This is a blog about waking up. Each of us wakes up in a variety of ways. My way was to wake up in a culture and a country that seemed often very alien to me. I landed in this life into what seemed like a typical middle class family. Two parents of Protestant background, college educated, following the “American dream.” My parents had four children; I was the third one down. Like most parents they were striving to give their children the good life. In many ways I took advantage of this excelling in poetry, drama, the debate team, as editor of the high school newspaper, and landing leads in high school plays. My first boyfriend was even the high school valedictorian and everything with my life (especially from my parents perspective) seemed quite ideal.
Except I was a closet mystic. Well, not quite in the closet. More like a “bedroom mystic” since there is where I spent a lot of my time, either in my bedroom or out in nature. My first major step onto the mystical path began at the age of eight when I received my first Bible. I treasured that Bible, along with my Children’s Bible, a big book full of stories and pictures. At a young age Jesus became my friend and I would talk to him regularly, especially during difficult times in my life. Unlike a lot of other Christians, I did not have a negative experience of my Christian faith, quite the contrary. I steeped myself in it.
At age twelve some major turning points occurred. One happened when my Christian minister gave me a book on reincarnation followed by other metaphysical books. The other took place when I woman I babysat for introduced me to the world of astrology. Suddenly, my world expanded. I began to meditate, keep a dream journal, and read voraciously on topics ranging from Carl Jung’s approach to psychology, to books by transpersonal psychologists like William James, to books by Edgar Cayce and Jane Roberts, to topics on interpreting your dreams, self-hypnosis, astrology, numerology, the Tarot, palmistry, runes, mythology, psychic powers and the paranormal in general. At the same time I continued my studies of the Christian Bible getting information from Campus Crusade for Christ on a regular basis, memorizing Bible versus on my own, and between the ages of 15 to 18, reading the entire Bible, a different version every year following a daily reading program.
At the time I had no idea that my main passions might seem to not fit together in the eyes of some. For me, all of this involved learning more about Spirit (my chosen word for God). Spirit (and nature) were my daily comfort for a world that seemed quite confusing. Apart from my obligations to school and my family, my spare time was spent going into mystical states while out in the wilderness, exploring psychic realms in my bedroom, or frequently walking a mile down the country road near our home so I could be alone to pray and meditate in the small Christian church my family attended. (My pastor had shown me where the hidden key was to get into the locked church, so I could visit by myself when the church was closed.
As a pre-teen and teenager following my passion to understand the Divine, I was also learning that none of it helped me fit in well with other children of my age range. This was the 1970’s, the generation that experienced the fall out of the 1960’s youth rebellion. Suddenly, drugs (along with the old standbys of cigarettes and alcohol) were everywhere. As a “goody two shoes” I found myself increasingly alienated. I didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, have sex or even fool around with anyone. It was bad enough that I was intellectual and overly smart (I could read by age five and was often set apart from other students by my teachers because I was too far ahead of them). My interests were shared by — well — no one my age. For company I would often go visit a few people my parents age who could teach me things I wanted to learn about the paranormal, mysticism and religion. It isn’t that I didn’t try to make friends. I did. It’s just time and again these friends would suddenly want me to drink alcohol, light up a joint, smoke a cigarette, pop a Quaalude or worse. I simply had no interest in any of this. In the end I walked away from so many friends I barely had friends any more.
Naturally this left me feeling isolated and often very lonely. I simply found it very hard to fit into the culture I was born into. I kept thinking that I should have been born into a different country, or a different time period, but I had no clue where or when. Instead, I simply deepened my prayer practice and explorations in meditation and the inner realms trying to sort out who God was (who I later called the Spirit), and what I was doing here on planet Earth.
How This All May Relate to You.
Though is it natural to assume we are alone in our journey the older and more mature we get the more we see this is not true. I have since come to realize millions on in the process of waking up, and that very well could include you.
When we are young our world tends to be very small. Certainly beyond the explosion of the Internet, who and what we could expose ourselves to tended to be very small. That was certainly the case for me. Books and prayer became my greatest allies because there I could feel most connected and find answers to my deeper pressing questions.
Still, especially when we are young we can feel very lost and alone. Though I received a lot of solace, especially through my many private conversations with Jesus, the desire for human company and understanding remains strong. If you are reading this you may relate to the feeling of being isolated in your search towards waking up. I can certainly understand that. If at all possible find a community of support, even if it is only an online one. And, on an even deeper level, trust that something, or someone, is guiding you on your own journey, even if that is a presence that seems invisible. This is important because any one on the path towards waking up, has to develop a certain level of both outer independence so you can be true to yourself on your journey, and paradoxically inner interdependence where you can sense the vast inner community that does support you despite any outer illusions.
In the end your path may seem very unique. Regardless, the farther you go the more you will see how similar many people’s journeys are. In short, though it may seem so at times, you are far from alone.
- The Blessed Lord said: By whatever path people approach me, even so do I welcome them, for the paths they take on every side are mine —Bhagavad Gita
- Jesus answered: In my Father’s house are many mansions —Gospel of St. John