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From traditional religion 
to  Ageless Wisdom

by Rev. Howard Ray Carey


How does a Methodist minister become a convinced esotericist with a belief in the information about the presence and the work of Maitreya the Christ?

To begin with, let me state briefly where I was 35 years ago as an almost typical Methodist minister. Then I will try to outline some of the experiences which kept nudging me on toward where I am today. Back then, at 48 years of age, I was doing what I thought I could to promote world peace and human brotherhood. For example, I worked hard to bring about racial integration in the churches I served as pastor. Note that that was in the early days of church integration, when some Methodist church members thought it their duty to petition their bishop, seeking to get rid of such a radical pastor. Should I say that I have been 'out on a limb' before?

But I did not consider myself radical, even on social issues, just not as cautious as some. And on doctrinal matters I was pretty much 'middle of the road', to use a good Methodist phrase. Let me emphasize at the outset that I was definitely not a fundamentalist. A graduate of Garret School of Theology, a liberal Methodist seminary, here are some of the views I then held.

I believed in personal survival after death, but did not believe in any communication with people in that post-mortem state. Quite definitely I did not believe in the typical hell of fire and brimstone. For I could not conceive of a loving God permitting such a fate for some of His children. I thought there must be some opportunity for service and progress in the after-life, but was not at all open to the teaching of reincarnation. I used to argue this way: ''Look, if I was John Jones in a previous life I don't remember a single thing about John. And if I'm going to be Timothy Smith in my next life, probably Tim won't remember anything about Howard Carey, so I do not see what sense it makes.'' Without going into too much detail about my preawakened self, let me mention one more matter. I had some faith in prayer, but not in spiritual healing.

So what are the experiences which began breaking down some of my prison walls to give me greater breathing space? First of all, in the church I was serving in Altadena, California, I got together for prayer a small group of interested persons. One of them brought a book on spiritual healing by Dr. John Gaynor Banks, a pioneer in reviving the practice of spiritual healing in 20th century Christendom. This Episcopal priest's book, entitled Healing Everywhere, outlined procedures and services for this form of healing.

Soon members of the group began asking me to set up healing services. ''What for,'' I thought, ''what good would it do?'' But I yielded to the pressure, established such services, and, after preliminaries, invited people to kneel at the altar rail for healing. Somewhat gingerly, as I remember it, I laid hands on them and prayed, really expecting nothing special to happen. But happen it did! They told me my hands were hot, and shared with me some definite improvements in health. Result: I have been acting as an instrument for spiritual healing ever since.

Next, a fellow minister showed me a book by Sherwood Eddy entitled "You Will Survive After Death". I admired Dr. Eddy for his outstanding work for world peace. My question was: ''Has Sherwood Eddy gone off his rocker?'' Intrigued as I was, I was not about to invest my money in such a book, so I borrowed it. Eddy's evidential material concerning survival and communication was pretty convincing, so some light was beginning to stream through a window.

About three years later I heard the famous medium Arthur Ford speak and was invited with a small group of ministers to his hotel room for a group seance. While in trance, Ford introduced my deceased aunt, Hattie Easterbrook, in such a startling way that I was convinced she was there, giving me encouragement in my ministry from 'the other side'. This was at a meeting sponsored by Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship, which had been established in 1956 to promote, in the churches, a deeper emphasis on prayer and meditation, spiritual healing, and evidences of survival.

After that experience I began attending SFF meetings as often as possible to see what I could learn. At the time Violet Stevens, widow of the deceased Episcopal Bishop Bertram Stevens, was in charge of study-meditation groups for Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship. Since I was a minister she kept asking me to start a study-meditation group in my home. Feeling quite unprepared for that responsibility, I kept saying NO! For a while. But her persistence won out and in January 1964, I said: ''Well, all right, I will try it.'' Result: I have been leading study-meditation groups in my home ever since. But now they are on a different level.

At first we were studying material like the books of Arthur Ford. This represented psychic realms at the higher levels of the astral plane. This was opening some doors, not always wisely, and I had many questions.

