Tracing my Spiritual Unfoldment by Manatita

manatita
manatita | Source
18 years old, perhaps.
18 years old, perhaps.

“Whatever takes place in the divine Providence is not only for the best,

but also inevitable, because there is no alternative." -Sri Chinmoy.

Eternity’s Breath, (1972), Agni Press.

Strange, and perhaps remarkable, that I do not remember much of that day in the spring of 1983, for in my soul it was a most noteworthy evening, and I was filled with joy. It was in an ordinary-looking high school called PS 86, on the corner of Parson’s Boulevard/Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, Queens, New York, where I first met Sri Chinmoy. This was one of many such evenings, and I had felt quite happy, at home and at peace. What I remember most was my meeting with Ashrita, that exuberant persona of a human being, whom I was to meet numerous times later and sometimes when I was experiencing a great need in life.

What I asked him then, I do not recall, but perhaps it was about his inner relationship with Sri Chinmoy. In any case, I remember his short and inspirational answer fairly well. “I am feeling Him right now, I always do.” He said to me, pointing to his heart.

I joined the Sri Chinmoy Centre on the 1st October, 1982, in London, and went to New York the following year. This was my first trip to Queens, NY, and it helped to further cement a conscious and eternal relationship with my Guru, Sri Chinmoy.

*****


Manatita
Manatita

I was born Cecil Kingsley Hutchinson, in a beautiful little village called Hermitage, in the Parish of St Patrick’s, Grenada, West Indies. This wonderful paradise, with its colourful flora and delightful beaches, is still known as the Isle of Spice and everything nice. Nevertheless, I cannot truly say that the hurricane, Janet, in 1955, was quite so nice. I was just three years old then, and I believe my auntie sought shelter, while shielding me in her arms, beneath the counter of my grandfather’s shop. Away from shelter, the torrential rain, blistering winds and storm raged furiously and continuously outside.

I had a very beautiful childhood. I do not know why it should be so, for my mother had very little money, needed support from others to help bring me up, and was a single 'mom'. She became pregnant while still at school and not quite seventeen. As a consequence of her being so young and with child, she was forced to seek support from elsewhere, as my grandfather was totally unforgiving at that time.

Old Montague, what an honourable yet strict man he was! He worked hard all his life, dabbled at everything and succeeded at nothing, save perhaps a loving relationship with his noble wife – my grandmother - who lived and died with him, both in their seventies. We, the children and grandchildren, loved them both dearly. I was also fond of our devoted dog called Mylo.

I can still remember my joy of going to the lands or 'garden’, as we called it, my bathing in the river with other boys, and the telling of Anancy (folklore) stories. This we sometimes did deep into the night, with the cool breeze of the nutmeg, banana and palm trees showering their grace upon us. We were also grateful for the life-force of the pipe water from our bubbling springs, to quench our thirst, throats parched from telling stories for a very long time. To this day I have not tasted water so cool and so life-nourishing.


Kindergarten children in Tanzania
Kindergarten children in Tanzania | Source

How I loved those times: the catching of the crayfishes from beneath the river stones, the boys taking it in turns to cook ‘steam-down’ breadfruit, crayfish and dumplings, crab and callaloo, rice and peas, and other national dishes. We sometimes ate on the same plate, or shared the same dish, and occasionally shared the same bed when having an afternoon nap. We also enjoyed playing marbles in our yard, while we listened to the crowing of the 'cocks' (roosters) from the coop beneath the house. Some forty to forty-five years ago, and in a small country village paradise, we were all so innocent! All the trappings of this modern life were so alien to us!

These reminiscences are part of what I mean by having a very beautiful childhood. Of course we fought as boys would, played cricket, drove recklessly down hills on home-made carts, spun tops, dug for miniature turtles in the ground, and did many other crazy things in the late fifties and early sixties. Down in Grenville, in the Parish of St Andrew’s, we played football in the Park, went to late night movies, or could easily be found “liming” on the streets and bridges on a hot day. Throughout all this my mother allowed me freedom, and perhaps I was also a very willing boy. I remember always wanting to go to school, to do good, to help, and to be cheerful.

We were a loving family, but although I was never short of food in what was essentially a small agricultural country, I was the first of seven children and my mother’s financial position was never that brilliant, even at the best of times.

My first experiences with spirituality happened quite early. I was brought up an Anglican, and was baptised and confirmed at the age of nine. Like most of my friends, I went to Sunday school, and so I was exposed to the religious life at an early age. During this period some evangelist preachers visited Grenada, and so I followed them to their various locations where they gave talks and preached about the Godly life.

