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Columns Soul on Fire

Soul on Fire: North County’s quest for enlightenment

Welcome to Soul on Fire, a biweekly column highlighting North County’s quest for enlightenment. We are going to pose a few burning questions as we embark on this journey. We will ask the age-old query: “What is Enlightenment?”

Webster’s defines enlightenment as the action or state of attaining or having attained spiritual knowledge or insight. OK. Well then, why are so many on a quest for spiritual knowledge? How is it that there are so many spiritual pilgrims congregated in North County? Is there really a spiritual vortex in Encinitas that attracted the likes of Parmahansa Yogananda to the ocean bluff where the famous Meditation Gardens grace the planet and was it the same vortex that drew Max Heindel to Oceanside to construct the curious dome shaped Rosicrucian Ecclesia that perches on a mount overlooking the Pacific triangle between the Prince of Peace Benedictine Abby to the north and the San Luis Rey Mission to the east?

On any given day we can say with confidence that the folks of San Diego, and North County in particular, will be attending a spiritual concert or group gathering, some sort of transformational speaking engagement or retreat, teaching or attending a metaphysical class, visiting a shop that sells crystals and Buddha statues and all things magical, be practicing a mindfulness program, recovery group, coaching or being coached, be a recipient of a reiki service, dipped in a cryo session, getting or giving a massage or acupuncture service, practicing breath work in a yurt or yoga on a paddle board and the list goes on.

An extraordinary amount of evidence suggests that our conception of spirituality is undergoing enormous change. Personal testimonies to belief in a higher power are now regularly proclaimed, not from church pews, but in cancer support groups, meditation centers, and wellness treks, not to mention Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups. In books and magazine articles, at weekend retreats, and in hotel seminar rooms, spiritual enlightenment, communication with angels, and conversations with God before returning from the dead are no longer uncommon. Many world famous mystics, (a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect) have converged on North County in what Deepak Chopra has befittingly dubbed “The Sweet Spot of the Universe,” to bring their particular message of God consciousness to the masses.

We are witnessing a spiritual awakening unprecedented in modern times, and The Coast News wants to be a vehicle to expose that quest for enlightenment. I’ve been assigned the task of cruising around North County and surrounding areas to uncover the mysterious and the esoteric.

We will visit vortexes and ashrams, temples and abbeys, the occult and the curious as well as the hidden and sacred. We will bring these local treasures to our readership as we journey through eras and Divine Kingdoms. We will interview gurus and their devotees, visit communes and learn about their beliefs and what brought them there. It will be a ride on a magic carpet of higher consciousness from the sublime to the mundane. We will be working on our own quest to uncover not only the areas of enlightenment but what drives the soul of man on this spiritual awakening.

When we get done, if that’s even possible, we may be closer than when we began to understand the meaning of life and quench the thirst of the soul seeker by exposing our interested reader to a realization plethora as we search our collective souls and take a taste the sublime one spiritual center at a time. You are never far from enlightenment. Just keep an open mind and heart and sit back while we explore what makes the human spirt soar with happiness, joy and inner bliss right here in our own backyard. Stay tuned for our next article as we travel to the International Headquarters of the Oceanside Rosicrucian Fellowship, also known as Mystical Christianity, to explore the center and their beliefs. In the meantime, keep doing what sets YOUR Soul on Fire!