“Transfiguring Angels”

I was miserable as a lawyer.

It was the 1990s, and I was working at the Staff Attorney’s Office for the U.S. Court of Appeals, in Atlanta, Georgia, and had started closing the door to my office and pulling up files with drafts of my poems. I still marvel about how I got there to that office, and how I got out. In college, I’d fallen in love with poetry, with the Romantics and Transcendentalists and wanted to become a poet. But at the same time, I discovered another tradition, which pulled me in a different direction. I discovered yoga and meditation and was initiated into a Tantrik lineage of yogic practice. After several years, I began to feel that I had a calling to become a yogic monk—a homeless, celibate ascetic and revolutionary spiritual teacher. I gave up poetry, classical guitar, and a thousand other cherished attachments and was on my way to India for training and to take my final vows as a monk. I would never see the U.S. or my family again.