The following story is true; it’s about a man’s journey into his spiritual awakening and his profound healing from the sickness of “toxic religion.” His healing happened while receiving his second Rising Star healing session.
I am just starting to uncover many aspects of my spirituality. No, I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about my spirit. It was about 15 years ago when I first truly-understood that being spiritual and being religious were separate things; I was finally able to intellectualize it but not “Feel and Understand” it.
Childhood: Early in my life, religion was used to keep me focused and “in line.” When my father abandoned my mother, my sister and me, my mother married the church. God and Jesus became my Father(s) and I was pressured into keeping them happy.
My mother wielded the power of God with a heavy hand. That hand was rigid, legalistic and unyielding. I feared that if I didn’t do what God wanted, there would be consequences.
As a boy, I was always reminded that I was a sinner… and only through the grace of God would I be saved. When I sinned (like lining the 1st-grade girls up behind the school and kissing them all, or saying a bad word), it would challenge my mother and the other adults who took responsibility for my spiritual growth. They seemed to be mad at me… but their words said “Jesus is sad,” or “you need to ask God for forgiveness,” or “you don’t want to grieve away the holy spirit…”
Adolescences Through Early Adulthood: As a boy, young man and young adult, my truth was that religion (at that time thought to be the same as spirituality) was impossible; I would never be good enough. I had to continually admit failure as a sinner and ask Jesus for forgiveness. As a child, I was high on Jesus one day and down on myself the next… then high on Jesus the next day… then down on myself the next. While I sat on that emotional roll-a-coaster, I felt doomed to a life of failure and sadness.
After all of the ups and downs, I was left with the clear-understanding that I was a sinner (reads: failure). And, only through the grace of God could I atone for my sins and be saved. This reality seemed to come from within me. However, those who supervised my life had planted the seeds of that reality and nurtured those seeds until they rooted in my core. Winning was only promoted and allowed if it was related to collecting money for the poor (Ingathering), memorizing Bible verses, singing or playing instruments for church services or Sabbath School, etc. I excelled at those things, but at nothing else.
From sundown Friday night until sundown on Sabbath, I was sad. Depressed. Hallmark holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, were full of hymns and spontaneous prayer circles. Overheated rooms bulged with adults and a few robotic-teenagers spewing religious clichés. Meanwhile, I wallowed in my sadness.
I recall a July 4th that landed on Friday night, the preparation day for the Sabbath. Watching fireworks was not an option; it was our special time to disconnect from worldly things and focus on God. Enjoying fireworks conflicted with that rule. How can Jesus be so cruel? If he is truly as loving and special as they all say he is, then surely he knows how beautiful and wonderful fireworks are to a 9-year-old boy.
Way back then, I felt the incongruity. The adults could not, would not, address the paradox. Asking good questions fueled anger within them and punishment ensued; “…as if missing the fireworks was not punishment enough! Jesus is punitive. Jesus is not fair. Jesus is mean.”
Over the years I developed an attitude towards God and Jesus: “Why do I want to be part of a club that treats its members with such disdain and suppression?” Again, I saw the paradox. I had already learned that asking the adults about it would only fuel their anger towards me and drive me deeper into my sadness. “There has to be an answer to this riddle. Maybe the answer is to GET OUT!”
Being inadequate and sad was too much for me to bear. My reasoning became… “If religion keeps telling me that I am a failure, then I need to get as far away from religion as possible. I KNOW that I am NOT a failure.” This became especially important when I first realized that religion/God/Jesus was being used to suppress and control me as I attended a religious boarding academy in Virginia.
I remember the moment when, at the age of 12, I “surrendered” to God, and made the commitment to be baptized. It was emotional.
I remember all those times I sat in church during revival meetings and Thirteenth-Sabbath-alter calls; the music swelled then quieted. The preacher pleaded for us to search our souls; he called us up to the alter so we could demonstrate our surrender to God and ask for forgiveness. The music swelled again; It was emotional.
