Share The Joy
In the early 70s, I became involved in a small peer group whose aim was to explore what happened if you stopped editing or controlling what you expressed physically or psychologically. This involved allowing, as far as we were able, any movement our body made without conscious direction, and any sounds, emotions and fantasies that arose unwilled. I later called this Opening to Life.
I had been allowing the process for two years, with very satisfying results. Then on January 2, 1974 I stood before great curtains. I drew the curtains, this revealed the immensity of a clear night sky, filled with brilliant stars. As I looked at this natural splendor, a star fell to earth, leaving me with a sense that something wonderful had happened that I must go in search of. As occurs in the such inner experiences, there was a sudden shift, and I was a herder of flocks, a shepherd, looking for the star that had come to earth. Others were searching too, and when we found what we were looking for, I was astonished to discover it was a baby.
I was not in any way asleep, or in a trance. My evaluative rational self was keenly observing all that happened. Nevertheless, profoundly felt imagery and feelings flooded my awareness. I realized I was experiencing the New Testament story of the birth. But this did not seem to interfere with the flow of what poured into my feelings. My whole body felt the wonder of the baby and I fell to my knees before it. I knew as if intuitively, that all the cosmos had somehow come alive as this helpless vulnerable child. I was so overwhelmed, all I could say over and over, between sobbing cries was, ‘A baby’ – ‘A baby.’
The flowing emotions and the opened intuitive sense informed me that what I knelt before in tears was not a particular child. It was every baby ever born. For the first time I had been allowed to experience the enormity of birth, the holiness of every baby.
Suddenly the scene changed again, and I was standing with others by the side of a dusty unpaved road. People were excitedly waiting for someone, and I was curious to see who it was.
It was a man, and as he walked the road he saw me and came toward me. This part is difficult to describe, as I feel incapable of communicating the power of the event. The man was ordinary in appearance, but as he got near to me it seemed as if a great force surrounded him that penetrated me completely. The force was love, buffeting me like waves I could barely tolerate. The man stood before me and took my hands and said, ‘You are my disciple.’
At this, love so immense touched me so that I fell backwards, the contact too painful for me to bear, and the man walked on.
I knew who he was. I also knew, because it was welling up from within me as sure knowledge that he was the man I had killed. It was his blood I had on my hands. It was his death I felt guilty of. But he, in some strange paradoxical way, was myself. He was the cosmic mystery I have been born as. He was the very best of myself I had killed, murdered. He was my youthful sexuality I had suffocated to death, helped by the tenets of a religion that was supposed to be teaching his way, the way of life, the way of recognizing one’s cosmic link.
The impact of that meeting was extraordinary. Unable to stop the emotions surfacing, I felt compelled to move to each person in the group rubbing my hands on them. It seemed to me that a magical influence had touched my hands and I wanted everyone around me to receive some of that magic. Even years afterwards, when describing the event, the wonder of it can penetrate me again, and I am overcome by emotion.
One time, while sitting telling two women friends the story, I experienced an expanding of awareness, a sense of transcending my usual state of mind, and visible waves of movement ran up my trunk. These were like peristaltic movements of the gut, but they were moving up my trunk, obvious to my two friends and myself. I had never previously experienced anything like it, and have never since. It seemed at the time as if my being had become a conduit for an enormous energy that I did not understand intellectually. How it managed to create a wave like movement over different muscle groups and skin I do not know.
The meeting presented Christ paradoxically as something exterior to me, and at the same time something that was a fundamental and integral part of my own nature. As an exterior influence, Christ touched my awareness and told me I was his disciple, suggesting I could learn from him and co-operate in his doings. In fact many other people have similar meetings to my own. So Christ is not simply my own personal subjective experience.
I remember for instance working as a therapist with a woman who was exploring issues to do with her marriage. The subject of Christ or religion had not been mentioned, but the woman, lying on a couch, went quiet during the session. I suddenly felt an unmistakable shift in the room. Without any prompting from me she said with great joy, ‘I feel the presence of Christ. I have sought this all my life but it has never happened before.’ I witnessed a similar meeting with at least two other people. One, a man in a group I was leading in Athens came forward with tears in his eyes to tell me he had just met Christ for the first time in his life.
This paradoxical meeting, enabled me to see Christ as a fundamental and integral part of myself. This was recognizable, even in the meeting, as my own potential. It was a potential that had been thwarted or ‘murdered’ in its flowering by being trained to see the world and Life as just a material event. But the portrayal of this potential was dramatically shown as transcending the limitations of the body and its senses. Christ as the core of myself, and course every person born. But some of us are born with such physical burdens, which have been shown by my own life experience if being thrown lifeless-not breathing on a bed at my birth, and realizing it was a hard gift that led me to see what we are – an eternal and unbounded being despite our body. The experience has been a constant reminder for me not to completely identify with the limitations, sensibility and frailties of my body.
Today I reach out and touch you. Share the JOY.
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