There comes a time when we just don’t know anymore. We have questions but no answers; fears but little hope, struggles that sap our energy and strength, and drain our enthusiasm for life.
We feel as though we are barely living, going blindly through our days . . . but there is Hope. There is Sight and Light all around us, bathing us in Love that we cannot yet feel and Joy that we are not yet open to receive. It is there for everyone. It is there for You. You are not alone.
This is my story. At the age of 27 I had been clinically depressed and anxious for four years. The reasons for this were not apparent to me until many years later, but that is unimportant, for each of us has our own story that cause us to experience suffering in our own way. One day in June of 1976 I lay on the living room couch staring blankly at the dark green wool carpet, my arm extended over the edge of the couch, my hand touching the carpet; a typical position for me to be in when at home. My mind was totally void of any thought. There was a record playing in the background, but I had no conscious awareness of it or of my wife as she started the record. I would later discover it was a new album by Donavan called “Essence to Essence” containing songs of a spiritual nature. I guess my subconscious mind was listening and was ready to jump into action.
In a split second I was jolted into an upright seated position by what felt like a bolt of lightning. In that instant I could see myself still laying on the couch and wondering with amusement what I was doing there. It all happened in a flash, but the full effect would last for months and the residual effects would last a lifetime.
This was more than a mere epiphany. This was a total and complete transformation. In a single moment I experienced a shift so profound that I literally felt life from a new and unimaginably pure perspective. No longer a suffering victim of unknown cause, I felt that I was experiencing myself as the true reality of the being I always was but had forgotten existed. I felt as if an incredibly bright light had been directed at my inner soul, and that all the dark feelings of depression, hopelessness, and despair were instantly vanquished by the intensity of the light, in which nothing of a negative nature could survive. In the absence of negative thoughts and feelings, I felt their pure counterparts which exist at the core of my pure authentic self. As this was true for me, I soon instinctively knew with certainty that we are all created equally with this pure “God stuff” at our core. We all have the key and need only open our hearts to accept the divine.
Let me describe this event in more practical terms. Remember that I had been chronically anxious and depressed for four years, yet in a split second the intensity of the energetic shock to my system caused profound changes in my feelings. I was free of any trace of anxiety or depression. I was happy and joyful. I felt full of energy, yet was relaxed and calm. I had a profound sense of well-being and inner peace; that I was OK, had always been OK, and would always be OK. I felt a sense of profound inner knowing that was available to me at all times. It felt like everything was perfect, and there was nothing to be done but enjoy the present moment and share it with others. I felt that my only mission was to be with and shine my light on others so they could see and feel the healing power of pure higher self, to provide them comfort, share my joy, and provide them with hope of what could be for everyone if they only knew that God’s spirit was already alive inside them at the very core of their being.
Knowing what I do today, I realize that my point of view shifted instantaneously and completely from a fear-based state (my “old” perception of life through the filters of the ego’s false beliefs) to a love-based state (my “new” perception of life – pure and unfiltered). The diagram on the next page depicts what I believe happened. As it illustrates, the power of the Higher Self wanting to connect with Divine Spirit (and vice versa) was so strong that it erupted through the many layers of false beliefs that surrounded it with such force that they were vaporized, allowing an unfiltered connection with Divine Spirit. The saving grace of the resulting Christ Consciousness instantly ended my suffering. If I had intentionally set out on a path to deliberately accomplish this level of pure awakening “on my own”, it would have taken years of introspective work. There is a shortcut, however, that I will describe in a later part of the book.
I don’t recall how long I sat there on the couch after having been jolted upright, but after awhile I stood up and walked over to see what was playing on the record player. I picked-up the album cover and listened to the words. The lyrics seemed amazingly deep and meaningful to me. They are from the song “There is an Ocean” on Donavan’s “Essence to Essence” album:
There is an ocean of vast proportion
and she flows within ourselves.
To take dips daily we dive in gaily,
He knows who goes within himself.
The abode of Angels, the mystical Promised Land,
The one and only Heaven, the God of man,
is but the closing of an eyelid away.
There is a silence of pure excellence
and she flows within ourselves.
To appreciate, we deactivate,
he knows who goes within himself.
The domain of Devils, the Fearful Land,
the one and only Hades, the Satan of man,
is but the closing of an eyelid away.
All is as it was and ever more shall be,
though they try to tell us it’s not so.
