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The Kiss

The Kiss

Just before I began writing this book, I came down with the flu. Breathing was a struggle, and the pain in my body was unbearable. I was so ill for so long that I didn’t think I would ever recover.
I let go of all hope of surviving – I had no choice.

I soon came to realize that my lack of hope was actually a blessing. Having given up, I could accept what was being presented in that moment – the possibility that I was very sick and might die. With that acceptance, my body relaxed and, for the first time in a long time, I was able to pray.

With all of my heart and soul, I asked for understanding as to the purpose of this illness. After a while, I felt warm all over, and I experienced something kissing me. Every aching muscle was being kissed and loved and soothed. I felt so full, so loved, and so blessed. I had received an answer to my prayer and my feeling of having been abandoned in my illness dis- solved. I saw that I really am in a relationship with God,as we all are.

Our relationship with God is no different from any other in the sense that we must learn to communicate our heartfelt needs, as we would to anyone whom we love and who loves us. The sense of being kissed has never left me and it has become one of the barometers to indicate my receptivity to God’s love. After “the kiss,” I began to heal very quickly. As I was recovering, this book was conceived.

How can we bring the kiss of God into our daily lives? How can we love ourselves as God loves us? My illness taught me that surrendering to what is, along with seeking a higher understanding, can take us to God. We must truly desire to discover the higher reason for every situation that we are in. If our desires and goals are strictly material, then we might find it harder to access a more refined state of consciousness. If we see the world as objects and circumstances that we must acquire, change or manipulate, or if we think our true reason for being is to attain some worldly desire or goal, we will miss the small, quiet voice inside of us that always seeks to expand our perspective.

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Entering the magic doorway means living every moment in relationship with God or our higher Self, recognizing that every little event or circumstance reflects the quality of that relationship. How do we treat each person we meet? Do we uplift them with our love, or judge them as inept or a bother? How do we respect our living space? Do we see it as a temple for God or a place to crash or show off? How do we work with others? Is our ego in control or our love? How do we treat our own mind and feelings? Do we treat them with respect as we would a friend? Do we listen with an open heart, or do we get angry with ourselves for having bothersome feelings and thoughts? Do we wish they would go away, and then distract ourselves so as not to feel them? How do we nourish ourselves? Is it with good, balanced food, or is it with food that creates chaos in mind and body? These are only a few examples of how we can contemplate our lives, moment by moment. In so doing, we open the magic door to the wisdom of the inner Self, and see everything we encounter as another reflection of God.

Unconditional acceptance of what is, and the intention to know the truth, is the key. Feeling victimized by life is forgetting that we truly have all the power we need within our hearts. Every moment at its essence is another opportunity to enter the vast love of God. Memorable events such as marriage or childbirth are obvious avenues, but so are “ordinary” experiences such as a visit with a beloved friend, a flower, a beautiful scent, a rainbow, a pebble, a warm blanket, nourishing food… Even events we might judge as tragic, such as divorce, the death of a child, a terminal illness, and other kinds of losses can take us to God. Whether we experience wealth or poverty, joy or sorrow, warmth or cold, chaos or quietude, our judgments must be set aside and the moment itself must be embraced with an open heart. With our love shining, all distinctions, positive and negative, disappear, and all that remains is the constant, unchanging kiss of God.

Meditation Keys – The Kiss

Day One

See every object, person and situation in life as your own God Self, abundantly presenting you with the opportunity to enter the magic door.

Day Two

Spend an entire day respecting everyone – friend, stranger, or “enemy.” Respect every object you encounter – your car, your house, your computer, a pencil, a stone… See how that feels.

Day Three

Become like a child again, exploring this world with eyes of wonder, as if everything in it were brand new.

One Kiss

onekiss

One kiss blows life into nothingness
One kiss and what was dead comes alive
One kiss and the velvety petals of a ruby red rose
Emerge from the darkness
And reach yearningly for the light.
One kiss and a breathing, living, sumptuous child
Arises from flesh
One kiss and the skies open and drop joyous tears
Onto the painter’s creation
One kiss and that which lived must die
One kiss and that which died is reborn anew
And vibrates in the ocean of forever.
One kiss and all that appeared to be
Returns to just one kiss.

