I was born in Davenport Iowa in a Southern Baptist middle class family. My mother went through a number of marriages before my 5th year of life and then married a man because she decided I needed a full time father. The man never ever was a father for me. He was a civilian attached to the military, so until I was about 17, we lived outside the United States most of the time in various different countries.
I left home at about 17 and returned to the U.S. and worked a job to support myself while I finished my 12th year of high school. When I graduated high school, I went to work at a factory that manufactured steel doors. I worked there for about a year saving as much money as I could. The job taught me that I never wanted to work in such a job again ! And that I needed to get a good education so I would not have to work no brain jobs the rest of my life.
When I had saved suffient funds I quit the job and traveled by ship back to Europe to see my family and and to spend some more time traveling around Europe.
When I eventually ran very low on funds, I joined the American army in Italy. I was in Italy in the Army for a few months while waiting to be sent back to America for basic training. After basic training in New Jersey, I was sent to an electronics school at Fort Monmouth.
The training I received at this school was the equivalent of two years of technical college. After I graduated from the school, I was sent to Germany and I spent the rest of my army time in Europe working in electronics. During my tour of duty there, I traveled around europe visiting still more countries.
I have lived in and or visited about 20 different countries. After leaving the army, I attended college full time for about 2 years, then worked full time and attended college nights for about 8 years to finish my education in electronics. I worked in the electronics industry most of my life, most of that was in research and development, but with time periods of as a manager and a production supervisor. I also learned to be a carpenter, plumber, electrician, roofer, and wood worker.
In the late 60's I left my profession and started a small intentional community on a 160 acre organic farm in Northern Minnesota. This community lasted about 5 1/2 years. During this time I worked doing research with a medical doctor, who also had a PHD in psychiatric therapy, at the Mississippi Headwaters
I have 8 1/2 years experience as an organic farmer, 4 1/2 as a commercial beekeeper, and 5 years as artist/sculptor and arts/crafts person. I have 2 years training in swedish massage, 2 years training in dream analysis (mainly Jungian based), and spent about 10 years doing dream research and teaching dream work.
In 1974, while visiting California on personal business, I was exposed to and taught to use the I Ching. I have been doing in person spiritual readings for myself and for others with the I Ching, as well as studying it and teaching use of the I Ching since that time.
On this trip, I also had a small fairy tale happen to me that caused me to walk uninvited and unannounced into the house of a very spiritually developed woman's home in the Santa Cruz mountains. She was from Israel. She was living in the house with her husband, a disabled Israeli man, and her 6 year old daughter.
When I walked into her home she was sitting on a meditation mat in her living room in the lotus position. Upon seeing me, she immediately said, "I have been waiting for you, what took you so long to arrive here ?" She then said, "Move in with us for a while and I will teach you." Three days later I moved in with them.
After spending several months with her, she told me, "I have taught you what I have to teach you. You must leave now and go home. Another will manifest to teach you more when you are ready. Go forth and teach others who ask to learn, what I have taught you."
I returned to Minnesota and was meditating each day and doing a number of other practices each day. After a few months, a number of people appeared and asked me to teach them.
This situation continued on until December of 1975 when the living situation I was in started to be very difficult and I decided to return to California to live and work as an electronics engineer.
In January of 1976 several strange spiritual events happened to me.
Then about a week before February 14th, Valentine's day, I had a huge fairy tale happen to me and I was escorted by a woman hitch hiker directly into the presence of Muktananda at his ashram in Oakland California. He spoke with me briefly, then He "ordered" me to attend what is called an intensive the following weekend and dismissed me from his presence. (Disciples are initiated at intensives in Siddha Yoga, but I did not know this at the time.)
At my initiation Muktananda imparted shakti pat to me by directly touching me. He awakened my Kundalini, dissolved away my past life's karma and "moved" me into God-consciousness (Enlightenment) for a short time period. Then I re manifested again as an individual soul in my current body again. Several weeks after my initiation, Muktananda offered me a spiritual name and because I had changed so much inside to the point I no longer was the same person any more, I accepted my new name and proceeded to change my name legally to Ganashyam.
What transpired in God-conscious I can not share about, partly because I was not "there", I had died/ceased to exist, and partly because there appears to be no words in any human language that could covey what is there/ how things really are.
It was not an experience as there was no experiencer to have an experience. The best I can share in words is I ceased to exist as an individual being/soul, merged with and became "all that is".
I could share that i became all living beings in bodies, all beings not in bodies, all materials and energies in the universe, but that would not be truth because no "i" existed in God-consciousness and and yet some how, what i had been may have existed "some where/some when/some how as i did re manifested again in my body again, but, i was different in many ways-good ways- i did not exist and i did exist....PARADOX !
In my understanding, a limited mind of a human being is not capable of comprehending or understanding God-consciousness. It also is not capable of understanding most what goes on here, most of the "spiritual laws" that "control" what goes on here and many many other things.
My understandings/experiences say, "no matter how much you learn here, study here, experience here, there will still be "mysteries" until you blossom fully into Enlightenment."
Perhaps the most valuable spiritual information I have to share with others is:
That which many call God actually exists. There are what can be called divine laws that function here. There ARE things to find/experience spiritually and the experiences that those who are "Really" spiritually developed and share/write about can be experienced by each and every one of you.
And when you have found and experienced directly what there is to find yourself, your whole life, who you are and who you think you are will change. You will be much more at peace inside and your life will be much happier. And eventually each of you will blossom fully. To find and experience what is, will require time and effort ! Your direct experiences are what will bring you real growth, not the words of others or words you read in books.
"The Ocean of Light is not reached by sailing down a river of words !"
One Enlightened One, when asked about the value of reading and studing spiritual books was heard to say,"There is a small value to this, the books might assist you to learn to ask a Master a few appropriate questions."
My understanding says, real spiritual growth seldom is made by prayer, by reading scriptures, by listening to and reading books of self-proclaimed spiritual authorities who often have given themselves spiritual names, by those who decided themselves that they are such spiritual authorities that they can write books about spiritual topics/teach others and or by hanging out with self-proclaimed gurus.
In the west countless spiritual books are being written and sold by people who live in the illusion that they are highly developed spiritually and the people read them and accept what is written in them as truths... then add what they have read to their belief systems. To me this is ignorance.
In places like India, spiritual names are not assumed by people, nor are titles like Swami and Guru self-given. The titles are earned and given out by people who actually ARE spiritual authorities, who actually have the spiritual power to give such titles and create direct changes in a person.
Notes: In attempting to understand Karma and Reincarnation, it is logical to turn to the words of eastern teachers and eastern spiritual texts, since it appears this is where the concepts originated. It is also logical to keep in mind, that since it appears that the universe, everything in it, and how everything functions in the universe is so complex, that the normal limited human mind can not comprehend most of it. It also is good to understand that those called Enlightened Beings, who teach about Karma, Reincarnation and other spiritual truths are attempting to share these concepts with humans who have limited minds, and therefore many difficulties in communication are encountered.
I have spent many years since my initiation by Muktananda as a disciple on February 14th 1978 having spiritual experiences, studying various scriptures of various faiths, reading books by those who I sincerely believe are actual "spiritual authorities" on the subjects they write about and have actually been direct presence of a small number of person's who I truly believe are/were fully enlightened, (With some of these, I was only in their direct presence once.).
I began teaching spiritually after leaving my first spiritual teacher and have continued to do so. But, I only teach to those who come directly to me and ask to learn. I have nothing to "sell" to others and have no need to convert others to believing differently than they do.