About the art: Ann and I have been friends since my sophomore year at Northwestern. She let me use this picture for a long ago post — somehow it seemed to fit here. Check out her blog for great quilting info and her website to see a gallery of her work.
I’m not one of those people who felt spiritual connection from an early age. That said, I always believed that ghosts wandered the earth. I read the story of Bridey Murphy in high school and never doubted the reality of reincarnation — in fact I began reading other things about it. I so lacked a sense of spirituality, however, that I never connected those things to anything about spiritual or religious doctrine. I always saw an energy field around people and I took it so for granted that everyone did that I never mentioned it and never realized that most people don’t see it until I was 30.
Aside from those little connections, I lived knotted in anxiety and worry and by the time I graduated from law school in 1983 at 30, I was numb, tense and miserable. After more than a year of listening to my constant laments a number of friends gently asked me if I’d thought about therapy. One of them had been seeing a transpersonal psychologist, Michele, who used meditation and past life regression, etc. in her work. In 1985, once I finally acknowledged that I needed therapy, Michele was the only one I considered even though it involved two hours round-trip to see her.
She quickly started me on meditation, introduced me to the basic philosophy that I create everything in my life; if I don’t like something that’s in it I need to ask myself what I believe that has created that reality. One of her first reading assignments for me was The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts. The world made sense to me for the first time ever when I read it. I loved the meditating and reading and the new life view that opened up for me but I still didn’t think of any of this as spiritual or myself as being on a spiritual path.
I think that years of going to church because my parents thought we should and sitting through both Sunday school classes and church services that always left me bored and feeling nothing of spirit numbed me to the idea that spirituality could be meaningful or feel good. I had no framework of spirituality as I now understand it so my feelings about ghosts and reincarnation didn’t connect to spirit for me. To me the path I’d begun under Michele’s guidance was about personal growth and trying to find some way to be glad I woke up in the morning instead of sad that I hadn’t died in the night.
In 1986 I started yoga, which has been an integral part of me ever since. Even though my teacher based our practice on balancing chakras (that’s also stuck with me), I’m not sure how much I got about the spiritual connection, though I did wind up taking meditation classes at the Temple of Kriya Yoga and studied briefly with Goswami Kriyananda. It all just seemed natural to me. I immersed myself in classes and practices and loved it all but somehow I didn’t have a conscious sense of being on a spiritual journey. I just so naturally and absolutely believed in a world beyond the physical that it all seemed matter-of-course to me.
It wasn’t until some time after going to Nine Gates Mystery School in 1990 that I really saw my path as deeply spiritual as well as one of personal growth. I still sometimes have a tendency to see a lot of spiritual practices as tools in service of personal growth, but overall I become more committed to a spiritual path year by year. I feel a lot of spiritual practices are designed to help open the dark places — hence the help for personal growth — and at the same time the energy created by them takes me deeper.
In hindsight I can see that some part of me was always open to all of this and open to it so naturally that I didn’t have an intellectual framework for it. In that sense the work with Michele felt like coming home. My mind just had no reference point for true spirituality because my early experience intertwined church, religion and spirituality in a package that lacked any personal sense of the divine. I moved along with meditation, yoga, and other metaphysical pursuits and allowed them to transform me but it was six or eight years before I began to think of it as a spiritual journey.
I don’t really consider myself enlightened or awakened and I don’t really do practices with enlightenment as a goal. I’ve become committed to “Being Peace” — or what I like to think of for myself as “Becoming Peace” since I’m definitely a work in progress. Check out the Collective Prayer Sundays page if you’re interested in joining me on the journey to peace.
This post is part of Barbara Franken’s challenge to write a post about awakening. You should check out the other posts:
January Challenge Schedule…
1st Barbara - http://memymagnificentself.wordpress.com
2nd Paddy - http://paddypicasso.wordpress.com
3rd Emanuel- http://emantable.com/musings-of-a-table/
6th Julianne - http://juliannevictoria.com
7th Sarah - http://theskycladwriter.wordpress.com
8th Shree - http://heartsongsblog.wordpress.com
9th Dace - http://mywaytotruth.wordpress.com
10th Korinn - http://www.korinn.com
11th Sindy - http://bluebutterfliesandme.wordpress.com
12th Stefenie - http://dancingwithstefanie.com
13th Mick - http://meticulousmick.wordpress.com
14th Joss - Postphoned
15th Megan - http://mychroniclifejourney.wordpress.com
16th Pat - http://patinspire.org
17th Marga - http://lifeasimprov.com
18th Kimberley - http://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com
19th Becki - http://isurvivedamurderattackmyfamilydidnt.com
20th Serena - http://beingmefromatoz.com
21st Heather - http://wildflowerwomen.wordpress.com
22nd PurpleRay - http://purplerays.wordpress.com
23rd Sue - http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com
24th M… - http://seeingm.wordpress.com
25th Brian G - http://middlepane.com
26th Dotta - http://dottaraphels.wordpress.com
27th CW - http://sunflowerrosecw.wordpress.com
28th Laurie - http://lauriesnotes.wordpress.com
29th Debra - http://ptero9.com
30th Linda - http://lindalitebeing.wordpress.com
31st Michael - http://navigator1965.wordpress.com
1st Leigh - http://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com
2nd Shaman - http://shamanictracking.com
3rd Joss - http://crowingcrone.com
4th Jenna - http://jennadee222.wordpress.com
5th Shelley - http://livingwithshadows.wordpress.com
6th Elisabeth - http://almostspring.com