Tag: Spiritual

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.

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.

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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.

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.

 

intro

INTRODUCTION

There is a secret doorway to our Divine Self that is simple, obvious, and available to us in every moment. We do not need to run away from the world of people and problems; we can fully enter into this world and receive the gifts that each situation presents.

When I was younger, I neither welcomed life’s challenges nor enjoyed interactions with people. I felt that such ordinary engagement with life would interfere with my connection to my inner Self and preferred to live in a state of separation. I considered day-to-day trials and responsibilities to be boring and just wanted to be free.

As I matured, I saw that all of these “boring” trials were actually doorways that could take me deeper into my God Self. I also learned that it is difficult to enter these doorways when we believe only the surface experiences of boredom, pain, frustration, and other passing states of mind. Believing such states to be the only real- ity leaves us without love, peace, or joy. There comes a time when we become so tired of the empty repetitiveness of the surface reality that we long to find the key that will open each door and allow us to return to who we really are – beyond our personalities, concepts, and facades.

What then is this key? I have discovered that it is an alchemical fusion of two elements. The first is love and acceptance of our present state, however bored, sad or frustrated we might be. The second is our sincere intention to know the truth of who we really are. This magic key forged from self-acceptance and a sincere desire for the truth can transform ordinary vision into extraordinary vision. It can help change our perspective so we see life anew. With the help of the magic key, our “boring” everyday life becomes a gift from the Creator, and our “limited” partner becomes a god or goddess. The magic key helps us realize that we don’t operate alone. The love of God permeates every particle of the Universe; all aspects of our life, relationships and reality are an expression of that Love.

baby

 

It is only with the magic key of love and acceptance of what is that we can be freed of the boxes, labels, and judgments that have been imposed upon us and have limited our true potential. When we learn to accept all aspects of ourselves as God, then separation dissolves and wholeness reigns supreme.

 

In her video, Living, Loving and Aids, Elizabeth Kubler Ross spoke of the scientific community wanting to use children born with AIDS as guinea pigs for research into the disease. Dr. Ross considered such intrusions to be a violation, and instead adopted some of the babies and offered them unconditional love and one-on-one bonding. This love had such a profound effect that some of the babies were able to develop their own antibodies. According to Dr. Ross, if the babies were cared for, cuddled and loved, “They just blossom(ed) like a flower.”

We may not always be held or cuddled like Dr. Ross’s AIDS babies, but if we show ourselves and others the same compassion, and if we uphold a wholehearted intention to know a higher Truth, then a presence of Love does begin to surround us and hold us.

Masters like Jesus lived in the open doorway of divinity, and through the power of unconditional love they could look at or touch people and heal them complete- ly. Their conviction penetrated all the labels and beliefs surrounding these individuals, exposing their inherent perfection. Jesus would often entertain thieves, prostitutes and others who were seen as the dregs of society because He had no judgment toward any of God’s creatures. He responded to each person with absolute love and requested that everyone strive to do as He did:

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (1)

But rather than having the “perfect” perception that transcends the labels, we’ve learned to judge ourselves and others according to assertions of right or wrong, good or bad, or according to dictums as to what is God and what is not God. Such judgments only distance us from the love we crave from the depths of our soul. To embrace the whole is to live from a place where nothing else exists but God. Every moment of our lives is another opportunity to drink the nectar of God’s Grace, not only in our churches, ashrams or temples, but everywhere, always – with everyone and everything we encounter. Then, with the eyes to see the Truth, our life and everything in it becomes a magic doorway to divinity and a temple to our own God Self.

I invite you to open your hearts and minds, to journey with me in the discoveries I’ve made from the many lessons and teachings with which I have been graced. These took me along many pathways, detours and bridges that ultimately brought me to the understanding that nothing exists but God’s unconditional Love.

ack

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I wish to acknowledge all of the great teachers and mas- ters who have come into my life. I am especially thank- ful for my family, friends, relationships, and acquain- tances who have taught me about Love, in its many forms.

I also wish to thank Donaleen Saul and Julius Kiskis for their love, patience, and expertise as they helped me put this book together; David Pacula for his wonderful research; and J. P. Stevan whose infinite love and sup- port allowed me to birth this book.

Also, deep gratitude to the girls in my group who have stuck with me for fifteen years: Glynis, Laura, Cara, Carol, Michelle, Anne Marie, Juliette, and Leslie.

Thank you to my friends who have given their continued support while writing this book: Trixie, Shanti, Mandakini Rene, Bernard, Teja, Eckhart, Pauline, Suman, Paddy, Iala, Anne McMurtry, Krystal, Lili, Lynn, Kosto, Dhorea, Carey. I would also like to acknowledge my brothers Michael and David, and my mum and dad. And to anyone else, whom I might have missed, thank you.

A percentage of the profits from the sale of this book are donated to organizations that are committed to the physical and spiritual upliftment of humanity.