I’m Vago Damitio /vah Go dah Mish yo/ . I’m 39, born in Seattle, university in Hawaii, married in Morocco, living in Morocco expecting our first child any day now.
My mom was hippie christian and named me Christopher David, two names I don’t really go by. As a kid I was carted to sunday school in a rainbow colored schoolbus in California.
I started asking a lot of questions that pissed off the sunday school teachers and left me young and faithless. Faked speaking in tongues to see if I could get away with it and when I did, I knew the whole thing was bogus. Faked being born again to get kisses from a farmers daughter (yeah, it worked).
Saw the world as devoid of a creator and really geeked out with computers and a love of NASA and space. Really geeked out with sci-fi. That led me to Heinlein and L.Ron and a real fascination with the ultimate questions (42). A neighbor’s husband died and she knew I loved to read and gave me his library…lots of sci-fi, plus Krishnamurti, baghavadgita, and more. This led to reading all the holy books I could get at the library or used bookstore including the book of mormon, quran, bible, scientology, book of the dead (egyptian and tibetan), and more. Became more than a little geeked out with wicca, I-ching, and tarot. My great aunt who was somewhat famous as a hollywood spiritualist and medium secretly gave me my first tarot deck knowing my christian mom would disapprove. She said her guides told her to do it.
During all this time, I was suffering still from a spiritual vacuum (I think it might have been a Kirby) and I did far more than just experiment with drugs and alcohol which led to going in the Marines in 1990 where I experimented with Lutheranism, shamanism, and any other religious services I could find.
It was in 1995 though, after I was out of the Marines that things really changed for me. First of all, I rediscovered the Tao te Ching and recognized it for a perfect spiritual road map. I continued to read Tarot and i ching but with a very different understanding thanks to Jung and others.
In December of 1995 I was visited by a spiritual master. This may sound unlikely (and it does to me so it must to you) but I was working at a bar in Raleigh, North Carolina and this little black man walked in. He had a funny accent and I noticed that whomever he began to talk with would literally light up with ..well…with light. finally, the bar quieted down and I had the chance to talk with him and felt the same sort of light inside me. I asked who he was and he said he was a writer, I asked where he was from and he said a country where we don’t really understand your people, I asked what he was doing and he told me he was writing a book about my people to bring understanding to his people. Then he asked me questions about the stock market, television, celebrity, being a bartender and the way he did it really made me have revelation after revelation about life, living, and more. He told me to keep my eyes open for a teacher who was coming to show me something valuable. I turned to get drinks for new guests and when i returned he had paid for his drinks and was gone.
Shortly after this, my brother introduced me to a Sufi Master named Sharif Baba who truly opened the door for me. Among his many lessons. “All the buses lead to the same bus station” It was at this time that I truly became Muslim, though it took me more than a decade to recognize that. I’ll write more about that later.
Over the coming decade I continued to read Tarot and i-Ching. I continued to study the Tao te Ching. And i continued to find truth is Sufism. In 2001 another spiritual master found me. I was hitching down the west coast of the USA and ride after ride was becoming heavier and heavier with coercive religion until finally, a retired minister turned nichiren buddhist picked me up and told me about nam myoho renghe kyo.
Four years later living in a van in Hawaii and ready to kill myself while I tried to finish a novel called Slackville Road, I had a dream where I was told ‘don’t kill yourself. remember ‘nam myoho renghe kyo’. So what, right? Except an hour later when I went to the storage unit where I kept my stuff, the lady at the desk asked me “Hey are you ready to become a buddhist?” I laughed and said sure. She said, “Okay, the first thing you need to do is say Nam Myoho Renghe Kyo” I shit you not. I became a Buddhist.
A couple of years later I was looking for a much needed refuge from a relationship gone bad, I prayed for guidance and for some reason wrote the word Muslim. The next day I found the perfect place to live. I moved in and only that evening when I heard the call to prayer did I find out that I had moved next door to the only mosque in Hawaii. Again, I shit you not.
So, let’s see…I’m a born again Buddhist Muslim geek that reads Tarot Cards and loves the Tao te Ching. Yeah, that about sums it up. I’m a kook by just about any definition, but you know what? I’ve found some spiritual truth that has led me to the life I’m living…and I’d like to share it.
Now, what about you?