IT IS ABOUT
7:30 PM in mid-April, 1994 and I am sitting in the second-row
aisle seat of a large round room in a small town called
Faber in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia.
I have come to a place called Synchronicity Sanctuary
to meet Master Charles, a man who is described as a
contemporary mystic and Master of meditation.
it is a mixture of curiosity and a compelling sense
of destiny that brings me to this remote place, after
spending the last 25 years of my life in close connection
with a well-known Eastern Master. At the moment, however,
what I notice is that my heart is pounding out of my
chest and I am buzzing all over with electric energy.
Thirty minutes remain before Master Charles is scheduled
to arrive, and I am sitting on the edge of my seat,
enveloped in an expanding awareness that can barely
be contained. Minutes pass while others enter and find
their seats, yet I remain nearly transfixed by an energy
that keeps pouring into me and through me. It is pleasure
almost to the point of unbearable ecstasy.
music begins to fill the room from huge speakers placed
on opposite sides. It is a sweet rendition of "Guru
Ram Dass," I am told later, that is used as Master Charles'
entrance music. As everyone stands, I watch him enter
through a side entrance and walk down the aisle past
me to a seat on a slightly raised platform in front
of the room. I cannot feel anything at all now; my eyes
are glued to his form as he seats himself and the music
slowly fades into the sound of ocean waves.
is dimly lit and a deep, musky scent fills the air.
A spotlight barely illuminates his face as he begins
to say softly, "I take this opportunity to welcome you...
in the awareness of our Oneness." I am taking in his
every word and gesture with my eyes, while I feel my
heart melting and my head reeling, opiated beyond understanding.
I am drunk and I do not know why
or how. I am confused and I don't care. I want more
and yet I am beyond all wanting. Everything inside me
that is truthful is saying, "Pay attention, you are
in the presence of your destiny."
do not happen to me. Others have related to me their
experiences in similar terms, but my spiritual life
has been, for the most part, ordinary and unexceptional.
Twenty-five years of diligent meditation have yielded
much transformation and unfolding to be sure, but nothing
like this has ever appeared in my life. I float through
the rest of the two-hour meeting in a cloud of bliss,
happy without reason or past or future.
He is many-faceted
in his presentation that evening. There is sober commentary
on the importance of meditative experience, peppered
with lively and often hysterically funny insights into
the myriad ways people misinterpret masters. Every major
spiritual tradition is acknowledged in satirical form.
Current events are analyzed in the light of their overblown
importance, and a celebratory atmosphere overtakes the
room. For a time, he becomes the cosmic jester, using
body language, gestures, and all manner of facial expressions
to underscore the endless entertainment that is the
I am confronted with an enigma. Obviously sitting before
me is a most potent transmitter of spiritual energy
and purity of intention, but without the air of aloof
inaccessibility and cultural elitism I had so often
experienced in the presence of Eastern masters. Here
was someone from my own culture, unpretentious and available,
fully aware and connected to modern life in all its
complexity, who had most demonstrably realized the full
potential of life. It was apparent that I had a lot
of unlearning to do.
half stumbling out of the hall that evening back to
the country road that led to the guesthouse I was staying
in. It was a warm April night and the air was fragrant
with the scent of apple blossoms, green woods, and the
musky scent of perfume that clung to my clothing from
the meeting room. The Milky Way shone clear in the sky
above me and I walked weightlessly and carefree the
short half mile to my room. My mind was expanded and
subtle electricity vibrated all over my body. Master
Charles' entrance music still played on in my ears and
I felt full. Nothing needed to be done or could have
been added to This.
in my room, I remembered having promised my wife a phone
call after the meeting to share with her my new experience,
as she was unable to join me for the weekend program
due to a prior commitment. We talked, and as I attempted
to convey to her some of what I had seen and felt, she
stopped me in mid-sentence to share her own experience.
What she had to say was remarkable. During the hours
I was in the meeting with Master Charles, she had felt
an experiential awareness that mirrored my own. The
very same opening of the heart... the expansion of awareness
and dizzying opiation... everything! Her words literally
completed the story I had begun to tell her when I called!
We were stunned by this realization and simultaneously
recognized the immense importance of this synchronicity.
Little did we know at that moment how radically our
lives were about to shift.
