At age 13, puberty, i first began to realize the nature of the society that i was expected to fit into. it was 1954, a repressive time in the usa, with definite roles laid out for women & men to conform to. for the first time in my life i began to consider the future & how i would fit into what i saw around me.
it was sobering. i deeply sought to understand key life issues. what is life? what is death? who am i? what am i to do here? what is my place in this? what is the source of what i see around me, of this world, this life?
i saw that all the people i encountered were like sleepwalkers, not seeing the deeper dimension of life, the movements of synchronicity, the meaningful juxtaposition of events pointing to a course of action. not only did they not see, they were not curious & actively discouraged such curiousity.
i now realize that what i saw was maya & jagat, the dreamlike nature of the sociocultural realm & the foundational assumptions that it rested upon.
i was overwhelmed by this awareness of what i thought of as “the play” & the refusal of people to examine it more deeply. i called out silently from the root of my being for help, for the good, the true & the beautiful. i called out into the vastness of the heavens, to the stars & galaxies & the unknown source of it all.
Shiva came to me as an energy-being of light & compassion & touched my heart. at age 13 i did not know who this Being was, only that my cry for help had met response. i was grateful.
He showed me how to make an altar & how to offer the events of the day as a sacrifice to the Vastness of the divine at this altar. He revealed to me that His active intervention in the events of my life was not available, & that His subjective companionship was freely given. i was not alone in my despair.
thus began my alternative spiritual focus.
junior high school soon consumed my energy & diffused my urgent seeking. i was in survival mode, becoming ever more deeply aware of the difference in how i perceived the world (the play) & how my contemporaries seemingly accepted the mere surface of things. i felt alienated & alone.
at age 14 Shiva again reached out to me, & in such a vivid fashion that i was stunned & felt unable to use my experience in daily life.
this happened: i was taken on a journey, given an experience that now is called cosmic consciousness, a vision of the Divine Loving Unity of all life.
i was waking up one morning. it was like a slow-motion event. there was conscious awareness of existing & rising in consciousness toward a gateway into daily life. then there was a 90 degree turning toward another realm & an urge to continue in this new direction, a calling. the calling came from a living source, a Being.
as consciousness neared the Being, there was a gradual falling away of a “shell”, a structure of ideation & limitation. as this fell away there was deepening awareness of union, of sharing consciousness. separation became communion. there was one beingness, & although individual awareness remained, it was not in isolation. it was conjoined consciousness.
there was a dawning knowing of being one with all, not a separate unit: many units were telepathically sensed & merged with in loving rejoicing & harmony of being.
there was no form, nothing that could be experienced by the senses of a body. it was direct knowing, full & complete, beyond time & space.
I accompanied the Being on a journey to a deeper transpersonal realm. as we descended into the universal, no longer were there two awarenesses blended. there was one consciousness, vast, loving, beautiful, hyper-real. there was realm after specialized realm, an incredible fusion & symphony of consciousness
at one point i became an observer of Divine Beings caring for jewel-like geometric energy congeries with tender loving focus, emitting a nourishing rejoicing in the essence which circulated & made a healing light.
then i was shown my own human life, also one of the jewel-like energy gestalts. a powerful sense of shame rose up within me, engulfed me, overwhelming in its intensity. i knew that i was nowhere near such goodness & beauty. immediately i was permeated with warm, flowing, surrounding healing love & was assured that i was beautiful, worthy, perfect, not lacking, not judged but totally loved just the way i was, down to the very core. there was assurance that all was well & good, & there was profound communion with the Guiding Being.
this intensified as we journeyed to a deeper level, into the realm of suns & galaxies in their primal forms as Beings.
next was the realm at the heart of it all, beyond all possible words, yet glorious & pure & all there is, wondrously alive with love. absorbed in this, dissolved in bliss, there came yet again, irresistibly, a moving onward.
i was inexorably pulled out of it & i didn’t want to leave, i yearned to stay, to remain in that bliss of pure joyous existence.
but there i was again, 14 years old, in my bed in the morning & stunned speechless. i had no words to speak about it except stumblingly as love & perfection & goodness.
in my own life, i saw little of that. i was lost in the play. the beauty & perfection & harmony seemed so very distant that i could not imagine how it could apply to my life in a dysfunctional family in the deep south in a time of repression. i put it away in the back of my mind, like a seed buried in soil awaiting sun & rain in the season of growth.
i was in my mid 20s when i read the book Cosmic Consciousness by Dr. Maurice Bucke. that put it in perspective for me & was yet another vital stepping stone on the journey.
i was on my way with no turning back. the hippie era was my glorious playground & training ground, a preparatory experience.
now is the time of my active deployment in Shiva’s service as the seed, planted long ago, flourishes in vigorous new growth. om namah Shivaya!