About Rev. Dr. David Kenneth Wheaton Ph.D.
My quest began one night when I was eight years old, not long after I had memorized The Lord’s Prayer for my Sunday school teacher.
My early religious upbringing was a fundamentalist for of Protestant Christianity known as the Disciples of Christ or “Christian Church”. Memorizing “The Lords Prayer” was a graduation from the simple prayer of a seven-year-old, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”. My awareness at the age of eight was one of total trust in the authority figures of my church.
I was on my bed and began the words “Our Father. ..”. In the next moments, I was in some unknown space of time impossible to describe in human words. The experience was so profound that for the next 61 years of my life I went searching for an understanding of the reality I experienced as a very young boy.
After I returned from my mystical out-of-body experience, I was able to do what I considered (as a child) to be a normal forn of reality. I used to play the game “I can make it happen” and I could. I soon placed my total trust in the Heavenly Father who I knew would work. miracles. My first experience with my healing abilities involved a young girl, two years older than me, who lived in my neighborhood. I heard she was dying of a brain tumor. Every night before bed and after my prayer, I would include this girl with a brain tumor and ask God to heal her. A number of months went by. I found out the little girl I had been praying for every night no longer had a brain tumor. The doctors had no explanation for its disappearance. I had no problem knowing then (and still have no problem knowing) why the brain tumor went away.
After I graduated high school, I decided I wanted to be a minister. I started college at Northwest Christian College, a little fundamentalist school in Eugene, Oregon (Disciples of Christ Church). Since it was located next to the campus of the University of Oregon, I took some liberal arts courses there. The campus environment stimulated what was to become an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. After receiving an undergraduate degree in Theology, I went off to seminary at Bright Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. There, I was introduced to a more open and a scholarly method of examining the basic tenets of Christianity and the teachings of my church. This experience opened me to an examination of my faith and my beliefs in the teachings of the Disciples institution.
I chose to devote the bulk of my seminary education to pastoral counseling and care. Upon graduation from seminary, I started a I5-month training program to become a Certified Pastoral Counselor and Care Chaplain in a prison in Huntsville, Texas. While working with prisoners in individual and group therapy, I also worked on a Masters degree in Contemporary Corrections at Sam Houston State University.
After completing the Masters degree and earning my credentials as a clinically trained chaplain, I was summoned to the headquarters of the Disciples of Christ Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. The purpose of this visit was to determine whether or not I was ready to be endorsed by Disciples of Christ. I needed this endorsement to seek employment as an institutional chaplain in a prison setting.
After a rather intense (but short) examination of my beliefs by this seasoned group of Disciples of Christ ministers, they decided my theology was not in keeping with their fundamentalist interpretations of “Christology”. They determined that was, in all probability, a Unitarian. I would need some serious watching over by a senior minister in a rural setting to “temper my views” on my stand of how I saw a man called Jesus and who I believed him to be. I chose not to accept their verdict and left the ministry. Serendipitously, one of the persons on my Masters thesis committee at Sam Houston State was well known in the state ofTexas and had connections to help me get a job teaching psychology and sociology at a junior college in Galveston, Texas. It did not take me long to realize my path to career success meant 1 would need even more education and training.
I was accepted at the University of Houston in a doctoral program in Guidance and Counseling. During my first year there, I went through a divorce. It was emotionally very difficult for me to stay in Houston after that. I decided I needed to move somewhere else and continue teaching. Next stop – a two-year teaching gig at Northeastern State College in Talaquah, Oklahoma. During that time I also drove to Stillwater, Oklahoma twice a week, working on a Ph.D. in Sociology-Criminology at Oklahoma State University. Eventually, they offered me a teaching assistantship to come full-time and work on my Ph.D. I finished that program and moved once again, this time to teach at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
In 1978, after 20 years of earning credentials and honing skills, of multiple moves marriages, parenthood and divorce,I landed in Nashville, Tennessee. I taught Sociology and Criminology for 25 years at Tennessee State University. As committed as I have been to my quest for knowledge, I have been equally as committed to the mystical journey I was placed on when I was eight years old.
This journey has taken me allover the world. I taught in Asia for the University of Maryland’ s Far East division. During those three years, I took advantage of the opportunity to study various religious orientations of the Asian peoples. I studied Buddhism in Thailand and China. While in Japan, I studied the traditional Japanese religion and a Zen Buddhism. During this period of my journey, I began to examine the internal world of my consciousness. After I returned to the United States to teach at a small private college in Columbia, Missouri, I continued to expand my awareness of the internal world and my spiritual experiences.
In Nashville, I began to study both Hinduism and Taoism. I spend three summers studying and practicing Taoism and Tai Chi at a Tao hermitage in Colorado. I studied yoga, and went to Kripalu Institute for yoga teacher training. I have been teaching yoga for thirteen years. My tradition in yoga is the Kriya tradition of Parmahansa Yoganada. For the last 26 years, I have been practicing a variety of yoga techniques including Hatha yoga, meditation and other practices related to yoga and Taoism.
Throughout my life of nearly 70 years, I have had a variety of mystical experiences (visual and intuitive) that prepared me for what was to be another leg of my journey. In the late summer of2007, I felt prompted to explore the labyrinth as a means of spiritual growth and alignment. I located one within three miles of my home. For three months, I awakened at 3:30 a.m. to make my labyrinth pilgrimages. The revelations disclosed to me have integrated my proclivities for sociology and mysticism. I continue to live in awe of the infinite capacity of the Divine field of unfettered love and compassion. What follows is a journal of insights I received during this time. I share these words with the intention that they be a catalyst for your own quest. I invite you to journal along as you read. Note your own insights, questions, responses or prayers. May you come to know the truth of who you are. And may you come to understand that we are all the One.
From Journey with a Modern Mystic written by Rev. Dr. David Kenneth Wheaton Ph.D.
© Rev. Dr. David Kenneth Wheaton Ph.D.