Tag Archives: Jesus

“You know my heart.”

About a week ago I heard that the pastor of one of our local megachurches, Steve Smothermon, had referred to my city councilor as a “militant homosexual.” The exact quote was: “Pat Davis, I think that’s his name, City Councilor Davis on the city council, he come out and said it’s the greatest thing, ‘cause he’s a militant homosexual.”

It kept popping back up in my mind, especially since I have friends who go to that church, and they wouldn’t say such a thing. The issue, if I understand it, was that Councilor Davis was trying to defend LGBTQ kids against some school board members who were trying to remove protections that had previously been put in place.

I must be more sheltered than I think, because I didn’t realize that the term “militant homosexual” is used all the time by a faction of religious extremists who believe that gay people are trying to destroy Christianity, indoctrinate their children, and take over the whole country and perhaps the world. As I write this, the image that is running in my mind is that of my kind, gentle lesbian colleagues and their wives, doing their gardening and puttering around the house. It’s pretty hard to square with the fire-breathing monsters these folks are warning everyone against.

This same pastor has gotten notoriously entangled in politics a number of times. He spoke out against Gov. Susana Martinez a few years ago when she appointed an openly gay man to the PRC. ‘Smothermon told NMPolitics.net last month that Martinez “looked me in the eye personally and said she’s socially conservative… she wouldn’t espouse the homosexual agenda.” He said Howe’s appointment “goes against that.”’ http://nmpolitics.net/index/2012/02/pastors-comments-spark-protest-online-debate/

Ah, now we are on familiar ground— “the homosexual agenda.” Hiring the most qualified candidate, who happens to be gay, is “espousing the homosexual agenda.” Because apparently gay people shouldn’t be allowed to work and therefore have food and a place to live. Or maybe they just shouldn’t be paid with tax dollars? The pastor continued: ‘”These aren’t the people we voted for you to appoint. We voted for you to appoint people who think like we do,” he said, adding that he is “not against the human being, but the lifestyle and the political power that the homosexual agenda has today, as a lobbying agenda, that’s what I begin to come against.”’

“We voted for you to appoint people who think like we do.” Separation of church and state does not seem to mean much to such pastors (and indeed, I have heard a few voices on the right say that it should not exist).

If wanting to avoid being killed or beaten in the street, wanting to be able to work and survive economically, and expecting the fundamental respect accorded to any other member of society— just wanting to live— makes us “militant,” I will be happy to count myself as militant and stand up for that “agenda.” In fact, this crap is making me feel more militant by the day. I fly under my bisexual cloak of invisibility most of the time, for good or ill, so these guys don’t see me. If they did take notice of me, though, they would probably be just as happy to attack me as they would my gay friends. I am taking all this extremely personally.

I could go on with a lot more obvious points, such as the propensity of so many religious folk to harp on their favorite few lines taken out of context, and in translation, from the huge literary tradition that constitutes the Bible. But you know all that. I do want to add a word from someone who comments at liberal pastor John Pavlovitz’ blog, a religious person herself, who stated this at least as well as I could: “If we believe God doesn’t make mistakes and that God it is love and that God made humanity in God’s image, then it stands to reason that if God created someone to be homosexual, then it must have been because it delighted God to do so.”

I will not even engage with the contention that people “choose” to be gay. Everyone should know better by now.

And I should know better than to give all this garbage any space in my brain, but it’s amazing what can worm in there and take up residence. I’m going to tell you about an experience I had nearly three years ago and wrote about then but never dared to share with you because it seems an order of magnitude farther out than anything else I’ve posted. It isn’t, really— that’s probably just my inner insecurity talking. As intense spiritual experiences go, it may even be fairly mainstream. Anyway, it changed everything for me. Here goes:

 

*************************************************************************
Events of 9/30/14

A friend told me with great excitement about a channeler she had discovered, who was giving messages from Jesus, as many do. She felt that his work was what she had been trying to find for a very long time, and said that she had at last discovered real peace. The messages she described sounded very much like what I had heard from Hania Stromberg’s channeling [see my old post “An Appointment with Jesus”] and what I had picked up myself, a real antidote to the controlling, limiting, shaming version of Christianity my friend and so many of us had grown up with.

I went to the channeler’s website to find out more. There were a number of messages that seemed worthwhile and helpful. I was a little put off by the fact that the channeler had been associated with the I AM Movement, which has a number of problematic aspects and was founded by questionable and deceptive leaders. He still uses much of their terminology. But I don’t care about the channeler’s background so much as the content of the messages themselves.

I scanned the sidebar of the home page for subjects. One entry was “Teachings on Homosexuality.” My heart sank. “Oh, crap,” I thought. “Here it comes.” I had a pretty good idea what I was going to find— and what I found was even worse than I expected. Not only was it judgmental in the most insidious and damaging manner I had ever seen, it was couched in language that insisted the speaker wasn’t being judgmental at all. The effect was, “I would never judge anyone, but you’re horrible beyond redemption.” It also came off as “I’m only telling you this for your own good.” I will not repeat what I saw there, because it doesn’t need to be given any validation, and my readers don’t need the trauma. The sanctimoniousness was thick and sticky, and so very familiar.

If this had been written by any typical yahoo wingnut preacher, I would have shaken my head sadly, closed the page, and moved on. But my friend’s reaction to the channeler, and her typical level of depth and thoughtfulness, gave it far more impact in my mind. I felt deeply ill, sick to my stomach. The idea that people, especially young people, would read this and let it get into their systems was horrifying. I knew this wasn’t the Jesus I had met, not remotely, but I couldn’t just leave it alone.

This was one of my piano lesson/lunch and writing/walk on the ditchbank days, and as I strolled under the cottonwoods that afternoon, I quizzed myself very rigorously, just in case, on whether I might be rejecting an actual truth because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. (That sounds silly now, that I could consider accepting anything so insane even for a nanosecond.) No. Every molecule of my being told me it was utterly, evilly wrong. I sent out distress calls. Normally I don’t have conversations with Him, and don’t have a clear “phone connection,” but I hoped to get a reply. After all, he had told me years earlier that I could always come to him for comfort if I needed to.

A little later, when I got home, I felt his presence. As soon as the contact began, I knew there was really nothing I needed to ask. The answers were in the presence itself. A fountain of love and acceptance rushed down through the top of my head and filled me everywhere. Being me, though, I had to ask for clarification in words.

He did not say that he had nothing to do with this man or that the messages were wrong; he said that the channeler was getting only the surface of what he was trying to say. He showed me a view of an ocean full of creatures, and explained that while there were a great many fish living in the water, this man saw only the few fish that swam toward him and presented themselves to his vision. This image formed clearly in my mind, one fish after another swimming forward, turning, and moving away into the darkness beyond. It was an odd metaphor, it seemed to me, but the meaning was easy to understand.

At the end of that sequence, I heard, “I am the ocean.”

I realized that the reason I had been so upset by the channeler’s presentations was that some part of me believed he might be right. “I need reassurance,” I went on, chattering nervously, along these lines: “I, and people I know, do feel in a way that we are broken or unbalanced or wrong. I don’t really think it’s true, but I feel it. You know that I feel something’s wrong with me because I fall in love too much. I guess you probably think that’s silly, and it is, but I feel it. Anyway, I need a hug!” I was getting seriously teary by this time.

I’d been getting a lovely cosmic hug the whole time already. He said something that surprised me: “You know my heart.” Yes, I did. “And I know yours,” he continued. I was both feeling much better about everything and dissolving further into weepy, overwhelmed jelly.

And then he said something even less expected, something so large that it doesn’t fit in these words: “My heart is yours.”

I felt the meaning, far beyond the words. He had told me Tat tvam asi, Thou art that. We are one. I already partake of Christ Consciousness and I am in my rightful place in the universe of humanity. I am not unacceptable, not wrong, not broken. I am loved, and I always will be. (You are too.)

 

In the weeks that followed this experience, my friend kept sending me more material from that website. None of it was particularly problematic or offensive. I wondered if she had even seen the part that had upset me so, and was afraid to ask. She wanted to know my reaction to what she sent, and I couldn’t figure out how to talk about any of it without bringing up what I saw as a central issue that invalidated the whole body of work. At last I couldn’t avoid it any longer, and I found a way to discuss it with her. She didn’t like that section any better than I did, but she wasn’t worried about the validity of the channeling overall. She reminded me that even the channeler himself had written about the difficulties of getting messages through without having them colored by our own biases and expectations. That was good enough for her. It wasn’t for me.

I was left feeling that I would rather listen to Source Itself than to what anyone else says. To whatever small extent my antennae can receive it, that is. All I can tell you, as usual, is, “This is what I heard. Make of it what you will.”

So what’s the difference between me and others, like the wingnut preachers or this channeler, who claim they know what Jesus is saying? Maybe not much. But I can truthfully state that I am not trying to get any power over others.
****************************************************************

Perhaps the people I am complaining about have tapped into a pervasive field of fear and judgment, just as I connected with a field of love and acceptance. I would suppose that it is absolutely real to them. I know where I would rather live, and I know which is more likely to generate a world that is better for all of us.

More recently, I found myself in a lengthy and eye-opening discussion with a Catholic priest who reminded me that a traditionally religious viewpoint does not necessarily require a narrow, judgmental attitude. I think I’ll save that story for another day.

 

While looking for background about Pastor Smothermon’s comments, I found a couple of other articles of interest:

http://www.paulholtministries.com/2012/02/10/homosexuality-steve-smotherman-and-the-torah-observant-jesus/
This is an argument against those who point out that Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality one way or another. Holt writes that Jesus didn’t need to say anything about matters that were already covered in the Torah because he was an observant Jew and so must have agreed with everything in it. Pastor Holt apparently believes that not only does he understand everything Jesus said, he understands everything Jesus did not say as well.


http://nmpolitics.net/index/2012/02/forgiving-smothermon-praying-for-those-his-words-affect/

“Pastor Smothermon does not need to apologize. I have already forgiven him. I pray for him, but more importantly I pray for those his words affect.
“The kids that are bullied on the playground because Pastor Smothermon says being gay is wrong. The individual that continues to seek God’s love but can’t find it because Pastor Smothermon says there is no love, and in essence gays should not hold any job.”