Three years later, in 1967, Edith Stauffer, head of High Point Foundation, introduced me to the Alice Bailey books, and to the School for Esoteric Studies in New York. Similar to the Arcane School, it has a most helpful correspondence course in the Ageless Wisdom which I pursued for several years. Perhaps you will have guessed that I quickly graduated from the Arthur Ford level of teaching, in the groups which were meeting with me, to the Master DK's (1) teaching through Alice Bailey. This of course opened many doors. I began to breathe free.

Then in 1980 Benjamin Creme came to Los Angeles for his first lecture here. Though I was not at the meeting, a member of my group was, and he brought me a copy of the first booklet available then about the reappearance of the Christ. At first reading it seemed a bit too far out. But the more I meditated on it and compared it to DK's teachings, the more convinced I became. So the next time Creme came to town I was right on hand to hear him and to experience the marvelous energies of the overshadowing of him by Maitreya. This left no doubts in my mind about the validity and unparalleled importance of these events, happening and to happen.

So in summary you can see that in my experience there has been no sudden blast of enlightenment, no blinding light such as Paul of Tarsus experienced on the Damascus road. Rather I have experienced a series of smaller steps, some taken with no hesitation, others with some fear and trembling. (What would my Methodist friends say, I wondered.)

Years ago, when I first began a serious study of the inner life, I asked myself this question: ''How can I know what to accept and what to reject?'' The answer which came from my higher Self: accept what rings true to the law of love for all people. But, no matter what the inducements, steer clear of the glamorous traps of glittering psychic phenomena. For me this has proved to be a reliable guide.

For me now, as I approach my 84th birthday, I am profoundly grateful for all the help I have received from my higher Self and other great sources. Grateful that in so many areas I have received the help needed to step up from a belief system of the concrete mind to the level of true knowing, which no one can take from us. Grateful that, even though my physical energy is on the decrease, I do not feel that life is closing in on me, but rather that expanding vistas stretch out before me ---- both while I remain in this wellworn but still-serviceable body, and after I lay off this trench coat for finer garments. Grateful that I am able to have some small part ---- especially through Transmission Meditation (2) ---- in helping a bit toward the lifting of human consciousness to more adequate levels, thus helping a little in preparing the way for that great Day of Declaration of the World Teacher.

Finally, some may be surprised to learn that, though retired from the pastorate, I am still a Methodist minister, officially in good standing in this nine-million-member United Methodist Church. (Unofficially I wonder if I am still in 'good standing' with some Methodist friends who know a bit about my present views and work.) Be that as it may, I am able to share some insights of the Ageless Wisdom with the Sunday morning adult class I still teach at a nearby United Methodist congregation. And I am deeply grateful to United Methodism for the good fields of service it has provided, and continues to provide, for me, and for financial support as well.

Whatever our age, whatever our race, whatever our rays (3), let us join hands and hearts as we help prepare the way for that greatest day, and the greatest change in human life and history. Let us rejoice in the Christ's gracious invitation as he bids us: ''Walk with Me into the sunlight of the New Time. Create with Me that glorious future for all.''


1. DK ---- Djwhal Khul, the Tibetan Master who gave His teachings through Alice A. Bailey.

2. Transmission Meditation was introduced to the world by Benjamin Creme’s Master in 1974. It is a form of service rendered by transmitting Hierarchical energies into the world. See "Transmission ---- A Meditation for the New Age" by Benjamin Creme, published by Tara Center. (See "Further Reading," p.204)

3. The Seven Rays are seven great streams of Cosmic Energy originating in seven stars of the Great Bear. Their influence determines the nature and quality of all life. For further information see "A Treatise on the Seven Rays" by Alice A. Bailey, published by Lucis Press.


This article is a chapter from The Joy of Christ's Coming This book by the late Rev. Howard Ray Carey was published by Share International Foundation in 1988. It is not currently available in hard copy form. Copyright © Share International Foundation.  Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard version unless otherwise indicated. 


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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005