I remember those times I surrendered and took that long walk-of-shame up to the front of the church (or the gymnasium at the boarding academy) to give my heart back to God; it was emotional.
The Defining Moment: During my freshman year of high school, I knew that I was being controlled and manipulated by my religion. I remember how the academy’s faculty watched the student-body and took note of those students who did not respond to the alter calls and were “not with the program”. I realized how those students were treated differently because of their inaction, their defiance and unwillingness to stand up and become drones; it was emotional.
I remember the exact moment I gave up on religion; I closed my heart. That defining moment propelled me into the spiritual dormancy I needed to reprogram myself; the growth benefits from that period of disconnection would not be recognized until many years of my spiritual hibernation had run its cycle.
That defining moment happened on a Sabbath afternoon. Sitting in the school cafeteria, I was high on God. I was connected to the Source of everything; I was blissful.
An hour prior, I had once again answered the alter call, stood up for Christ, and conceded that I was a sinner; I surrendered it all up to God and was, once again, utterly helpless.
It felt good to surrender. A familiar feeling of sweet sadness, depression and no control; without the love of God I had nothing. I was nothing. It was like being a child on a family road trip: I was loved unconditionally and had no responsibility, except to TRY and be a good boy. I could fall asleep in the car and awake when we arrived at our destination. I trusted in the strong; it was magical. It was emotional. Sitting in the cafeteria, my infatuation with the love of Christ still filled my soul. Without warning, someone said something and I reflexively responded; what came out of my mouth was something sinful. I knew that I had made Jesus sad. I do not remember the fine details. What I do remember is that I had once again failed and fallen short of being a good person. I was not worthy; I had fallen short of the glory of God.
Realizing that my perfection-in-God had lasted less than an hour, numbness replaced my spiritual euphoria; my devastation was undeniable and utterly-complete. “How many more times are you going to do this before you realize that this is a Catch-22?”
My moment of confusion, shame and realization spawned a moment of clarity. The Universe, which I now know to be the Source, heard my rhetorical question. With conviction, I received an answer and felt it in my body:
“Religion is a self-perpetuating business and an excellent business model. You just need people who will buy into, or are born into, the idea that they are failures… or at a minimum, believe they are inadequate. Once you have the audience, the formula works perfectly. The formula gets people emotional and opens their heart [music, guilt, etc.], reminds people that they have sinned and are worthless without the redemption of Christ, people surrender and ask God for forgiveness, people resolve to do better, people sin again, people are again reminded that they have sinned, people ask God for forgiveness… and circle continues. This suppressive formula, when implemented on a regular schedule, produces high-member-retention and attracts those who are weak, tired, and unable or unwilling to think for themselves.”
I spent the next four years of high school quietly rebelling, learning how to sneak around the system and counting the days until I was out of school and out of the church’s control. I started doing what was considered “really-bad things” like drinking caffeinated sodas, listening to the radio on Sabbath, listening to rock-n-roll, reading fiction and acknowledging my lust. I became the “black sheep” of the family.
Adulthood: During the ensuing years, I shunned the church and anything that resembled religion.
Romantic and non-romantic love had similar emotional characteristics to those emotions I associated with religion and spirituality [heart opening and connecting].
Romantic love was an especially precarious thing; I did not want the emotions that I associated with religion [heart opening]. But, I still wanted the emotional connection, which I now know to be a spiritual connection, and the physical affection I associated with romantic love. I became masterful at garnering affection [sex] without experiencing the depth of emotion associated with love. This became complicated.
Trial Marriage: During my 15-year “trial marriage”, my wife occasionally pressured me into attending church services on holidays and special occasions. I went as a duty to my wife and son; I deeply resented it. My resentment made it difficult for my wife and son to enjoy those religious moments. Every time I sat in church and heard the heard the music swell, the old emotions would well up in my heart. I cut them down where they stood. “There’s no way those bastards are going to get me anymore. I’m in control now!”