For some perspective on the centrality of the fight against “militant homosexuals” among members of the religious right, check this out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gf4jN1xoSo
“True Origins of the Religious Right”
  The emphasis on homosexuality and abortion, issues not brought up in the gospels, turns out to be surprisingly recent. In contrast, although the gospels say that Jesus did speak against divorce, repeatedly, most evangelicals seem happy to let divorce go on. They would like to keep it available for themselves, so it’s perfectly fine. It’s those other people who are doing all the evil.

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Filed under channeling, human rights, spirituality

The Face in the Shroud

I intended to put this out on Easter, but as with so many things during this overwhelmed period of my life, I’m way behind. I did spend a good deal of Sunday reviewing research on this subject, finding that there was a lot more available than there had been the last time I looked.

Among the surprisingly many religious articles in my mother’s room, I found one that I’d given her myself. I bought it at the gift shop of the Santuario de Chimayó in northern New Mexico. It’s a small card with the kind of double picture that changes when you hold it at different angles. One view is the familiar face found in the negative shot of the Shroud of Turin:

And the other is a reconstruction of the living face as imagined by an artist, whose name is not given:

I was so struck by the beauty and power of the artist’s conception portrait that I wanted a copy to bring home.

There is not much I can say about the Shroud of Turin that hasn’t been said already. I’m writing about it here because it is a source of continual fascination for me, as for so many others. It is one of the anomalous objects in the world that reminds us that reality is not at all what we’ve been told it is, and that we have far less understanding of what is “really” going on than we might like. No matter how one interprets the phenomenon, there is an irreducible amount of mystery. Something beyond the ordinary happened here. What exactly was it?

Here is a summary of the facts and questions about the Shroud, as my small knowledge of them permits:

We don’t know, no one can say for sure, who the Man in the Shroud really was. We can be sure of the meaning of some aspects of his image, though. What we see is a gruesome record, in literally excruciating detail, of the torture and murder of a man by the Roman state, in a way that myriad others were also tortured and murdered. This is what holds my attention above all. The terrifying injuries— the thorns piercing the scalp, the hundreds of tears made by the lash, the abrasions and bruises, the slash of the lance, and all that beyond the horror of the nails themselves— bear witness to the cruelty of human beings to their fellows. It would be difficult to believe if we did not see it right in front of us, right down to the still-obvious blood and body fluid stains. When I was a child, the nuns told us that Jesus being nailed to the cross was unusual, that most of those who were crucified were only tied to the wood. That was not true. What happened to this one whose sufferings we see so clearly in the Shroud happened to thousands.

We do know that the blood is type AB. It turns out that the Sudarium of Oviedo, the cloth said to have been used to wrap the face of Jesus when he was prepared for burial, is saturated with the same type of blood. Records of the Sudarium’s whereabouts over time go back about seven centuries further than those of the Shroud, lending weight to the contention that the Shroud is at least that old as well. Similarities in the placement of the stains as well as the blood itself point to the same origin as the Shroud. The shapes and contents of the stains indicate that the person whose head it covered died in an upright position, consistent with crucifixion. It must be the most historically important dirty rag on the planet.

We don’t know the age of the Shroud through testing of the cloth itself. Carbon dating done decades ago placed it in the medieval period, meaning that it had to be a fake, but since the cloth was much handled over the centuries, in addition to surviving fire and water damage, there is now agreement that it was too contaminated for carbon dating to be accurate. There is also a question about the part of the cloth that was tested, which appears to be a repair added later.

We know that pollen grains found in the cloth of the Shroud place its origin in the area of Jerusalem, and are consistent with the species of plants that would be used with a burial.

We know that the color forming the image is not paint or dye. There are simply no molecules of such things present. If the image was faked during medieval or any other times, it is very challenging to give an explanation of how the faking could have been accomplished. The contention that the Shroud is simply a fake just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. The situation is more complex than that.

One theory is that a Maillard reaction, similar to the browning of bread in the oven, could have formed the brownish-yellowish image. This does not explain the holographic and X-ray like properties of the image, in which some structures that would have been behind others can be seen.

Similarly, the theory that the Shroud is an example of a medieval photograph is intriguing and more or less plausible, but it does not explain how details other than those on the surface of the body can be seen. (Although all the materials needed for photography were indeed available in the 14th century, there is no evidence that photographs were actually made anywhere at that time.) It also fails to explain the details of the wounds and patterns of bodily secretions. Neither a live body nor the corpse of a person who had died other than through this specific series of tortures would display these particular details when photographed.

So what do I think happened? I am agnostic. The most likely explanation, it appears to me, is one that raises still more questions. Some form of radiation emanated from this body and caused changes in the surface of the cloth, by a mechanism we don’t understand but may at some point be able to reproduce. I mentioned, when I described the events around my mother’s death, that a huge amount of heat was present around her body before she left it. Could a much more powerful burst of energy of some kind be released from a human body under certain circumstances? Could this perhaps have happened many times, but to bodies that were left peacefully in their graves so that we never saw the evidence? Have images like this one been imprinted upon many other burial cloths but crumbled away unnoticed in the earth?

And in this case, what happened to the body? Why was the Shroud not left in place with it? Was the body simply disinterred and moved— the obvious hypothesis— then wrapped in a fresh length of linen and buried elsewhere, with the original cloth kept as an object of veneration? Did it reanimate and walk away, as the stories say? Did it go poof and disappear in a burst of light, which formed the image?

It seems that there have been recorded cases of people who survived crucifixion, unlikely as that sounds. Could the Man in the Shroud have been one of these, and if he was Jesus, could that explain his apparent resurrection? The evidence in the cloth is against this, as the patterns of bleeding and fluid leakage look like what would be expected to occur postmortem. As far as anyone can tell, the man was dead when he was wound in the Shroud.

Is the Shroud a supernatural phenomenon, a miracle? To me, “supernatural” only means something that is natural but not yet understood. There has got to be a way of expanding our scientific understanding to encompass this phenomenon. Even if that might mean understanding how a physical body could suddenly transform into pure energy, which is one conceivable interpretation of the evidence. The physically-measurable electromagnetic signals in and around a human body, photons included, are fairly small. It’s hard to imagine how there could be enough light or other energy emitted to produce an image on a physical surface, but equally odd things have happened, and I don’t want to rule it out.

The one thing we know for sure, from studying the Shroud, is that we are creatures who have a gigantic ability to torment other members of our species. The only comfort I can find about this is that nowadays we at least give lip service to the idea that doing this is wrong, even as we keep doing it every day, all around the world.

But what I hope we’ve learned from this strange artifact is that we are also far less limited beings than we believe, and that possibilities exist that we’ve barely begun to grasp.

Article on the mysteries of the Shroud
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150417-shroud-turin-relics-jesus-catholic-church-religion-science/

A website giving an overview of what is known about the Shroud

https://www.shroud.com/menu.htm
The Sudarium

https://www.shroud.com/guscin.htm

A reply to Nicholas Allen’s “medieval photograph” theory
http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/orvieto.pdf

The evidence of plants wrapped with the shroud, through pollen samples and images
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990803073154.htm

Holographic studies of the image
http://shroud3d.com/home-page/introduction-holographic-observations-in-the-shroud-image-holographic-theory
‘While photography has the advantage of fixing an image in time and of concentrating it so that whichever angle you look at it from, it will remain the same, with the Shroud that is not the case. Moving around that table (lighting under an angle from one side only!), from a certain angle I saw this image so faded as if to practically disappear, while from others it seemed as if the figure WAS ALMOST OUTSIDE THE SHEET: it was, I repeat, an incredible emotion. At that moment I knew that this image was unique. I approached the face placing my camera at a distance of about 20-30 cm, aimed the camera at the face and saw…………………nothing in my viewfinder.” “And yet,” I said “I know it by heart.” I had to beg my friend to point to the position of the eye, because from a distance of 30 cm I could not see it. I could only see it as I moved away from it.’

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Filed under history, mythology and metaphor, physics and cosmology, spirituality, the unexplained

Worthy to Sit at the Divine Table

Icon by Andrei Rublev, 15th century

I’m posting this on International Women’s Day, which is appropriate for reasons that will probably be clear to you.

Last time I told you about the powerful experience I had in the hospice while my mother was dying, where I felt that I was surrounded and embraced by uncountable beings who loved and supported me. This feeling of ineffable love continued as my mother stayed present with me over the next few days, and then the typical disjunctions and confusions of life took hold more again, in addition to the stresses of adjusting to her absence and dealing with the many responsibilities of her estate and planning her memorial.

We allowed nearly three weeks to prepare for the memorial service and the get-together for family and friends afterward. It was a massively busy period but also one in which I was able to contemplate important matters and to have deep discussions with friends and patients about life and death. A subject that came up was one that I’d been planning to write about anyway, the pervasive feeling of not being worthy and not deserving. It was on my mind the day of the memorial Mass, which took place on February 10, a few blocks from my house at Our Lady of the Assumption church.

I was apprehensive before the service, even felt like I was going into enemy territory. I had only met the pastor once and never heard the church’s singer before, and I had no control over the proceedings. But my family and I were welcomed warmly by the pastor and the deacon, the singer turned out to be one of the best I’d ever heard in our area, and friends gathered closely around us with great love and caring. My piano teacher played an organ piece right before the Mass, and as the last chords were sounding, the church bells began to ring with magically perfect timing.  I’m not sure if one is supposed to enjoy a funeral, but I did. It was everything it should have been, and we all felt sure it was just what my mother would like.

Some of us were feeling strongly that my mother was present and did in fact like the event. That sense of an atmosphere filled with myriad kindly beings visited me again. I had felt that in certain churches before, but for some reason I wasn’t expecting it at this one, which seemed cavernous and perhaps a little impersonal. The priest told us all, a little apologetically, that although people of different beliefs were present, we were going to hear about Jesus and get the standard Catholic experience. (Exactly as it was supposed to be.) When he said “Jesus,” I suddenly felt as if a cord flew upward from my head and connected with that loving presence.

