Overwhelmed by Love
At the time I found the Order of The Mystical Christ two years ago, I felt like a leaf that was hopelessly tossed about in the autumn wind. There were some temporary ups and funny turns, but the overall trajectory seemed downward and hopeless. In my heart I was despaired. For years I had tried to find stability, love, and appreciation in my job and in relationships, and I had just experienced yet another painful crash. My fear and lack of orientation became so bad that I couldn’t sleep any more: it was hell. I knew that I needed help, and I was looking everywhere. I would tell friends that I was seeking faith in God — the only thing that could somehow get me anchored in the torrents of life. But I didn’t know what it really was, what it would feel like, let alone how to get it. A spiritual healer suggested that I seek a teacher. It sounded scary (things must be really bad, I thought); but I did.
From the first class I attended at the Center I was deeply touched by the peace that was emanating from the priests there, and that seemed to permeate the whole room. I drank it in and kept coming because I felt safe, relieved, and accepted. It wasn’t until I started working with a teacher that I realized how my usually non-peaceful state was created by myself, and how little I was able to love and accept myself as I was. My whole life had always been about achievement and performance; about being “good” and doing everything right; about finding approval on the outside rather than listening to the inside. It was a very painful recognition, but it started my gradual (and ongoing) process of changing my attitudes and casting out beliefs that kept me in that stagnating negative place I had been for so long (for example, the conviction that I needed a man to be accepted and acceptable in the world). I started to look at life with different eyes, to tune into myself and into God, and to focus less on my issues. In meditation I now feel that there is love and acceptance deep inside myself that remains untouched by whatever storms are raging around me. There is even joy and happiness of a kind and abundance I would never have thought possible. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by laughter. I am beginning to see heaven.
Last week, I became aware of this change when I had a collision accident. Just weeks previously when changing my insurance, I had proudly announced to the new company that I had never had an accident. Now I had. The moment of the crash was shocking, adrenalin rushing and all. But I quickly realized how lucky I had been: nobody was hurt; both cars were still driveable; just the previous night I had finally remembered to put my new policy card into my car; and the other driver wasn’t even angry (“It happens,” was all she said!). Perhaps most miraculously, when I finally arrived at my destination (a fund-raiser for our Center), I found that God had even taken care of my delay: someone else had spontaneously showed up and helped in my place. It really was amazing. When I would previously have complained, I now felt so deeply grateful and protected.
But there was something else. Once off the road I realized that I did feel very bad about the incident. I had made a mistake; I had been distracted; I had caused a problem; I had failed. And so I was beginning to reproach myself, to feel ashamed. After all, what would the neighbors say when they saw my dented car?? It was at that point that I realized how ridiculous the spin of negative feelings was that I was just about to enter. Those were old voices, and with all my experience of the last two years, I knew that they weren’t true. Besides, not even the other driver had reproached me; so why should I? And why should I care what my neighbors or anybody else would think? This was my life and my car. And why should I be bad just because I hadn’t paid attention for a split second? Now, these thoughts made me feel energetic and happy. I got increasingly energized and tossed out all those other, negative thoughts and emotions, one by one. The accident was part of life, and so I decided to embrace and accept this life fully. By the time I reached home I couldn’t care less what others thought, and I felt freer and more peaceful than before: the accident had given me a chance to break through my old perfectionist ways; to accept myself despite being anything-but-perfect; and to feel God’s love for me deeper and deeper inside myself. What grace! Now I was not only grateful for God’s protection but also for the opportunity God had presented me to learn and grow — and I was overwhelmed by love.
I pray that I will continue to grow and embrace such experiences, that I will have the strength to break (through) more of my patterns, and that I will muster the courage to set my soul free. And I cannot thank God enough for the amazing teachers God sent.
By Paola, Student, New Haven