Tuesday, 31 July, 2018
‘Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.’ 1 John 4:8
With light rain clearing, I went out into the garden and up into the back grasses. Summer warmth has brought all manner of life to the ground, flowers, and trees. For a moment I wondered how God would marvel at such creation. What beauty the Holy of Holies has created with Mother Spirit and Earth. As I turned my thoughts this way, I found myself dedicating my walk to God. And as if I was introducing a Beloved to the wonder of the world for the first time, I offered up my joy to my Heavenly Father. I saw through new eyes each creature, colour, texture, living growth. I was in love with it all… See, look here, you made this flower, this bumblebee, this prickly thistle; you made this loving smile. Oh, let me show you it all. It was so beautiful, and so rich to experience the land and creation as an offering in relationship to God.
And yet, there was a time when I could not have even said the word, let alone conceive of a notion that God existed.
My awakening to the divine was slow. It began with a dream of fragmentation, fear and bodily death! I was only 17 years old, but in the dream, Mother Mary came to me and showed me the challenge of my path – to reunite my scattered parts. The Holy Mother took my hand and led me down a corridor of light. With such tenderness she smiled, ‘It will be a long journey and it will be painful, but it will be worth it’. And yes, she was right. In my waking state I couldn’t fathom why Mary had come to me. I had no faith formation path and religion had played only a miner part in my life when I was a child sporadically taken to church by a neighbour. I have since learnt that I come from a long line of prophetic Scottish Presbyterian ministers, and wonder if my genes were talking into me! Regardless, the dream was embedded and over the years it gave me comfort that I was guided.
‘You really believe that?’
It was another twenty years or more before my heart truly opened to the rhythm of the divine. As a young adult, I didn’t believe in God. I knew that there was symmetry in the world, and that there were unexplained happenings, spirit and natural synchronicities that hinted at a creative pattern. But I thought Jesus was either an alien from the stars or a fictitious character out of the minds of humans, the protagonist in an historical drama. And the idea that an old man in the clouds doled out mercy and punishment failed to convince me of God. High-school debates with Christian friends, who argued for the existence of an unseen almighty creator, simply left me feeling sorry for the way their parents had obviously brainwashed them as their own parents had done generation after generation. As far as I was concerned, there was no-one holding the reins on all that mystery, and the people in the Bible were simply characters in a story.
Over time, apathy toward religion turned into antipathy. I couldn’t even say the word ‘God’. I associated God, church and Christianity with war, torture, death, hypocrisy and the persecution of women. I couldn’t have told you where those feelings came from; I only knew that they were there inside. And I had no answers for why a supposedly benevolent God would let his creations suffer so badly and consistently.
Coming to God
Given all this resentment, imagine my surprise when what I call ‘the miracle night’ happened. It was in the middle of winter, on a night just like any other. I was 40 years old and sound asleep in my Melbourne apartment. In the early hours of Wednesday 19 August 2008, I awakened suddenly, and became aware that I was not alone in the room. Terrified, realising that something or someone was hovering above my bed, I became very still. When I opened my eyes, I saw a young boy floating cross-legged in the air above my knees. He appeared about seven years old. He held out his right hand and looked down at several small, coloured orbs floating above his palm. They looked like jellybeans, but like the boy, they glowed the most peaceful, powerful light.
The boy looked from the objects in his hand to me, and without a word, communicated that these tiny lights could show me what I had not yet integrated – what was keeping me from being whole. Watching the small orbs float and rotate I was suddenly back into the hospital ward where I had visited my grandmother only a few days before. I was rubbing cream into her heels where they were raw from the hospital sheets, and I felt such love – the kind of unconditional love that a parent feels for their child. And then I was back in my bedroom with the hovering boy. I followed his gaze to the centre of my chest and saw a cavity that went right through my body, and as I marvelled at it, my deep love for my grandmother resonated within, and I heard the child say in my mind, Turn that love around and love your self so.
And with those words, I turned my attention to my self in love and compassion, and I felt a build-up of energy that rose and rose, and burst out from the heart cavity in the most brilliant white light. It streamed out of me, and yet I could still feel the love nestling within me like a dear friend long absent. I knew in that moment that the journey of integration was the journey to loving myself. And I realised then that this beautiful child was a messenger of God.
