It was cocktail hour at the Ascended Masters Club. Adamus was there, of course, as was Kuthumi lal Singh and many other Masters. They were sitting around talking with two new arrivals, Herald and Orianne.
The members of this particular club really loved to hear a good story, which is why they were so excited to see two new faces, fresh from Earth, walk through the door. Before Herald and Orianne knew it, thirty or so “veterans” had pulled chairs over to their table, and asked to hear their story.
During their last incarnation, Herald and Orianne had been life partners. They met in an ashram, got married, and had kids. It was Herald who was speaking, giving the basic overview of their time on Earth. He paused and looked around, seeing a few polite nods.
“Drama, what about the drama?!” demanded one Master, jumping to her feet.
“I want to know about God!” said another. “How did you handle that one?” She shivered and made a funny face that caused hysterical laughter from the other Masters.
“How do embodied Masters live with all that Artificial Intelligence stuff?” asked another.
A Master from the back of the room stood and shouted that he wanted to hear about the couple’s spiritual life while on earth. Herald had talked about being in India and living in an ashram with a guru, but here they were introduced as friends of Adamus and the Crimson Circle. This particular Master could not hide the jealousy written all over his face.
Kuthumi laughed, striking his hand on the table so hard that Adamus’ glass nearly tipped over. Adamus stood, took a very deep drink of wine, and spoke. “My friends,” he began, “Very good questions, all of them. I’ve known these two for many lifetimes.”
“Go on, then,” interrupted a stout-looking Master sitting off to the side of the room with his feet up on a stool. He wore a black pirate’s hat and was drinking rum from a glass the size of a flower vase. “Get on with it,” he said with a wink, “and tell us their story. I’ve got a ship to go pillage.”
“Ah, but it’s not my turn to tell stories tonight,” Adamus said with a wide grin. “It’s theirs. And I would like to hear how they transitioned from the ashram to life with yours truly, and how they did it without going crazy. Or better yet, if they did go crazy!” With an elegant sweep of his arm, Adamus gave the floor to Herald and Orianne.
In the moment of silence that followed, Orianne’s face lit up. She poked Herald in the ribs and whispered in his ear, “Remember what Adamus taught us about stories – embellish. Or just make it up.”
Though Herald had told many stories during his last lifetime on Earth, this was the first time he had such an esteemed and eager audience. He was so unaccustomed to others wanting to listen that he didn’t know where to start. Luckily Orianne was there, as she had been so many times before, to bail him out of a tricky situation.
“Like Herald said,” she began, “we met in an ashram in India. But it was not exactly love at first sight. He looked like a thug with his shaved head, and he wasn’t very friendly, so I kept my distance. I think he was trying to look like a swami, but all he ever did was mumble. I had to hit him on the arm just so he would notice me!”
“That is so unfair,” countered Herald. “I’d been on a plane for 20 hours. The jet lag was terrible. Plus, I was doing my selfless service in the temple. I wasn’t sure if I should even be talking to girls.”
“Were you there too, Kuthumi-ji?” asked one of the Ascended Masters. Kuthumi smiled, shook his head, and motioned for the two to continue with their story.
“Finally, after about a month, Herald crawled out of his cave and actually spoke to me. Two years later we got married.”
“And this is when you met Adamus?” asked the Master in the pirate hat.
“No,” said Herald. “That was later on, in France. We stayed in India for a few more years until ...” he paused, as if unsure how to go on.
“Until ...?” asked the Master.
“Until I got pregnant,” announced Orianne. A collective gasp could be heard from the other Ascended Masters.
“Now it’s getting interesting,” someone called out. “But I thought the ashram was for meditating and devoting your life to God?” she said, one eyebrow arching high into her forehead. “You know, a place for ascetics and celibates. Do mean you actually... did it?”
“We did meditate and work and study,” said Herald, trying to regain his composure after such an unexpected question. “But, you know, we were human, and young, and good looking, so yeah, we did it. In the ashram. In moderation.”
Herald and Orianne heard a spitting sound coming from somewhere, followed by a few laughs and finally a cough that did a bad job concealing what would otherwise have been a clearly intelligible swear word.
“The sangha, the community, was our life,” said Orianne. “But I was pregnant, and we decided it was our time to go, even though it was a very difficult decision.”
“It felt like hopping into a life raft and floating out to sea, far away from the mothership,” added Herald.
Orianne turned to Herald and spoke directly to him with a grin on her face. “Yeah, you know all about motherships, don’t you?”
“I’m getting to that,” said Herald. He then told the part of their story where they moved to France in the dead of winter, with him starting French classes and Orianne learning how to breathe for the delivery of their baby. They did everything they could on the outside to integrate into the culture, but no matter how much they tried, they both still felt as if they had landed on an alien planet. “Nobody understood us,” he said, “or asked us about our time in the ashram. We tried to continue with the disciplines and practices, but they just didn’t carry the same energy anymore.”
“Then one day our email box went crazy,” injected Orianne. “We suddenly started receiving hundreds of messages from various spiritual and New Age groups, talking about crystals and dimensions and …” she looked over at Herald to take over.
“Motherships. I couldn’t believe it! None of it made any sense. In fact, it made my eyes hurt. Then one day I was studying at the kitchen table, and Orianne asked me to come read something on the computer. Hell no, I thought, no more of that spiritual mumbo jumbo crap. We didn’t know about makyo at the time, but that’s exactly what we were dealing with.”
“But I insisted.”
“And of course I ended up reading over her shoulder.”
“And?” asked Orianne.
“And?” demanded several Ascended Masters at once. By now they were really getting into the story and didn’t want to be left hanging, which Herald took as a good sign.