Removing The Labels

Labels

Labeling ourselves and our world, and then believing these labels to be real, is the greatest obstruction to the open door of consciousness.

We perceive something, and instead of observing it as a stream of consciousness, we label it, identify with it, resist it, and then crystallize the moment, person, or event.

I once met a Chinese teacher at a time when I needed to gain a deeper understanding of ego. My intuition told me that I was to meet someone to learn something, but I had no idea who that was or how this meeting would come about. I prayed and asked for help, and the very next day, a client handed me a check for $1000 and said, “Take a trip.” I accepted the gift with gratitude but had no idea where to go. The following day, “Arizona” flashed through my mind and so I booked and boarded a flight to Scottsdale. There I rented an apartment and waited. After a few days, I accepted an invitation from an acquaintance, who asked me to accompany her to meet with a Chinese Chi Gong master. Walking into the room, I saw a powerful Chinese woman who reminded me of a fire goddess. She looked at me intently and a surge of power passed between us. I will always remember her core teaching: “The ego grabs the garbage.”

In the short time that I was with her, I reached a new understanding that our thoughts about who we are or what our present circumstances mean, or what is right or what is wrong, pass by constantly, not unlike clouds or radio waves. If we have a negative thought, it is not a problem. It’s what we do with such thought forms that gives rise to painful emotions or a limited negative reality. When we grab hold of a passing thought and say, “Yes, this is me, I am bad, I am unworthy,” then our consciousness reflects that belief and we experience a reality of unworthiness.

To become free of labels is to become a Master, witness- ing the movement of consciousness as the clouds go by, knowing that blue sky exists eternally in the back- ground. We need to identify ourselves with the blue sky, not the clouds that constantly dissipate and change. When we don’t witness our thoughts and judgments, we become the labels and live in our egos. The problems begin when we believe that every thought, feeling, and sensation that appears belongs to us – when we tell ourselves that this is my feeling, my thought, my body, my image… These emotions, feelings, thoughts, and bodies no more belong to us than a cloud belongs to the sky. Imagine the blue sky perceiving a passing cloud, and then contracting itself and saying, “I am not this expansiveness; I am that cloud!” Absurd though it is, we do it continually. “I am not Love and pure consciousness, I am a woman,” or “I am a wealthy entrepreneur,” or “I am a sad person,” or “I am a good and happy person,” or “I am an alcoholic,” or “I am an intellectual”…

We are so identified with our labels, that we often deny and misunderstand ego, assuming it to mean self-aggrandizement. We think that to view ourselves to be Love and pure consciousness means that we are conceited. However, ego is anything that makes us believe that we are just a cloud separate from that clear blue sky of consciousness; this includes beliefs about our unworthiness as well as beliefs about being more special than others. As we remove the labels by not grabbing hold of them as they stream through our thoughts, we may still experience old, toxic labels we’ve previously grabbed. These labels may have become fixed and are now being mirrored by people in everyday situations. Recognizing that the appearance of these reflections, feelings, thoughts, and/or physical sensations reflects a cleansing of our energy field can help us release them. Discharging these old, heavy identities is like allowing poison to leave our system, freeing us to feel light and joyful like the infinite blue sky that we know ourselves to be.

Meditation Keys

Removing the Labels Think of one negative thought about yourself that you
have believed to be true.
Spend a few moments contemplating this negative thought form that you have chosen.
Let yourself fully experience the belief that you really are that thought form. Notice the emotional state that it produces within you.
Now return again to who you were before the label or thought form arose. Witness the sequence of events that takes place:
The thought passes through.
The ego grabs the thought and identifies with it.
You now believe you are bad, ugly, unloving or stupid or whatever the negative label or thought form may be. Emotion wells up and you feel terrible.
You feel worthless and abandoned by God.
Now start over again.
The thought passes through.
Witness it passing through you like a cloud and let it pass.
Don’t grab it.
Recognize that this is where true freedom lies!