Over all the earth there’s nothing new to see,
excepting every seed will newly grow.
Innocence in childhood false men misconstrue
to be years of darkness spent in shade,
Denying childhood’s vision of the God of Love,
so that Truth be turned about and untruth made,
and untruth made.
There is a reason for every season
of change within ourselves.
To navigate, we appreciate
and know the flow within ourselves.
The deliverance from Deluge, the good dry land,
the one and only Haven, the rock of Man
is but the closing of an eyelid away.
There is a season, ooh.
There is an ocean, ooh.
There is a silence, ooh.
I’m not saying that these lyrics of themselves caused me to enter an altered state of consciousness – only that they appear to have been the catalyst that I needed after four years of putting myself through a virtual hell, which instantly turned into a virtual heaven. Regardless of the lyrics, I was apparently ready to be changed. It was only years later that I was able to reconstruct the circumstances of my life that led up to my anxiety/depression, and to understand the true reasons for it. Uncovering those reasons was necessary for me to eventually and deliberately recapture my spiritual awakening after it had faded.
Here are a few memories of that time that I’d like to share with you.
- My sense of self was still there; actually even stronger, but different. I really liked myself. It felt like there was more of me, and I was vital and alive. All the fear-based states of being were gone; replaced by God-like states of being (see diagram) – but it was still ME. I had my same personality, but the way I expressed it was much more enjoyable for me and for others. Gone were all the rough edges and hurtful remarks that used to invariably leak out due to the inner pressures and conflicts I used to feel. I had no need to compete with anyone for anything or to demonstrate my sufficiency to others. I was enough just as I was. I referred to my past fear-based self in the past tense, such as “he did (that thing)”. I had no remorse about whatever it was, because I felt completely detached from “that other person” who did it. I actually found it rather amusing. The state of my being, both feelings and thoughts, were so profoundly changed that it just didn’t matter. Everything in the past seemed perfect just as it was, and only the present mattered. I lived only in the present
- I was happy and joyful. I felt full of energy, yet relaxed and calm. I had a profound sense of well-being and inner peace; that I was OK, had always been OK, and would always be OK. It felt like everything was perfect, and there was nothing to be done but enjoy the present moment and share it with others. I felt that my only mission was to be with and shine my light on others so they could see and feel the healing power of pure higher self. I wanted to provide them comfort, share my joy, and provide them with hope of what could be for everyone if they only knew that God’s spirit was already alive inside them at the very core of their being.
- I flowed from one thing to another: listening to music, reading, playing guitar, doing housework, all at once, without any sense of time or urgency; only a calm yet energetic state of relaxed contentment. My motions were slowed, unrushed, unhurried by anxiety or need to get things done. I just did whatever I saw needed doing as I felt it arise naturally without effort.
- My mind and feelings were CLEAR. I experienced clarity of thought and of feeling that guided me through my day, especially at work. I easily remembered things that needed to be done – not by effort or by making lists, but by FEELING and KNOWING. I remember feeling a slight sense of discomfort (call it energy imbalance, if you like) whenever there was something unattended to. At home I just flowed, but work was more demanding, requiring me to remember multiple things and handle interruptions within interruptions. This was easily done without any stress using feeling as my guide. When something was completed, it felt as if I was “clear” on that, and then allowed my attention to be directed to the next thing feeling guided me to. I wasn’t “afraid I might forget” something because I sensed anything undone in feeling. It was very satisfying to work this way.
- Feeling “at home” took on a totally new meaning. Everywhere I went felt like home. I was as comfortable at a friend’s house or in a park or at work or anywhere. I had no real need to have a home of my own because I always felt “at home” wherever I was. Living in the present moment and feeling connected to everyone and everything apparently created this interesting side effect.
- I stopped partaking in mindless distractions, like watching television and reading magazines. There was nothing there to hold my new attention. I stopped reading newspapers and magazines because they made me feel physically uncomfortable and uneasy. I still enjoyed books about personal and spiritual development in which I seemed to find profound meaning. I would read slowly, and linger after each thought, contemplating the beauty and truth of each sentence. I would relate concepts to my life and contemplate metaphors that perpetually came to mind.
- I began to see everything as metaphor. A painting I’d had for years suddenly had deep spiritual meaning. There were moments when I became drunk with the dual meaning of things. The seemingly mundane became a metaphor for the miraculous.
