“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.”
― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
“Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord”– Saint Augustine
Recently I read something that caused me to reflect on the beginning of my spiritual awakening. I had enrolled in a college religion class on the Old Testament prophets. Over the summer things changed and when I arrived for class I discovered that not only was the professor gone, the new one (who by the way had spent 7 years as non-professed monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani) had completely changed the class to something called The God Man Christian Experience. This good little Baptist college girl had just walked into a course on Christian mysticism.
To say I was challenged is an understatement. It was challenging intellectually, spending hours poring over difficult texts as well as spiritually as my beliefs were challenged by ideas foreign to me. It would have been easy to dismiss them if they hadn’t made so much sense. Something inside me knew I was hearing truth, but it was a truth unlike what I had held for so many years. I spent hours in the professor’s office screaming at him for taking away my faith. He just leaned back in his chair and smiled which infuriated me. It took years to realize the smile was because he knew he was watching the beginnings of something wonderful.
And it was just the beginning. It took many years with much suffering along the way to realize that while I felt abandoned by the Church I had been called to walk away to a new, deeper understanding of God. From childlike faith in a God up in heaven who looks down and pulls strings like a puppet master, I moved to an ever-growing understanding of being created in the image and likeness of God and the presence of God within. Yes, I do still occasionally envy those with such a simple and unmovable faith, until I see the damage being done to the earth and our fellow human beings in the name of God and become more and more determined to keep walking. I was called to something, a life of oneness with God, but I was also called out of something, which included leaving the worldly institutional church.
Bob and I believe many are now experiencing this same calling. We know how difficult a spiritual awakening can be and we are surrounding you with light and love. We also smile a little as Dr. Bob Imperato did many years ago, because we know we are seeing the beginning of something wonderful.
Hang in there. Trust God, surround yourself with the protection of the white light of His love and set out on the beginning of a remarkable journey.
“No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.” — Kahil Gibran from The Prophet
My last semester of college I found myself in a different religion class than I had enrolled in. The instructor had left over the summer. So I thought I had enrolled in a class on the Old Testament Prophets finding myself in something called The God Man Christian Experience. I was a scientific minded Baptist headed for graduate school to study physiological psychology. My path was set. My faith was set.
But the Universe had a different idea. Bob Imperato was brought into my life to introduce me to Christian mysticism and things have never been the same. I spent hours in Mr. Imperato’s office ranting, but could not refute what I was learning. I knew within my spirit it was true. The wise teacher leaned back in his chair smiling and let me rant. He knew he was witnessing the awakening of truth that had been half asleep inside me waiting for the right time for the teacher to appear.