After all my self-assigned years of spiritual hibernation, I still became angry that my emotions could be manipulated by the church choir or some eloquent phrase delved by the preacher. I experienced physical reactions to those emotions. They were the exact same emotions and reactions I experienced years before when surrendering to God; I hated it and pushed those feelings away even more.
I no longer loved my wife and ended that relationship to become a better father to my son. I became an expert at avoiding and suppressing those spiritual feelings.
My spiritual journey jumped into high gear.
Foreshadowing Of My Spiritual Awakening: A big part of me wanted to feel those deep emotions, that spiritual connection, especially when it came to love; the reflexive need to push them away was stronger.
Over the years I would occasionally and unexpectedly experience a wave of overwhelming emotion [what I now know to be a heart opening]. It was usually when I was alone, but not necessarily lonely. It would happen when I was listening to music or watching TV. At times I felt like the stereotype of a hormonal woman who wants to cry for no reason at all. As a man, this troubled me; I carried my secrete with shame and anger. As a spiritual being, holding my secrete troubled me even-more. I knew that my spiritual side was trying to come out and I had no skills or resources to manage the impending flood of spirituality. Although my head knew that religion and spirituality were separate things, my heart still had difficulty separating them.
I found myself migrating towards things and activities that isolated me from others. I was a rock. I was an island… or so I thought.
I allowed myself to experience moments of deep and profound sorrow. Mourning. Loss. Sadness. It was a miserably-comfortable place to be; it was mine, I owned it and coveted it. I reflexively acquiesced to depression, that old and comfortable retreat I created during my childhood and the years of religious schooling where there was no escape.
Something was missing. I had a void.
In my head, I heard those religious messages from earlier days; “People who are searching for something are really searching for God.” Oh, how I loathed those words. I knew it was not what I was experiencing. I resented that forced programming I absorbed in my early years.
Surrendering To Love: The year my mother died, I was forced to reconcile with the true meaning of love. I now know that her passing released me and allowed me to accept and start giving love.
I loved my mom. I loved my sister. I loved my son. I loved my aunt and uncle, and cousins. “What did it all mean?”
I began to separate platonic love emotions, romantic love emotions, religious emotions and spiritual emotions. Years before, I had already done it in my head; I was starting to do it in my heart.
I started to allow, just the possibility of allowing, those true-love emotions to surface. They seemed so similar to religion emotions. They seemed even-more-similar to the spiritual emotions that were leaking out of my heart without warning. Fear consumed me because I had spent most of my adult life pushing these emotions away; I associated them with something bad. Now, I was knowingly unlatching the floodgates.
After a nasty divorce and custody battle with my first wife, I had no desire, or intention, to tangle with marriage again. I truly felt that my capacity to love again was fully-depleted. As my mother was dying, I met a woman who later became my second wife. Shortly after my mom’s death, I surrendered to love for the first time in my life. My second wife allowed me to love; she created an environment for me to grow in love. I discovered that I could really love.
My mom’s death released me from the restrictions of my religion and its distortion of unconditional love. Her death allowed me to love and to begin the process of embracing my spirituality without the paradox of religion.
Because I was released by my mother’s passing, I allowed my new wife to foster my emerging love; I allowed those suppressed spiritual emotions to surface. We both saw parts of me that had been in hiding since high school… and she didn’t get scared away. The emotion was a raw blend of mixed confusion: love, sorrow, joy, happiness, sadness, peace, and wonder. I had to sort it all out.
As the years continued, I advanced my ability to love… but my heart still remained mostly closed.
Kundilini Awakening: Like some clandestine encounter, I was drawn to her; she was a Tantrica, my Guide. She ushered me into a supernatural and life-altering experience; she helped me awaken my Kundilini, my spirituality. From that point forward, everything changed.
I fully immersed in a self-assigned and auto-didactic spiritual expedition. I discovered meditation; I discovered ways to open the rusted doors of my heart.
The Rising Star Healing: My expedition whisked me along to my next discovery; my Guide offered me a Rising Star Healing. With no belief in things like chakra and aura energy healing, I trusted that she had what I wanted; I said “yes” to my first Rising Star healing. My rapidly-changing spiritual journey rocketed forward.