Feeling that I was cradled in the love of my mother and the heavenly entities, I was busy communing ecstatically when I heard the words, “Lord, I am not worthy….” Wow. There it was again, stated flat out. “I am not worthy.” I am not good enough for God. I do not deserve to have the Divine be with me or within me.

And you know what? That idea rolled right past me and none of it stuck. I was completely immune to its destructive power. In every quark and photon of my being I knew that I was a child of God, a citizen of the universe, an integral and indispensable part of All That Is, however you want to put it. I was deserving of all the goodness that was pouring into me and I soaked it up joyfully and with profound gratitude and with absolutely no reservation. Not only was I worthy to receive the Divine, I was doing it right then and there and with no effort at all.

Later, as I am wont to do, I spent time rationally analyzing what had happened. I considered the fundamental contradictions embodied in “Lord, I am not worthy.” I read about the Gospel story* from which this line in the Mass was taken, and worked through a few different exegeses of it. (A nice scholarly-sounding word!) I could see where they were coming from, but I just wasn’t buying them. And this was new. Although I could still recognize my inadequacies perfectly clearly, a lifetime of existential guilt and subjugation to self-hatred had evaporated. What I knew intellectually had come to live in my heart. After years of struggle, I was at last ready for this radical acceptance.

Think about it. Even a moment of attention will show you how odd and backwards that “unworthiness” is, by doing no more than following along through basic Judaeo-Christian religious thought. God is supposed to be all-good and all-powerful, so surely God must have done a fine job at creating everything. We’re told that God looked at His creation and saw that it was good. Why, then, would human beings be total pieces of crap?

I am far from the only person to bring this up. When I was reading one of the articles on “Lord, I am not worthy,” which insisted on the truth of our not-deserving, I was pleased to see that a commenter asked, simply and directly, why we should disagree with the Creator’s opinion.

Now, suppose that God is a loving parent, as we are so often told. Imagine that you have a child, and you tell that child, “I love you, but you are really a mess, and you will never be worthy of my love no matter what you do and no matter how hard you try.” Only a twisted, psychopathic parent could say such a thing. How could an all-good God say it?

To an extent I’m oversimplifying, but this not-worthiness, this fundamental self-rejection that undermines us at a core level, is one of the most notable characteristics of mainstream religion, in our society at least.

There is another way.

The work of Fr. Richard Rohr, at the Center for Action and Contemplation here in Albuquerque, has been getting international attention. Fr. Rohr stays within the fold of Catholicism but at the same time is profoundly radical. His “Franciscan alternative orthodoxy” views our flawed humanity with great compassion, and constantly points us toward union with the divine, never into ashamed isolation.

Fr. Rohr’s recent writings have had to do with the concept of the Trinity. The idea of three-persons-in-one-God has never made sense to me, nor resonated emotionally, but he uses it to present a dynamic, moving, relational energy, a “divine dance,” rather than a static deity that doesn’t particularly interact with us or the universe. Referring to the painting shown at the top of this post, he wrote:

“In Genesis we see the divine dance in an early enigmatic story (18:1-8). ‘The Lord’ appears to Abraham as ‘three men.’ Abraham and Sarah seem to see the Holy One in the presence of these three, and they bow before them and call them ‘my lord’ (18:2-3 Jerusalem Bible). Their first instinct is one of invitation and hospitality—to create a space of food and drink for their guests. Here we have humanity feeding God; it will take a long time to turn that around in the human imagination. ‘Surely, we ourselves are not invited to this divine table,’ the hosts presume.

“This story inspired a piece of devotional religious art by iconographer Andrei Rublev in the fifteenth century: The Hospitality of Abraham, or simply The Trinity. As icons do, this painting attempts to point beyond itself, inviting a sense of both the beyond and the communion that exists in our midst….

“The icon shows the Holy One in the form of Three, eating and drinking, in infinite hospitality and utter enjoyment between themselves. If we take the depiction of God in The Trinity seriously, we have to say, ‘In the beginning was the Relationship.’ The gaze between the Three shows the deep respect between them as they all share from a common bowl. Notice the Spirit’s hand points toward the open and fourth place at the table. Is the Holy Spirit inviting, offering, and clearing space? I think so! And if so, for what, and for whom?
At the front of the table there appears to be a little rectangular hole. Most people pass right over it, but some art historians believe the remaining glue on the original icon indicates that there was perhaps once a mirror glued to the front of the table. It’s stunning when you think about it—there was room at this table for a fourth.
The observer.
You!
Yes, you—and all of creation—are invited to sit at the divine table. You are called ‘to consciously participate in the divine dance of loving and being loved,’ as Wm Paul Young, the best selling author of The Shack, writes.
The mirror seems to have been lost over the centuries, both in the icon and in our on-the-ground understanding of who God is—and, therefore, who we are too!”

In this view, we are not unworthy to receive the Divine— we are invited to sit right next to it, co-equal, at the same table. Imagine if all children were brought up this way instead of in the shadow of the Antichrist of guilt and unworthiness. The world would be transformed.

I would add one more thing: to me, the angelic figures in the painting look androgynous. The Trinity is not being shown as “three men,” but as three human beings— perhaps even three women.

Never let anyone tell you that you don’t belong at this table.

 

*The story is that of the centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant, and trusts that he need “only say the word” and the man will be well. The centurion says that he is not worthy to have Jesus enter under his roof.

https://cac.org

http://catholicexchange.com/lord-i-am-not-worthy

http://www.fromwordstoprayers.com/2011/09/lord-i-am-not-worthy.html
‘What roof do we mean? We are temples of the Holy Spirit, and our flesh is like the “roof” of this temple. We know we are unworthy to be such temples, where God is present spiritually; we are even less worthy to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.’

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“All Manifestations of the Source of All Things”

The superior spirits “have a language always worthy, noble, elevated, with not the least tincture of triviality.  They say everything with simplicity and modesty, never boast, never make a parade of their knowledge or their position among others.  That of the inferior or ordinary spirit has always some reflex human passion; every expression that savors of vulgarity, self-sufficiency, arrogance, boasting, acrimony, is a characteristic indication of inferiority, or of treachery if the spirit presents himself under a respected and venerated name.”    –Allan Kardec

“Just because someone’s dead, that doesn’t mean they’re nice.”    –Diane Polasky, DOM


 

 

I’d like to make a request of you:  Before you start in reading below, please check out this post from November 2011 on Michael Tymn’s blog:   http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/month/2011/11/   Scroll down to find ‘Do Famous “Dead” People Communicate?,’ posted on November 14.  If you’re interested in spirit communication at all, you’ll find it very well worth your time.

Mike began:  “I believe in spirits and spirit communication through mediums.  What I struggle with, however, is communication purportedly coming from famous people or more current celebrities of one kind or another.  I am highly skeptical when the spirit communicator claims to be Jesus, St. Michael, Socrates, Plato, St. Augustine, or some other historical figure held in high regard by many.

Then again, I wonder if I am being too hasty in dismissing such communicators.”

As you know, I am well acquainted with a Famous “Dead” Person, and so for me this question  is of crucial interest.  My very first post on this blog, “Developing Discernment,” had to do with a friend who stopped speaking with me because she believed I was involved with an evil spirit.  She believed this because– get this– a healer she knew, someone who had never met me or my deceased friend, and knew absolutely nothing about my work or his, told her so.  She said that Fryderyk was sucking energy from me and that this was making me sick and causing me to make my patients sick as well.  I feel sick right now while writing this; it was a terrible attack, and it did me a great deal of harm.  My ex-friend was very ill herself with a disorder that affected her cognitively, and everyone around me said, “It’s got to be her illness.”  I was repeatedly assured, by people who were in a position to know, that there was no way any of it could be true.  Nevertheless, for many months I couldn’t shake off the awful creepiness of having someone believe such things about me.  That in itself, that intention to undermine and harm someone “for their own good,” might be termed an evil entity, I’d say.

So let’s say I’m a little sensitive about this issue.

In another post I described the horrifying episode in which I encountered an apparent demonic entity that had wrecked the life and health of one of my patients and seemed determined to keep the harm going with everyone it could reach.  (See “A Case of Possession.”   https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/39/ )  I think I could see something like that coming, these days, though I can’t be certain.  I have definitely had some other encounters in which I felt that an entity was better left alone and not listened to.  I can only hope to be able to stay out of trouble.

But then there have been encounters that seemed almost too good to be true.  An example, which occurred a few months ago:

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been much taken with the teachings of an entity who presents himself as St. Stephen the Martyr, as published by Michael Cocks, who was involved with a group that communicated with that entity in the 1970s.  I had shared some parts of that work with Mendy Lou Blackburn, who was equally enthusiastic.  When I visited her late last December, we talked about one of St. Stephen’s messages, not trying to evoke his presence in any way.  Suddenly, there he was– or there was someone who wanted us to believe that.

The being that told Mendy Lou he was St. Stephen was very palpably standing a few feet in front of me.  I wanted to be able to recognize him in the future, so I concentrated on him, trying to catch the “flavor” of his presence.  I saw/felt a hand reach toward me; I reached out my left hand and he took it in his.  This was very clear to me, though of course I didn’t see it with my physical eyes.  Both Mendy and I felt like we were meeting some major rock star or something.  I told Stephen that I would like to follow him (meaning that I would like to be able to learn more from him).  He told me that he didn’t want me to follow him, but that I could walk with him if I liked.  He then sort of took me on a little virtual walk; that is, I had a sense of forward movement at his side.  I listened as hard as I could and words started to come out of my mouth, but I was so excited about the whole thing that I couldn’t keep the channeling going.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  I haven’t had any more contact with this entity since, much as I would like that.  At least he passed the test of being unassuming and non-egotistical.

Mendy, as much as I, found this almost too good to be true and a bit hard to believe, even though all sorts of wonderful beings show up in her office all the time.  As she said later, though, she has a great deal of experience with this stuff and she feels confident of being able to sniff out a fraud.  Stephen did not appear to be a fraud, not to either of us.  I had a feeling of the sublime, no sense of anything that might raise an alarm.

