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Rev. Atindra Gibbs (1951-2017)

My Journey to Embracing Interfaith

    Atindra is a story teller, and he gives you a story about his discovery of Interfaith and so…

Rev. Atindra Gibbs    The beginning of my search for inner clarity or meaningful clarity goes back to my early childhood.  At the age of about 5 years old  I remember walking in a nearby field of tall dry grass that I frequented often in the sunny summer days in solitary meanderings.

    One particular day I had a deep conversation with my inner Self.  I did not know of the depths of my search at that time of life, but I never forgot that brief moment, and never will.  I questioned myself on hopes and dreams and the meaning of life.  Intuitively I knew that helping others was my path, but I had not an inkling idea of how to do so.  However, the question was loud and clear, “How can I help others in a healthy way?”

    I thought about joining the army and quickly erased that idea as I might have to carry a real gun and hurt people…this is not helping in a healthy way.  I thought about the Peace Corps. I had somehow heard about, but at 5 years old I had a fear that if I went to foreign lands I might get lost and a great fear came up around that idea….so I was left to ponder this question for many a year growing up to adulthood, which took many a twist and turn of events that no one could have foreseen…except our Creator.

   Looking back I see clearly the picture of my inner and outer struggle with the true meaning of life, searching deep in my soul for a true path forward in service to all, everyone.  Little did I know then how this would unfold.   Ah, the twists and turns of life…..

   Through a path of addiction to drugs and alcohol to the brink of death, and a path of recovery I found myself learning more about the importance of service to others and healthy service to self.  One of my favorite sayings is, “fix the boat, then cross the river.” 

   Through physical injuries, including back, neck and brain traumas I deepened my understanding of the roadblocks to services that people with different disabilities encounter.

   My desire for service in the recovery field, nudged by others who saw something in me waiting to blossom that I could not see or comprehend, led me back to school to earn a certificate in Addiction Studies at JFK University in 1989.  I also took Integral Yoga Teacher Training in 1989 and Advanced Teacher Training in 1990 shortly after a motorcycle crash which propelled me into deeper trainings, knowledge in other areas of networking and advocacy in many different areas; HIV/AIDS, Deaf Services, Co-Occurring Disability Services to name a few.

    I  also developed a strong desire to be working with inmates in jail and prison, an environment I was “experience familiar” with during the active depth of my addictive diseases.

   So, my outward journey and my inward journey have weaved together to form a beautiful tapestry of service to the Divine and humankind.

   In 1996, after floating in search for my One Teacher, I found Her in Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known today as Amma, “the hugging saint.”  It was Amma who named me Atindra, which means, “beyond the senses” or “beyond duality.”  Amma knows I have struggled almost to the death with sense gratification, but she also knows that I have had brief glimpses of “beyond duality in meditation" - just a few tastes of the truth beyond comprehension on a worldly level.

   Entering my path with Interfaith was a natural flow for me.  My teen years found Yoga and Eastern Philosophy pulling me inward for more answers…knowing that “Truth is One, Paths are Many” is the basis of my Hindu faith or Sanatana Dharma - Universal Religion.  Both manifest and un-manifest divinity was embraced by my Inner Self, quenching the five year old's questions and ponderances of life’s true meaning…answered in Amma’s simple yet divine presence….the answers are here and now, always. 

   Interfaith also is inclusive in this way, and why I am so attracted to the “integral” nature of religions as being both different and yet inseparable. A “sameness” at the bedrock of all inner paths.  It is like the bicycle wheel…many spokes separate yet connected and inter-dependant on each other for balance….this is the beauty of diversity…some like chocolate, some prefer strawberry!  How about a chocolate-covered-strawberry???  Sounds delicious to me!!!

    My search, discovery and implementation of: Interfaith Ministry, Yoga, Meditation, and Counseling… This was the answer for my five year old searcher.  Teaching other souls lost in “Indra,” or the material world, to find the answers within. By the Grace of our one Creator, I am given the perfect answer to this young one’s unselfish desire.  ”Keep looking within, the answers are here.” 

   Oh, and knowing the perfection in Atindra’s not knowing…. It is so, and so it is.  And I am who I am.   I am you and you are me and we are all together…in “The Interfaith Circle.”

Rev. Atindra Gibbs  -

The Interfaith Circle at The Home of Truth ~ 1300 Grand Street, Alameda, CA 94501 ~ Phone: 510-481-5599 ~