Save

Save

magicdied

When The Magic Died

When I was small, everything was magic
New, wondrous, fresh, exciting, free.
Then they told me:
Don’t feel this way.
Don’t think that way.
This is good. That is bad.
You are right. You are wrong.
Confused I became –
And then my wondrous world became tainted With labels and judgments that I didn’t understand.

Slowly the magic disappeared
And the labels and boxes neatly defined my reality. Sadder and older, I plod through life
And my label shakes hands with all the other labels, And so we agree to pretend
That the magic is a fantasy
And that freedom is only for the mad.

divinity
From Duality to Divinity

One of the reasons I was inspired to write this book was to share what I have learned about the
power of transmutation . Experiencing enlightenment at the peak of the greatest rage I had ever expressed challenged all of my concepts about right and wrong, good and bad. I saw that anything can be grist for the sacred mill if it accompanies a sincere intention to know the Truth.

In the past, I had always judged myself for “unacceptable” feelings such as anger, fear, jealousy, sadness and so on. Even though I could observe such states and not indulge them, I still felt that they shouldn’t be there. I have since learned that anything can take us to our Divine Self when it is allowed to “be.” As I have said in the Introduction and will repeat many times throughout this book, the magic key that opens the door to our divinity is a blend of our sincere intention to experience the truth, and our unconditional love and acceptance of whatever arises.

Throughout my life, I have longed to pierce the veils that have kept me from my God Self. But my overactive mind would pull me in the opposite direction, and I would try to satisfy my longing for the Divine with the distractions of the outer world, rather than the urgings of my inner self. This habit created a separation and a tremendous inner tension. Sometimes the tension would build and take the form of dissatisfaction, anger, hatred, fear, abandonment, loneliness, loss, and jeal- ousy. I would try to observe these states passing through, and sometimes that would dissolve them. But there were times when the thoughts created emotions that were too strong to ignore and I felt powerless to combat or transcend them. At such times, I came to understand that I was not in control, and that something larger than me was at the helm. Using my intention to know the Truth, I learned to ride the intensity of the emotion. When the tempestuous emotional seas calmed down, I could divine the purpose of such storms – to wash away my more deeply embedded attachments to things that no longer served me.

For example, there are times when the pressure builds between two people in a relationship. Things reach a point where no matter how faithfully each person observes the negative thoughts or feelings towards the other, or how many yogic techniques each of them uses to control the mind, the negativity won’t diminish. Then one day, the energy builds to such a crescendo that everything gets aired out and both people have been cleansed of the limitations that had kept their relation- ship stuck at a lower level. Thus the stormy emotional wave carries them to a new level of honesty. Just as a rainstorm removes the impurities in the air, so too can inner storms remove the impurities that keep us down and separate from God.

On one occasion, while living in a beautiful ashram with my meditation Master, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, with whom I studied for 16 years, the inner tensions built to such an extent that I was pushed through the divine door. On the surface, everything seemed peaceful, but the spiritual practices of selfless service, meditation, and chanting, and the grace of the Guru put great strain on everyone’s ego, including mine. At times, we all seemed a little mad. The crushing pressure on the contracted mind was meant only to relieve us of the veils that kept us believing we were limited beings rather than divine beings. Nonetheless, the pressure, designed to work on each person according to his or her particular need for growth, felt awful. I loved meditation but I had great aversion for the noise and busyness at the ashram. My aversion reached a peak one day when I was riding on a hot, crowded, poorly ventilated bus, feeling overcome by body odour, incessant chatter, and continual bumping up against my fellow passengers. For my highly sensitive nervous system, it all felt like torture; every moment felt like an eternity. A mantra was playing constantly and repetitively. I felt that if I heard one more “Om,” I would tear the speaker from the wall. I prayed fervently to God, “Please help me. I can’t bear this anymore.” The internal and external pressure built to such an intensity that just as I was about to lose it, in what seemed like a split second, my mind imploded into a whole other state of awareness. Rather than being bumped around, I was being carried on a gentle wave. All my irritation dissolved into peace and love. The mantras became a heavenly chorus and I felt at one with everyone on the bus. It was as if the pressure placed on the coal of my mind created a diamond of consciousness.

