There are many different ways in which a spiritual aspirant can dedicate their lives in the pursuit of a closer relationship to the Divine.
Whilst some choose to follow a path of seclusion, living life away from the distractions of modern life, most seekers of the truth find they have to integrate the mundane practicalities of economic and domestic survival whilst seeking out the light.
It is for this reason that when light-workers of any persuasion share an account of their lives with the rest of the world the result always makes for interesting reading.
Indeed those who live with one foot in the world of materiality and the other in the sphere of spirituality tend to have the richest and most fascinating stories to tell.
A Lifelong Quest
The search for personal meaning has led author and spiritual teacher J. Jaye Gold to follow his own personal spiritual quest and to help others along the way to discover theirs.
Today he lives and works in the Sierra foothills of Northern California along with several other dozen seekers of truth. For him this is the culmination of a spiritual journey which began when he studied at a 500-year-old experimental Naqshbandi Sufi school in northeastern Afghanistan during his younger years.
Twenty years after the release of his best-selling memoir, Another Heart in His Hand: A Spiritual Anomaly Gold has published further accounts of his life-story in Justin Time: Autobiographical Stories from an American Spiritual Master.
A Diverse World
The spiritual world that Gold came to frequent in later life was tempered by his early upbringing in an atmosphere of great diversity. His grandparents on both sides were combinations of Russian Orthodox Christian, Jewish and Muslim and in his book Gold speaks of his ancestral roots in the small village of Tiburda in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia.
Here the religious divisions between the various groups was not as clearly defined as one might expect with the result that all of these main religions — plus a few other ethnic and religious minorities, co-existed together in relative harmony.
It was from these roots that Gold became inspired to study a wide range of religious and spiritual systems as well as to travel throughout the world seeking adventure and spiritual wisdom.
The result of his travels is that he has accumulated a lifetime of memories, experiences, challenges and revelations that he has been party to over the years whilst meeting a variety of people and infusing into his psyche a range of spiritual traditions.
For him the quest for spiritual meaning is derived from life itself. He believes that it comes via a direct integration with the Divine and so his spiritual teaching is to help lead Westerners toward “intimacy with the ultimate reality, in order to become true servants.”
Our Review of Justin Time by J. Jaye Gold
Justin Time is not a traditional type of linear biography but is instead an eclectic mix of reminiscences and personal anecdotal recollections. For this reason it carries with it a richly diverse account of a life lived to its fullest.
The stories that Gold includes in his book are interesting but more than that they are enjoyable for they also carry within them a strong philosophical dimension. This undercurrent to his writing does not patronise, eulogise nor is it intended to gain followers — it simply is there in order to act as a perspective to the wide variety of experiences that Gold has had along with the lessons it has taught him about himself and life as a whole.
Those who follow Gold's work or who know him personally will, I am sure, enjoy his Justin Time collection immensely. For those who are casual bystanders the book remains both a personal and intimate introduction to a sadly declining type of spiritual master — one who actually gets up off the sofa, pulls their head out books and shuts of technology - all as a way of getting stuck into the dirty business of helping to move humanity into a position in which it better understands itself. Not many are that dedicated!