Paul left us. This song is dedicated to him.
It’s a loss. I’ve never lost a friend before. I’ve never lost a guide before. He was a dear friend and a guide par excellence. He was an elder brother I never had. I’m not sure if I need to or want to write about him. Will it give me peace? Will it give him peace? There are tons of people on this planet owing their hearts and peace of mind to Paul. They must also be contributing to Paul’s legacy thru their words, actions, thoughts and emotions. However, I owe it to him.
Paul Hinsberger from Idaho and India. Born and brought up in the US, moved to India to marry his sweetheart twin flame. I’m not too sure about his spiritual roots. Those remain an enigma to me as his personality always was. He was poetic, full of gravitas, and had a story-telling grand fathers’ voice that made you either instantly fall into sleep or made you fall in love with him. When I met him, he had been residing in India since 7 years and still wasn’t fully accustomed to the ways of culture here. Had it not been for his Indian bride, it felt like he would forever be lost in the ways of this wonderland.
But there he was, climbing the stairs to the meet me at the Shamanism workshop in Bangalore in 2018 and then slowly making his way to his beloved chair that he must have set up in the workshop the night before. This was the first time I was meeting a man of non-Indian origin and getting to hug him too. It was odd but there was something oddly peaceful about it all. It felt like I was rushing the hug. But then we were all running late to start the workshop and so it went on the first day, meeting the participants, journeying with them, sharing with them, laughing and crying with them. Ok, I wasn’t crying. Yet I was beginning to learn to cry. I remained silent for most of the workshop. It was right at the end of the 3 day workshop while we were about to part, he completed that big bear hug that I had rushed earlier. He said – “We’ll meet again brother!” and I surely must have thought “Yeah right”, the smug arrogant SoB that I am or was, whatever.
On the first day, I discovered that both of them were staying in the same hotel as I and they invited me over for a dinner. I was famished, needed to pack in a few pegs of whiskey and again, I ordered and when the plates arrived, I started rushing thru the dinner too. Trust me, I was trying to impress no one as, in my case history, it never goes down well. So, it was better that I left the two alone after devouring whatever was laid out in front of me. But there were the 2 of them, looking at me, not judging, just trying to know me. It wasn’t a familiar emotion around me. No one had ever wanted to know me, then why were these 2 different? Paul started the conversation and as it flowed and as I eased up after a couple of pegs, I revealed a few things about me that caught his attention in particular, my sense of the extra-ordinary. We dibble-dabbled with a few concepts and soon departed the tables that we were occupying. Next 2 days were the same, sometimes during breakfast, sometimes over dinner. There was some connection.
For the next year, I was absent mostly owing to my own issues that are a matter for a different post. It came around to me, that there was a men’s circle starting and Paul was seeking 10 others for the circle. I joined. As fanatic about the itinerary that he was, he had setup a blog, excel sheets for an on-going effort and what not, totally thorough. We started with a ton of questions, the energy was high as it always is at the onset of every new venture. It felt like he was finding home, a band of brothers. This was the time I found how stickler for integrity and impeccability he really was. He would sometimes discuss the future of the group and he would always encourage me to talk but then again, it was me – distant. He was a great friend and brother this way, always encouraging, supporting.
I had always wanted to attend a book reading. Fortunately I got this chance as I was invited to visited their home in Ahmedabad for the reading of his book – The River of Life. His greatest legacy and personally, the greatest gift he could and eventually would bestow upon me. The experience changed my life, transformed the way I journeyed, the way I opened up. It felt like a tool unparalleled and still does, as it has evolved beyond any of my senses and perceptions. Simply put, it liberated me. I met a few folks there and had some fun chats. It was here I found out, he shared many a tastes as I do – music, literature, science, and penchant to dig. Not the one to not leave a trace of my presence, I fell off a chair breaking it and a bottle and my wrist. It is said that breaking bottles often means an ending and hence, a fresh start. A start of a friendship and connect beyond care for words or actions. Just care. Just the willingness to be present for each other, an understanding that men will find hard to articulate.
And then came the turning point in the way the 2 of us connected – Healing Council. It was an acceleration I needed to further my journey to be whoever I am today and he recognized it, choosing me to be a part of that ultra-thin and rare group. Him, as a brother, along with Neelam encouraged me to use my gifts the way only I could. The kind of confidence only fathers or mothers or some very near ones can incite. We journeyed for many a cases and I could feel the comfort he was feeling with the furtherance of my gifts. He was the first one to recognize me as a 2 spirited, the only one so far from whom I know, who knows this indigenous concept. Sent me videos, looked out for a group in the US where he had planned to take me when we would get a chance to connect in the land he loved the most.
And then he moved back to the states. We were only barely able to keep up due to time differences and the incredible amount of healing work that he had undertaken during COVID, healing people for free, doing work that I can only ever dream of replicating in this lifetime. And even during that, the man didn’t forget to fulfil the promises that he had made tome to send me a book that I had long sought along with a surprise and hand written notes.
He was an incredible ally and I’m pretty sure, if time had permitted him, we would have found each other as partners in crime too, sometime, somewhere.
Not sure what got over you brother, the reason that you chose to leave us will forever remain a mystery, and all I’ll ever care about are how you were there for me thru few of my darkest times, sickness or not. You made a sea change of a difference in me and I’ll forever remember you as a great story teller, a friend, a confidant, a man of incredible integrity and impeccability, a keeper of wisdom, and above all, a great big brother!
Much love to you and your spirit. You’ll shine forever and will always be fondly remembered in this human realm.