Initiation: My Very First (seemingly unsuccessful) Meditation
It was 4th of July weekend, 1966, and after attending a meditation lecture on the UCLA campus, I had signed up to receive my personal mantra and learn how to meditate. The lecturer - who seemed extremely peaceful - had said it would change my life in all sorts of wonderful ways and I was looking forward to it with high expectations. He had advised those of us who had signed up to remain free of any mind altering substances - including alcohol - for two weeks, which I did, up until the night before my "initiation." But there was a beach party at Malibu that night, and I imbibed a few beers or cups of wine or something
The morning after, I showed up at the meditation center a little hungover, but considering I was 18 and it was the 60s, it could have been worse. The teacher took me into a small room with incense and candles burning, and fruit and flowers decorating the small alter. As we sat there in front of the alter, he did a little ceremony in Sanskrit, offering up the fruit and flowers I had brought as part of the initiation. When he finished, he gave me my mantra and told me how to use it.