Hilda      
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"Hilda was obligated to no one except God, and she served everyone as God. She taught, counseled, and healed thousands, made herself available for lengths of time and at depths of intensity beyond what seemed humanly possible, and accepted no money or fame for all that she gave." (Alan Cohen, author of The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore.)

"Suddenly, the gap between myself and God disappeared and I experienced God as a personal, intimate part of myself. I felt the reality of God's oneness within me in a way that I hadn't since I was a child. From that second on, I would never be the same -and Hilda Chariton would forever remain the instrument of profound transformation in my life."(an excerpt from S.K. of Maryland.)

Scroll down to read more of what Hilda's students write about their experiences. And for other moving accounts, read what was said at her Memorial Service. What effect is she having on your life? Please send us your story to add to this page.
 
 

'I talked about Hilda to the men in the cell block'
Before meeting Hilda, I was cynical and sarcastic about God and religion. At the first meeting I went to, I felt out of place amidst all those flower children, but something happened: a huge 80-foot-tall Jesus appeared with hands outstretched, as that simple, unassuming lady in the sari onstage kept talking in her inimitable way. I felt it was important not to hang onto Hilda's coattails but to put her message into action. To this day, I can't believe it happened, but events pushed me into becoming a volunteer at Sing-Sing Prison, something I'd never dreamed of doing. I talked about Hilda to the men in the cell block where no visitors had gone before. When possible, I sneaked pictures of her to the inmates. Some of the men who were so fragmented on heavy medication that they couldn't even say a complete sentence remembered Hilda's name. Each week when I visited them, they'd come over to me and say, "Hilda! Hilda!" Some of them had Hilda dreams. When I came to the Skanda puja at the Hindu Temple and learned that Hilda had just passed, I couldn't believe her chair was empty. She had come to me in spirit and taught me a dance the night before -- after her passing. I still remember the joyous movements of calling others towards the Light.

                                                                                     - R.R., Connecticut

 
 

'Don't cry'
I was in Hilda's apartment, and at the time I was suffering from an acute case of lead poisoning. Hilda walked into the kitchen where I was speaking with somebody and she said to me very sternly, "You, into the living room. I've got to talk to you." So I very gingerly walked into the living room fearing I was in trouble again, and I sat down at the table. Hilda walked in and sat down next to me. Then she took my hand in hers and said, "How did you get this terrible lead poisoning? I'm so worried about you. What are you doing about it? What do the doctors say?" It was her wont to not give power and energy to a sickness, rather to deny it, but here she was accepting it almost. And I told her, "It's not so bad. We're working on it. Don't worry." And the next thing I knew, she lay her head down on my hand and she started crying. And she's getting my hand all wet! I said, "Oh, don't cry, Hilda. It's not so bad." She lifted her head up, put her finger to her lips and said to me very sternly, "Sshh! Quiet! Don't talk!" And she put her head back in my hand and resumed her crying. A few weeks later, I was considerably improved.
                                                                                     - B.W., New York

 
 

'Happiness is me'
When I came to Hilda's class, I was a tough, streetwise New York City bohemian-type in my late twenties. I had brought myself up on nineteenth century romantic poetry, and I thought angst and "the suffering of the artist" was where it was at. I came into her class to find several hundred adults jumping up and down with silly smiles on their faces, singing, "Happiness, happiness, happiness is me." I was pretty disgusted, especially with myself for coming to such a place looking for something, but I had paid my subway token to get there, so decided to stay. I listened to her talk with my supercritical mind, closed my eyes unwillingly for the meditation, and as she led us through it, to my surprise it seemed as though I shot up out the top of my head and hovered there. By the end of the class, I felt as though thousands of pounds of darkness that I hadn't been aware of had been lifted off my shoulders. In those first weeks, quite suddenly, I became a happy person. In her presence, I felt as though everything I'd always been searching for was inside my own heart.

                                                                                     - C.B., New York

 
 

'What did I do for her?'
Hilda always seemed to have the vitality of a little girl. She was always excited about something and yet she could be extremely profound; she had all kinds of gradations in her character. What stuck in my mind from her classes were the one-liners she would come up with, such as "I never met a holy person without a sense of humor." Or "If you fail a test, you can always take it again," which I always thought was very consoling. I didn't hang around Hilda as much as my wife Karen did, but whenever I came over to her apartment, she always made me feel like I was a king, like I'd done some marvelous service by allowing Karen to come over -- as if I could have stopped her. But I accepted that. And she would always give me a present each year and thank me for all that I'd done for her. I'd think, "What did I do for her?" But I just took the present. And one of the things that really got to me was when we arrived on Christmas with our little boy David and Hilda said to everybody, "Make way for the holy family." That really sent me flying. I thought, "My gosh, I really am holy, aren't I?"
                                                                                     - M.B., New York

 
 

'Getting in step'
I went with Hilda and 50 others on the 30-day trip in December 1983 to India and Europe. We were at Lourdes, and it was freezing cold. I had seldom had a chance to be closely at Hilda's side, but that day, I was doing errands for her, finding out where things were and what was happening. She would say, "Come with me now," and I was, like, "Wow! This is great." We were up on the top grounds of the Cathedral, and I had to walk with her down a long set of winding stone stairs to get to the bottom. Now during that whole trip going to India and here and there, I was having my moments with Hilda where I didn't exactly see eye to eye. It wasn't exactly the way I like to travel -- too much of get here, get there, take this luggage, get on the train, get off the train, all this stuff was getting to be a little too much. And there we were walking down the stairs, and she said, "Give me your hand." She held my arm and I held her arm and she said, "Now let's just get in step." And she did a little rhythmic skipping step, "tadum, tadum, tadum." It helped quite a lot. To this day I still remember that image of walking down the steps and getting in step with Hilda, with God and my true Self.

