Symbols of the world's religions


Part One

Lyn Ott


Two families, one goal: the Rileys and the Otts lived in Woodstock, New York, in the fifties and sixties as seekers of God. These excerpts from Lyn's unpublished autobiography, published here (GLOW) for the first time, unfold the story of Lyn and Phyllis Otts' coming to accept Meher Baba as their Master — and their eventual recognition of Him as God in human form.

Oh my God! Here I was in my church-studio, still groping for the way to go! I felt I wasn't finding, but rather losing my way. What sort of painter was I after all these years? If a painter hadn't found himself by his late thirties, where was he?

Walking back to the house for lunch, I worried. Where was I heading in life? I felt overrun with the urgency to make some headway in my chosen profession. After all, in little more than a couple of years I would be forty. Life offered so little time to become anything. Besides this career in art, I had a wife and four children to support, and still I was utterly lost. There had been a time when I had felt the call of destiny, but where was that call now? It was giving way to the turmoil of everyday life.

"You know," I said moodily, my tuna fish sandwich on a plate in front of me, "it's a damn shame I didn't sell anything in that show at Lovisco's. I don't really know what we're going to do now."

Phyllis asked, "What do you mean?"

"I mean, I don't know how we're going to manage. I'm out of momentum. I don't know in what direction to move with my work. What on earth am I going to do?"

"God will help us," she said quietly. I had often heard her express that sentiment. There was a deep earnest expression on her face, that face which appeared to contain the ability to express everything, both spoken and unspoken.

"What do you mean, God will help us?" I demanded, raising my voice. "God will help us! What does that mean — God will help us?"

She just looked at me with an infinitude of latent expressiveness.

"How the hell is God going to help us — help anybody?" I shouted in exasperation. "That's childish for you to say, God will help us, as if the mere saying of it could straighten out everything. God damn it! I never want to hear the word 'God' mentioned again in this house!"

Phyllis looked deeply wounded, as if a last vestige of recourse had been ripped from her heart. Here we were in a home originally built as a refuge of God and there was Phyllis being told never to mention God's name again! I was beside myself. I glanced at Phyllis. She looked as if she had lost absolutely everything.

"What is God anyway, I ask you? What is God? I would like to know. Do you know?"

Phyllis just looked at me.

Still angry I said, "How can anybody say what God is? The whole idea of God is impossible." Both of us were silent a while. Then I said, "If God is at all, then it seems to me it would have to be some kind of unified field of unlimited consciousness. But what, for God's sake, does anything like that have to do with us? What does such a thing as infinite consciousness have to do with us, I ask you?"

"It seems to me we must exist within it," Phyllis responded quietly at last.

"Then maybe that's why God can't help us," I said. "It's all nuts. Sure, God exists, but for us human beings it will always be a fairy tale. You can be sure of that."

"You don't sound very logical," Phyllis said.

"Well, I can't figure out what they mean, when people claim they're looking for God. How on earth does anybody look for God, I want to know?"

"Frankly, I wish I knew," Phyllis said. By now I could see, she had become despondent. The conversation had put Phyllis in a somber mood.


GLOW International, May, 1998, pp. 3-15
1998 © Craig Zenner

Journey Out Of Darkness
Part: Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen
Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty One

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