I was no longer just a body. I became pure awareness.awareness

Later, while taking a walk, another veil dropped. All the leaves on the trees shone with incredible brilliance. The sky, the pebbles, and the road became one with the shimmering Love. I felt as if I was touching the entire world with my hand, which was really a heart. I saw the face of God in all creation. I knew in that moment that I and everything and everybody in this universe are in God’s heart, as undulating consciousness. I felt deep gratitude and love, and I saw all of my unwanted pain as the pain of birth and the pain of death, and that entering into these tunnels with open and witnessing eyes, brought me to the light. Having witnessed the face of God in everything, my ideas about what was “spiritual” and what was “worldly” slowly began to dissolve. Labels no longer held any power over me. The concepts or boxes in which I had previously felt comfortable, were gone. The old me began to feel like a cardboard cutout animated by the creative power. Every moment and every place was of God’s essence. I saw how I was truly a part of the whole and not separate from anything; I was not different from others.

saw the one soul permeating throughout All That Exists. I saw that God has no judgment over us, and that all that we experience can be used as fertilizer to yield bountiful crops. I saw the only thing in us that needs changing is the belief that we are separate from God. The only purpose of our experiences is to push sufficiently hard on our self-judgment and perceived limita- tions, that any beliefs that separate us from God and each other can be shattered.

Meditation Keys

Recall a time when you felt strong irritation.

Where were you at the time? Who and/or what surrounded you? Relive this moment.

Remove the label “irritation” from this feeling and just explore the sensations that you are having.

Rest deeply in the sensations that you are experiencing. Ask to know the truth of who you really are.

 

door
Part 2 The Door Openers

The Being of Light from the far away galaxy asked God another question, “What do these earthlings have to do to open a door to your Light and Love?”

God replied, “There are many doorways through which they can reach me and taste this nectar of Divine Love. All of their sensations, emotions, and feelings can be turned inside themselves. Then, with their “inner eye,” they can perceive the Love and Light that awaits them. This Love remains undisturbed by all outer circum- stances. But they must learn not to be tricked by what they see with their human eyes. I live in their every breath, every feeling, and every thought. My only desire is to love them with all that I Am.”

Opening The Door Way

In the ancient scripture known as the Spanda Karikas (Divine Pulsation), it is said that, “All energy is, in its ultimate analysis, only an offshoot of Spiritual energy.” (3)

All of life is vibrating with the energy of consciousness. Because we’ve been taught to live in our minds, we only touch the surface of life. We only believe what we hear, feel, or taste. Thus, we see objects and people at a flat, mundane frequency, which leaves us with a fearful, grasping, painful, and limited perspective. But when we set aside our judgment of what we are feeling or expe- riencing, and let ourselves rest in the moment, we can dive through the surface into the essence of who we really are.

The Door Openers

We enter the magic doorway when we allow life to touch us deeply. While I was on one of my meditation retreats, my boyfriend started seeing another woman. Even worse, he asked my best friend to help him sup- port his new woman friend’s latest project. I felt so hurt and so betrayed, it was as though I had been stabbed in the heart. I tried to push away the pain so that I could return to a more normal state. When that didn’t work, I contracted my body in an effort to numb it, which only made me ill. I realized that I had to find the courage to face the pain. I took a long walk, which is my way of gaining clarity and experiencing my feelings more deeply. I came to a bench and sat down, and began to breathe into all of my hurt, allowing myself to feel it completely. I asked God to help me know the truth of who I really am and to show me the teaching embodied in this situation. A little while later, a response came. My heart, belly, and back opened up and the tears spilled forth like a river and so did my love for God. In that sacred moment, I saw that my pain and disappointment were intended to open the door once again to my Divine Self. Then I was able to see my former boyfriend in a new, more compassionate light. I realized that he did not intend to hurt me with his choices; he was just doing what he had to do in his life. Realizing this, I sat on the bench for a long time, holding him in my heart in forgiveness and love.