“It was a channel of Tobias,” he said, “from Geoffrey Hoppe of the Crimson Circle.” A collective ooh circulated throughout the room. “It was so clear, and struck so deep, that we couldn’t wait for the next one to arrive. There was finally something to fill that emptiness we had felt ever since leaving the ashram.”
“Okay, but of all the places on the planet,” interrupted the rum-drinking Master, “why did you choose France? On the islands we have the most beautiful women,” he said, twirling his black moustache.
“We were married,” said Orianne firmly, eyes narrowing. But the Master only made a so-what gesture.
“We have good looking men, too,” he continued. “My point is, did Adamus influence your decision? Because we all know,” he said, eyes rolling up to the ceiling, “how much he loves France. We hear about it all the time.”
“Orianne’s last incarnation was in France,” said Herald matter-of-factly. “We didn’t really even have to think about it. We just knew it was the right thing to do.”
Another Master cleared her throat and began to speak. “So, you get one email from Tobias and that’s it? You jump on the bandwagon and never look back?” She sounded rather impatient.
“Actually,” said Orianne with a distant look in her eyes, “it went pretty much like that. Until ...”
“Until what?” the Master implored. But Orianne hesitated, and the longer she waited, the more she noticed the other Masters leaning ever so slightly forward in their seats. She is so good at this, thought Herald, and he kept his mouth shut because the silence was like a guitar string that had been stretched to within a nanometer of its breaking point.
Finally Orianne spoke again. “Until an unexpected guest arrived.” Herald’s eyebrows pinched together because he couldn’t remember entertaining anyone at home during this time. But then it hit him – it was a metaphor. She was talking about the guilt. He smiled, marvelling at her ability to weave a good story. She really took Adamus’ words to heart, he thought. When Orianne went silent again, Herald took that as his clue to pick up where she had left off.
He told the assembled Masters that several months had passed quite happily, with both of them eagerly reading the messages from the Crimson Circle. Then one day, Herald had a disturbing realization: he had not meditated, and he had forgotten to coordinate his breathing while repeating his mantra. In fact, he had not done any of his spiritual practices for several days, perhaps even weeks!
“The guilt pierced me like a poisoned dart,” he said, “because I was spending more time reading Tobias’ words and less time following the disciplines from my ashram days.” He went on to describe the building anxiety as he questioned his loyalty to the path. “I had learned so much, invested so much time, and I still had great love and respect for our guru. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to let it all go.”
Kuthumi, who had up to now been sitting still as a mountain, but who was watching Herald and Orianne with great compassion, gently lifted a finger into the air. “Tell me,” he began, “is this the moment where you ... went crazy?” and a huge grin overtook his face as he nudged Adamus in the ribs with an elbow. “Because I know a little something about that.”
Everyone in the room, including Herald and Orianne, burst into laughter, because the story of Kuthumi’s mental breakdown was legendary.
“If it was crazy,” said Orianne, “it didn’t last very long.”
“Yes, you followed on all of our heels,” Kuthumi continued, motioning to all the other Ascended Masters in the room, “and that made it easier. But tell me, how did you make it through? Ashrams can be beautiful places. I know from personal experience. But they can also lead people, especially the unbalanced, into limitation.”
“Honestly,” began Herald, “I don’t know … oh shit!” Instantly his hand flew to his mouth in a futile attempt to recapture those last few words.
“It’s okay,” said Adamus chuckling. “There are no bathrooms here, unless you want there to be. But please, do go on. This is amusing.”
“We just sort of let go,” continued Herald. “It was hard at first, but the more we did it, the more we realized the guilt had less hold over us, that the guilt wasn’t us, and it got easier.”
“We also let go of karma, ancestors, and the whole idea that we had to do something or make an effort in order to progress,” added Orianne.
Kuthumi turned to Adamus. “What do you call it?” he whispered.
“Allowing,” Adamus whispered back.
“Yes, if only it had been that easy for us,” said Kuthumi with a sigh.
Herald took a deep breath, which prompted Orianne to do the same. The essence of their story had been told, and they intuitively felt that a moment of silence was the most appropriate way to end.
A beautiful stillness permeated the Ascended Masters Club. Finally, after several long moments, a sweet, almost childlike voice called out from the back of the room with a question: “If you could go back and share what you learned with someone on Earth who is still struggling with their enlightenment, what message would you give them?
“Not to think about things too much,” said Orianne.
“Or not at all,” said Kuthumi. “Because enlightenment is going to happen anyway.”
“Just chill out,” said Herald. “That’s what we’d say in California.”
“And this,” he continued. “Enlightenment is not somewhere out there beyond, like a horizon that never comes any closer, no matter how fast or hard you chase it.”
“Way too mental,” teased Orianne with a poke in his ribs. “Drink wine,” she giggled. “Lots of wine.”
“And rum!” shouted the pirate Master, raising his huge glass in the air.
“And enjoy the senses,” added Herald, “and take lots of deep breaths and trust in your Self. It really is that simple.”
“Aye,” said Adamus, in his best pirate voice, “elegantly simple.”
“Brilliant,” said Kuthumi.
“Indeed,” said Adamus. “I declare that Herald and Orianne have passed the test and are now official members of the Ascended Masters Club!”
Through a chorus of cheers and applause, Herald and Orianne bowed in acknowledgement to the other Ascended Masters.
“Now,” called out Adamus, “comes the most important moment of their induction: the next round of drinks are on Herald and Orianne. Place your orders!”
Three of Alex’s stories appear in the new Stories of the Master book.
Before their (pirate) ship dropped anchor in France, Alex and Namami lived in an ashram in India for several years. Today Namami plays the cello and translates Crimson Circle courses into French. Alex works as a freelance copywriter. He recently finished writing his first novel, The Buddha Club. Alex can be reached via email.