While my father’s brainwashing and my therapy to get his religious-based messages out of my head were certainly motivation enough to study religion and God, there were already a couple of signs I had that could have told me it wasn’t necessary, if they’d been given the proper attention.
Despite what I went through with my father, I can remember having an awakening when I was very young, either six or seven. I was laying in my bed, daydreaming. I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was, and that something was producing the images and feelings I was experiencing. When I began to move my leg in order to get up off of the bed, I also became aware that something connected my thought of getting up and my body actually moving.
Both of those awarenesses led me (though suddenly awkward with my own body’s movements) to get up and stand in front of the full-length mirror on my closet door. I moved my arm, trying to follow what happened to the thought that made it move, and couldn’t. Then, in my study in the mirror, I saw my heartbeat pulsing visibly on my neck, which was yet another angle because I wasn’t even having thoughts about making it beat. Things were building up.
I decided I needed a closer look, so I took all my clothes off, and stood in front of the mirror. Moving my arm again, I could see the muscles and tendons flexing under my skin. But I still couldn’t “see” the thoughts. So, I moved in more closely, and looked directly into my eyes.
I now know that doing so is one of the quickest and most direct ways to access that part of me that is larger than the human body and mind can contain. What I felt then was this incredible expansiveness combined with a connectedness with the entire universe, and a Joyousness beyond anything I’d ever before felt. I stood there for I don’t know how long before the spell broke, but when it did I retained the knowing that I was much more than my body and mind.
I was a loner as a child. Even though one of seven children, my father had well learned the lesson of “divide and conquer.” As such, I often found myself outside in my “private place,” hidden underneath the long, low branches of a huge evergreen at the side of our yard. There, I investigated the teeming examples of nature it held.
There were crawling bugs of all sorts, mosses and grass growing in and under the mat of fallen evergreen needles, flying visitors that would come and go. While I was curious about how each thing worked, I also felt connected with them. I would later say I see God in nature, insisting it was so when others would try to say what I was seeing was a “reflection of God.”
And then there was Catholic Sunday School, which turned out to be more of a learning experience about how unwilling the nuns were to answer questions than it was anything else. For example, they didn’t want me asking how the family of Adam and Eve continued to the next generations if everyone was their kids, because it implied incest or that others existed.
They showed they didn’t want questions about God in particular. Why hadn’t God known right away that Abel was dead, or where Adam and Eve were hiding? More importantly, how could He condemn my girlfriend, who lived down the street with her annoying little brother and her very sweet parents, just because they were Jewish?
So, while I had reasons for wanting to understand both God and religion, I also had signs that I’d already found the path to what I was really searching for.
Still, I took the study quite seriously. Which is where we’ll pick up the story next time.
Much Love and Many Blessings,