Every life experience, large and small, can take us to our innermost Self. The comforting chug of a train in the night, the roar of an airplane in the sky, the smell of a beautiful flower, the innocence of a child – these and other apparently ordinary things can inspire the sense of peace that calms our mind and fills our being. When we eat a piece of chocolate or experience an orgasm, we can enjoy the ecstasy of Being. Unfortunately, addiction to these and other substances, habits, or people can arise when we fail to realize that gifts such as sex or chocolate can be doorways to the Divine, but not the Divine itself. The Divine doorway can also fling open when we experience something shocking or challenging such as death or divorce. Having no context for this experience, our mind just stops. Even deep grief can have an unexpected sweetness, if fully embraced.

We are never alone. We are continually swimming in an ocean of consciousness that feeds us as a mother feeds an infant, but if we close ourselves off we will feel starved and dried up. Our refusal to accept Divine nourishment is the root of much of our sorrow. We must catch the current of consciousness that is constantly pulsating beneath all things. We must train ourselves to reach past the surface illusion to the core of all life. Anything that can stop the endless chatter of the mind can open us to God’s presence; but we must relax, accept what is, ask for guidance, and then listen to the music of our soul that is continually calling us home. Then we can attune ourselves to the Divine pulsation underlying our outer life experiences.

And so we pass through the magic doorway with open eyes that observe and rest in each moment of life and in each circumstance. In so doing, we draw sustenance from the inner Self, not from the outer form, which either passes away or leaves us barren and empty in the end.

 

colouredrose

 

Meditation Keys
Put a delicious piece of food in your mouth.

Witness all of your physical sensations. Stay with the experience.

Fall deep into the ecstasy.

Now swallow the food and keep the ecstasy that arose from within.

Rest in that deep state of peace, which cannot be taken away or affected by outer circumstances, people or substances.

 

return
Part 1 Crossing The Threshold Returning to the World

After my awakening experience, I lived in a state of great light and bliss for about a year. Then, the light began to fade and my life seemed much more difficult. During that challenging time when the darkness seemed so overwhelming, something deep within continued to haunt me, never letting me forget who I really am.

Soon after my awakening experience, my marriage ended and fame and fortune began to pursue me. I was just an aerobics teacher/dancer and model, but during this phase, people were drawn to me like bees to honey. In the early 1980s, my picture was on the front page of a major Canadian newspaper with an accompanying full-page article declaring me a “Goddess Revolutionizing Fitness.” Shortly thereafter, I was offered a morning spot on Canada AM. Other Canadian and American television producers were calling, wanting to offer me my own health and fitness show, or appearances on other shows already on the air. A well-known soft drink company offered me a lucrative contract to be an international fitness spokesperson for their product. Movie offers and modeling contracts appeared. Perhaps they were drawn by the energy of my awakening experience, but people in positions of power wanted to turn me into a star. My friends were awestruck at all that was coming my way. It was overwhelming. I was being picked up in limousines, meeting with celebrities, and “taking” meetings to discuss impressive-sounding business deals. The world and all of its glory rushed towards me, and every dream and fantasy I had ever had appeared at my doorstep. This was the worldly face of my awakening. However, the new energy cascading through my body would not allow itself to be con- trolled; I could not be coerced into becoming a Hollywood persona.

I had had such a profound transformation in body and psyche that integrating the new hormones and energies was difficult. I found myself shaking a lot because of the kundalini energy traveling up my spine. With the sud- den appearance of a uterus, my hormones were in tur- moil. My body was trying to balance itself, a natural process but very uncomfortable. All I wanted to do was to run away from the chaos, inner and outer. I went on retreat to contemplate all that was taking place and came to realize that I could neither control what came my way nor what might leave me. When I returned, the promised fame and fortune began to dwindle and soon dissolved. Iwaslivinginsuchblissthatthelossoffame and fortune did not trouble me. Other experiences took precedence. I became highly sensitive to other people’s thoughts and feelings, and discovered that I had healing and psychic powers. People would share stories of being healed of an illness or having experienced some kind of awakening after speaking with me or taking one of my classes. I was living almost continually in a state much larger than my personality, but I didn’t fully understand what I was feeling and experiencing. It was as if I was my Soul rather than my personality. Not having a guide or mentor to provide context or to mirror my state, I was greatly confused as I struggled to continue to live my life in the old way. This confusion was compounded by the energies that were moving through my body. Sometimes they took the form of torrential sexual energy. Sometimes I experienced intense irritation and psychic sensitivities that made it difficult to be with other people for very long because I would feel their unexpressed feelings in my own body. I could no longer stand noise or crowds; I craved nature, peace and quiet, and a more meditative lifestyle.