Mombasa, Kenya
Mombasa, Kenya | Source

I can still see their enormous marquees in our recreation ground and market places, their makeshift churches and huge tents along our sea front in the city of St. George’s, as they sought to save souls and turn them to God. Some of the speakers were extremely inspirational. Needless to say, I followed them everywhere. I was so fired with the love of God! By the time I was thirteen, I had numerous certificates for outstanding biblical studies, and really wanted to have an encounter with Jesus Christ.

School life was great. I went to a private school at four, which was run by ‘Teacher Leonoris’, as we called her. During this period I was exceptionally bright. When I was five my mother took me to the city of Grenville, St. Andrew’s. There she began her search for a better and more fulfilling life. I went to the St. Andrew’s Methodist School, experienced morning assemblies, learnt moral principles and said ‘grace’ before meals. All this greatly helped to shape my spiritual life.

Here I was to stay until I was fifteen. For what were perhaps God-ordained reasons, I did not sit the scholarship exams at nine and again at eleven. Consequently, I did not go to High School. Who knows, had I done so, I may have been a scholarly Professor somewhere, and never felt the call of God. After leaving school, I went straight to work in order to assist my mum, who by this time had six other children to feed.

I dabbled with two or three jobs, varying from being a clerk, to working on a building site, and finally being a policeman.


Togo, West Africa
Togo, West Africa | Source

Ever Conscious of God, we Aspire, Build And Advance as One People

Grenada
Grenada | Source
Grenada
Grenada

I remember having a 'soft' heart, talking to minor offenders rather than arresting them, and not feeling within me the toughness for the job as needed. Unknowingly, I was being moulded for a different calling. I quit my job at the age of twenty-one, took the opportunity that nursing offered me, and travelled to England in search of exploration and a different life. I spent two weeks with my youngest and loving aunt, and then started my vocation as a nurse at Hillingdon Hospital, Uxbridge, Middlesex.



*****

It is September 1982; I am sitting at home in a two-bedroom maisonette. Things are different now. I am a responsible father and husband in London, England. I have a very beautiful, devoted, and dutiful wife, and a two-year old son. Today is my day off work. I am sitting downstairs when I hear a loud sound coming from the direction of the hallway. I go expectantly to the doorway. A rather large packet drops to the floor. It is addressed to me. I open it and see a book inside. “The Path: Autobiography of a Western Yogi”, by Swami Kriyananda. I begin to read and a very powerful thrill runs through my Heart. I have come home.

One week later, I am again influenced by two books: “The Bhagavad Gita, As It Is” by His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta, Swami Prabupada, and, “Meditation: Paths to Tranquillity”, by Peter Russell. Taking an address and telephone number from the latter, within a week I had found the Sri Chinmoy Centre, became inspired immediately by the writings and personality of Sri Chinmoy, and accepted him as my Guru. As regards the Centre, since that very first day, October 1st, 1982, I have never stopped going.

November 2nd 2006

Connecting the past and present

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24 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

A wonderful read, helping us all to know you just a little bit better. Thank you for sharing your truths with us my friend.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

Thank you, Bill. I appreciate this. Shalom!


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 23 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Manatita, this is indeed a wonderful share, happy to know you...cus. ;)

My folks came from the jewel in the crown, across the water, although I was quite young when I left the island, My childhood memories are very happy one, so much so, that my husband and I went back, we spent four blissful years on the islands.

It's good to know that you have traveled well and found peace and enlightenment on the road. An Interesting and very generous share.

My best to you.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

Thank you Sis.

You did not say which. Grenada is the Jewel in the Crown, and also my mothers name. Hey hey.

Much gratitude my sweet Sister. Peace.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 23 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Manatita there's only the one....Carriacou of course, and what Grenadian worth his salt, doesn't know a mama Alexis? :)

Seriously, this was a real pleasure to read.

Blessings to you always.


jhamann profile image

jhamann 23 months ago from Reno NV

What a great voyage into your life! I loved every word and feel like I know you even better now. Have a great day! Jamie


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

To business, a true sister indeed! God bless your loving heart. Unfortunately or fortunately, my calling is different. I went once after 14 years, then 25 years later to bury mom. Of course we had brought her to America, Canada and here in the UK.

I have travelled the world, instead, in the service of the Supreme. I hope that someone upstairs is watching my sweet sacrifice of the palm trees and beautiful beaches. He he he .. much gratitude.

Well Bro Jamie,

You're a wonderful soul, a family man and an adventurer of sorts. That's what we essentially are in the place where I come from, the village where I was born. In Love and Light.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 23 months ago from Southern Illinois

I'm so glad you shared a part of your life with us, I hope there's more to come. Thank you manatita..


