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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.



The vision for The Magic Doorway into the Divine came to me while walking along a country road one hot summer’s day in the mid-1990’s. It was to be a simple book filled with poetry, meditations, and conversations with God. A couple of years later, I met an East Indian mystic who, upon meeting me for the first time, said, “You must write that book, it will help a lot of people.” I was startled that he would know a secret that I had forgot- ten; but I was also inspired to begin scratching down a few notes. In the process, a larger force began to take over, and eventually my scribbles blossomed into this book.

The Magic Doorway into the Divine chronicles a search that began 25 years ago when a life-altering mystical experience and profound healing awakened me to my true Self. The effect of this awakening changed my life so completely that everything I had assumed to be true evaporated, leaving me in unknown territory. For many years I walked through a fire that opened my heart, seared my soul, and graced me with the knowledge that we are not just small, limited creatures. We are one with God’s love.

Like a phoenix, The Magic Doorway into the Divine arose out of the ashes of this fire. In the writing, it taught me about the power of Divine Love and how such Love can be found in every moment of life, with every person, in every place, and in every thing. The metaphor of the magic doorway is an image to help us

understand what opens the doors, what closes the doors, and what takes us beyond all doors to the Garden of Love.


Spirituality is romanticized by many seekers who do not fully understand or do not wish to acknowledge that the pain one can experience in letting go of the ego can be horrific at times. In this book, I share some of my experiences and hold nothing back about the suffering as well as the joy that I have encountered in this journey to Truth. Enlightenment is not a linear process and cannot be controlled or captured with the mind. I have learned that one must embrace contradiction as an essential part of the journey.

Each section of The Magic Doorway into the Divine be- gins with a conversation between God and a Being of Light from a faraway galaxy. Their discussion about a lesson that human souls on Earth need to experience is fol- lowed by a poem that takes the reader more deeply into the heart of the matter. The teachings are then expand- ed upon by a philosophical essay, followed by short self- help “meditation keys” that can open the door into the reader’s own divinity.

Part I

Crossing the Threshold, expresses the miraculous power and healing that is possible when we touch the Truth.

Part II

The Door Openers, is a celebration of what we can be when we turn our minds to a higher perspective and, like alchemists, transmute every situation into love.


In Part III

The Door Closers, the poetry is written from the perspective of the ego, which has no interest in God or divinity. These poems are intentionally provocative in order to help us see our delusions more clearly.

Part IV

The Journey Beyond the Doors, takes us into The Dark Night of the Soul, where nothing undertaken from the perspective of the personal will works. We discover that all mind-focusing concepts and techniques that might have worked in the past, no longer do. Any spiritual technique employed to open the doors to our high- er being has no power. We also find that we are unable to control our lives as we once thought we could; who- ever we have believed ourselves to be has been “erased.” This purification of the ego can be very distressing, but its ultimate goal is to take us to true humility. This, then, is where we learn that all striving is use- less; not a breath do we take without the Grace of God. There is nothing left to do but to surrender to God’s will.

In Part V

Returning To The Garden, we are new again, like chicks emerging from the cosmic egg, seeing the world with brand new eyes, seeing beauty and love in everything, accepting ourselves, letting go of the inner and outer war, and returning to the true Source.

The Magic Doorway into the Divine helps us to take our life challenges,  personal, financial, and other types of losses; relationship issues; physical, mental, and emo tional health concerns; spiritual emergencies, etc. – to a new level of consciousness. It teaches us how to bring unconditional love to every part of life, something that all of us, regardless of age, race or culture, long to experience. This book encourages us to take responsibility

for our lives and to actively participate in our healing transformation. There is nothing wrong with anything that we undergo in life. Everything is a magic doorway to God’s love.

Devrah Laval



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.


What is this Doorway?

What is this doorway?
And does someone hold the key? When can I come through?
Who can set me free?
I punch, I scream, I kick the door And still I cannot see.
I’ll fight: I’ll kill until the end
To have my victory.
The years have gone: my youth has died, But not my misery.
There must be more that I can do.
I cannot simply ‘be’.
No longer can I fight, no longer can I kill. Who is this enemy?
Just then the door has opened wide And all I see is me.