord has been a living example for me. He is a powerhouse, more-so than I have witnessed anywhere in any living person in the world of yoga. He is bright light and a man of brilliance. He reflects the complete practice and true meaning of yoga. He as well as others at Ananda have shown me what I have been looking for and what is possible with the human potential.
After learning kriya meditation, I spent years of practicing kriya regularly. I have witnessed the immense power generated in many ways from the wonderful meditation practice. It was common for me to sit in meditation for 2-3 hours at a time like it was 20 minutes, and up to 8 hours. The practice itself is absolutely lovely; the lasting results are even greater, and the energy shared with the surroundings and life’s circumstances is always a blessing.
After a significant time with yoga and meditation it was very apparent that all of the gains in physical, athletic, and spiritual results were very significant. My understanding of life seems complete. I am at the place where I wanted to be all my life, as well my awareness and intuition is light years ahead of where it was before I began practicing.
When I was 36, I met, my soon to be wife, Amber Lynch. Amber is my better half; she is who I strive to be. Amber, a devotee of Paramhansa Yogananda as well is very connected. She serves the United States Veteran’s Affairs as a social worker for veterans. Full of love, compassion and not a drop of judgment, she is serves humanity with a lot of grace. We have a son, Narayan Lynch, who is quite a powerhouse, a genius and a total character.
After getting married and having our child a year later, I decided to close up shop as a painting contractor for 20 years and go back to school to become a physical therapist. Since I returned school, I have also been asked to teach a couple classes and I decided to design one more. For 4 years I have been teaching a hatha yoga class, a meditation class and a power yoga class. I designed the Power Yoga class for the student athletes to help them increase athletic performance and reduce injuries. The meditation class has been a big hit. People witness with meditation, that spiritual unfoldment happens naturally without effort. Spiritual unfoldment, simply meaning, gradually eating more healthy, exercising more, as well as aligning thoughts, behaviors and actions to a cleaner and brighter way of being. The hatha yoga class has also been a favorite among many; as it has been a great way to destress and clean up from the week and power up for the weekend and the upcoming week.
June 2012, I will be graduating with a bachelor in science, specializing in Pre-Physcial Therapy. I will be applying for doctorate programs in PT next fall 2012, and then see where I am led.
As for now, an intention of mine is to share the yoga lifestyle, and how it can not only increase health, happiness, and performance in life, but help the world become a better place. I have a lifetime of specialized knowledge and practice with the ability to share these foreign methods in a practical manner. If there is anything specific you would like to know or address, please contact me and I will let you know if I can help. My gift is to help you unfold your highest potential.