Grace finds us always, even if we don’t realize we are seeking. The practices of diverse spiritual paths, faiths and traditions came to me unbidden, entering my life dramatically in February 1989, through an unexpected awakening of spirit. The source of that awakening was an extraordinary Indian Saint, Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri. For a young, western, Catholic woman, this event was so firmly rooted outside the spectrum of my life experiences, it had the imprint of a miracle, yet it also felt completely natural.
At the time, my husband and I were living in Nassau the capital island-city of the Bahamas. Having both been raised in the temperate weather of England, we were loving the warmth and beauty of our new tropical home, yet despite living in what many perceive as paradise, under the surface, I was unhappy. I was plagued with a chronic back problem that was not responding to orthodox medical treatment. Desperate to try anything to alleviate physical pain, I said, “Yes” when invited to a nearby meditation centre. What I did not realize at the time was though I was seeking physical relief; there was an inner pain deeper than tissue and bone.
After just three visits to the centre, I went home one night and had a conscious dream. In the dream, I entered a hall, to find a dark -skinned Indian man sitting on a wooden platform. He looked like a Buddha, with a big round belly, wearing only a white loincloth. On seeing him, I absolutely knew I was in the company of a great Saint; a Being who was merged with the Infinite. And I immediately knew, I had been seeking Him always.
I was instructed to, “Lie in corpse pose- relax- breath slowly and deeply and repeat the mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya- I bow to the Lord within me.” Doing as I was told, I suddenly felt a light tap on the top of my head. With that touch, a very powerful energy began pulsating from the point that had been tapped, through the crown and down into my body. Then every cell began vibrating and producing intense heat.
My body began floating upwards. Repeating the mantra, I focused on the ingoing and outgoing breath until I could bear the heat no more. A distinct feeling of nausea began to rise up and with that, I crashed to the floor continuing downward falling through time and space. With a jerking thud, I entered my sleeping body through the chest. Like a waking corpse, I sat up violently exhaling “Huuuhhhhhh”, so loudly my husband woke. Alarmed, he jumped up asking, “What happened?” Not completely awake or adjusted to my surroundings, I responded, “I don’t know, but my life will never be the same again.”
That response proved to be true. Nityananda’s touch initiated a desire for meditation and spiritual practices that has served to shape the entire course of my life. Grace immediately began to enter like a flood, breaking down doors and windows, turning my world upside down and inside out. Over time, everything not aligned with spirit fell away leaving me wide-eyed with wonder as new perceptions and levels of awareness established themselves within my being.
From the beginning, remembrance of “Om Namah Shivaya.” potently rose up in dreams, bringing me to lucid awareness. Traveling through light-filled worlds, I found myself in the ecstatic company of Saints, Shamans and Enlightened Teachers from diverse traditions. Although I had never studied Buddhism, many times the Dalai Lama walked into dreams in order to give teachings, once happily telling me, “They have made it so that you can do anything you want to do in this life.” And Swami Ram Tirth, a Saint I had never studied anything of, entered a dream, lifted his thumb and stated, “I can give initiation. Would you like?”
The lucid dream state has also carried me to worlds inhabited by South American Shamans. In one, I found myself in a jungle like setting, swimming with joy as a Teacher approached. Lighting a fire, he told me I was to undertake an ‘Initiation of Fire.’ Holding on to the mantra like a lifeline, I entered the flames. As the body was consumed, a powerful inner energy was released, beginning at the base of the spine and thrusting its way up through the centre of the body, exiting at the crown. Watching, the energy formed into a huge black crow, hovered above my head and then flew away in a cascade of fiery light. With that, two female shamans appeared telling me, “You have passed the test and have been graced with the energy of the Crow.”
My expanded inner world has also become dramatically reflected in the outer. I have found my natural environment offering messages whenever I need inner guidance or inspiration. Once in meditation, a beautiful dark eyed deer appeared telling me, “I am coming to see you soon.” Initially, I pondered how this could be possible on a semi-tropical island. However, two weeks later, while taking part in a work-study programme at a Benedictine University in Minnesota I took a walk through a park and was astonished to see the same beautiful deer standing before me, close enough to see and feel her breath. She stood right across my path looking deep into my eyes. With her two fawns, we gazed at one another with reverence and love, and I instinctively knew the message she was bringing was one of gentleness and compassion. In her, I was able to vividly see the embodiment of the qualities I most wish to express in my writing and my teaching.
As the journey into my interior has continued, I have had to face the deepest, darkest places within myself. I have been forced to embrace what has most terrified me. And, I have bathed in the most exquisite outpouring of love and blessings. The grace of Nityananda has included all faiths, all paths, all belief systems and all conditions of the heart. He has held a mirror up and said, “You see. Here is your own Higher Self, and here, and here. All are One. There is nothing more that needs to be known. There is only God in all forms and all faces. This is the Truth. Own it!”
This is your truth too. In whatever way grace has appeared in your life in order to reveal the magnificence of your own light, it is your perfect reflection. Sooner or later, we are compelled to follow the light, until we are completely transformed. Our purpose at this time of transition and ascension is to become the perfect offering, until all that’s left is light, blazing the way for those who may not know they are seeking.
Julie is a natural intuitive, writer, artist and transpersonal hypnotherapist who lives on Grand Bahama Island. Her profound spiritual awakening and the unfolding of unity consciousness is detailed in her book, ‘An Awakened Life- A Journey of Transformation’ at: www.anawakenedlife.org
Julie also works internationally offering a transformational ‘Living in Alignment’ online course and Soul Purpose and Past Life Readings. For information go to: www.livinginalignment.org