Arthur Townsend Wells III
This is, by most standards, a long biography. Or you could look at it as a relatively short story. Reading this will help explain who I am and, in part, how I came to be. It will introduce many metaphysical subjects such as birth, death, karma, reincarnation, prayer, healing and so on. You may have similar questions, issues or experiences.
As a junior in High School (1965), I began to feel an internal urge to know who I was and the purpose of life, especially mine. We were loosely raised as Catholics. So logically (or so it seemed to me at the time), I started my search there. I attended religious instruction (catechism) classes. I read and memorized the material. On January 9th 1966, I was confirmed. I believe I was the oldest person in the class. I didn’t feel all that different after confirmation and the information wasn’t very helpful. But it was a start.
I considered joining the Green Berets out of High School. There were a few reasons, none of them very good. My mother convinced me to go to college for a year first. That was among the best advice she ever gave me.
In the fall of 1966, I attended California State Polytechnic College (now University) in San Luis Obispo (SLO), Ca. My major was architecture. I grew up in San Diego, Ca. but when I came to visit the school, I fell in love with the area. I was blown away by the amount of trees. San Diego, at less than 10 inches of rain a year, technically is a desert.
I joined the Neuman Center, the campus Catholic student organization. The priest was Fr. Charles (Charlie) Moore, a convert. Previously he was a lawyer. He was extremely knowledgeable, open and avant-garde. He was way ahead of his time. We did some of the first masses in English and the first folk (song) masses.
I got more and more involved in the Neuman Center and became a key player.
I also discovered my High School math background was not sufficient for Architecture without a ton of tutoring and remedial classes. In other words, a great deal of work. I needed a new major.
School became secondary. I quit classes without formally withdrawing from them (highly irresponsible). In the third quarter, I switched to business as a major. It didn’t help much. It wasn’t me. After my first year at Poly, I left with a 1.2 GPA.
I took a break. A friend and I hitchhiked to Seattle, Washington and back. We went through Haight-Asbury district while in San Francisco. Interesting journey. On the way back, we separated in Mt. Shasta. In part, based on a man-panther interaction story, I wanted to spend the night on the mountain. He didn’t. I spent the night in a grove of trees at Panther Meadow. Later on that night, the grove seemed to become quite menacing. I asked for help and prayed to Mary, mother of Jesus and was instantly surrounded by warmth, comfort and love. It was my first time for such an experience. Words do not suffice. I was able to go back to sleep without fear.
I came back to enroll at Cuesta College in 1968. I maintained a GPA over 3.0. I had too!
At the Neuman Center, I was involved in an Encounter Group for the leadership crew. We met on Friday night at an old late 1880’s ranch house with running water, inside toilets and no electricity. We continued all day Saturday and half of Sunday. Our purpose was to get to know ourselves and each other better so that we could work better as a team. It was a great experience. And soon we were doing Encounter Groups for students in general. I became a co-facilitator.
I met my future wife, Kay, at this time. I believe I told her she would be good in an Encounter Group (she was). Almost magically, all other women in my life (ok, maybe three) fell by the wayside. To say this relationship was karmic would be a gross understatement.
In 1969, I was a part of the National Draft Lottery for Vietnam. My number was 32. It was expected that, to meet their quotas, they would draft people whose number was as high as 150. These were my options: Enlist (& have some choice), be drafted (no choice), refuse and go to prison (bad choice), go to Canada (questionable choice) or become a Conscientious Objector (CO)(perhaps the best choice). Those were all tough choices.
I talked with Fr. Moore about my options. He suggested I do a vision quest. This is a Native American practice of spending some quiet, introspective time in Nature (usually the wilderness) and usually without food (sometimes without water) for one to four days. The purpose is to experience a vision, guidance or omen that will give meaning and/or direction in your life. Sometimes the message appears to be external, sometimes it is internal, or it can be a combination of both. In my case, when I sat down (on the trail) on my way out, I reflected on what I had learned. I was overcome by a palpable feeling of peace, love, warmth and serenity. It surrounded and penetrated me. I knew then that whatever happened, with respect to the draft, it would be OK. That was the second time for such an experience.