                                                                                     - B.F., New York

 
 

'Looking after life's smallest details'
I wrote a note to Hilda in class asking her prayers for my roommate, whom I'll call "R." She was not consciously on a spiritual path and was complaining of constant neck pain. Hilda read my note and asked me to bring my friend to class the following week. Easier said than done -- R. is a homebody and sensitive soul. Subway rides from Brooklyn to Manhattan for work had caused her such discomfort, anxiety, and strange physical sensations that her father had been driving her to work for a few years. Weeks went by, and R. still refused to come to class, even with a ride. Well, Hilda isn't stopped so easily! She introduced herself to R. in a dream and served her tea. R. did not know that Hilda served tea to her houseguests in the waking world. Shortly after that, R. had a dream that she and her dad were in a traffic jam in the Brooklyn Battery tunnel. Hilda appeared out of nowhere and said to R.: "You don't have to go this way any more." Very soon after, she got a job in Brooklyn that is a short bus ride from her home. Thank you, Hilda, for looking after life's smallest details with such love!

                                                                                    -J.L., New York

 
 

'A jolt of love and power'
Hilda' presence and ability to make a difference in one's life transcends time, body, mind, space and emotions. My life was never the same after she touched me in 1970. Where her hand had been on my chest and forehead, there glowed a light in each place within me. I never saw that light again, but during the next 18 years, each meeting with Hilda was equally profound and uplifting. Since her passing, she shows up in my dreams about every five or six months, giving me a lesson and a jolt of love and power. She'll come three times during one week, and then I won't see her again for another five or six months, while I digest what she gave me.
                                                                                    - A.F., New York

 
 

'Hilda! We found the stone!'
We were all with Hilda at Glastonbury, where there is a special fountain that was sacred to the Druids, the Chalice Well. It has a wall and a garden, and we did a little ceremony with the water and everyone drank it. When we got back to the hotel after being at the well, Hilda realized that she had lost a little stone that someone had given her the day before at Stonehenge. All of a sudden, something came over me and I said, "Hilda, I'll find it for you." Something in me said, "I need a young man without reproach." So I looked around and there was Brad, and so I said, "Brad, come with me." And so off we went to the garden. It all seemed very simple. We got there and there's like a million stones. We started looking around everywhere, and we found nothing. What to do? All of a sudden down the hill came this extraordinary looking woman with a scarf over her head. I still remember her marvelous green eyes. She came in without a word and took the cup and went to the fountain. She got the water and gave it to Brad. Brad didn't know what to do. I said, "Drink it!" So he drank it. And she gave it to me, and I drank it. She didn't say anything else. She turned about and she left. We went back to the fountain and there on the wall was the stone that Hilda had lost. Now that was extraordinary! Well, we were enchanted with ourselves. We took the stone and we rushed out to find Hilda. "Hilda! Hilda! We found the stone!" We told her the story, and she got furious. She said, "Haven't I taught you anything?!" The point was that with any out-of-the-ordinary being, we should always say silently three times "I challenge you in the name of Jesus" to make sure they aren't negative. And I had not challenged this woman. That critical lesson to use discrimination has always stayed with me. Of course, she kept the stone!

                                                                                    - A.N., New York

 
 

'The gap between myself and God disappeared'
At a friend's insistence, I agreed to go to a meeting in Baltimore where tapes of Hilda's New York classes were played. I was suspicious: Gurus held no interest for me whatsoever and I wasn't interested in anyone who went by their first name. Then the tape started. When Hilda's voice came on, I immediately felt a sense of uprightness and strength, as my whole being snapped to attention in a single laser beam of bright, centered energy. I pictured Hilda as a short, slightly overweight woman in a crisp, tailored suit. She started talking about God. At that point in my life, God was the infinite Source that was "out there" but not a part of me, not a personal experience. Hilda began talking about how God lives inside of us. She went on in a sing-songy way, saying, "God lives in me, I live in God. God walks in me, I walk in God," telling us to go on like that to ourselves. At that moment, an amazing thing happend to me. As if struck by a bolt of lightning, I fully inhaled the Truth of her words and "knew" everything she said! Suddenly, the gap between myself and God disappeared and I experienced God as a personal, intimate part of myself. I felt the reality of God's oneness within me in a way that I hadn't since I was a child. From that second on, I would never be the same and Hilda Charlton would forever remain the instrument of profound transformation in my life.

                                                                                    - S.K., Maryland

 
  'Some little part of me opened'
Hilda had the subtlety and delicacy to teach vast lessons in the simplest of life's happenings. In 1984, a group of us traveled with Hilda in England, and on the bus, I began praying that I would get to sit next to Hilda at lunch. My prayer came true. As I sat down across her, my mind could only imagine the words of wisdom that would flow from her divine lips...There are not too many foods I hate. Unfortunately, tomato juice is one of them. After I sat down, Hilda looked at me with a slight smile on her face and handed me her glass of tomato juice. I probably turned several shades of red. "You don't have to drink it, dear," she said. My mind raced: Could I really fail a test with my teacher over a glass of tomato juice? I felt the fear flowing through me. I knew her teachings on mastery, on overcoming likes and dislikes, but somehow it seemed easier listening to a lecture on the subject than to actually drink that awful red liquid in front of me. But I did drink the juice that day. In drinking it, across from Hilda, I felt a little freer inside. Some little part of me opened. I haven't had a glass of it in the 10 years since, but somehow it doesn't matter. The simplicity of that lesson is still potent in my life. Partly it was the love she conveyed to me; partly it was the humor of the whole event; and partly it was the understanding she had of me and all my fears.
                                                                                    - B.B., Connecticut
 
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