Tag: Guilt. Forgiveness


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.

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.


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.




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.


Free At Last

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



In the Upanishads, Sankara, the great Advaitin scholar, characterizes the process by which one comes to know the Self as follows: “That which is devoid of all duality is described by adhyaropa and apavada, i.e. by super- imposition and negation, by attribution and denial.”

This book is about that paradoxical process of freeing the Self from all forms of attachment, suffering, and spiritual temptations only to discover, in that final phase of illumination, that the Self was never separate from God. There was no real duality to be overcome. This is the conclusion in the most famous instruction on the Self in the Chandogypa – Upanishad in chapter 9, verse 4: “Tat tvam asi, That Thou Art.”

But it would be a trap of the spiritual ego to simply know this with the mind; one must go through all of the stages of awakening and purification passionately, with one’s whole being.

Devrah’s book is a powerful application of this principle, for it has been birthed from the depths of her being. It has emerged from the burning crucible of her life so that the realization of non-duality is the Truth she inhabits moment by moment.

Rarely has a soul written of these classic stages of the mystical path with such candidness, creativity, and courage. Her “Door Openers” and “Door Closers,” which describe how the same experience can either open us to God or close us off, depending on our relationship to it, are unique.




But when Devrah describes her Dark Night of the Soul, you feel utterly drawn into the immensity of her heart and thus of God’s Heart. For Devrah’s book is a passion- ate account of a lover of God who finally realizes that this whole journey is about Love. It is about God’s Love that has been seeking us since the beginning of time. In the Catholic Mass, there is a phrase, “Quarens me sedisti lassus,” which translates as “Faint and weary Thou haste sought me.” The great Jewish mystic, Simone Weil, interprets this to mean it is God seeking us out; not the other way around as is commonly believed.

Devrah’s fearless account of her own journey reminds us that we are both the subject and the object of our longing.

Shirley Anne McMurtry, Ph.D.