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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.


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.


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.


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.



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.