So many times I have wondered what might become of me if I were to find out that my very own Famous “Dead” Person was actually an impostor (or that I had been misunderstanding everything), as my ex-friend insisted.  It seems especially unlikely in this case, since I became interested in Chopin after having my first anomalous experience involving him in my teens, rather than starting out as a fan and then concocting some sort of connection with him.  I have tried to think about this as unemotionally as possible.  It would be one of the worst things I could imagine, but then, it wouldn’t really change the history of our relationship over the years.  The fascinating ideas he’s transmitted, the emotional and physical healings for myself and others, and the sense of deep love and support would be the same.  And one way or the other, I’ve gotten some great piano lessons.

Fryderyk has, at times, definitely exhibited “some reflex human passion,” although he has been as modest and non-egotistical as Chopin was in life.  He’s a human being, no more or less than the rest of us.  It would be as inappropriate to expect deceased human beings to act like angels at all times as it would be to expect the same of those in the flesh.

(In a previous post, I wrote this about him: “I have many reasons to believe that the person who visits me is the current version of the one who lived on Earth from 1810 to 1849 and wrote all that superb music, but I understand that it is never going to be possible to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.  That small shadow can sometimes seem bigger than the light it obscures, I’m afraid.”  https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/hearing-voices-part-iii%E2%80%93-chopin/ )

As I’ve mentioned before (see “An Appointment with Jesus,”  https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/an-appointment-with-jesus/ ), the most confusing and problematic encounters I’ve experienced have been with an entity who purports to be Jesus.  It seems disrespectful to describe him that way, but I have exactly that “highly skeptical” feeling that Mike Tymn was talking about.  I’ve never gotten used to the idea of talking directly with Jesus, especially given my severe allergy to organized religion, and I still feel embarrassed and uncomfortable bringing it up here.  Yet, I must say that these contacts have been absolutely wonderful, and in the midst of them, I felt completely willing to throw myself into the experience.  I can’t say precisely that I was willing to believe, but I was willing to be open and to listen and learn.

The last time I met with Hania Stromberg at my office, this august entity visited with us.  Yes, that’s what I’m saying– Jesus, in my office, speaking quite casually with us, as if it were the most ordinary occurrence.  I knew that he had come in, but I didn’t recognize him.  From my point of view, there was a distinctly male being sitting at my right elbow, but he seemed like a typical human person, not particularly “large” or powerful.  A kind and loving presence, but small in scale, similar to any of us.  Hania had some questions for this man, and he and I chatted comfortably as I tried to bring in the answers.  I found myself adding my own two cents, explaining what I was hearing and perhaps strengthening it a little, because I felt that the ideas were helpful.  Had I realized who he was (or purported to be), I would very possibly have clammed up and found it impossible to have this easy communication, let alone to dare to add any thoughts of my own.

Hania kept asking me whether I had figured out the being’s identity.  No, I hadn’t.  She seemed highly amused by my cluelessness.  Finally, unable to contain herself any longer, she told me who he was.  I was completely surprised, despite knowing all about her channeling relationship.  I had been confused by his ordinariness, I explained, having previously encountered him as a much more impressive presence.  She said that he sometimes appears in this very human guise, and other times shows his larger self.  Well, that’s true of those of us who are embodied, too, and so it seems quite plausible to me.  Here are her words:  “Jesus Christ, out of His love for me, makes Himself as large or small as is needed to allow me to be with Him best at the time.  Our relationship has an aspect of being friends, and He will make Himself to whatever scale is most reassuring for me at the time, so I can maintain this feeling, so as not to intimidate me and throw me off ’the friends’ track.’  Sometimes He is immeasurable, other times as you experienced Him then.”

Hania also told me that the message given in this conversation was one he had communicated to her a number of times, and that I was conveying exactly what she’d heard before, but had been unwilling to take in.  Perhaps Jesus felt that if he also spoke through another person, reinforcing the message, he would get these ideas through to her more effectively.  And that did seem to be the case.  The message was inspiring, soothing, and empowering, and it had a positive effect on both Hania and me.

You may remember that Betsy Morgan Coffman, in one of her classes, mentioned that often people get uncomfortable when someone appears to receive a message from a source they think is too big or important, particularly when the source is Jesus.  Then, more than ever, we think we must be making it up.  Surely Jesus isn’t speaking to us— he must be awfully busy, after all, and we are so insignificant.  “But think about it,” said Betsy, who operates from a non-dogmatic but decidedly Christian frame of reference.  “Shouldn’t Jesus be our best friend?  Of course he loves us and wants to talk to us!”

It’s definitely easier for me to think of Jesus as simply a human person who lived a long time ago.

On the matter of appearing in different “sizes” at different times, Michael Cocks added this intriguing comment in his blog post of 4/5/12:  “Stephen said that sometimes he feels that he has exploded into the universe, and that is his field of consciousness; other times he feels that he has imploded into being Stephen so that he can talk with us.”  This fits with some of the points made by Chopin and others in the Leslie Flint opus.

On another day, an unfamiliar personage came along with Hania.  She asked me if I could tell who was standing at the foot of the table.  I was about to reply that I almost never pick up names, but then, while staring at what appeared to be a vaguely human shape approaching seven feet in height, I realized that I was in fact getting one.  I took the leap and said, “He says he’s Saint Francis.”  (I didn’t know which St. Francis.)  Hania told me that he’d appeared to her many times.  OK.  I try not to be surprised anymore.  “He’s very tall,” I added.  “Yes, he’s a big man,” she agreed.

Was St. Francis nearly seven feet tall?  Probably not.  Why did this version of him appear that way?  I have absolutely no idea.  But I’m always heartened when more than one person sees the same thing.

One might imagine that a person would derive a considerable ego boost from claiming to channel these high-level beings, but then, some people want very much to keep their connection with the Famous “Dead” on the down low.  I described such a person in my post “A Reluctant Channeler”:

“I think it’s important to point out that Helen wasn’t doing this for any kind of self-aggrandizement.  Far from trying to exploit her relationship with a famous person from the past, to sell books or whatever, she kept the experiences under wraps.  I don’t know if she ever mentioned them to anyone besides her husband and me, and she told me precious little.  That is, she had no motivation to fake this, at least not in terms of public attention or potential wealth.  A pseudoskeptic might insist that she got an internal boost to her self-esteem simply by fantasizing a connection with someone significant, but I think that in that case she would have talked a great deal about it and made sure everyone was aware of her new importance.”
https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/a-reluctant-channeler/

Recently another friend took Betsy’s introductory channeling class, and immediately found herself doing automatic writing at her computer, with another famous historical figure, one she had studied for many years, claiming to be the source.  This went on for just a few weeks or so, at which point the entity told her that he was finished saying what he had come to say and would not be visiting her anymore.  If my friend had been intent upon making a big deal of herself, or if the communicator had been one of those who like to get attention by masquerading as a big-name personage, I doubt that the interaction would have ended so soon or with so little drama.  One or both of them would have wanted to keep it going for as long as possible.

Not only do people hear from the Famous “Dead,” sometimes they get communications from the Famous Fictional, which opens another large can of worms and has made me a bit nervous when I’ve observed it happening to people I knew.  I have at least three theories to explain this odd occurrence.  One is what the materialists might say, though a bit augmented– that the fictional personage is simply a projection of the mind of a person who felt particularly engaged or affected by that character.  Two, that a legitimate, helpful spirit being decided to show up in the guise of the beloved character, in order to more easily and effectively communicate with the person.  And three, that certain fictional characters (Sherlock Holmes and Spock come to mind) have such wide appeal, and have had so much human energy invested in them, that they have developed a kind of reality of their own.

I suspect that both the first and second of these scenarios happen quite often, not only in the case of fiction-based communicators, but in many cases of the Famous “Dead” and of angels and deities.  The third I don’t necessarily believe in, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it turned out to be true.  As I think I’ve told you before, I’m open to the idea that contacts with divine beings of all sorts, such as mine with Kuan Yin, may reflect that sort of human-generated reality.

Some years ago, when Mendy Lou looked into the Michael material, the Messages from Michael stuff, I mean, not anything to do with the archangel, her feeling was that Michael was this sort of entity.  Not that he was unreal, but that he was a kind of secondary creation, not an original creation of God or nature.  That the collective human mind caused him to exist and to speak to us.  I find much of the Michael teachings to be bizarre and at odds with what nearly every other source has to say, so I prefer to think that he is not a true authority and is somehow a lower degree of “real.”  But what do I know.  He does have a lot of followers, and many aspects of his messages seem useful and practical.

(If you’re about to argue that we humans generate all of our reality ourselves, please hang on to that thought for another time, because it’s s little off to the side of what I’m talking about here.)

If the entity in question is “simply” a projection or reflection of the channeler’s own mind, that is not necessarily a bad thing at all, though I think it would be far preferable for the person to realize what is going on and not to become too dependent on what appears to be a separate mentality.  Receiving wisdom from our own higher or greater selves is perfectly valid, and indeed that must be what happens when great art is created and when great scientific or other discoveries make themselves known.

Michael Cocks added this comment to Mike Tymn’s post:  “Our personal experiences do lead us to try and describe reality in differing ways. On the one hand, there is strong evidence that our individual consciences and points of view survive death of the body.  On the other hand, there is strong evidence that we are all connected to each other in the network of the whole in an infinity of ways….  And that makes a slippery place when trying to define things.  There is always “on the one hand.. and then the other.”  On the one hand, from a mass of interlocking linguistic, historical, and personal evidence, the people talking to Stephen the Martyr were sure we were talking to this “Famous ‘Dead’ Person.”  We were impressed with his humility, wisdom… and love.  But on the other hand Stephen was insisting that he and we are all each other, and all others, all manifestations of the Source of all things, that he was reminding us of the knowledge we had before we entered our present incarnations.  More narrowly though, he said he was talking with us as fellow members of a like minded spiritual group.  And yes, on the one hand individual spirits are at all stages of development, and there are destructive spirits; yet on the other hand developed and undeveloped are together in a synchronistic whole.”

