A Special Meeting
A Meeting with an ECK Master Brings a Gift of Love
When I was ten years old, my life changed.
I was sitting alone on an old couch in a large university student union. Although there were scores of adults around me, I had never felt more alone.
My older brother and I had just left foster care and moved in with my father a couple weeks before. Things were turning out much differently than I had imagined. We immediately moved to a new city, and now I didn’t know anyone except my brother and my dad.
That day, my dad left us at the student union to go downstairs to a bar. My brother found some older boys to shoot pool with and told me he didn’t want a g-i-r-l around. Worse, I was really hungry. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and I had no money.
I missed my foster family terribly. We would have had dinner by now. I missed my granny, who died the year before. But most of all, I missed my mom, although I could scarcely remember her. She died when I was four.
Then a Middle-Eastern man sat down on a chair next to the couch. He was nicely dressed, with slacks, a dress shirt, and a tweed jacket with suede elbow patches. He looked like a professor. I tried not to look at him because I wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers.
Then I heard a gentle voice ask, “Young girl, why are you so sad?”
I couldn’t help looking up, and I found myself staring into the kindest eyes I’d ever seen.
“Where I come from,” he continued, “We don’t allow young girls to be so sad.”
Tears began falling down my face as I told him that I missed my mother and grandmother and that I had no friends. He listened with the greatest empathy.
Then he said, “If you look inside yourself, deep inside yourself, you’ll see that the real you is happy.”
Doubtfully, I looked inside, just as he said. I was surprised to find I could feel the real me. And the real me was happy! I began to smile through my tears. He was delighted.
“That’s it!” he said. “When you smile, the whole world smiles with you!”
Then he pulled out a small, brown paper bag from his pocket, unwrapped a piece of candy, and put it in his mouth.
He handed me the bag and said, “This is candy from my native land, Persia. It’s good for you. It’s made of sesame and honey. Eat some if you like, and you won’t feel so hungry.”
I wondered how he knew I was hungry. But it didn’t take me long to eat the first delicious candy. Immediately, my stomach stopped growling.
As I continued to eat, he asked, “Are you sure you don’t have any friends?”
“Well, a girl at school said she would be my friend,” I replied.
Smiling, he said, “I have something to show you” and took a beautiful silver ring out of his pocket. It was actually three silver rings fit together.
“This is a friendship ring,” he continued. “This is how love and friendship work. They intertwine together like this ring. Remember, if you want to have a friend, you need to be a friend.”
As he showed me how the ring worked, he said, “You know, your brother really does love you.” Then he said he had to go but my father would be back soon.
I wondered, How does he know I have a brother? I didn’t say anything about my brother, did I? And how does he know about my dad? But I didn’t wonder too much. I was too happy.
As he left, he told me to remember all the things we’d talked about. Then he gave me the ring. I was astounded!
“Remember who the real you is, and that you’re really happy inside,” he said. “And if you want to have a friend, you have to be a friend. Love works the same way.”
Then he was gone.
Within a few minutes, both my brother and my dad came back. I happily skipped the whole nine blocks home, the ring clutched in my hand and a wide smile on my face.
Shortly thereafter, the girl from school became my best friend, and I gave her the special ring.
The next few years of my life were so happy. My new friend’s family immediately welcomed me into their home. It didn’t matter if I came over for the afternoon, stayed for dinner, spent the night, or spent the weekend. I was always welcome.
But the experience didn’t end there. Many years later, long after I became a member of Eckankar, I met the same man again.
I had just returned from an Eckankar seminar and hailed a cab to take me home. Climbing into the cab, I noticed the driver was Middle Eastern.
We struck up a conversation, and I soon found myself sharing the experiences of my life. His responses were kind and thoughtful. As we talked, I found myself telling him about my early childhood. I even told him about my mother’s death when I was four.
As I spoke, I wondered why I was telling him all these things. I hadn’t thought about them for a long time.
Suddenly the memory of our first meeting came rushing back to me. This was the same man who’d helped me so long ago!
When he dropped me off at home, I paid him the cab fare and got out of the car. As our eyes met, a wave of love washed over me, and I realized this was an ECK Master! It had taken me forty years to realize what a great gift I had been given.
Later on, I put all the pieces together. The Middle-Eastern man was the ECK Master Shamus-i-Tabriz!
My meetings with this ECK Master changed my whole life. At our first meeting, he helped me open my heart to love. Forty years later, with my heart filled with love and happiness from the ECK seminar, he returned to help me remember.
I’m so grateful to this ECK Master for taking the time to teach me about the real me--Soul, a divine spark of God. His many gifts helped me discover the true meaning of love.
Excerpted from the 2009 Eckankar Journal, copyright © 2008 ECKANKAR. All rights reserved.