- I experience self-Healing. During this period I no longer had any interest in liquor. One night, however, a large group of friends went to Chicago’s Greek town for a birthday celebration dinner. Everyone was drinking Greek wine, which goes down like water, so I had a few glasses – and apparently more because the next morning upon the first glimmers of consciousness I began to feel the overwhelming sensations a hangover (no need to elaborate). Within a mere second, however, I could feel the energy instantly rise in my body; as if I’d plugged into an electric outlet (another metaphor). As a result, my hangover was history; totally gone without a trace; back to my state of relaxed, energetic contentment. The Higher Self is wise and apparently knows how to heal the body using energy.
- In the presence of others, I experienced not only love and compassion, but also dignity and a profound sense of reverence for everyone. I remember watching my two year-old son walking into the house and I was taken aback by my newfound perspective of him. Suddenly I saw him no longer as merely “my son”. He was his own independent little spirit, with dignity and alive with personality. How beautiful it was to see him in that way.
- Everyone I met seemed interesting, and I always engaged them in conversation. People would welcome me most of the time, and we would quickly find something meaningful to create a bond and deepen the conversation so that it was always interesting and deep, yet light and fun. I discovered a lighter, funny part of myself that was never biting – usually pretty corny – but I was OK with that, and others seemed to appreciate it. I’ve always had an innate interest in learning about people and things, and am also curious by nature. My Higher Self allowed me to express these personality traits with increased passion and enjoyment, and in total comfort. I was never at a loss for words; they just flowed as free as water. Conversely, I never felt the need to interrupt or impatiently wait for the other person to stop talking so that I could get my point across. I enjoyed remaining in silece listening to others express themselves. It was a pleasure to pause and reflect before replying to them or introducing some new subject.
- I just opened my mouth and the right words would come out. I can’t remember a time when I wanted to take back something I’d said, or later think of something that would have been more appropriate. There was no need to appear clever. There was no need to be right. There was no judgment; only seeking to understand. Interesting too were the people who seemed repelled by me, as vampires hide from the light. I didn’t meet too many vampires, but when I did it was obvious they felt tremendously uncomfortable and turned away immediately. Those people were, I believe, living in a very deep fear-based ego. They seemed comfortable only with people who shared their victim consciousness. Since I was the antithesis of that, they had no idea how to deal with me and were repelled by the light I shone.
- I had a profound sense of inner knowing that showed up in both personal and work-related settings. One day I travelled to Denver with our company’s sales manager to meet with an irate customer. The people we would be meeting with were executives of a fairly large bank to which our company had promised a new system, but failed to deliver. I remember enjoying walking along the sidewalk in downtown Denver on the way to the bank, looking in the storefront windows and talking to the sales manager about the beautiful objects I saw in some of the stores. He was older and more experienced, yet he remained silent. He seemed anxious and increasingly uncomfortable as we neared our impending meeting, which I later realized he was dreading. We entered the bank, took the elevator to the top floor and entered a long, formal conference room. The stone-faced President of the bank sat at the head of the long wooden table, flanked by several of his direct reports on either side. As we entered the room, I cheerfully introduced myself, and the sales manager and I sat further down at the table. It was obvious to me that the more experienced sales manager was uncomfortable, so I initiated the discussion and fielded all the complaints and questions. As the meeting proceeded, I could see the bank President’s attitude shifting. He was become more comfortable with me and liked what he was hearing. I wasn’t making anything up or stretching the truth in any way; merely empathizing with him and agreeing about how the situation was affecting the bank. I had no real authority and was by far the youngest one there, but I pledged that our company would make it right. By the time we left, the bank President and I had bonded, and it felt like we were old friends. The next morning when I got back to the office, I was greeted by the President of our company, who had already talked to the bank President, and told me he was delighted with how the meeting turned out. For me, that experience was fun, and just as natural as breathing – no effort – everything easily guided by my Higher Self.
- Good things came to me. The Vice President I worked for said that he saw a big change in me, and really liked my new attitude. He promoted me to a higher level position. Everything just seemed to work out for me. Ironically, material possessions meant little to me at that time. I had been driving a fairly new Trans Am that was in the shop for an extended time being repaired. My father in-law lent us his old Chevy, which was dented up, but ran fine. I was really happy in that car. I didn’t miss the Trans Am at all. When I got it back, I stuck a smiling yellow Tweety Bird on the dash to remind me not to get caught-up in my ego and the world of materialism.