I’ve had a couple of intense spiritual experiences in my past that have made a deep and lasting impact on me (I’ve had many more than these, but these were exceptional). Both happened immediately preceding devastating events in my life that were very hard to deal with. These spiritual experiences were like rocks to cling onto in my own personal storms that threatened to shipwreck me. The first was the most incredible sense of peace that ran over me like a thick syrup. I hadn’t been aware of feeling stressed before it happened, but when it happened I realised just how anxious I’d been for years – so much so that anxiety just seemed like a normal state. I felt in this new state that there was nothing to worry about – ever, and that this was true for everyone. Not that awful things couldn’t happen, but that I was untouchable deep on the inside, and nothing, not even death could harm that. This profound sense of peace was happening simultaneously to my husband who was upstairs. He came down later and said ‘you’ll never believe what just happened to me’, and I said ‘I will because it just happened to me too’. The next day our world was rocked by a bombshell, which I won’t go into because it’s not relevant to this journey. We all get shit to deal with in this life, and this was ours. The second experience was transcendent – complete ecstasy like I’ve never known before or since. All I could see was white and I felt the most incredible unconditional love – I knew that I was utterly, completely and unconditionally loved; a breathtakingly beautiful and limitless love. I laughed and laughed and laughed until it subsided. The next day all hell broke loose with circumstances that would make me question everything I believed about the closest people in my life and threatened to destroy every shred of self esteem and self worth that I had. I felt like I had been gored by a giant claw and the pain goes on from that even today, decades on.
Ever since those events I’ve yearned to experience that level of peace and love again, but this yearning has also been tinged with fear. Since both occasions preceded painful and traumatic events, my fear has been that if I ever experienced that level of love and peace again that it would bring with it fresh trauma, and the suffering that came was not worth the fleeting moments of love and peace, no matter how blissful the experience. Both experiences felt like they came to me from outside of myself, but I’ve had a gut feeling since they happened that the peace and love is still available inside me, maybe not like the powerful waterfall of ecstasy that surged over me, but like a still pool that is available to dip into at any time. I just have to find it. I feel that the same is true for everyone, we all have this resource, we just have to find it.
Coming next: The secret garden