Making Sense of an Experience of the Divine

Before I had my experience, my life was pretty ok. I had done a lot of healing and while things weren’t perfect, I wasn’t really doing anything “wrong” in my life. I was in graduate school. I studied. I had friends. And then I had this beautiful and heart-opening experience of God that really changed my perspective, my heart and my life. It took me a long time to make sense of that experience. I struggled with it. I ignored it. I pretended it hadn’t happened. I got angry at God. 

It wasn’t easy to make sense of an experience that is not talked or taught about in my culture. Not only was it not talked about, in my household I had been conditioned to believe that it was a sign of insanity. Experiencing so much beauty in a world that seemed to struggle so much was also extremely tough because it didn’t match up. Making sense of such an experience has taken years.

I found trusted confidants to talk about my experience with, which helped me to feel safer and to learn to accept the truth of what I felt and saw. I also spent a long time reasoning out what made sense about my experience and thinking about what it meant. I reasoned that my experience made me a better and happier person, and that could only be good. Unfortunately, but maybe predictably, I did spend a long time pretending it hadn’t happened, ignoring it because it seemed so out of touch with my regular life. I also got really angry at God for letting me have such an amazing experience and then leaving me on this planet that could seem so far from peace, love, and joy. 

It’s taken a long time, but I’ve made some sense of it. I’ve accepted that God is real and that it’s ok to have these kinds of experiences, especially when they make a person happier and more whole. I’ve also realized that our world is and can be beautiful, when seen the right way. We just have to work together and help each other, with love. And I’ve realized that God is right here with us, we need only to get in touch with God in our hearts. I still have a lot of moments of doubt and struggle, but I’m making peace with them. 

Have you had an experience of the Divine? I’d love to hear your perspective. Share in the comments! 

Where does Healing end and Spirituality begin?

When I began healing, I did not set out to become a spiritual person. I only wanted to feel my heart and heal myself. My years of sadness after my trauma and childhood had left me lost, and I wanted to be happy from the inside – happy for real. Somehow, along the way, unintentionally, my journey to heal brought me to God. 

How did that happen? I’ve come to believe that healing and God are very closely related. When we heal, we are trying to make ourselves whole again. Healing happens when we allow love back into all parts of ourselves. Healing happens when we connect our small heart to the Big Heart of God. When I was lost and wishing to feel my heart, I now believe I was simply trying to feel God in my heart. 

As you may have gathered, I am not a bible thumper. I’m half Jewish, half Christian, and I love and respect all religions. But I had an experience of God that wowed me and changed my life, and I have never been the same. My experience of God brought about true healing into my life, the healing I had been yearning for. The healing that I try to pass along to others. 

Walk towards healing, and you will get God. Walk towards God, and you will get healing. They are kin, and they are your true nature. 

Schizophrenia or Spirituality?

When I first had my spiritual experiences, I truly believed I was schizophrenic. I was raised in a skeptical household by a doctor and a psychologist. The spiritual realm did not exist in my world. Seeing or hearing things, even very beautiful things, meant one was crazy. I spent long hours and years talking with people and grappling with whether I was schizophrenic. 

It was a long bridge to cross to believing in the spiritual world, but at the same time it was quite easy. We are spiritual beings. It only requires unlearning the attitudes we may have been given as children. Mine were very deeply learned because of the way I was raised, but they were not impossible to move past. It happened over time and after lots of questioning. It happened when I accepted my own experiences. 

It helped to speak with people who were raised in different worlds that accepted a spiritual mindset, especially my stepfather, who came from a First People’s medicine tradition. For him, having an experience of God was a beautiful thing because it was the true nature of life. Listening to dreams was totally acceptable because dreams had meaning. Spirits and signs were all around us, communicating with us from the Great Spirit. His example and the example of others on the path were extremely helpful. In that way, I started to think of my connecting to a spiritual realm as a form of decolonizing myself and my mind.