As promised, my 1st Rising Star healing session started the process of removing things that had been blocking my growth. Twenty one days later, I received my 2nd Rising Star healing.
My back pressed against the softness of the massage table top. Deep breaths easily delivered me to a meditative state; the healing session had already begun. Like many self-guided sitting meditations, my third eye easily activated; my lucid dream was profound.
Still aware that I was physically laying on a table and receiving a Rising Star healing, my meditative state delivered me to a familiar place…
I was standing inside a garage. Eight cardboard boxes crowded the center of the floor. I had a history with those boxes. While skirting them for many years, I had experienced my irritation and anger seemingly fueled by the boxes’ gaudy foil wrapping and unnecessarily-ornate ribbons and bows. In the past, I had no interest in opening them and dealing with the emotions that were certain to surface. I knew what they contained; I packed them with some of my mom’s stuff, right after her death.
As I stood in the garage that day, my usual irritation and anger changed to curiosity; I was ready to see what I may had forgotten in those boxes.
Easily reaching the box stacked on top, I ripped its paper with cathartic delight.
Gold! The box was filled with gold bars! As I hurriedly opened the rest of the boxes, I came to the realization that they were all filled with gold. I was wealthy beyond measure; I would never have to worry about financial security ever again. But the gold wasn’t really worth money, it was worth something much more valuable; it was my spiritual self and my already-cultivated knowledge of my spiritual self. My spirituality (the gold) had been wrapped in those pompous-like, ostentatiously-wrapped, ugly boxes; each box was a part of the forced-religion I had rejected because it distorted and obscured my spirituality. I had thrown out the baby with the bathwater.
Relief, peace, comfort and… humor flooded my heart. A slow and deep laugh built inside me. “That’s hilarious,” I thought; “I’ve been missing this gold and denying myself of my valuable worth because I was too angry about the way the boxes were wrapped!”
The irony was too much; I had to dissipate my energy. While lying on the massage table, right there during my Rising Star healing, I laughed and laughed and laughed. Softly, loudly and hysterically, I laughed. When I thought my laughing had exhausted itself, a new wave of laughing would overtake me. I found humor in the way I had given myself such a hard time. I found humor that I could let it all go… let it go right there in the moment; I no longer needed to take the hard way. I could take what was rightfully mine, discard the packaging and utilize the immeasurable value that I always possessed.
The separation of religion and spirituality is now complete within my heart; there is no more conflict. I embrace my spirituality without the confines and incongruities of religion.
I’m experiencing a spiritual growth spurt with no end in sight. A continued awakening. Embracing my spiritual side has delivered me to a higher level of consciousness.
I experienced release from my negative baggage of “toxic religion”. Released from limping through this lifetime carrying the haggard remains of my spiritual dysfunction, along with the weakness, anger and sadness that came with it.
The charismatic Christian song says: “Lift up the trumpet and loud let it ring, Jesus is coming again” I’m here to tell you that Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, Allah, Source, Higher Power, Universe, or whatever you choose to call it, with whatever type of packaging you need, has already come again; in fact, it never left. That’s just a story to support the business of religion.
The Divine Source is within you and within me. Even if we have done our best to disconnect from Source, and are not conscious of the connection, we are all still connected to Source at no cost, with no shame, fear and or exclusions. Source can not be taken away from us. We do not need a church, or its dogma, to find the Source. All we need do is listen to the quietness within; just listen to that still-small-voice that is always there if we will only allow it. The challenge is to be quiet and present enough to hear what that voice is telling us.
The meditation statement “I am God” is not used as a gratification of ego; instead, the person who makes this statement in meditation is humbler than a blade of grass.
Any person searching for truth will finally come to know that “I am God… God is not separate from me.”
When I allow my higher self, my Source, gratitude and humility are some of the dominate emotions I am gifted on a daily basis.
~I Send Unconditional Love To All Who Willingly And Unconditionally Receive It~