The room was bathed in a butter-tinted glow from the twinkling glass votive candles and bronze ghee lamps. The air was perfumed by exotic scents of sandalwood, jasmine and ylang-ylang. Long-stemmed roses and lilies in asymmetrical vases framed the dais where my guru sat cross-legged, and draped in a birch-wood colored shawl, lopsided around his shoulders. I approached him, kneeled, handed him a single yellow rose and a book by David Sedaris titled Me Talk Pretty Someday, with a note attached, then bowed my head to the floor at his feet, lingering there long enough for a silent and earnest prayer for help to surrender. The note I’d handed him was handwritten, informing him that the book I’d just offered, though he was not obligated to read it, was one of my favorites; and that, although I was not flattering myself at all, I would one day like to write in Sedaris’s style and format, imagining short, candid, humorous essays about my life as a student in his (my guru’s) school. It would be a hybrid, I explained, of Sedaris’s book and Rudi:14 Years with My Teacher, a contemporary spiritual classic by John Mann. As I raised my head, my teacher leaned forward to hand me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (prasad, they call this ritual exchange of gifts between devotee and guru), and said, “If you write it, I’ll publish it.”

Claustrophobic, in a passenger van circa Chitty Chitty Bang Bang not a year later, careening pell-mell through a hot dust bowl of a southern India town, a baker’s dozen of us were swaddled and pinned in saris and dhotis, sweat soaked, with water bottles in a rainbow of colors slung over our shoulders—a conspicuous medley of Western devotees on pilgrimage. My guru, the master of ceremonies, was seated directly across from me, his voice booming above and through the chitty and bang bang: “Tarini, I want you to write . . . and don’t hold . . . tell it like . . . you always do, and don’t . . . punches . . . or your wicked humor,” he said, as the cacophony of Indian traffic swallowed his words whole by twos and threes. This was day fourteen in India. I looked and felt every bit the horse that had been ridden hard and put away wet. My senses were on overload, my mind a bowl of unfocused mush, and my nerves a jumble of exposed wires. Then, the sound of my guru’s voice hollering—actually roaring—at me to “Write!” and “Tell it like it is, don’t pull any punches, and don’t lose your wicked sense of humor” jolted me, like the victim of a lightning strike now grounded to the earth…

Be That Which Nothing Can Take Root In

Tarini Bauliya was a buckskin-wearing naturalist, a fitness guru, a model and an insecure single mother before she met her spiritual teacher, the American-born Lee Lozowick, who turned her life around. She has been published in spiritual journals, and currently does sales consultation and freelance writing on such topics as marketing, health, wellness and natural medicine. She teaches “Story-Selling”©—the art of transforming sellers and buyers into values-aligned peers who work together on behalf of consumers.
She lives on an organic farm in the Pacific Northwest—sans buckskins.

A memoir of one woman’s life

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Saved From Enlightenment: The Memoir of an Unlikely Devotee

A memoir of one woman’s life viewed through the lens of her relationship with her spiritual teacher of over 20 years. Her candid, touching & humorous stories are told in a voice that is authentic, wry & irreverent, yet always colored with the note of longing for God that characterized her quest for something “real” from earliest childhood. As she elaborates on various stepping stones and stumbling blocks encountered on her journey—including the birth of her son, several failed relationships and her wild and highly successful ride as a national sales executive—her stories uniquely parallel the steps of any traditional spiritual path aimed at human transformation. They also help to dispel the myths and expose the assumptions about “enlightenment” —and other fantasy solutions to the hard work of simply being human—that are so common on “the Path.” She does this by shedding an honest, heartfelt light on the real gifts & graces of her soul’s journey—a teaching of profound wisdom, a community of other dedicated devotees, and a guru who would not let her settle for less than her own intrinsic goodness. The author received this spiritual name from her guru—the American Baul master Lee Lozowick—at her own request. A few years into her 20+-year apprenticeship with him, she was ready to make a serious break with her past and to enter into a relationship of dedicated spiritual practice and service. Her request for a new name (it translates loosely as “Mad Wind Friend”) was symbolic of that transformational leap of faith. In his company, she candidly admits, she found an access point toward fulfillment of her hunger for God. Lee Lozowick (1943-2010) was an iconoclast and founder of the Western Baul path. He was the lyricist and lead singer in a rock band and a blues band, and led his troupe all over the States, Europe & India, sharing his “work-rock” music in street festivals and concert halls for over 20 years. When Tarini stumbled into his company, his effect on her life was both confronting & transformational. In the end, she reports, she was “saved from enlightenment” among other invaluable treasures, by the grace of God and skillful means of a worthy teacher. Other seekers, on any spiritual path, will find here a story that can leave a smile, a question, and a small wound on a tender heart. Her words will rekindle the longing that so many feel for a connection to their own deepest truth.

 

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