As the summer
drifted by, we were anxious to return to Master Charles,
together this time, and move deeper into the process
that had begun so magically a few months before. In
August, we committed ourselves to a week-long in-residence
program with Master Charles. My wife was five months
pregnant and it seemed the fullness that she was becoming
on the outside mirrored the awareness we were both becoming
on the inside. We were both immediately captivated by
the power of the energy that constantly reverberated
throughout the sanctuary, and which was most intense
in Master Charles' presence. It was an undeniable experience
of blissful intoxication, at once crystal clear and
euphoric while intensely purifying.
felt what must have been years or lifetimes of habitual
patterns of stagnation and fear rise to the surface
and dissipate in an instant. This was no mild or meek
contemplative oasis, but rather a full-on, intense expansion
of awareness and clearing catalyzed by the presence
of a living Source so potent that not even a stone could
remain unmoved. Added to this was Master Charles' system
of contemporary meditation: a cutting edge application
of sound technology he had originated some 25 years
earlier under the name of Synchronicity High-Tech Meditation.
It was the first and only meditative system I knew of
that required no instruction or preparation. I saw people
who had never been exposed to anything like meditation,
put on a set of headphones and within minutes experience
the subtle energy and expanded awareness that normally
come only after months or years of practice.
a 25-year practitioner and teacher of meditation in
the traditional Eastern model, had moved light years
beyond my previous experience when first introduced
to Synchronicity technology. It was that encounter which
first drew me to investigate further into what or who
was behind it all.
At the conclusion
of the week's program at Synchronicity, Master Charles
took a moment or two to individually bid each participant
farewell. Usually, I was told, there is an embrace and
a few words are exchanged. Awaiting my turn, I stood
next to my wife watching each person say their good-byes
while beautiful harp music, reserved only for these
occasions, filled the room. It was a heart-opening moment
for me, and as my time came to walk over to where he
stood, an impulse arose in my awareness that I had noticed
in the background throughout the week. Though it came
out of a very pure place within me, I dared not entertain
it then, knowing that in its fruition, my life would
be radically and inalterably changed, pulling my wife
and yet unborn child along with me.
I found myself before Master Charles with a simple piece
of fruit in hand as a token offering. He accepted it
gracefully, acknowledging the gift, and invited me into
a brief but warm embrace. His energy seemed to move
right through me, enlivening and uplifting every particle
of my being. I felt a mixture of joyous ecstasy and
sweet sadness welling up as tears filled my eyes. Then,
looking directly at him, I thanked him for the uncountable
gifts and blessings I had received since I first met
him. At that moment, as I spoke, my soul's intention
rushed forth, placing words on my lips I could not say
to myself but could not withhold from him. "It's my
intention to move here with my family and be with you,"
I said. His face lit up with a broad smile. "Just have
the intention and see what happens," he answered. I
thanked him and returned to my seat.
wave of emotion moved through me, from joyous ecstasy
to the pain of separation. I realized that in stating
my intention to him, I had revealed to myself what I
really wanted, a desire both noble and seemingly impossible.
Here I was, a householder with a child on the way --
not the most opportune time to make such a choice. And
yet, I found myself doing just that. The means were
unclear and the timing beyond knowing, but the
intention was clear. And, with his assistance, I believed
the way would reveal itself.
As he prepared
to leave the room, the now familiar music began and
I stood next to the aisle to be near him one last time.
As he passed, something occurred that was beyond my
understanding at the time but since then has revealed
itself to me. He reached out and touched my shoulder
briefly with his hand.
soon after that farewell proved to be the start of the
most difficult trial I have ever faced (and hopefully
will ever face) in my entire life. Fresh from my confession
that I intended to move my family and be in his company,
I was filled with joyful expectations of support from
all sides, allowing me to gradually extricate myself
from a three-job work life and a large, expensive suburban
home. My wife and I excitedly discussed the possibilities
of beginning a new life and I imagined arriving at Synchronicity
in a position to purchase a nice country home and become
self-sufficient, offering my services to Master Charles
as I was able.
It was not
to be. In fact, piece by piece, everything I had acquired
or accomplished began to fall away, as if by design.
Three jobs became two, and then one. I scrambled to
find work as the floor seemed to collapse beneath my
feet. The faster I ran, the further I had to reach,
and it seemed that my world was reflecting back to me
a picture that I could not (or would not) look at. With
a family to support, it was an extremely difficult and
Over a period
of two years, I went through a journey to hell and back
a hundred times. Every attempt at keeping up the facade
of my life as a suburban householder, resulted in failure
and bitter disappointment. The more stubbornly I held
on to an idealized vision of material success as my
savior and goal, the more elusive it became. Through
it all, I maintained contact with Master Charles via
facilitators who phoned me regularly with questions
and messages from him about my process. These contacts
served as my oasis in the dry and dark times, keeping
the thread of my faith in life alive in my heart when
everything else was reflecting the futility of my efforts
back to me.
SOMETIME IN THE autumn of 1996, I surrendered.