The angel’s radiance and my own light are the last things I remember from that night. The next I knew, it was daylight. There was no angel in my room. Everything was just as it had been when I went to bed – except that it wasn’t. Everything had changed, because I was changed. Suddenly, and most profoundly, I knew God. I had come to love, real love. And I knew beyond all knowing that we are born to find our way home to God, and to that love.
I could speak the word ‘God’ now. I knew the feeling of God. I could argue, if I needed to, that God existed. But I couldn’t have explained what God was, or even what it meant for me to have reached this profound experiential truth. I had no frame of reference for my new state so I drew on the new age and Qabalistic teachings with which I was familiar. These clothed my experiences in 7 years of tangible understandings that satisfied my seeking of truth, beauty and goodness, but they did not engender faith. It was only when Jesus entered my heart that faith blossomed in me, and my life changed in ways I could never have imagined.
… and Jesus
My first encounter happened in an everyday way. I was lying on a physiotherapy couch with acupuncture needles in my skin and third eye. The physiotherapist left the room, but with eyes closed I suddenly felt a presence in the space. Opening to see, there was Jesus standing at the bottom of the couch. He was looking at me, arms wide open, and he said ‘Come to me child’. And was gone. But not before allowing me to feel the immense love he had for me.
Many years later, it occurred to me that this was the beginning of my faith (more on faith in another message).
Loving and Knowing ourselves
Although the Bible does not command us to love ourselves, it is implied that we already do in the verse ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’, Mark 12:31. I liken this to the aeroplane safety rules when travelling with little children: put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then you are more readily able to assist the child. Love yourself and you are freely available to love others.
Over the years since first coming to love God and welcoming Jesus into my heart, I have experienced rich spiritual connection, and self-healing. This, and my work with companions in the Spiritual You™ programme has highlighted the value of not only loving ourselves but really knowing ourselves.
It’s not only modern psychology and mainstream consciousness studies that compel us to plumb the recesses of our psyche, motivations and behaviours for the sake of a richer life and societal contribution; there are countless passages in many religious texts, including the Bible that compel us to understand ourselves.
One of the great maladies of our time is our sense of disconnection. And one of the great tragedies of our time is the plethora of ways western culture perpetuates isolation and dislocation through technologies and devices, whether material or by way of individualist, competitive, norm and strength-based rhetoric that generates disconnection in those who do not see themselves reflected in their culture, environment or the systems that govern them. Such is the magnitude of the isolationist paradigm that the illusion of separation extends not only to self and other, but to self and environment, Earth, and self and God or the divine.
Increasingly, we detect a yearning in society to connect, and a push toward experience that massages truth, beauty and goodness within an individual, relationship and communities. When we come to love and know ourselves, we heal the perception of separation that our historical and cultural wounds amplify.
The great angelic gift I was given helped me to see that my wrath towards God was rooted in my own childhood experiences of powerlessness, and later as an adult as this translated into a sense of injustice in the world. I felt it incongruous that a benevolent God could allow such pain and global atrocities, or condone horrors in His or Her name. It’s only recently as my two notions of that mystery of life and God have coalesced that I am at rest in new understandings, which I hope to share as we go along. And that in my care of self, I have been able to come Home to the Beloved. My prayers are that each of us can move and live and have our being in the world in ways that bring us to greater connection, however and whatever that looks like for you.
So in this series of messages I’ll explore some of your questions within the context of my work, my personal and Spiritual You client experiences while drawing on the Word and Spirit to lead us. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!
Invitation to Reflect
- What would you count as a spiritual experience?
- Have you had spiritual experience/s that altered your perception of life? And did you change any aspects of your life according to the spiritual revelation?
- Do you believe in a Supreme Being or creative power? How does that enrich or influence your life?
- How do you experience the presence of God within yourself?
- Do you love yourself? How do you know and show it?
- What helps you to connect?
I’m Karolyne Quinn. Thank you for joining me in this message Holy Whole Spiritual Being. May we meet again. In the meantime, bonny wishes, and God Bless.
Image Credit – Velvet Dream by Freydoon Rassouli
KAROLYNE IS A SPIRITUAL MENTOR, WRITER AND TEACHER, LIVING AND WORKING IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.