Love

My relationships with some of my friends and acquaintances changed, as I could no longer drink wine, go to parties, watch TV or movies, or even drink coffee. All of these former pleasures made me feel ill. My new body demanded a life of purity that eliminated those friends who could neither understand nor accept that I was no longer “fun” in the old way. I even lost a boyfriend who was dear to me. My work life changed as well. I broke my foot, which prevented me from doing my fitness classes or dance work for a number of months. People began gravitating to me seeking spiritual workshops, groups, and individual counseling, even though I never advertised. My life was moving so fast that I just had to hang on and follow where this energy was leading me. My longing for a spiritual life compelled me to spend every penny on meditation retreats so that I could bathe in the bliss of the inner Self. I was finding it hard to live in the world in the old way, and yet the “new” way still hadn’t formed.

This journey took many, many years. After the first year of bliss and light, worldly woes, including financial, relationship, and health difficulties, began to drag me down. I wondered if I had done something wrong to deserve this apparent “fall from Grace.” Longing to find the doorway back to that brilliant light, I pursued gurus and teachers, scriptural study, meditations, selfless service, and many techniques that promised to open path- ways to God. I even learned to transmute my baser emotions and sexual drive to a higher frequency. Sometimes engaging in these practices would open the door easily; other times the door would not budge.

At first, I enjoyed the game of knocking and trying to find the right “code” to experience the divine door opening. But I realized how much ego I had yet to let go of before the door would stay open. I tried to become aware of this ego and purify myself, which worked for a while, but eventually I saw that my “trying” was what was keeping the door closed. Growing tired of this door game, I wanted to quit; the door was locked and my heart was growing cold. I came to realize that all of my striving was no longer of value.

A deeper purification of my ego was required. Frustrated and miserable, one day I prayed to God, “Please send me a true teacher who is fully purified so that I can be helped and directed to where I need to go next.” A part of me resented having to make an effort to return to the light that was previously so available to me, and so becoming a “seeker” felt false. Nonetheless, I realized that I needed to let go of identifying with my awakening experience if I was to be receptive to the blessings and guidance of a teacher.

Some time later, I was supposed to go out with a few friends to a conference that had been planned for weeks, but I felt sick and unable to go. Instead, I chose what I thought would be a relaxing evening listening to a talk by Joseph Chilton Pierce, who was introducing the Siddha Yoga master, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, to Vancouver. The instant I saw her image on the video screen, I gasped, “Oh my God, that’s me!” I knew that I needed to meet her – this was my teacher. After meeting Gurumayi, I felt a sense of renewal and a reminder of who I really am. Some of the energies stirring through my body began to balance out.

rosw

From that moment on, I spent years studying, traveling, and living in ashrams with her, and I had many powerful and transforming experiences. From Gurumayi’s example, I learned how important it was to honour one another and all of life. This was why purification of the ego was so necessary. Even though I knew my true Self, my knowing was obscured by ego tendencies such as unworthiness, doubt, guilt, and pride. For my personal- ity self and God Self to merge as one, cleansing myself of these “ego covers” was required. I was beginning to understand at a deeper level that the true purpose of life really was Love.

