Reverend Don did not seem to mind that I was a couple minutes late to class.

“Meet Two Tones,” he said gesturing towards the artificial blond to my right. Two Tones had the wispy air of an elderly substitute teacher. She had a pillow beneath her feet so that they could touch the floor.

Reverend Don (far right) & company.

“And Emily.” Emily looked mortified at being caught in a class with someone named Two Tones.

We were in the spare 2nd floor room of a Valencia Street Victorian. Blinds covered a view to organic grocers, bearded long-boarders, and angry taxi drivers.  Don perched on a stool in the center of a semi-circle of chairs, most of them empty. He was telling us that our hour long free session would cover three short meditations.

“I want to tell you about my son.” I tuned out, but I already trusted Reverend Don. He had the unpretentious wisdom of an unrelated family friend you grew up calling “uncle.” Or maybe a cult figurehead.

“At Psychic Horizons, we don’t preach any particular creed of religion, of spirituality. We’re here to  guide your personal path search, not dictate one. Now get comfortable—we’re not Zen monks, after all—and close your eyes.”

Our three meditations were punctuated with New Age orders, that, against my better cynicism, I found wonderful. We grounded ourselves in the chair, and felt our energy move towards the Earth’s core, then back up again. We found energy we’d left somewhere else earlier in the day, and brought it back. We centered our aura between the ears, on a spinning golden mass.

“But mine is purple!” Two Tones interjected.

Emily was less enthused, but wanted answers. “I breath all of the time,” she said. “Can you explain what makes meditation different than that?”

Don’s answer was a little circular—she was meditating by breathing, just by being present—but he acknowledged that she might find it unsatisfying. “You’re a rational type—someone who’s into numbers and logic?” She nodded. “They sometimes have trouble with this.”

As a member of that camp myself, I left the training feeling so refreshed I nearly was able to ignore the cost of further trainings–$250 for a couple months of weekly classes. And then there was our walk back to the communal kitchen area, past several empty rooms with chairs in circles, where I had been asked to sign a “release” form. There I also noticed a hazy connection to something called the Church of Natural Grace, with subsequent research on their website seemed a little more fringe then the relaxed seminar we’d just left:

Psychic Horizons is the seminary for the Church of Natural Grace. When you graduate from the clairvoyant training program of Psychic Horizons, you become a member of the Church as well as a licensed minister.

In order to keep your minister’s license current, you must continue to be a member of the Church. Your annual membership renewal automatically renews your minister’s license.

I’m not ready for the ministry yet, but maybe you are. Pyschic Horizons holds Introduction to Meditation classes every Thursday at 7:30 P.M.

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