I have many times heard mystics and channelers say simply that “Spirit” told them thus and such; they don’t necessarily know what the specific source was, but they know it felt right and that they got a worthwhile message.  This “Spirit” could easily include their own higher self or some other aspect of them, as well as the collective mind of humanity.  Like “all manifestations of the Source of all things.”  It must also be remembered that at any given time, a group or team of discarnate entities may be involved with the communication, further confusing the issue of identity.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this has been true more often than not in mediumistic work, especially in the case of physical manifestations like direct voice, which seem to require a great deal more energy than purely mental transmissions.

Yet, sometimes there is overwhelmingly strong evidence that the spirit communicator is exactly who he or she claims to be, even in the Famous “Dead” cases.  While in the midst of working on this post, I encountered an article by Michael Cocks in the Journal of the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies, in which he explained the reasons he is convinced by St. Stephen’s use of 2000-year-old Macedonian Greek, which identified the speaker’s time, place, ethnic group, and connection with the Essenes.  And lo and behold, just as I was sitting down to write today, I found that a shorter form of the article had been posted in Rev. Cocks’ blog, ready to transmit to you.  Is this a great universe, or what?
http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaelcocks/entry/stephen_the_martyr_spoke_to_us_in_his_native_greek

In the end, it’s the quality of the message that counts.  I find myself perennially returning to the hoary old principle “by their fruits ye shall know them.”  You and I both know that a lot of channeled material is pretentious gobbledegook.  We’ve also seen brilliantly shining examples of wisdom that are unassailably excellent no matter what the source (St. Stephen’s teachings being among these).  But I would venture to say that a majority of messages are somewhere in between.  That’s where it gets more difficult.  A carefully-calibrated crap detector is a great asset.  But there’s no sense being so skeptical that we miss inspiration and enlightenment when it does its best to speak to us.

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Filed under channeling, spirit communication, spirituality

A Beginning Channeling Class

In February 2007, I took Betsy Coffman’s beginning channeling class, or “C1.”  This was 10 months before I started working with Mendy Lou Blackburn regularly.  While I had done a little bit of channeling at the piano with my composer friend years before, I had never done any verbal channeling, and most of this method was completely new to me.  I’m posting it in hopes that it will be of use to some people I know who have recently started into this kind of endeavor.  For a bit of background about Betsy and her work, you can check the interview with her I posted on this blog some months ago.  It would also be useful to read my post “Orion’s Net,” which concerned an experience I had with the main entity Betsy channels.

Here’s what I wrote about the C1 class at the time it happened:

2/17-18/07

It was a little difficult for me to come to terms with what I read about Betsy’s source, Orion, on her website.  Orion was supposed to be an entity from a “universe beyond and behind the Pleiades.”  Give me a break!  I don’t react well to gobbledygook like that.  However, I had a good feeling about Orion from meeting him in one of Betsy’s Monday night public sessions.  And I had a good feeling generally about taking the class.  I decided to jump in.

The main point of the class was for Orion and his associates to make adjustments in our systems that would increase our telecommunications capabilities, so to speak.  This was immediately palpable.  Almost the moment we sat down, the entities began working on us.  We were told that they would work mainly on our crown and throat chakras, and we did feel a lot going on around our heads.  Betsy told us that headaches were a common reaction, and that she still gets a headache before giving a class or a presentation.  The headache, she said, was a reaction to the pressure of the energy building up, and the best way to deal with it was to start talking or writing, to let the message out.  She described other possible bodily reactions that would let us know the work was being done.  We sure didn’t have any trouble believing that something was going on; all of us had very strong, even overwhelming sensations of powerful energies in the room.  I felt lightheaded, spinny, and oddly nonverbal, almost unable to speak.

As is typical with classes of all kinds, at the beginning we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell why we had come to this particular experience.  I had a whole speech prepared about my reasons for being there, but I felt quite unable to give it, so I explained that I wasn’t able to say much of anything and that I was going to leave my introduction for another time.

Betsy gave us the story of how she came to be there, as well.  I was amused to find that she wasn’t too crazy about the Pleiades business, either.  She said that for the entire first year that she channeled, most of the messages had to do with her former life somewhere in the Pleiades.  Her reaction was rather like mine—“Again with the Pleiades!”  And she felt that the information wasn’t of any practical value.  Finally she told the entities, “You know, I’m really not interested in this.  Couldn’t you tell me something more useful?”  At that point, apparently, she began to receive information that she could apply to her own present life and the lives of her clients.

Betsy talked a lot about what channeling felt like and how we could be sure we were really doing it.  She said it was normal to feel that we must be making it all up, since it was easy and natural, not a struggle at all.  She recommended starting with prayer, and then beginning to say something, just about anything, to give the entities a “runway” to take off from.

Our first tries

I was a little surprised to find that we would be individually put on the spot.  We went around the room, with each student in turn making an attempt to channel.  All of us managed to do some form of channeling, or at least to have some sort of communication with some sort of energy, on the first try.  Betsy said that we were an exceptional class.  “Oh, you say that to all your classes,” someone teased, but Betsy insisted that we had accomplished something unusual.

My experience on that go-round was extremely puzzling, and I still don’t understand it.  When it was my turn, I felt a definite contact with an energy that was not familiar to me, but did not seem problematic in any way.  I could feel it near the top of my head.  I asked how I could make a stronger connection, and the energy suddenly flowed down through my body into my pelvis, where it seemed to pool and settle in.  I was having a lot of trouble with joints in that area, and I thought the entity might be wanting to help with that.  I felt my hands starting to move, and I reported that I was getting physical movements, not words.

Because I hadn’t introduced myself and described my background, Betsy didn’t know that this was a common experience for me.  She was not pleased, and said I wasn’t ready for that and should not let this being take over my body.  She coached me through tossing it out, and had us all say, “Begone!” and “Go to the light!”  I was a bit shocked, because I hadn’t perceived anything negative.  The entity felt comfortable to me.

When the thing was gone and Betsy felt we were all well protected and on an even keel again, she explained that the being had been an aspect of me, someone I had been in a past life.  She saw it as an imperious, ruthless queen, someone who had done great harm.  I hadn’t perceived any personality whatsoever, and frankly, I felt a little doubtful about her perceptions.  However, some of the students saw something along these lines as well.

This encounter made me feel more vulnerable and wimpy than ever.  However, Betsy’s take on what had happened was quite the opposite.  She said that I was having problems like this specifically because I was such a powerful channel.  This was certainly not something I would have expected to hear.  She went on to explain that because I was powerful, I was being noticed; I stood out energetically and attracted attention, including unwanted attention.

I told her that I had been attacked by an extremely negative entity in the past, and had had some other experiences that made me very nervous about contacting new and unknown beings.  I wanted to be open enough to get the job done, I said, but I didn’t want to be open to just anything.  How could I protect myself?  Betsy, who tends to speak rather biblically, told me to “put on the armament of the Kingdom of Heaven.”  “The breastplate and everything,” she added.  I didn’t have a clue what the armament of the Kingdom of Heaven ought to look like, but this sounded like a great idea.  I quickly built myself a medieval suit of armor, covering everything down to my toes and fingertips.  I felt wonderfully safe in there, but could still perceive everything I needed to perceive—the armor didn’t block anything I didn’t want to block.  At the same time, Betsy called on the Archangel Michael to guard us, and I had an image of Michael in his own armor, holding his sword up straight in front of his body, standing between us and anything that might wish to cause harm.   These images were a great comfort. (While Michael is apparently an extremely popular entity with whom people report contacts quite often, I didn’t perceive him as actually being with us; I just had a mental picture of him.  He might well have been there, though, without my being aware of him.)

Later, I had occasion to tell a little bit about the demon attack I had survived in 1999.  [See my post “A Case of Possession.]  Betsy said that my brushes with the dark side made me more powerful than I would have been otherwise, because I could recognize and deal with those forces.  She said I was about 80 percent light and 20 percent dark.  I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

In the early afternoon, we were given an exercise in which we were supposed to visualize three entities, one to our left, one in the center, and one on our right.  We were to ask each one for its name, its relationship to us, a message, and a gift.  While this exercise was a little bit mechanical, it seemed helpful and confidence-building to have a definite framework to start with.

I had often complained that channeled entities have such pretentious names, like Orion or Emmanuel or Ramtha.  Well, the first entity I contacted, the one on my left, said that his name was Larry!  Spirit’s really playing with me, I thought.  Larry started off with a big, warm hug.  When I asked what he was to me, I heard the word “father,” but he bore no resemblance to my father at all, in any form, and I don’t know what that was about.  His message was, “Don’t sell yourself short.”  For a gift, he showed me an old-fashioned telephone, the kind we used to rent from Ma Bell.  It was that standard beige, an early touch-tone model, and it sat on a small table with a white tablecloth, appearing to be lit by a spotlight, floating in front of me.  What a perfect gift—as if to say, “Call anytime.”  As I was taking leave of Larry, I embraced him again, and could see/feel a scruffy, stubbly sort of salt-and-pepper beard.  Larry seemed to be the kind of guy who could be found sitting around in his undershirt, drinking a beer, watching the game.  If Orion is from the Pleiades, Larry must be from Cleveland.  I wanted unpretentious, and I got it.

The next entity, in the center, was a complete contrast, and in her case I had that feeling Betsy had warned us about, the feeling of “I must be making this up.”  It was Kuan Yin that appeared to me, and having sincerely wished to contact her in the last few days, I was delighted to see her.  She held a long mala of large, deep green beads, and that was what she gave to me.  I decided that they must be jade, though truly they were too dark of a green.  I just thought jade would be properly symbolic.  Kuan Yin’s message seemed at cross purposes with Larry’s; she said, “Be humble and listen.”  She gave her name as Kuan Yin of the Spring, which conveniently happens to be the form of the goddess depicted by the porcelain statue in my office.  That part felt the most possibly made up.