I also realized that having an enlightenment experience, awakening, or direct experience of truth, is no ordinary event. Opening to our true Self can come at any time, whether through meditation, childbirth, tragedy, the grace of a true master or any number of other situations, but it requires honouring and nurturing. Once we have experienced the truth, we cannot go back and live the lie. We have a responsibility to the people around us and to the world we live in, which requires seeing ourselves as ambassadors of God’s Love. Therefore we must live virtuous lives that encompass selfless service, honesty, seeing the God within everyone, and transmuting every situation to peace and love rather than war and hatred.

We must honour the one Light that is shared by all hearts and that ends with no door of any shape or size, just total stillness, presence, and freedom from the illusion that there is a need for any journey to be taken.

free
Free At Last

The dark cloud bursts
And I emerge as the blue sky –
Pure
Limitless
And free
With a joy that surpasses all earthly joys
I have ever known.

theawakening

PART 1 CROSSING THE THRESHOLD – THE AWAKENING

I guess it was my time or rather God’s time. I was 29 years old, I had a good husband, I was a successful model and dancer. By conventional standards, I had an enviable life, and yet I felt somehow empty. Something was haunting me.

Then, during a routine check-up, my doctor told me that my uterus had completely dissolved and I would never menstruate again. I would never have any children. I was devastated by the news and was telling a friend about it when she told me about an upcoming workshop designed to take participants to enlightenment (2) provided they were willing to apply themselves. I felt a surging force of desire, stronger than anything I had ever known. My simple response to her was, “I must go!”

We both forgot about my uterus.

Getting myself to the workshop was surprisingly difficult. When I told Jeff, my husband, he said, “You can’t go.” He had never tried to prevent me from doing any- thing before, but this time he was not only adamant but angry. I felt that I was fighting for my life. I told him I was going anyway. The next day, I asked my boss if I could take Saturday off but he refused. Like my husband, he was adamant. I told him I was sorry but I must go. By the time I left for the weekend, I had no idea if I would have a job or a marriage when I returned on Monday. But I felt as if something greater was driving me and I had no control over it.

Sleeping bag in hand, I was dropped off at an old monks’ retreat/lodge outside the city. Everything was white and austere. No flowers. No colour. There was one tiny closet for everyone’s clothes. Each small bed- room had eight hard bunk beds. It was an icy cold night in November and everything felt harsh, cold, and naked. I just wanted to go home, but I also knew I had already crossed the line and there was no returning. I was ushered downstairs to the workshop room with the other participants where we were welcomed with herbal tea and honey. All of our valuables were collected, pack- aged, and stored away for safekeeping. We were not allowed to wear watches, jewelry, makeup, or cologne; nor were we allowed to drink coffee or eat anything other than the macrobiotic food provided.

We were told that during the workshop we would be paired off and would face our partners for one-hour intervals in which we would take turns asking each other one question, “Tell me who you are.” We would have an uninterrupted period of time to answer and then we’d switch roles. After an hour of this, we’d change partners and continue again. This would go on for 18 hours each day apart from rest and meal breaks.

On the first night, we did a few exercises to prepare our- selves, to get to know one another and to learn the technique. At the end of the evening, we collapsed into our hard, cold bunk beds. Nobody slept. We were awakened at 5:00 AM. It was horribly cold, I got up, stumbled to the bathroom, and made my way to the workshop room where I sat across from a half-asleep stranger who asked me the question, “Tell me who you are.”

I was miserable. I am not a morning person and have a great aversion to talking to anyone without at least a cup of tea first. But then breakfast arrived, I got a chance to shower, and returned to the routine. The sun slowly began to shine through and I began to feel better. Even my partners became more interesting and alive as they too began to warm to the routine. Alternating every few minutes, we continued asking each other the question, “Tell me who you are.”

I enjoyed baring my soul in this very safe environment. However, the facilitator warned us: “Stay focused on experiencing and communicating the absolute truth of, ‘Who you really are.’” Hours went by, lunch came and went, more cleaning, more exercises. The room began to take on a palpable quality of other worldliness. It was surreal. Day turned to night and I was exhausted. My head began to ache but I had to keep going. “Who am I?” “Who am I?” Over and over again. “Who am I?” became my mantra. By bedtime I was so sick and exhausted, I thought I would die.