I applied to my Draft Board for CO status. This involved a detailed autobiography, tough questions and answers and numerous affidavits from friends.
I graduated from Cuesta, reapplied to Cal Poly and was accepted as a social science major.
I continued my informal education on myself and others by attending Encounter Groups in the Bay area, at Esalen with Fritz Perls and in San Diego at the Center for the Studies of the Person with Carl Rodgers as well as here in SLO for the next several years.
The Draft Board denied my request for CO status. I appealed and the next step was to go before the Board in person. I had spent a lot of time and serious thought about the war in Vietnam, the draft and my choices. This was a very key turning point in my life. During this process, I became aware that I was a German soldier in World War II. While German, I saw war for what it is – a horrific and senseless brutality against humanity. I got the life lesson shortly before I was killed. That is why the Vietnam War was so important for me. I didn’t need to go through that experience again. (see the movie “The Young Lions”)
While going to school, I saw flyers and heard about Transcendental Meditation (TM) and local classes. TM was started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. We were told the initiating ceremony was not religious. However, it looked and felt religious. Be that as it may, in the first session I felt a tremendous release of tension energy and an influx of peaceful/calming energy. We meditated for over a year with satisfactory results. It turns out, that there are many levels of attainment and instruction. Each new level costs additional money. Kind of like a never ending spiritual pyramid scheme. I began to look around for another meditation.
December, 1971. I graduated from Cal Poly. End of a long and winding journey. Was it worth it? Hard to say. I’d say yes, but just barely. Am I a better person for having gone through it? Probably.
1972. I started the Psychiatric Technician training program at Atascadero State Hospital. Part of my thinking was that work as a Psychiatric Technician might be acceptable to the Draft Board as a form of alternative service.
In the mail, I received a notice from the Draft Board. I thought it was going to be a notice of my hearing before the Board. Instead they put me into a deferred status saying I had been in active status for a year. But in reality I had appealed their refusal to grant me conscientious objector status. You can’t be drafted and you aren’t active if you are appealing. Oops. Technical error on their part. I let out a yell that could be heard for blocks. What a tremendous weight was lifted from my shoulders.
1973. I started going to local meetings called Satsang (company of Truth) to learn about a meditation known as Knowledge as taught by a young Indian named Guru Maharaj Ji. The meditation consists of visual, auditory, taste and breath components. I went to Los Angeles, attended meetings and asked to be initiated. I was the last person to be questioned by the Mahatma (spiritual teacher). I was told no and to come back in a month. I prostrated myself before him and said “I am begging for this knowledge.” I was allowed into the class.
Several years later (approx. 1976/78 time frame), Maharaj Ji seemed to have gotten one of his followers pregnant and married her shortly thereafter. However his alleged indiscretion caused a split in the organization into east and west. Both of which declined as did my interest in his meditation. “Pure” appears to be very hard to maintain.
In 1974, I saw an advertisement for an astrology class in a Morro Bay bookstore. The teacher was a grandmotherly lady named Helen Benedict. I enrolled in the class. Kay followed later. That started a long and beneficial relationship. Helen became our spiritual teacher and the Godmother to our children. We studied astrology, numerology, G.I. Gurdjief, and metaphysics in general. Isabel Hickey was a friend of Helen’s and we used Isabel’s books on astrology and metaphysics often.
1975. Kay I got married after living together for eight years.
I quit the state hospital in December of 1975. Long story. The bottom line was a child molester for whom I was responsible for his therapy, was released against my recommendations and reoffended. I didn’t want to work anymore for an organization that yielded to legal pressure and was unwilling to do the right thing.
January, 1976. I attended professional umpire school in the LA area. After I completed the course, I started officiating local college, Junior college and high school baseball games. Shortly thereafter I started officiating High School football, basketball and wrestling.
I also became a landscape contractor.
When Kay became pregnant, we consulted Helen about our desire to have a home birth for our first child. We did a chart and learned that surgery would be required. I thought episiotomy. So did Kay and we gave up the idea of a home birth.