The third entity caused me a lot of confusion.  Because I was looking to the right, and Fryderyk had been hanging around his usual spot there, I thought at first that the being was Fryderyk himself.  It only took half a minute or so to be sure that it wasn’t, but by that time Betsy and Orion were well ahead of me in the exercise, and I couldn’t catch up.  I never really managed to pin down just what I was in contact with.  It seemed far more abstract and nonhuman than the previous two beings.  I felt a strong sense of expansion in my head and body.  “I Am That Which Expands,” was the thought that appeared.  As I struggled to pick up something clearer, I saw an image of an intense sunset, as if it were a sunset in the dark somehow, with a deep orange slash of cloud just above the horizon, against a background of nearly all charcoal grey.  At that point, Betsy took us on to a discussion of what had just happened to each of us, which was too soon for me.  For a while I kept trying to let the experience run to its completion, but I was inevitably pulled back into the class, and I never reached any definite conclusions about this entity.

Since Fryderyk was around much of the day, I wondered if Betsy would notice him.  At one point, when he was only in a tenuous and delicate contact with me, I said to her, “Look over here. What do you see?”  Betsy gazed at the space near my shoulder, where I was perceiving a little spot of gold light, and exclaimed, “Oh! It’s like a leprechaun!”  Then, more seriously, she said, “It’s someone who loves you.”  Leprechaun, that’s a new one.  He was compared to angels, woodland sprites, and similar ethereal beings during his life, but never leprechauns!  (I might have compared the image more to Tinkerbell, as in the movie, myself.)

Marie

We had another try late in the afternoon.  As we went around the circle, I felt my contact with Orion, the three beings I described above, and everyone else I had encountered in the room slipping inexorably away.  I couldn’t seem to do anything about it.  When Orion got to the person next to me, I felt that there was absolutely no hope of any channeling or anything else of use coming through me.  I felt completely disconnected from the phone lines.  But Orion started to tell me that there was someone trying to come through.  I think he said specifically that it was some part of me, but I couldn’t hear or process very well at the time, so I’m not sure.

Until the last moment I thought nothing would happen.  Imagine my surprise when I opened my mouth and meaningful words came out!  The words made sense and they were delivered with force and conviction.  It was my inner Queen, but no energy was coming into me from the outside, and I had no sense of being invaded.  I knew that she was nothing more nor less than an aspect of myself, and I was not afraid.  Rather, I felt filled to the brim with strength and power.

“I know,” she began. “I am the one who knows.”

Betsy asked, “Should we address you as the knower?”

“No.”

“Would you give us a name?”

Nothing bubbled up in my head, but without warning I found myself saying, “Marie.”  I heard the French pronunciation, or at least I think I did, but as I was having enough trouble speaking English, that was not what actually came out of my mouth.

“Will you be speaking through Elene again?”

“No.”  This sounded definite.  Hmm, why not?

“Just this once?”

A nod.

“Do you have a word to give us?”

“Confidence.”  This came out with utter ease, and I was astonished to find the speech continuing.  “Do not be swayed.  Have confidence.  When others speak, listen to yourself.  Be sure.  Do not be swayed.  You know.  You know.

Betsy asked if there was anything more.

I smiled.  “Elene is quite surprised.  But I’m not.”  There I felt more like I was editing.

Then Marie indicated that her presentation was over.  However, as the next student began, I could still hear and see more words on the same theme.  I felt like I could have continued to speak for a good half hour.  I also noticed that I could have written the words down just as easily as speaking them (and I wish I had).  That made me feel better still—that I could potentially do this work without the assistance of another person to take notes, and without having to remember everything later.  And most of all I was greatly relieved to find myself truly, inarguably channeling something, absolutely not making it up.

I thought that Marie must have been the queen personality that Betsy had described earlier.  However, although Marie appeared to be a person who expected to be heard and obeyed, I didn’t see her as “ruthless.”  She seemed to be interested in helping the members of the group to find their own power, not to take power for herself.  I still don’t feel that she was the being that had slipped into my body that morning.  Betsy could have been right, though.  One way or another, I experienced the heady feeling of knowing myself to be a multidimensional, complex, damned impressive being, capable of tremendous strength and clarity.  (Just like everybody else….)

The last student channeled her deceased father, with whom she had had a difficult relationship.  For much of the weekend, this student found herself surrounded by family and friends who had passed on, and Betsy felt that she was likely to turn into an able medium.  The conversation with her father was perhaps the most useful and significant event of the entire class.

Some themes kept repeating as we moved from entity to entity: roses, the name “I Am” or “Je Suis,” queens and their attributes.  The entities or guides were a varied lot.  A couple of people said that they were channeling Orion himself, strangely enough.  Or maybe that’s not strange at all.

Betsy mentioned that often people get uncomfortable when someone appears to receive a message from a source they think is too big or important, particularly when the source is Jesus.  Then we really think we must be making it up.  Surely Jesus isn’t speaking to us—he must be awfully busy, after all, and we are so insignificant.  “But think about it,” Betsy said, with great seriousness.  “Shouldn’t Jesus be our best friend?  Of course he loves us and wants to talk to us!”

I’m never quite sure what to think about Jesus or what to expect of him, but at one point when Betsy just spoke his name in passing, on the subject of asking for protection, I felt a new and truly immense energy enter the room, just for a moment.

The second day

That evening, I was quite energized, and I was up till 3:00 writing.  I didn’t get a headache, but I did have severe itching over much of my body, which went on for hours, and I had an overall discomfort that felt a lot like jet lag.  I slept poorly, waking often, then waking earlier than necessary the next morning.  I was fairly wiped out when I got to the class.  The group was about evenly divided between those who had gone to bed early and slept longer than usual and those whose experiences were more like mine.  A number reported headaches or other annoyances.  We spent a substantial amount of time debriefing and speculating.

This time I made sure to give a little bit of the introduction I had skipped the day before.  I confessed that my fondest wish was to truly converse with a particular being with whom I had an intense and long-term relationship.  He wasn’t a leprechaun, I explained; he had been a pianist and composer in his Earth life, during which I, as far as I knew, had been close to him.  I gave his name, only his first name, which Betsy naturally had a little trouble with.  I said that the name was Polish, but nobody flashed on his identity, which was fine with me.  Everyone seemed to receive all this as perfectly ordinary.  As we worked through the day, Betsy did her best to facilitate the communication I so desired, but there was no success.  Fryderyk hung around but also distinctly hung back.  I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t trying harder to come through; I felt sure that he was capable of it, and that if I couldn’t speak for him, surely Betsy could.

Again, I felt largely nonverbal through the morning.  This time, I also felt unable to stay awake.  I could hardly hold my head up, and reclined into the couch with my eyes closed.  When my first turn to channel came around, I realized that I was essentially asleep.  I could hear everything that was going on, but I wasn’t really in the room with everyone.  Maybe I’ll do an Edgar Cayce, I thought; as far as I knew, it might work even better if I were asleep.  Nothing much happened, though.  I could feel a whole cloud of entities hovering in front of me, but I couldn’t make any clear contact with anything or anyone.  Betsy tried to perk me up, saying that I was in too deep and needed to sit up and come to attention, but I was just too tired to do anything about it.  Mine was the only apparent failure of the whole weekend.  I still learned something important from it.

When we made our next and last attempt of the day, Betsy made me go first so that I wouldn’t fall back to sleep while the others worked.  She coached me in great detail to keep me from falling into an overly deep trance.  It wasn’t such a concern by that time—I had gotten over the weariness of the morning.  It was a good thing that I was more with it at that point, because the exercise consisted of answering questions posed by other students.  What a responsibility for us fledgling prophets!

“Drop into your heart”

To get me properly off and running, Betsy coached me carefully and in detail.  Her basic description of getting into the channeling state is that you “drop into your heart.”  This felt very literal to me, and was easy and natural to do throughout most of the class.  Betsy watched closely as I “dropped” this way, and whatever I noticed about what I was doing, she saw at the same time.  At some moments, I felt that I was starting to think too much, and Betsy immediately said, “You’re getting into your head again.  Drop into your heart.”  At one point, I went too far down, and she immediately told me to come back up.  The feeling was like getting an elevator to the proper level and exactly lined up with the edge of the floor.  When I had it right, it was obvious.  Betsy pointed out that it wasn’t necessary to go very deep in order to channel.  I suppose I had thought that more dissociation or slower brainwaves or something would be required.

The experience this time was rather undramatic.  I did feel an entity close in front of my face, hovering.  It did not seem to be anyone I knew or had contacted before.  It may well have been facilitating the communication somehow, but I must say that I did not feel it was speaking through me.  This time around, the sensation was that I was perceiving more through my typical, everyday methods, seeing energy patterns in the subjects’ bodies and picking up emotions.  I seemed to come up with useful answers to at least some extent, but I didn’t feel that I was doing anything more than what I often do in the context of giving treatments.  Perhaps it was a bit clearer than usual.  Whatever was happening, it was accepted by the group as channeling.

For example, the first student who questioned me asked about a relationship problem.  I could vividly see a knot in her heart, and I told her simply and directly, “You have a constriction in your heart.  You need to let go of it.”  I spoke without thinking first, and I was perhaps less diplomatic than I would have been in my normal state, but it just felt like me talking.  She wanted to know if this relationship was able to progress and whether she should pursue it.  In the back of my mind I was thinking that she should ask herself, not me!  I told her that I didn’t know what was going to happen, but that if she kept herself all closed up and terrified the way she was, she would be sure to prevent the relationship from working out.  I didn’t like being forced to come up with an answer to such a grave question; my impression was that this woman was relying a great deal on outside guidance, maybe more than was healthy, and that she might give too much weight to my answers.  This worried me even though I am used to being an authority figure in my regular job, and I have to advise people on important matters all the time.  I guess in my capacity as a doctor I am only human and my guidance isn’t seen as supernaturally potent, as might happen with channeling.  [This has changed to a degree– these days patients often ask me specifically to do psychic work for them.]

I seemed to be operating on at least two different levels as I continued answering questions.  I responded directly to what I perceived, without consciously judging the messages, at least not too much.  At the same time, I was entirely conscious, and in the background I was thinking in an ordinary way about what I was saying.  However, I wasn’t planning what to say before saying it.  It was an interesting state.

