Auckland New Zealand
Long ago, when I was a young farmer’s wife with two very small children, there was a time when I found myself in an awful "black hole" of depression. I had never been particularly unhappy in my life before then, rarely saw a doctor, and thought one would just say, "Grow up; you have responsibilities now." For many weeks I had been listening to a 15-minute programme, "A Faith for Today," on the radio every morning. Weeping copious tears, I would pray and pray to really believe in the existence of God and Jesus Christ – but please, please, not to remain indifferent any longer.
One morning, after the broadcast was over, I was washing up the breakfast dishes and crying into the sink as usual, when my view through the window and across the valley was silently rent down the middle with a slight zigzag shift, and the world changed. The view was the same, yet all looked subtly different, slightly shimmering. It seemed as though the trees along the distant horizon had joined hands and were dancing, for one thing – but my real understanding was inner. I saw, somehow, or rather understood, how everything IS. I saw how all things are connected and that love is the key, and I was swept along and upward in a joyous unfolding vision of how this could blossom into Heaven on earth one day, with love for one another spreading across the land and around the world until it encompassed all nations and all mankind. All the time I found myself whispering, 'Of course, of course!' as if in ecstatic recognition of something long forgotten.
This is the best I can do by way of explanation. At the time, I tried to write down all that I had 'seen' – and could not. It was somehow impossible to express the wonder of it in ordinary words. One of my favourite talks on the radio had been on Jesus’ teaching, 'You are the light of the world…' I knew this parable but always assumed that it applied to his disciples only. Now I knew it meant me, and you, everyone on earth.
I was totally uplifted. I knew the light shone from my eyes, my face was radiant and my heart overflowed with happiness and love. (This was not just a mood swing! I have never been depressed again in all the years that have passed since.) I had been given far more than I had asked for. Now I did not just believe. I knew.
Today I feel that, in answer to my genuine, anguished cries, God’s Compassion came down mightily and temporarily lifted the veil of maya, or illusion, long enough to give me the answer I so desperately sought. Then the veil descended again, inevi-tably. The high consciousness also descended, slowly, without lots of prayer and meditation to maintain it, and I was left with just the essence of the experience to sustain me. I attended churches of several different faiths but could not find lasting inspiration anywhere and gradually just returned to 'normal.' But that knowledge was always there, deep within – God IS.
The search never ceased, however. I read every book on spirituality and any loosely associated subject that the Hamilton City Library could provide. There was a book on meditation that sounded interesting, and just what I needed, but I tried it only once, on my own. One day there was an advertisement in the Waikato Times: 'Four meditation classes for $25.00.' So off I went. My only recollection is that we sat in a circle on the floor in a darkened room with a lighted candle in the middle. I found it weird, sitting in the dark with shadowy figures all around, and made no progress.
The following year a small paragraph appeared in the local mid-week paper; a lady called Subarata, from Auckland, would be coming to Hamilton to give free meditation classes. Feeling a bit dubious after the last strange experience, I wanted to give it another try but thought it would be nice to go with a friend. I asked my daughter on the off chance that she might like to come with me – and she said she would.
During the introductory meditation, I concentrated hard on my breathing and the 'little imaginary thread in front of the nose," and soon found myself focused on a space, like a tiny rift between clouds, where it seemed something important was just out of sight, but which could be revealed at any moment. Entranced, I gazed yearningly at that space. Time passed. Then, as from a distance, I heard a quiet voice saying, "Now bring your attention slowly back to the room…" Oh, no, No, NO! But that was it. What else could you do?
I never saw that space again – the doorway to the ever-beckoning Beyond? But my course was now set fair towards it, toward my goal – and my Guru. Though I did not know it then, again I would be given more than I could ever have dreamed of asking for.
(Anandashru is top left in picture at top)