May 18, 1976. Our first child, Melinda was born. Melinda was my brother in a previous lifetime. I expected her to be male in this lifetime (quite certain and quite wrong). She came back as my daughter. (See the movie “Barry Lyndon Barry Lyndon”)
About the birth. A cesarean was necessary. Melinda was Frank Breach (butt down) and stuck. She was misdiagnosed by the obstetrician. There was danger to both Kay and Melinda.
At two months old Melinda was diagnosed with a hip socket that was failing to form properly. She had to have her legs spread and placed in a fiberglass cast from her waist to her feet. It was one of the hardest things we ever had to do as parents. She was expected to be in casts for several months and then in leg braces. The process was expected to take one to two years. Through the power of healing prayer, she was completely healed in four months.
February 7, 1978. Our second child, Aaron was born. Kay did not have milk to nurse just as with Melinda. Melinda was raised on goat milk. Our goats were pregnant when Aaron was born. He was allergic to cow’s milk and the soy formulas at the time. Things started to become a little dicey. At the last minute they gave birth. He did great on their milk. Crisis averted.
I came across a book called The Spiritual Instructions of Swami Muktananda. The breath meditation was very similar to Guru Maharaj Ji’s meditation. It felt good and was relatively easy to practice. We have stayed with this meditation for many years and have taught it to many people.
1978 to 1981 was a period of time when we experienced several miscarriages including one, whom we named Robert, who was alive when he came out but passed over shortly thereafter. That was devastating for us both. The basic reason he could not survive was that there was too much conflict (arguing) in the home. The higher souls who wanted to come in at that time could not survive with that level of strife. This was a tough lesson to learn. In essence, Robert sacrificed himself for us.
In 1981, due to high national interest rates (20% or so) housing starts stopped, disposable income evaporated and people stopped doing landscaping. It quickly became time to find a new way to support the family.
I applied everywhere I could. No luck. I had a prophetic dream. I was seeing a person who was dressed in a powder blue shirt with a silver five pointed star (badge) on his chest. I applied at Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) for a security position. After passing the initial interview offsite, I had to go the Canyon for additional testing. I had to stop at Avila Gate, the Canyon’s main entrance. There I saw a security officer dressed in the blue shirt with the silver star. I knew then, I would be working at DCPP.
On November 18, 1981 Jessica was born. Hers was a difficult birth (three weeks premature). It was touch and go for awhile. She was slow to gain weight. Taking her to the doctor office caused her to lose weight. We really had to readjust our priorities to find the right foods, sleeping arrangements and so on.
1984, Easter My Father passed over. I was not present at the hospital. I was babysitting some of my brothers and sisters children at the time. However, I knew when he passed. His spirit made its presence felt/known. My father and I did not get along very well. We clashed often as I became a teenager. There were a number of reasons, including the lack of love and concern for him when he was growing up. At an early age he was sent to a military school. In the last year or two of his life, we were able to make some peace with each other. Because of that, I did not need to be at the hospital when he crossed over.
Since his passing, he has maintained frequent contact from the other side. His presence lets me know that he cares, that he’s sorry for what occurred, and that he wishes me to make the best choices possible in what I’m doing now.
My interest in all things Native American continued to grow. I went to a Sun Bear Medicine wheel Gathering in October of 1988. It was at Camp Armstrong, near Occidental, CA. Sun Bear is a Chippewa Medicine Man long dedicated to working with Native and non-native people. There were several guest speakers including a kind old soul named Bear Heart. He spoke with a simple elegance and touched everyone’s hearts. I came out of the Sweat lodge the cleanest I have ever been in this lifetime. I literally felt reborn. When I tried to explain it to Kay, I cried on the phone. I became pipe carrier. I also met Stephanie Dancing Eagle a medicine woman working with Sun Bear and asked her if she would be willing to teach me. She said yes.
I started attending sweat lodge ceremonies at Samuel P Taylor State Park north of San Francisco. They we led by Red Hawk (Charlie Tom), Spiritual Leader of the Karuk Nation. Stephanie also worked with Red Hawk.
November 15, 1991. Helen Benedict passes over. We truly felt a large hole in our physical and spiritual lives that seemed slow to fill. I learned before she crossed over, that she was an ordained minister of a spiritualist church called The Universal Church of the Master. At one point, she was unable to pay her yearly dues and was going to resign. The head of the church wrote back to say because of her many good works in the spiritual field, they were making her a lifetime member. No more dues. That the organization would do that for her impressed me greatly.