When it was my turn to ask a question, I took the opportunity to ask about one of my health problems.  The student who was channeling said that there was an issue about forgiveness, and that she heard the word “mother.”  Betsy was receiving a message too, and jumped in on this.  Her impression was that it was a past life issue, while the student was speaking of my present life.  Another reason not to give too much weight to specific answers, I would say; impressions may be essentially true but slightly off.  (Which should be obvious to even the casual observer.)  Betsy also said that I had a tooth that was contributing to my problem, which was what my chiropractor found a couple of days later.  I haven’t been able to make much out of the forgiveness issue as yet, but I am keeping it in mind.

All flavors of channeling

I think that, among all the various attempts by all the students, we experienced practically all the possible flavors of channeling within that one weekend.  We contacted everything from dead humans to apparent deities to our own higher, or at least different, selves.  My own experiences ranged from working almost as my usual self to being almost completely bypassed by another personality.  Perhaps the most important thing I learned was that channeling, in a broad sense, is something we do quite commonly, even when we don’t think of it that way.  Writing a poem when I don’t know where the words are coming from is not so different from having Queen Marie speak through my voice.  Doing spontaneous choreography or trance dancing is not so different from having another entity move my limbs.  Directly perceiving the condition of a patient’s body is a lot like being told.  Even when we get information ourselves, unmediated by any outside entity, we don’t necessarily know where it’s coming from.  A great deal of the time, we’re doing what Jon Klimo calls “open channeling,” where the source is unknown but we’re getting something beyond the capabilities of the quotidian self.

But who or what were the entities with whom we spent the weekend?  For the most part, I have no clue.  I do feel confident, however, that they were far more than just our own selves, even our far larger selves.  There was an incontrovertible sense of “otherness,” and more importantly, I felt distinct energies that were definitely not part of my own field.

Betsy has a relatively simple and practical answer to this overarching question, one which is espoused by many in the channeling world.  It’s all Spirit, she would say. Right now this is Spirit being Orion, this is Spirit being Betsy, this is Spirit being Larry, or Saint Michael, or Susan’s father.  It doesn’t really matter how we divide things up and make distinctions, it’s all One.  That explanation goes a long way for me.

Aftermath

A few hours after the end of the second day of class, I repaired to my room, determined to talk with Fryderyk somehow.  I could still feel a pretty strong connection to him, and I hoped there was a chance.  I sat down with a notebook and a pencil.  And at last, at incredibly long last, we talked.

I didn’t want to be overheard, but I did want to use definite words, so I tried whispering softly, almost silently, to him.  When words seemed to rise out of the darkness in my head, I whispered them back to myself.  It felt like a real conversation, even though I was speaking both parts.  It wasn’t exactly that I heard him, more that I was just hearing my own voice, but saying things that were not my own thoughts.  Limited though it was, it felt like a miracle after all these years of struggling to communicate.

It started with a rush of romantic drivel on both sides— “I’ve waited so long for this,” that sort of thing.  It was predictable, but wonderful and exciting and miraculous.  I wanted to make the most of this rare opportunity, though.  When we had settled down a bit, I asked about Rose, about whom I was intensely curious.  [Rose Creet, Leslie Flint’s friend, with whom Fryderyk has/had long-term connections.]  “You must have spent a number of lives with her.”

“Only a few.”  After a moment’s pause, “But you, I have contended with you many times.”  Contended?  I didn’t think I would have come up with that word.  “I have contended with you, and I have been content with you.”  I liked that.

But I would like to meet Rose, I insisted.  Would that be possible?  He was oddly coy and evasive.  She was too far away, she couldn’t come here.  “But I could go there,” I suggested.  No on that, too.  Everything I asked about was met with resistance of some sort.

I switched to another touchy subject, the piano.  “Have you given up on me as a student?”

“Yes.”  Not unexpected, but not what I wanted to hear!  I tried to ask why, and couldn’t get anything clear.  I started to argue with him, telling him that despite my severe inadequacies, I had a good musical mind and I was worthy of his attention.  To my horror, I found myself dissolving into tears and begging pathetically.  I was far too emotional to understand any reply, except that there did seem to be something along the lines of, “Well, you might try practicing more.”  However, I felt a huge, unrelenting love and tenderness from him the whole time.

Finally, I turned to matters of healing.  I tried to explain that I felt that he and I had some problems in common, and that it seemed to me that somehow if I could heal him I could heal myself, and vice-versa.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to explore this idea, but I wanted to see how he reacted to it.  He said, “I am beyond the need for healing.”

Yeah, right, I thought.  Even at that moment I could clearly sense a deep pain in the center of his being.

During this part of our interaction, the intensity of love and longing increased to almost an unbearable level.  He moved around my right side, wrapping himself around me.  There was just a moment of him sinking into my body, and then he faded away.

It turned out to be impractical to write while all this was going on, but I was able to remember and jot down the highlights afterward.  It made perfect sense to me that he had not spoken to me during the class in this way.  Our conversation was not at all for public consumption, and would have been inappropriate and embarrassing in that context.  He had been not shy but wise.

The sense of power, strength and solidity I had gained from Marie stayed with me for a few days.  I also felt physically more solid and stable, and my problem joints held together better—perhaps a gift from that mysterious first entity.  Of course, as is wont to happen, all those benefits faded after a while.

Added 2/20/07

Last night I found myself in touch with Fryc again, but I was extremely sleepy and couldn’t work up a good communication with him.  I hope it was only the fatigue and nothing more that prevented it.  This morning, though, I had a nice chat with Kuan Yin.  She kept calling me “daughter,” which kind of bugged me for some reason.  She was big and warm and enveloping, and I saw a lot of pale yellow.  I asked whether she would be available to speak to me at other times, and she said no.  Surprised, I asked why not.  Her reply was, “Daughter, you don’t need me.”  I protested that I did too need her, but you know, all the messages of the past few days seem to be pointing in the same direction, that I need to rely on myself and my own intuition.  Which, interestingly enough, was my own point of view in the first place.  Go figure.  At any rate, I asked Kuan Yin if I could at least visit sometimes, and that seemed to be OK.

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An Appointment with Jesus


The following article was originally published in The Searchlight in December 2007.  I referred to this experience in a post last Easter, and here I am again, still trying to process it.  I didn’t understand what had happened to me then, and I don’t understand it much better now.  Digesting more books about the early development of Christianity has convinced me further that things were not the way they taught us in Catholic school and that Jesus cannot be quite what they told us he was.  That has made my experience all the more confusing, I’m afraid.

Oddly enough, reading the Bhagavad Gita and getting its different perspective on the relationship of God to humanity has shed a little bit of light on these matters.  Krishna speaks to Arjuna in so much the same terms Jesus often uses with those who believe they are channeling him.

Yesterday evening, Easter Sunday, I spent a couple of hours with a video of Vassula Ryden, who receives messages from a source identified as Jesus through verbal communication and writes them down.  I’ve looked askance at Vassula’s messages because they have Jesus advocating specific sectarian practices such as reading the Bible and praying the rosary, even while saying that he wants to unite all the religions.  This seems odd to me, and it seems to contradict much of what has been said by Hania’s Jesus source, as well as a great deal of the spiritual literature in general.  And it just feels wrong to me!  But what do I know?  Perhaps for some people this is exactly the best message, the message that is most needed.  Or not.

A materialist/humanist friend of mine wrote, in apparent exasperation, “I don’t know how intelligent people like you and Hania can believe you are having experiences like this!”  Well, I told her, we are having the experiences.  It’s only the meaning of the experiences, the interpretation, that’s in question.  If someone is having a certain experience, Hania, Vassula, or whoever, I can’t say that she is not, and if a person receives certain messages, well, then, those are the messages she receives.   We have to go from there.  Simply saying it didn’t really happen is not going to get us anywhere.  And I think it’s of the greatest importance that we go much further in understanding these matters.

Faith and trust are still major challenges for me, but if I have faith in anything, just a bit, it’s direct experience.  I have been unable to get much in the way of direct experience to clarify or augment what I’ve said here.  I’ve probably blocked it somehow, though that was not my intention.  I’m still trying.

When I channel Jesus Christ, regardless whether my channeling is clear or poor, I am filled with unspeakable peace, light and wonderful fullness.  It is a spiritual practice for me, and that’s why I do it, the bottom line.

– Hania Stromberg

On Tuesday, September 11, 2007, at 7:00 pm Mountain Time, I had an appointment with Jesus.  Really.

I had been in touch with him before, or at least I thought so; that wasn’t a new concept.  I had experienced him mostly as a great golden light beaming down from above me.  Recently I had heard that my friend Hania Stromberg was channeling him and was welcoming people to have sessions with him by phone.

Readers of The Searchlight may remember Hania’s name in connection with her work on Induced After-Death Communication.  In the past few months, she has been studying with Betsy Morgan Coffman, who teaches channeling here in Albuquerque.  Hania has had a strong relationship with Jesus for many years, and when she opens herself to channel, it is Jesus who speaks; she says that other beings have offered to communicate through her, but she wants only Jesus Christ.  Since this has been going on, there has been a noticeable transformation in Hania.  She continues to suffer with severe health problems, but her color has gone from grey to pink, and she has taken on a distinct glow.  Seeing this change, it’s easy to believe that something wonderful is happening.

I signed up for a time, and promptly had something of a spiritual crisis.  Although Betsy has said that it isn’t unusual for people to receive messages from Jesus, I found the idea of calling up and asking him questions rather disconcerting and theologically uncomfortable.  I wondered if we were dealing with the “real” Jesus.  Hania had told me that when people asked the Big Questions, “Why do we have wars?” and that sort of thing, not a lot came through, but personal questions, on relationships or jobs or whatever, generally received clear answers.  I’m still having trouble conceiving of Jesus as a cosmic Dear Abby, and for a while I was seriously discombobulated by all of this.  At the time of the session, I was quite unnerved by the prospect of consulting Jesus by phone.

