FALLING IN LOVE
How did it all happen for me? What brought it about? How is something like this even possible?
I was raised a catholic. The priests and nuns who educated me were nice people who meant well. However, they also had been trained to believe in certain dogmas, and other religious teachings, almost all of which were man made.
Many of these teachings, rooted in fear and guilt, were passed on to my innocent mind at such a young age. Needless to say, it made a deep impact on my thinking and behavior. When we are young, we believe and accept so easily. They know that.
As I grew into adulthood, the fear and guilt associated with these dogmas stayed with me. Looking back, it seemed like endless visits to the confessional box every week with feelings of sin, dirtiness, and worst of all, fear of God.
I was taught that God was "up there," I was "down here," and "they" were needed to make the divine connection for me.
As a child and young adult, I learned that God was someone who got angry, was jealous, created hell for bad girls and boys who ate meat on Fridays, drank water before receiving communion on Sundays, and on and on.
In the Old Testament, God was someone who started wars, sent angels to kill the first Egyptian new-born males, sided with nations against other nations at war with one another, was jealous, and more and more of the same. It's time for these foolish fairy tales to end, and the truth be told.
How can anyone even begin to appreciate what God is all about when there is fear, guilt, and hell to pay for believing in our Creator? What an impossible situation. Sadly, it still goes on today. Were Jesus alive today, I often wonder what he would say about all of this.
Things began to change for me 10 years ago. I didn't realize it at the time but I was about to enter into a severe spiritual crisis or dark night of the soul experience that was to last until 1999. During that time, I lost of my job, career, marriage, home, cars, virtually all of my personal possessions, all that I had worked for in life, and was left with a lot of back taxes and debt to pay.
What a stunning contrast all of this was when compared to the many years I had been a responsible provider, and head of household. Towards the end of my crisis, I began to lose confidence in myself. Because of it, my self-esteem suffered a great deal. That was replaced by a deep sense of hopelessness and dread that made it very, very difficult to function normally in every day life. More and more I turned to God for help just to make it through another day without losing my sanity.
While these external changes were turning my life upside down, I was also going through a profound spiritual awakening that was turning my inner world inside out.
Amazingly, just when my crisis began to intensify during 1991, my sister gave me a book to read called, Seth Speaks. I had never heard of New Age teachings, and this book was no exception. I was stunned by the profound and radical effect it had on me. My mind and heart was instantly propelled towards a very powerful spiritual awakening.
Four years and several hundred New Age/spiritual books later, I was beginning to understand that God is something we will never fully comprehend with our minds. It's just too big a thought. It's like a drop of water trying to wrap itself around the ocean. It became clear to me that all of my wondering about God was taking place in my mind. It took me a while to figure out that the place to really comprehend and appreciate God was in the heart... through feeling.
My first real insight into God began in 1995 when I read a remarkable book called, Conversations with God (Book 1). Since that time, it has become my all-time favorite.
As I began to read that book, my concept of God changed dramatically. No longer was my Source the God I'd always feared. Rather, God now became someone who loved me unconditionally no matter what I did.
For the first time I began to understand the connection that exists between myself and God, and it made so much sense to me. This new insight reached a place deep within my soul that awakened a sense of wonder and truth that felt so good and so right. It literally changed my entire perspective of All That Is overnight. All of a sudden God became loveable.
That was the beginning of my falling in love with God. The affair had just started. More was to come. From June 1996 to the late fall of 1999, I fell deeper and deeper into spiritual crisis. It was the three most difficult years of my life. Towards the end, all that was left was God and I.
Slowly but surely, I began to realize that the most important part of spiritual crisis, especially when severe, was to have a serious one-on-one with God. After all, if there were too many distractions in one's life, how could we really get to know our Source. And if you don't start to know and understand God on an intimate basis, how can the both of you fall in love? That's one of the problems today. We've created too many distractions for ourselves within the material world. We've misplaced our God-centeredness.
Looking back on it all, it was during the fall of 1998 that I hit bottom. The hopelessness and despair was so bad I could barely walk across the room. Worse still, it felt as if God had truly abandoned me even though my heart knew otherwise. I was still unemployed, borrowing for my living expenses, and severely depressed because of it all. No one really understood what I was going through.
I reached a point where I simply couldn't take it any more. I told God that when the lease on the little cottage where I lived came up for renewal the following May I would walk the streets with Him, but I would not borrow another dime to pay the rent, and other bills. Nor would I live with family any more. I was more than capable of earning my own way.
That's when things began to change for me. That was the turning point. That's when I surrendered, and chose God as my security rather than money or anything else the material world had to offer. That's what the entire nine years of intense spiritual madness was about; my commitment to God, not in bitterness or resignation, but with trust and love. God knew I would walk the streets with Him as the only Source of all my needs. Soon after that the intense fever of spiritual crisis began to break.
From that moment forward, things fell into place, slowly but surely, as if by magic. They continue to do so up through today, even though life still has its challenges and tests at times.
times, during the darkest moments of my spiritual crisis, I asked God to come and
take me because I just couldn't go on any more. These were times of severe
depression and hopelessness. When I did, my Source always came along to pull me back from
the edge of total despair. Although these momentary
healings were short-lived,
because God wanted me to continue walking the path as much as I could on my
own, they were so incredibly loving and helpful.
In other instances, I saw how time and time again God brought other miracles into my life to show that He was there for me in time of extreme depression, hurt and loneliness. I also began to see how this whole experience transformed my inner world in ways I never dreamt of 15 years ago.
At one point, all the dots of this collective experience connected for me. For the first time I began to feel in my heart how God truly loves me, and wants nothing but my highest good. That is when I fell deeply in love with my Source. Today I continue to cry tears of gratitude and joy every time I think about the magical love affair I had with God over the past 10 years of my life.
Our minds will only take us so far when it comes to understanding God. What takes us much further in our love affair with Spirit is our hearts. That's where the feeling is. It's the most profound way that God connects with us.
Sooner or later each and every one of us will fall deeply in love with God. I wish that experience and feeling for all who read these words. The wise ones say this love affair becomes more and more profound as we journey through eternity. What an incredible adventure. I am at once awed and humbled by it all.