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

Actually Ruby, this is the first chapter of my book. It's on Amazon and is called My Guru, Sri Chinmoy: Life And Teachings. You might say that I wrote it with my hearts blood. I can see it being very popular in 50 to 100 years. Books by disciples of illumined Masters, always go this way.

Thank you so much for the read. Did you enjoy the sweet simplicity of village life? Much peace.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 23 months ago from The Caribbean

Thrilled by the description of Caribbean island life--so innocent, so fun, so relational! A good foundation for your spiritual journey.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

Yes, Dora. Too true, especially village life. Sweet simplicity indeed!

Thanks a lot! In Love and Light.


Maria Antonia profile image

Maria Antonia 23 months ago from North Carolina

Manatita,

It seems like our paths may have crossed in the past. I grew up in Jamaica, Queens, not far from Parsons Blvd. My birth mother's from Spanish Town, Jamaica so we both have a Caribbean connection. I just thought it was interesting. I love this Hub, as I was reading I felt as though I can see, feel, and hear everything that you describe. It's funny, in our little house in Jamaica, Queens, NY, one of the five boroughs that make up New York City; I felt so safe and innocent as a young child--Daddy's little girl. I remember in the summer my mother would send us outside to play in the yard or at a friend's house on our street. She would tell us not to come back inside until she called us for lunch, handed us some fruit and other snacks, and off we went for great adventures. If we tried to go back inside the house for "a glass of water" she would say, "take a drink from the garden hose". If we ate our snacks and were hungry before lunch there were fresh vegetables in the garden and a grapevine to eat from. I hated that I had to bathe and change clothes for lunch and dinner, but I was usually covered in soil, grass, or mud. After dinner we were allowed to stay outside "...until the street lights came on", and my sister and god-sisters whom lived next door, would send me to ask my father or godfather for ice cream money when the truck came around. Being the youngest my fathers would give me money. If the older kids asked they would get a stern, "there's ice cream in the freezer". It's hard to believe that you could have a life like this in New York City. It just goes to show that life is what you make it. Thank you for helping me to recall my sweet childhood memories.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York

This is a beautiful look into your early life my friend. What joy you experienced. You showed your true calling at an early age with your caring ways. There are many who will know you better now, thank you for sharing.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 23 months ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. Thank you for sharing such an important part of your life. Passing this on and bless you.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

Maria, Good to know that you are my sweet Sis.

Again, I have travelled to Jamaica, Queens for 32 years. Sometimes 5 times a year. In the early 80's it was a bit rough in parts. But a group of spiritually minded people met and still continue to meet regularly in an alcove near 164th to pray for peace.

Today Jamaica, Queens, is so different. Prayers of different people and different faiths have helped and the community has responded well.

Happy to have reminded you of your childhood memories. For most of us, they are beautiful and unique. God had a plan for me, and for some years now I've seen this quite clearly. Much love.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

Thank You, Mary.

Maria above lived in Jamaica, Queens. Small world with you being not so far away either. Thank you for your kind sentiments. You do know, of course, that this is the first chapter of the Manuscript that I sent you. The book has sold fairly well but I will change Publishers when I find the time. I seek a larger market, not money but the spiritually hungry seekers.

Much love Mary, and thank you for your loving contributions.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

My Sweet friend, Gypsy.

God bless you and your loving heart. Much peace.


vkwok profile image

vkwok 23 months ago from Hawaii

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Manatita! Best wishes.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 23 months ago from london Author

Thank you Victor.

Perhaps I should write an autobiography. He he.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 22 months ago from Stillwater, OK

The past and the present are always connected to one another. The future combines that knowledge and leads you on your imminent path.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 22 months ago from london Author

Nice, Deb. May you continue to serve in all good health. Much peace


Dr Pran Rangan profile image

Dr Pran Rangan 17 months ago from Kanpur (UP), India

Thanks for sharing some important aspects of your life including spiritual. I can vouch that you are a proud owner of a wonderful personality. Peace be unto you and your family.


Dr Pran Rangan profile image

Dr Pran Rangan 17 months ago from Kanpur (UP), India

Thanks for sharing some important aspects of your life including spiritual. I can vouch that you are a proud owner of a wonderful personality. Peace be unto you and your family.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 17 months ago from london Author

Welcome and thank you Dr Pran Rangan, and much gratitude for your kind statement and contribution. I write much more poetry but you chose the prose. Nice choice. Om Shanti!

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