But while I have questions about what exactly is taking place, I do not for a moment think that Hania is faking or deluding herself.  That’s because within a few moments of beginning the phone call, as soon as she had said a prayer invoking Jesus’ presence, there was indeed a presence in the room with me, directly in front of where I was sitting on my ordinary sofa in my ordinary living room.  I had no doubt of this whatsoever.  I could even vaguely see him for a few moments, a faint vision of arms with stereotypical wide white sleeves.  I assume he was just as much in Hania’s house with her at the same time.  This presence was powerful, but soft and gentle.  The light was not too bright for my eyes, so to speak.  If it was not truly Jesus, the pretender was awfully convincing.

So I was hearing a soft female voice in my left ear, and at the same time I was perceiving this masculine figure nearby in my house.  It was kind of like having subtitles, or perhaps simultaneous translation like at the UN.  On my own, I wasn’t getting any of this audio portion, or any other manner of verbal transmission, so when I report that “he said” something, I mean that I heard Hania’s voice saying it.  I was getting mostly emotional and kinesthetic impressions, with moments of faint visual images.

As soon as we got started, I was invited to ask questions.  What I most longed to ask was who he is, what he is, and what he is doing, that is, what his nature and purpose may be.  I was nervous to ask these things directly, so I kept my mouth shut about them.  I thought that he might well read them inside me anyway.

What I did ask was my next most burning question: why I am not healing.  I asked if there were anything I should be doing, or anything I should stop doing, in order for healing to take place.  I told him that I believed he could heal me, and the funny thing is that I truly meant that.  Faith has always been the most difficult thing in the world for me, and yet I found that I honestly believed that Jesus could do anything necessary to make my body OK.  I believed that he had healed others (patients sometimes tell me this and mean it literally), and that he had great power to heal people, despite the fact that Hania herself had not experienced the slightest improvement in her physical problems.  I mean I believed.  I felt no doubt whatsoever.  That was a new and unique experience in itself.

He held my right hand in both of his as I spoke to him.  I asked about my stomach, which has been going through a flareup of chronic gastritis.  I also asked about my constantly unstable joints, which cause nerve impingement and chronic pain.  These felt like terribly insignificant questions to ask of such an august presence.

I am going to tell you the replies I received, not because I think you are interested in my digestive system, but because they illustrate the specificity, relevance, and practicality of the advice.  With regard to my stomach, he told me that there was a great deal of overactivity and agitation in that area.  As he pointed it out, I could feel it clearly; part of it was simply my nervousness at having this contact with him, but mostly it had already been there.  He said that it was agitation in my mind and heart that was affecting my stomach, not anything wrong with the stomach itself.  He embraced me, and I felt as if my head was resting against his shoulder.  Through all this there were tears running freely down my cheeks.  He said that I should take the peace that he can provide into my mind and body, and that if my stomach started to feel bad, I should visualize resting against him in that same way, leaning on him and letting him support me.

Hania had mentioned that sometimes Jesus communicates directly through her, though not by taking over her vocal chords, and sometimes instead she herself reports what she is receiving from him.  During the discussion of my joint and chronic pain problems, she described seeing me in a curled-up, crouched position, hugging my knees.  The interpretation of the picture seemed to come directly from the spiritual source, though.  He said that the problems came from pain in my heart, which I had held locked up in my body and had not “accepted” or “allowed to go into the earth.”  I wasn’t quite sure how to work with what I was told.

I tend to feel that if I am given healings or some other sort of spiritual goodies, I need to somehow pay for what I’ve been given.  I didn’t say anything about that out loud, but Jesus told me that I didn’t need to do anything, be anything, or try to deserve anything— I was loved and cared for just for myself, no matter what.  I have run into religious people who are extremely concerned that they are not pleasing God, and I wish they could hear this.

It was clear that this being could read my thoughts, feelings, and energetic patterns, and so it was not surprising that he perceived my ambiguity about him.  “I can feel you going back and forth as you are reaching out to me,” he said near the end of the session.  “Don’t give up.”

The whole experience lasted a little over half an hour.  The last thing Jesus said was that although the call was about to end, he would still be with me. Hania asked if I wanted to give any feedback, but I was too overwhelmed to speak right then.

Afterward, I had a huge emotional release, wailing and sobbing.  I was grateful that no one else was in the house.  Even the presence was gone.

I was not immediately and completely healed, but I did feel considerably better in my stomach the next day.  Unfortunately, the day after that was much worse again.  However, I did feel healed where it really counted.

Recently I read that Mother Theresa, in her youth, had visions of Christ, and then later in her life she lost touch with that direct perception of him.  She could not understand why she was no longer able to see him, and felt that perhaps God did not even exist.  Somehow she was able to continue with her demanding work despite feeling a lack of spiritual support.  I find this all difficult to understand.  First, Jesus seems to make himself so readily available that I can’t imagine what could have been blocking the contact for this very devout woman.  To stop having visions is perhaps not so strange, but to stop having any sense of his existence?  And then, how is it that I, who have nothing like a traditional Christian faith, have been given this gift, while others, true believers, who long for a connection with Christ and put great effort forth to find it cannot seem to get in touch with him?

I imagine that a mainline Christian like Mother Theresa would believe that Jesus was real, but that the divinities of other religions were just myths or fairy tales.  Yet, I’ve encountered other deities.  This is one of my sources of confusion—how there can be so many high-level divine beings floating about, all of them appearing “real,” and yet many of them representing belief systems that are incompatible with each other?  What should I make of a universe in which I find not only archangels and the Christ himself, but Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion, as well?

The best I can do to interpret this extraordinary experience is to say that the universe is full of beings that care about us and want to help us.  I felt greatly loved by this wonderful person, and I loved him completely in return.  I did receive something of an answer to my questions about what he is and what he is doing, though not a verbal one.  Perhaps he put this directly into my mind, or perhaps it was only inspired by the experience of his presence.  My vision was that we humans cannot really relate to God in the largest sense, that we need to have a piece of God with a human face in order to communicate.  Jesus fulfills that role, and perhaps that is the point of our other divine beings as well.

Was there a historical Jesus, who walked the earth as a human male a couple of thousand years ago?  There is plenty of controversy over this point.  I think that most likely there was such a person, a great teacher and healer who carried tremendous light and affected many lives.  (We should probably be referring to this person by his original name, Yeshua.)  Then people with their own agendas ladled layers of mythology on top of his story.  I doubt that most of what passes for Christianity these days has a lot to do with the reality of what Jesus said and did; I agree with the proverb that says that Christianity would be a great idea if anyone ever actually tried it.  I am not able to believe most of what they taught us in Catholic school when I was six, or when I was sixteen—not that Christianity is the only way, and not that the Bible infallibly tells what really happened in a given time and place.  Certainly not that we are damned forever if we don’t do exactly as we are told or if we have been raised with a different belief system.

It does seem that most of the material that purports to come from Jesus emphasizes love and compassion, and deemphasizes churches, books, and dogma.  In one session with Hania, he was heard to say that he has only one church, and that is the human heart.  He added that reading holy books is only of value if it helps a person to find him in their heart.

What if Jesus was “only” a human being, albeit a very special one?  (I say “only” because even the most limited of human beings are far larger than we realize.)  Hearing from him is still not such a big surprise.  We know that humans who have died still live in some way, somewhere, and that they can communicate with those still on the Earth.  If Jesus ever lived as a human being, then he still lives, and even if he were no more than an ordinary person, he could potentially speak to us in the present.  But what if he never lived here with us, and the story we have been given is only legend and metaphor?  Sometimes I wonder if we ourselves create our deities, if our concentration on them and love for them brings them into existence out of nothing.  Then, I think, this is a moot point, because ALL of us are essentially invented out of nothing.  Where do our own personalities and individual identities come from, anyway?  It’s really the same question.  It’s all one thing, all mind, all God, showing myriad faces everywhere, contemplating itself and its works.

Hania told me later that she has been given some answers to these questions about the nature of Jesus.  The material has been either “in a uniquely childlike simplicity,” as she describes it, or more than her brain can handle:  “What I am able to take and project are rather hackneyed fragments of something so much more brilliant, but beyond the scope of my ability, as a channel, to receive.”  Perhaps this is also why only simple and limited answers come through on the larger questions about human existence, while everyday questions elicit clear replies.

Hania also wants readers to know that although when she channels “Jesus replaces her personality with himself,” and she experiences his peace and compassion, the rest of the time she still struggles with her own life issues, “although perhaps gradually less so.”  That is, she is still the same person she was before, and she makes no claims to be anything other than ordinary.

I spoke with Jesus again the next day, on my own.  It was simple.  I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I remember the love.  That’s all I can say for now.

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Contemplating the Meaning of Resurrection

Originally posted April 13, 2009 at Gaia.com

With the Easter season, naturally my thoughts have turned to the idea of rebirth and regeneration.  It’s always seemed to me that the point of Jesus’s resurrection, assuming that it actually happened in a physical sense, was not to prove that he was God, and not to wipe away some original sinfulness that I do not believe humans possess.  It was to show that humans, all of us, are not fundamentally material, mortal beings.  Jesus was acting as an example of what we can all become.  He was one of us.

In the fall of 2007 I had an earth-shattering experience of contact with this great being, mediated by a friend who channels him.  Although I had had small contacts with him before, intimations of what he might be and what might be possible, I struggled to understand what happened that evening, how I could fit it into the rest of the framework of my life.  To that end, I wrote an article for that winter’s issue of The Searchlight, which I’m afraid contained more questions than answers.  Here is an excerpt:

“What if Jesus was “only” a human being, albeit a very special one?  (I say “only” because even the most limited of human beings are far larger than we realize.)  Hearing from him is still not such a big surprise.  We know that humans who have died still live in some way, somewhere, and that they can communicate with those still on the Earth.  If Jesus ever lived as a human being, then he still lives, and even if he were no more than an ordinary person, he could potentially speak to us in the present.  But what if he never lived here with us, and the story we have been given is only legend and metaphor?  Sometimes I wonder if we ourselves create our deities, if our concentration on them and love for them brings them into existence out of nothing.  Then, I think, this is a moot point, because ALL of us are essentially invented out of nothing.  Where do our own personalities and individual identities come from, anyway?  It’s really the same question.  It’s all one thing, all mind, all God, showing myriad faces everywhere, contemplating itself and its works.”

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