IT IS DECEMBER 1996 and there is a 26-foot moving van
in the driveway of my five-bedroom suburban home. All
our possessions are packed in boxes and, along with
my wife and daughter, we are finally setting out on
our journey to fulfill the intention I had stated to
Master Charles two years before. What lay ahead for
us was unknown. I had secured a job as chef in a local
restaurant as a means of providing us with enough income
to rent a nice chalet-style house in the woods on some
farm property near the Synchronicity Sanctuary. That
and other odd jobs served us for a little more than
a year, as we gradually spent more and more time at
that as long as I maintained my status as a "community
member," with typical householder responsibilities,
there would never be an opportunity to work closely
with Master Charles and address the real purpose for
which I had moved close to him. I pondered my position
and the gap between where I found myself and where I
really wanted to be. It seemed that I had come to an
impasse... I had to support my family and yet I felt
increasingly drawn to direct contact with Master Charles
as a primary focus.
one afternoon, a phone call came. It was Master Charles'
personal assistant, an Australian woman I knew well
from my previous times at the sanctuary. She was calling
on Master Charles' behalf to convey his request that
I meet with him as soon as possible. Of course, I agreed
and we set up an evening appointment later that week.
I could only imagine why he wanted to meet with me,
and my mind was filled with anticipation and excitement.
As I packed
my briefcase on the way out the door, I allowed myself
the luxury of not-knowing. I relieved myself of the
need to prepare and let whatever was to happen unfold
by itself. It was out of my hands, anyway. I drove up
the long, steeply sloping gravel road to his residence
on the top of a small mountain. I followed the instructions
I was given to enter through the front portico into
a slate-floored entranceway, removed my shoes, and climbed
a short, winding staircase to Master Charles' reception
I was struck
by the subtle, almost dizzying expansion of awareness
that I noticed as I entered into his personal space.
A beautiful stained glass mandala overlooked a glass
case filled with mementos and precious objects from
his years of journeying with his teacher, the renowned
Eastern mystic Paramahansa
Muktananda. I was soon greeted by a personal assistant,
graciously offered tea, and invited to join Master Charles
on his enclosed porch. I was led through a hallway and
office space to a sliding glass door that opened to
where he was waiting. Each step towards him was another
step up in the increasing intensity I felt as my moment
with him approached. My heart was pounding noticeably
and my breathing was deliberate and deep. I felt I needed
all the air I could draw in.
As I entered,
the way he was seated revealed his profile, and as he
turned towards me and spoke my name in greeting, the
meltdown began. I felt my control begin to relax as
the energy that he is penetrated deeply through
all my attempts at propriety. I sat facing him full-on
and felt as vulnerable and open as a child. It would
not have mattered what he asked in that moment, I would
have said "yes."
by asking how my family and I were doing. I replied
that we were happy and adapting to our new lives in
the country. He nodded his approval and then, indicating
he had something of importance to address , began to
speak again. "What I have in mind," he said, "is to
see if you would have an interest in being the introductory
speaker at our retreat programs here, orienting people
to this place and its purpose. Of course, you would
also speak about me and my role here and generally assist
people in understanding the value of spending time here
with me. Also, you could facilitate other aspects of
our programs and come on board as a full-time staff
I was thrilled
beyond all my hopes. Here finally, was a chance to use
all my teaching skills honed through fifteen years as
a college professor, in a context which really spoke
to my heart and soul. I said I would speak to my wife
about it and let him know within 24 hours, but that
it was a virtual certainty. He seemed satisfied with
my response and then said, "What about your support
and home? We should take a look at what you need." I
was deeply touched by his concern. I knew he was an
eminently practical person down to the detail who left
no area unaddressed. I told him I had been working odd
jobs and managing to keep the rent paid, but really
preferred to be free from householder responsibilities
and give all my focus to him. He said, "If you no longer
want to keep up a house, you shouldn't have to... give
me a few days and let me see what I can do." Those words
brought home the reality of what was about to happen.
Who could have imagined? A Master who wanted
me to work directly with him and was willing to help
create a practical way for me to do it, family and all!
The tide had turned and I was standing joyfully at the
start of a new life for me and my family.
IT IS JUST BEFORE eight pm on a Sunday evening in early
February, 1998. I am sitting in the back row of the
same room I sat in when I first met Master Charles.
It is the opening night of the Mastery Program, a seven
day intensive experience of meditation and conscious
living under the direct guidance of Master Charles.
The hall is filled with people and Om Namah Shivaya,
a meditative soundtrack, plays softly in the background.