I fell into the bunk bed and slept a bit. Then at 5:00 AM the morning bell rang, announcing the beginning of Day Two. I couldn’t believe that we could be so tor tured. To the bathroom and then down to the workshop room to sit in front of another partner with bad breath asking me, “Tell me who you are.”

I was getting angry and the pain in my head was getting worse. I thought of running away but there was no transportation back to the city. Breakfast passed, showering, more partner work, lunch. The pain and frustration was getting worse for all of us. Many had vomit bags next to them. The pain in my head was unbearable; I felt as though it was about to explode. Finally, at about 4:00 PM, every cell in my body felt like it was being crushed. I couldn’t bear it anymore. My partner asked the question, “Tell me who you are.”

I looked him straight in the eye and said with the most rage I had ever expressed in my life, “Who the Hell do you think I am!?!” Then with great force, I screamed out, “I Am Me!” At that moment, I heard a huge cracking sound at the top of my head. Suddenly, I was free of all of my aches, pains, and limitations. Perhaps this is how death feels.

I became a very large presence. The facilitator noticed and came rushing over, saying, “Who are you?” I replied, “I Am Me!” I couldn’t describe in words this all- pervasive experience of freedom and knowing, but the “Me” I felt was not my body or personality. “I am God!” I said. Then I pointed to myself and said, “This is God.” “I Am!” The facilitator laughed heartily.I began to laugh uncontrollably and fell off my chair. I rolled around on the floor in fits of ecstasy, laughing at all of the lifelong beliefs that I was just this body and its desires, hopes, and dreams. I wanted to share my joy with some of my other partners but they just sat there looking at me as if I was insane. They remained in the same great misery that I had just come out of. I realized in that moment that I was having a deep inner experience, not anything visible except for the light that some could see emanating from my body that divine day.

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For the rest of that day and night I was bathed in light and felt love toward everyone and everything. All the things that I had hated the day before were now luminous and beautiful. I spent three hours weeping as I looked at my hand and arm. I was awestruck at the miracle of the body that I lived in. I felt great reverence for the power that lay behind this magnificent creation, even though I now knew that I was that power. I was experiencing the divine union of my body and soul. Nothing has ever come close to the supreme joy of that state. Every person who sat before me was God. And by the end of the weekend, I knew that I would never be the same again.

When I arrived home, my husband was happy to see me and I still had a job on Monday – at least for a while. Each person I interacted with at work felt divine. Looking deeply into their eyes, I felt tremendous compassion for them as they shared their problems with me. I knew then that God knows everything about us and has infinite patience.

But the most unexpected and shocking change was that I began to menstruate after not having been able to for five years. My doctor was curious and concerned and ordered some tests. A few days later, he called and told me that my uterus was completely whole and perfectly healthy. A specialist in his field, the poor man was baffled. But I knew that a miracle had taken place.

 

part1

PART 1 CROSSING THE THRESHOLD

Once upon a time, a Being of Light from a far away galaxy looked down upon Earth and asked God, “Why do they suffer? Why do they forget? Aren’t we all free?”

God replied, “Yes, but sometimes a soul needs to forget for a while in order to find the doorway back to divinity”.

“But why this game?”

“To know love in the human heart is the greatest game of all. To be reunited in the place of greatest separation is the highest service to all of Creation. The human body contains within it a precious jewel hidden in the heart. The longing of the soul creates the seeking and eventually the finding of the unsurpassable joy of knowledge.

Humans have a body in order to know attachment, separation, emotion, sensation, insecurity, fear, darkness, light, confusion, clarity, living, dying, greed, hate, love, pride, humility, lust, self-righteous-ness… All of these experiences pull the heart apart, until one day when the pain is too much and a little prayer is uttered, the light seeps through the cracks and human beings fall to their knees, humbled before me, forgiven, embraced, renewed, and made whole.

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We separate so we can play this game, so we can experience my great Love that exists in every way and in every thing. Humans are my most precious children and so we play hide and seek. I am never far away. I am just hiding behind the Magic Doorway, waiting to shower them with the brilliant light of their own eternal Self.”