I have been writing about my experiences of my spiritual journey for a few years here and on social media. I’ve also written two books: one was a short story based on my spiritual journey and another about dreams and dream recall. Writing about my experiences has not always been easy for me (I’ll share that in a future blog) but whether I want to or not, spirit sends messages and guidance to encourage me to share my story. And so, I have been inspired to tell you about one of my first and more influential spiritual teachers.
It began in 1990, the searching for…something…something else or something more. Not knowing what that something was or where to find it I looked on the self-help shelves of a local bookstore. From past experience I knew that religion wasn’t the answer. Neither was drinking alcohol with the wrong people. I recall looking at the bookshelves hoping something would pop out or fall off one of the shelves and into my hands. Since I didn’t know specifically what it was I needed to fill the void within me I was hoping one of the books there in the bookstore would. One book did look familiar to me from recent television commercials: Dianetics . After some contemplation I decided to give it a try. I tried it for about two chapters and decided that it didn’t resonate with me. Trusting my gut was crucial. This wasn’t the book I was looking for.
Very shortly after that, I had the book in hand when I met H.B. someone who was introduced to me by my sister Angela. When he asked about the book I was holding in my hands I explained how I had been looking for something to fill a void or give my life meaning. Honestly, I didn’t really know what to call it or how to articulate what seemed to be missing or what I needed to find to fill that…something. H.B.asked me to follow him and when I did he handed me a book. Apparently, what I needed was in a book. This book was another familiar book. ‘Out On a Limb’ by Shirley Maclaine. My initial reaction was “Oh.”
I was familiar with Shirley Maclaine. Her name was synonymous with UFO’s in the early 1980’s when her book first came out. I recall feeling a little freaked out by her story then. But as I held the book H.B. had given me I didn’t feel freaked out at all. About a month or two later while I was on vacation I started to read it and couldn’t put it down. Believe it or don’t – and I knew people who wouldn’t believe it – this book resonated with me. I didn’t really get everything she spoke about but I was intrigued by the references to the Bible’s alterations and the channel, whose name was Kevin, if I recall (In the movie version of this book, the actual channel is in the movie).
The next book H.B. gave me was Edgar Cayce’s “There is a River”, the life story of the sleeping prophet. His book “Reincarnation” absolutely fascinated me and set me off on a life long passion of past lives. Apart from books, we attended seminars together and visited two psychics and talked a lot about spirituality.
If I had not selected the book that didn’t resonate with me, I would never have met H.B. and started off on the next leg of my spiritual journey and eventually find another spiritual teacher. And then another and another. Whenever I am ready to grow spiritually another teacher always appears.
Ann was a friend of mine who liked to read the last chapter of nearly every book she ever read first. The exception was the occasional biography or non-fiction book of pre-twentieth century British Monarchy. She already knew how their lives ended, but she enjoyed the details and history of their lives. Other than wanting to know how the story ended, I never really understood why Ann did this. She would only say that she wanted to see how the story ended first. Now, I wonder if she was looking for a happy ending in her own life’s story.
Maybe I reading too much into it. For me, jumping ahead to the end first would ruin the (hopefully) happy conclusion. I like the drama of the heroine or hero who are victorious over the antagonist. The wonder and romance of boy-gets-girl or girl-gets-girl or boy-gets-boy. And, if while I’m reading a book with drama, adventure, romance or magic, I’ll ponder if it is leading up to a sequel. Oh, the anticipation.
There is one story’s ending I would like to know the outcome of. The Pandemic. Now here I would agree with Ann. When will it end? What will the new normal look like and when will it happen? And, what will my life look like post-pandemic?
The ennui of quarantine, the nail-biting moments, the sad stories, the violence and other drama of this past year, feels like a story without an end now. However, there are other moments we can enjoy like how the glass of wine tastes, the colors in nature, things my children said, shows we binge watched, and all those other nuances that fill out a story. I am doing my best to stay in the moment – it hasn’t always been easy these last twelve months. I’m trying to stay present so that I’ll have a fuller, richer story to tell one day.
It ‘s been said that the end goal – the dream job, dream partner, dream house or whatever the dream is – is not the destination. It’s all part of the journey.
I’m a book addict. I love books. I collect books. I own a library card. I carry a membership card to a well known book store and I use it often. Thomas Jefferson once said “I cannot live without books.” I concur.
In fact, I generally have four or five books going at any time. That is I’ll read a book for a bit, put it down and then repeat the process with about 3 or 4 other books. They’re not all just random books or the newest books that I cannot keep up with. There really is a method to my madness. But, a couple of months ago I realized that the madness had taken over and it needed to have an ending.
And so, I made a goal this year to finish any books I had previously started. Two of the books for research purposes have post it notes riddled with arrows, notes and punctuation so that I can go back to them as needed. Two of the books were inspirational memoirs sprinkled with humor. And still another was a tome by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
About five years ago I saw an exhibit on Thomas Jefferson’s book collection at the mother of all libraries – the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. This exhibit consisted of Jefferson’s bookshelves with his 10,000 book collection! The founding father had a variety of books on all topics. There were the books you would expect to see on the shelf of a farmer, lawyer, politician, and Declaration of Independence author. Surprisingly or not, there were books by Voltaire and Moliere; Homer and Shakespeare; as well as books on Plato, languages, astronomy, philosophy and religion. I wonder if he read his books sporadically.
But, it was still time to finish my current collection of unfinished books. Cold, winter nights and snowy weekends are great for curling up with a good book and I took advantage of the cold nights next to a warm fire. At around the moment I committed to this, I realized that I may not have been alone in my decision. I felt a nudge from the universe, a reminder, that it was time to get ready to move forward. Was finishing the books a metaphor for finishing goals? Books equal knowledge. Lessons have been learned. It’s time for me to let go of the past and move forward to the next level in my spiritual awakening.