What is the difference between schizophrenia and spirituality? One of my healers told me that people who are labeled “schizophrenic” have the door to the other side wide open and let anything in, be they positive or negative entities. People who are “spiritual” have developed practices around the other side to help them connect in a positive and helpful way. Many do so not for themselves, but in order to help others heal. 

It’s ok to not be sure what to believe. It’s ok to work it out for yourself. It’s ok to question things you’ve been taught. It’s excellent to honor your own experiences.

The Spirituality Escape

It’s easy to want to escape into the world of spirituality. Things are much more beautiful in the realm of pure being. Love abounds and peace is ever present. When I first found out that there was a spiritual reality and was able to connect to it, I wanted to stay there forever. I didn’t like the “real world” at all in comparison, with its cruelty, harshness, environmental degradation, and inequality. 

At first, I didn’t know that I was being unbalanced. One of the confidantes who helped me after my experience told me forthright – “you have a great spiritual ability, but you aren’t being very balanced about it. It can be an escape.” How can a person stay present in daily life while being aware of the spiritual side of life? It takes a lot of practice!

The most helpful practices are those that allow me to be present in my body. This has been a lifelong effort due to the trauma I experienced and my tendency to leave my body mentally and dissociate. It’s helped me to do mind-body movement, or any exercise that I enjoy and have time for. Currently I like to walk, do pilates, and do some yoga. Feeling my feet on the floor, just literally bringing my awareness to the bottom of my feet as they come into contact with the ground, is very beneficial.

Of course, breathing is huge to stay present! It’s probably the simplest practice for this. I simply breathe in and out while paying attention to my breath. I also like to practice walking barefoot in the grass or in the dirt, a practice that’s called “Earthing.” I always just thought it was called “walking barefoot in the grass,” but apparently there’s a lot of research behind this practice and its benefits. Try it and see how you feel!

The spiritual world is beautiful and amazing, and I believe it’s our true reality. I also believe we were born on this planet to bring our spirits into our bodies and experience our divine selves in the physical realm. Keep your sacred spiritual practices alive, and bring them into the world. You can create lots of healing and change that way.

From Skepticism to Belief

One of the reasons why I’ve felt called to share my experiences is because I wanted to write about what it’s like to go from being a complete skeptic to believing in God. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot for me to stop being judgmental towards a spiritual approach to life. Even though I rarely said it out loud, I was extremely mean towards people who expressed any kind of belief in or experience of an unseen world.

So, what changed? Well, it started to change when I began healing my heart in earnest. Recovering from a debilitating childhood trauma eventually brought me into learning about energy healing, Reiki, acupuncture, and finally to God. I did not believe in even the possibility of these things being real or helpful. I thought the people I met who talked about them were delusional. However, I’d exhausted the medical model of healing. I had been to therapy for over a decade, and had been on every kind of medication out there. I was still miserable. I still felt like my heart was hurting. I still had trouble sleeping. I still felt off-kilter.

I gave the other modalities a try. I met transformative healers and teachers who sat with me while I judged them and questioned them. I learned the importance of experiencing for myself. At age 24 I began studying Reiki and eventually became a Reiki Master Teacher, even though when I started learning about it I didn’t believe in it. When I first asked my teacher how she knew Reiki was real, she stated emphatically, “because I feel it!” I judged her (of course) at the time, but that became an important aspect of my exploring this world. How did I feel when I got a Reiki treatment? How did I feel when I studied Reiki? How did I feel when I changed how I ate? How did I feel when I engaged in mind-body practices? 

Ultimately, I became a believer because I wanted to heal. Healing eventually came to mean feeling my heart, which came to mean learning to feel love in my heart. Along the way I learned about things that seemed impossible. Those impossible things were meaningful and life-changing. When I learned to feel my heart, the whole world opened to me – including the unseen world, and including God.

Happy New Year! I wish you a beautiful 2019 filled with love!