During the preteen years growing up in Palos Verdes, a recurring dream was of the five of us children gathered in the front yard. My sister jumped gently into the air and floated toward the hill above the school, and the rest of us followed.
I now recognize that dream as a plea from our over-stressed mother. While she was preparing dinner, we typically rambled over the chaparral-covered hill until our father came home and yelled “Children! Dinner-time!”
A number of factors contributed to my failure to recognize this and other early experiences of authentic spirituality. The most important were two instances of trying to open up to a new friend. I had this sense of them falling into an enormous space inside of me, which was followed by the panicked telepathic plea “Help! I’m falling!” My conclusion was that I was dangerous to people, and I did my best to shut them out.
My father made an attempt to make me aware of the impact I had on people. The force with which I followed ideas to their conclusions found me often finishing peoples’ sentences for them. After one such experience, he asked me whether I was aware of how I did that. I caught a glimpse of that larger self that has taken over my life in the last fifteen years, and shrugged my shoulders “I guess.” His advised me that I could use that power to get people to do what I wanted. The immediate reply was “But that wouldn’t be fair.”
This was echoed in a distinction I made in college between being a nice person and a good person. “Nice” people solve problems for others; “good” people give them the power to solve the problems themselves. While on the one hand the distinction recognizes the disaster that befalls a dependent when they lose their provider to mortality, it also reflected my sense that people come into life with a purpose to accomplish, and the lessons learned through that process could only be internalized if their free will was preserved.
But my avoidance of spiritual experience also had a dark side. When I left home, I was beset by a deep fear of intimacy. Contributing to that was the terrible eczema that disfigured me in high school, but the fear of intimacy affected even relatively impersonal communications over the phone and e-mail. When I attempted to address this fear, the voices that came out of my subconscious insisted that the consequence of intimacy was pain and suffering.
I have recounted the breaking of my psychic barriers elsewhere, but as the first really deep joy in my adult life, it bears repeating. I was under a great deal of legal, personal and professional pressure at the time, and dangerously deprived of sleep. About three weeks before Christmas, I began waking at four in the morning with the sense that there was a rhythmic pressure all over my body. The pressure became stronger and stronger each morning, and in the second week, was accompanied with a gentle encouragement. “Let me in. Let me in.” On the final morning, the encouragement became a demand. “LET ME IN! LET ME IN!” Deciding that either I needed to confront incipient insanity or that life had some secrets that I desperately needed to know, I submitted. I felt as though a wall had collapsed around me. I had a dim vision of a woman looking over her left shoulder at me. She said:
You are a beautiful man. Do not allow yourself to be destroyed.
Much of the last fifteen years has been an elaboration of that command.
Exorcising the demon of my fear was a major part of the effort, principally through blogging in various forums. I started at Gaia, the spirituality social network, under the soubriquet “Trichronos.” I described in fair detail my spiritual experiences, thinking that I was publishing anonymously, only to discover that the URLs for the posts contained my full name. When Gaia rolled over to ning, I re-published the posts as “Imaginings” at http://www.everdeepening.org, and began blogging at Gaia under my real name. I received strong affirmations from members of that group, but a number of them were refugees from Christianity (some traumatically so), and almost all of them were retired or ministers, which meant that my thoughts in the discussion groups were lost in a blizzard of socializing. Frustrated by the spread of pseudo-science and misinformation about Christianity, I finally began blogging at WordPress where I could have greater control over the framing of the conversation.
This might seem a long and indirect process for dealing with a fairly simple problem. But the shedding of my inhibitions came with increasing closeness to that “larger self” mentioned in my recounting of that conversation with my father. Under the influence of a group of people desperately opposed to my manifestation, my father always spoke deprecatingly of my spiritual journey. So it was to him that this message was finally revealed:
I have conducted myself as I have in this life in order to give my opposition the chance to do the right thing.
Of course, that assertion can only be justifiable if they knew that an authority had come to relieve them of their confusion. In the final post under this heading, I’ll explain how that has evolved.
But first, I have to share how I finally came to Christ.