Dr Jean Klein
Details about Dr, Jean Klein’s life are sketchy. In the tradition of yogic teachers he never thought it important to focus on himself. When somebody asked him a personal question his reply was “There’s no person to answer personal questions. I listen to your question and I listen to the answer. The answer comes out of silence.” Not only did he not want to speak about himself, he did not want to even take credit for his own teachings!
Wikipedia indicates that he was born October 19th 1912 in Berlin. He came from a cultured background and several members of his family were good musicians. He himself started with the violin at the age of six and a half, eventually becoming a talented player. Though there was nothing remarkable about him as a child, his mother described a peculiarity. As a child he would occasionally sit in silence that she described as “not daydreaming”.
As he grew into his teens he had this “strong urge for freedom” that he describes later. This drove him to read Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche, and was especially influenced by Gandhi, whose teaching of ahimsa/non-violence led him to become a vegetarian when he was 16. He also read people like Coomaraswamy, Aurobindo, and Krishnamurti. But the person who had the greatest impact on him was Rene Guenon. Dr. Klein describes reading Rene Guenon’s work as a turning point.
At the same time, he had experiences that confirmed what he had read. He describes a “glimpse of oneness or self-awareness” that occurred when he was 17:
“I was waiting one warm afternoon for a train. The platform was deserted and the landscape sleepy. It was silent. The train was late, and I waited without waiting, very relaxed and free from all thinking. Suddenly a cock crowed and the unusual sound made me aware of my silence. It was not the objective silence I was aware of, as often happens when one is in a quiet place and a sudden sound throws into relief the silence around. No, I was ejected into my own silence. I felt myself in awareness beyond the sound or the silence. Subsequently, this feeling visited my several times.”
He went on to become a doctor and outwardly lived an ordinary life. During World War II he became part of the French resistance. But there was still “a lack of fulfillment”. Then he “felt a certain call to go to India” and he arrived in 1951. He says that he was not looking for a guru and there was no specific reason or mission why he went to India.
Living in Compton, south of downtown Los Angeles, is no walk in the park. Especially if you are a kid. Ridden with gang violence and drugs it is difficult for kids to focus on their future and stay out of trouble. This is why Robyn Petgrave gave up his multi-million dollar business to start TAM (Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum). TAM provides young kids a safe haven where they can stay out of trouble and instead pursue their passion. The TAM program instills discipline and accountability and assists each child to find their bearing so they can focus on the future.
Robin Charles Petgrave was born in Jamaica and raised in Boston, Massachusetts by his mother while worked two fulltime jobs to make ends meet. Robin and his sister Florence spent three years in foster care before coming to America at age ten. People around Robin were influenced by the wrong crowd, and he saw their lives crumble from drugs and alcohol so he became determined to avoid self destructive behaviors at all costs and to succeed.
Robin grew up in Belmont Mass where he explored his passion for flying by joining the Civil Air Patrol, immersed himself in extracurricular activities, and blossomed as a track star in high school. On a track scholarship, he graduated from the University of Connecticut. He later qualified for the Olympics, but eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting career. It was in Los Angeles, that he discovered small flight schools, and attained his FAA Commercial Helicopter Pilot License and Certified Flight Instructor’s Certificate. Shortly after, be started his own helicopter company with $300 that grew to a 3.5 million/year business and earned him features in numerous books/magazines even an appearance on Oprah.
Related: Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum
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At the age of 42, in the 1950’s Lester Levenson suffered a heart attack and was seriously ill. At the end of two weeks of stay at the hospital Dr. Schultz arrived on his regular morning visit. After examining him, he pulled up a chair and sat down.
“I’m discharging you today. Your condition is stable, and there’s no reason to keep you here any longer. Now that doesn’t mean you’re well. Far from it. You need an indefinite period of convalescence as well as checkups at regular intervals. But you don’t need to be in the hospital any longer. You can continue with bed rest and medication at home.”
As the discussion wore on it became apparent to Lester that he had at most a few years to live. And yet there was very little he could do in the remaining time. His anger boiled over when the doctor told him that he was sorry.
“You’re sorry? Well, so am I! You saved my life … for what? So that I can be an invalid for the rest of it? What the hell kind of life are you giving me back anyway?” He raved on till all his frustration and rage boiled over. He began to gag and choke. The doctor held a basin for him while he gagged and heaved. He finally fell back exhausted, his hands shaking as he wiped his mouth.
The end of the road?
Back home in his penthouse he felt as if he was in a tomb. His sisters wanted to help him but he sent them away. He wanted to be by himself. He mostly slept for the first three days, waking up occasionally to eat or take medicines or use the bathroom. On the fourth day he felt something change. As he sat in a chair after the midday meal, he looked out of his window. It was beautiful. There was snow and the trees were sparkling. But he felt no joy inside. He felt dead. He could not respond even to beauty. The thought made him furious and he rushed to the bathroom to the medicine chest. He pulled out all the pills and counted them. He had a good supply, enough to take him off the planet and put himself out of his misery.
Almost instantly I had more energy –which stayed with me for days — particularly with the HotCore (Bikram) Yoga class. The combination of the postures & heat makes this type of work-out one that exhausts, yet exhilarates at the same time. After 12 weeks the shape of my body has changed. I’ve dropped fat & gained much more muscle tone & balance.
These classes keep the pressures of working in a publishing environment in proper perspective. The breathwork enables me to maximize the function of my time at work while bringing me a newfound appreciation for quiet stillness. I love it!
Nancy Jones, Houghton Mifflin Company, Wakefield, MA
Credits: This is a testimonial written by Nancy Jones. This has been reposted with permission from Peter Sklivas of Yoga Passion. You can find the original here.