During this time frame I also studied with Wallace Black Elk a Lakota medicine man and spiritual elder. Without question, Wallace is the holiest human being that I have ever had the privilege to be in the presence of. Period.
When he gave a talk, your job was to listen. He would usually repeat the really important items. But when he was done, that was it. No sit around and discuss, no question and answer session. Very unique.
I recall four specific occasions where I spent time with him.
1. A weeklong session in the Sierras above Reno, Nevada, where the primary instruction was on the care and use of the Chanunpa (sacred medicine pipe) and its tradition. Every time I was with him there was a sweat lodge.
2. Ojai weekend three day retreat.
3. Zaca Lake Resort three day retreat. East off of 101 halfway between Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.
4. A three day retreat somewhere on the backside of the Sierra’s, east of Yosemite.
At this last retreat, I discovered that one of the participants was also an ordained minister of The Universal Church of the Master. I ended up giving her a ride home. We talked a lot. I asked if she would sponsor me as a minister. She agreed to do so.
1994. Melinda’s graduation from High School. We took a family trip to Hawaii. We enjoyed it thoroughly. Although to me, it felt a little spooky or unnerving to be on relatively small islands in the middle of so much ocean. It felt good to get back to the mainland.
1996. Aaron’s graduation from High School. Aaron found full time employment and moved out soon after graduating. He and I weren’t getting along very well at the end. We are doing much better now.
October 9th Brandon our fourth child is born. Brandon was somewhat of a surprise and we didn’t have a long time to prepare for him. He had some significant difficulties at the start but with the effort, prayers, healing and love of the entire family, he overcame them all.
November 1 my mom passes over. Her passing was quite different than my dad’s. To date we have not had much contact from the other side.
August 28, 1997. I became an Ordained Minister of the Universal Church of the Master. It took two years, several books, tests and a major thesis.
March 11, 2000. Melinda and Tom are married. I officiate.
December We go to Texas for Christmas. Brandon is four years old. We went to the Grand Canyon, rode the railroad and were part of the staged train robbery. When the pretend sheriff came through our car, Brandon was so awestruck he couldn’t speak.
In this time frame, I started taking Tai Chi at the Wushu Taichi Center in San Luis Obispo. Liu Yu was the instructor. She is an excellent teacher. There are numerous benefits to doing Tai Chi, such as increased balance, muscle tone, energy flow and so on.
December, 2004. Aaron and Lindsey married.
January, 2005. Jessica and Charlie get together as a couple.
March 25 Henry (Kay’s Dad) passes over. He is a very good man. Kay was there for his passing. It was a very special moment.
January 1, 2006. Jessica and Charlie married. I officiate.
2007. At the end of a company business trip to Spain, I went to Germany to visit Tom and Melinda and attempt to take care of Karma. When I learned of my German lifetime, I knew I had responsibility either directly or indirectly for the Holocaust. I felt that I needed to make amends or at least start the process. I wasn’t sure how. I thought of visiting a concentration camp but didn’t know if that was feasible. Once I got to Berlin, I learned that Berlin had its own camp. It was the first one. I made arrangements to go on the Saturday before I left. I meditated and prayed before I entered. I attempted to surround myself with light and protection. I and one other person had a guide for the camp tour. It lasted about two to three hours. I did ok until we got to the medical wing where very specific barbaric acts were performed. It was too much for me. I started to become ill on the spot. I flew home the next day, but it was a long flight. I was most uncomfortable. When I got home, I told Kay that I thought I had been psychically attacked (a fairly mild form) and that my aura needed cleansing. She performed the exorcism and I began to get better.
2010. I retire from PG&E DCPP
June 2011. I went through the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardner Program.
June 26, 2011. I became a Reiki Master. I studied Tai Chi, Qigong, and Reiki with Roel Strzeminski at The Be Well Center in Atascadero, CA.
As a minister, I have done several marriages and funerals. It should be noted that each time I have officiated a funeral, I have been in touch with the person who has passed over.