At the stroke of eight, I get up from my seat and walk
slowly down the far left aisle to the front of the room,
where I remove the microphone from its stand and bring
it to my lips. A bright spotlight is shining in my eyes
and I squint to see out into the rows of people who
have come from all over the world to experience the
energetic transmission of a contemporary mystic. I begin
to speak, "On behalf of Master Charles and the Synchronicity
community, I welcome you to this Mastery Program." I
am clutching carefully made notes in my right hand,
but by now, with days of preparation, I no longer need
them. For the next half hour, I am a detached witness
of my own words, watching without thought as they flow
through my lips. A warm, expanded, opiated sensation
overtakes me as I tell the group of newcomers and regulars
the principles of Mastership and its inestimable value
for the meditators' journey. Nearly thirty minutes pass
in an instant, and the reflection of headlights from
Master Charles' car appears through the back window
of the hall. I quickly conclude and find my seat as
the now familiar entrance music begins.
stands and awaits the Master's entrance. As he slips
silently into the room, the already pulsating energy
steps up noticeably and again I am transfixed, an iron
filing drawn to a magnet. As he takes his seat, the
music slowly fades, first into ocean waves and then
into the special harp music played as Master Charles
welcomes each guest individually with an embrace. I
take my place at the back of the line and await my turn.
As I approach him, he smiles and gestures with a graceful
movement of his arms. We embrace for a few moments and
I offer a small gift, which he accepts. Then, looking
directly into my eyes he asks, "How was your debut?"
with a whimsical expression in his voice. I smile and
answer the only answer I could in that sweetest of moments,
was great." And it was.
I was flying
high, intoxicated by my own neurochemicals, the enhanced
release of which, Master Charles explained, is a natural
outcome of both meditation and the energetic transmission
one experiences in the company of a Master. He spoke
of this phenomenon and many others in the evening's
discourse that followed the welcoming. He spoke also
of the freedom that can be found whenever one is totally
present, here and now, in any moment. But the nature
of the mind, he said, is to pull us back into our life-negative
history, interpreting and judging what is happening
based on stored "data" accumulated from the past rather
than direct experience. Thus, we are trapped in an imbalanced
cycle of habitual and fraudulent patterns of thinking
and action, based on the predominance of the mind.
he said, is the primary tool for creating balance and
allowing us to experience a more expanded awareness
which keeps us focused in the present moment. With regular
practice, expanded awareness becomes more and more constant,
and the enlightening state of being can be lived as
one's moment to moment experience. Under the tutelage
of someone who is living constantly in such an enlightening
state of awareness, a person can move very quickly to
balance, bringing the journey full circle. The candle
now becomes a torch, fully capable of assisting others
in their own process and passing on the light from one
generation to the next. So it was with Master Charles
in his journey with his teacher, Muktananda. The Master-disciple
relationship is as contemporary as it is traditional.
Whatever the language and context, the basic principle
is always the same.
it is the new millennium. I find myself today at nearly
fifty years of age. My entire adult life has been dedicated
to this one purpose. It is challenging, to be sure,
since the culture in which we live does not honor such
a way of life. We have no cultural basis or context
for Mastership. There is no "Hero's Journey" outside
the framework of material or objective accomplishment.
So, it is a solitary journey for anyone serious about
it. Living with an enlightening Master in a community
of like-minded individuals with a daily life centered
around conscious living and meditation, is for me the
most truthful way to actualize my own intention. It
is a simple life, free from distractions and highly
focused. My family and friends sometimes ask about the
seeming sacrifice of "personal freedom." I answer that
personal freedom is merely a mental construct. In practical
terms, the freedom to do whatever one pleases does not
deliver any significant experience of real freedom.
People remain unhappy regardless of wealth, leisure
time, any attainment of skill or knowledge, or any other
real freedom means living life in each moment, as it
unfolds, without concepts or conditions. It is a life
very few choose because it requires an orientation and
re-prioritization of life that is, in many ways, antithetical
to our modern Western culture. And yet, it is always
available whenever one is truly focused upon self-mastery.
The miracle of this life continues to unfold for me
on daily basis.
2000 Alan Scherr.
his wife Kia, and daughter Naomi have been actively involved
in the Synchronicity community since moving to Maryland
in 1996. Prior to that, Alan and Kia had been regular
program participants, as was Naomi, in utero. Before
meeting Master Charles, Alan was affiliated with the Transcendental
Meditation organization for 25 years as a practitioner,
teacher, and program facilitator. He was also a university
faculty member in the art departments of the University
of Maryland and Loyola College. Presently, Alan serves
as president and administrative council member of Synchronicity
RELATED PAGES ON THIS SITE
reference page on Master Charles. Biography, book recommendations,
and links to articles and other sites.
reference page on machines that help induce meditative
states. Overview, book recommendations, and many links
to articles and sites.