Theodore Orenstein was born in 1943. When he was about seven or eight years old, after having a conflict with a friend, he realized that down deep he and the other kids were the same, and they really just wanted the same basic things as he did. It helped him accept his peers, even though he did not always understand their actions. Again at about 12 years old he was deeply troubled that some of the boys had been bullying him. While in despair, in a flash of understanding he again came to that same revelation. They were good people who had internal problems which caused them to act that way. So he tried to accept them, and not harbor unnecessary hard feelings within himself.
As a child, he took seriously what he was taught in religious school. He dutifully listened to the stories and directives. If his Bible fell on the floor, he picked it up and kissed it with reverence. In junior high school as he and the other students recited prayers at the beginning of each school day, he considered them deeply.
Later in his teens he acquired a cynicism about religion. He saw people going through the motions, read prayers about a God to which he could not relate, and listened to Bible stories which he could not believe. In college he saw myself as an avowed atheist. He loved to debate the issue with believers and discuss it with all others. He rejected the humanoid God spoken of in the Bible.
After attending college and law school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967 during the Vietnam War. In the army he read The Science of Being and Art of Living by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The book tried to describe a transcendent consciousness, but he just didn’t get it. It spoke in glowing terms about a state of existence, but it was so vague he could not understand it. It is therefore very important to him that his book be easy to understand by the ordinary unenlightened person.
In the middle of the night a few days after going Christmas caroling in December 1969, as Ted was studying for his upcoming bar exam with the words of the Christmas carols still in his subconscious mind, it struck him with no warning what Christ meant when he said ”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We are connected through human love. We are united, so that when we hurt others, we hurt ourselves. It was at that moment that he first truly recognized the shining spirit behind those words.
His life was fundamentally changed at that moment. He spread that word of unity to his family and friends. He was elated and calm; amazed and filled with quiet contemplation. Everything came together. Everything was understood.
Revelations kept coming to him in the two years following that moment. He noticed occurrences hinting of spirituality which he would have previously walked by and ignored. They connected with something in him. He was ready. He was like a blossoming flower. It was during a revelatory experience he had about that time that he realized that he existed beyond his physical and mental body. He was a spirit which resided in his body in order to exist in and interact with the physical world.
It was soon thereafter that without warning a fundamental spiritual awakening came over him. It was a wondrous revelatory experience within which he felt a direct connection with the source of life. While within it he understood all. It left after about 36 hours, but the lessons learned from that experience stayed with him.
Soon after that he met his first spiritual teacher in a casual conversation while passing on the sidewalk. He invited Ted to visit his home where he lived with his wife and young daughter, and Ted soon did. Every night people gathered around that wise man and they had deep probing discussions about the nature of life, of meaning, and of the nature of understanding itself. The enlightening realization of the true meaning of life returned to Ted, but this time it was even greater. With it came the revelation as to the fundamental meaning of existence itself. It is described in great depth in his book.
He was immersed within that heavenly experience for about three weeks. During that time he developed a concept of the nature of our existence in this earthly world and how it could be communicated to others. That is the teaching contained in the book on which he is presently working.
In 1970 Ted, newly sworn-in as a lawyer, sublet a small office from an older practitioner and started his own law practice with only two clients. In those days law schools offered no practical courses on how to start or run a law practice, or how to get clients. Ted had to learn that from scratch, often by trial and error. In 1973 he attended a bar association meeting and suggested to the group that the bar association should educate new lawyers about how to start and run their own practices. The chairperson of the meeting said: “Good idea. You’re in charge.”
Ted was appointed co-chair of a newly-formed education committee. He then established a series of free “How to” educational seminars. He also began teaching a series of practical courses entitled “How to Set Up Your Law Office”, “Where to Locate Your Law Office”, “How to Set, Bill and Collect Fees”; and “How to Obtain Clients”. It was at that time that he learned that he had a knack for making complicated subjects personally relatable to ordinary people, and for breaking them down into practical easy-to-follow steps. That program was produced, moderated and partially taught by Ted every year for 24 consecutive years. In 1977 Ted was elected chairperson of the Young Lawyers Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
In 1980 Ted was elected the chairperson of the Law Practice Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association. The Law Practice Section under Ted’s leadership led the law practice management revolution in Massachusetts, which fundamentally and permanently changed the way solo, and small to medium-sized firms were run. Ted taught the bar how using management techniques would help the individual lawyer improve the level of his or her professional services while increasing income and allowing more time for family.
Ted’s ability to take esoteric concepts and present them in a way with which ordinary people can directly identify, and his ability to take what seem formidably difficult tasks and break them down into simple logical steps that make them easy to follow has proven very popular over the years. He has had significant success writing in the self-help genre. He has published many articles, including in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, the National Law Journal and the American Bar Association Journal. He has co-authored three books, and written a number of chapters in multi-author works, one of which has gone through multiple editions over thirty-five years and has been translated into Japanese. He has also been invited to speak at numerous national and state conferences, and has taught for a number of educational organizations in the United States and Canada. Those abilities are exhibited in the new book on which is now working.