Keep Going No Matter What

I just love this verse from Om Swami’s book, Kundalini: “Universe always makes way for the one who is positive and determined.  If you don’t give up all obstacles give in”.  Granted he is talking about muladhara chakra.

I’ve kept going, even when at times everything in my life has been against me.  The advice has always been, from numerous sources ‘keep going’. Obstacles though gave me growth and made me search out the truth for myself and opened my eyes to be true to myself.

Even when those who should have been with me and encouraged me and doubted me, I kept onward.   I always wanted to seek God.  I saw the impermanence of everything. My heart really cried out.

It was a New Testament I was first given whilst at school, by the Gideon people.  One verse came to my attention, “Seek ye the kingdom of God”, and I wanted to find this kingdom. So, it was the church that I first turned to. 

At one time I wanted to be a nun, even though I didn’t belong at that time to any church. We lived behind a church, and I used to see the children lined up in white dresses and wondered what that was all about.  At the time, the services were in Latin. I could hear the services whilst I played in the street behind the church.   There was no internet.  I hadn’t come across any Eastern literature. I only had the bible.  I was in hospital and a nun called Sr Irene of Jesus looked after me.  I was about 15 yrs old.  I wrote to her and told her I wanted to be a nun.  She wrote back and said I would have to be a Catholic first.   She told me she had found a priest Fr O’Reilly who would give me instruction.  She gave me a date to meet him.  At the time I was a very shy and not very confident person.  My parents were also very anti-catholic and I had not told them.

So, when my father came home from work, and said he had met Fr O’Rierly in the pub where he went, he told me the priest didn’t want to see me.  Therefore I was gutted and never went.  I believed what my father had said.  Many years went by and one day I found out by chance it was not true. I realized he must have come across the letter written to me by the nun.  The priest had thought I had just changed my mind when I didn’t turn up.  Needless to say I hated my father for a great many years and found it hard to forgive him.  I found forgiveness very hard to do at the time.  I was like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. I just had no sense of belonging, and that was my entry into a fundamentalist church, which I mentioned previously in another writing, I ended up being disfellowshipped for meditating, and asking questions about St Paul saying, ‘whether in the body or out of the body’ and ‘being caught up to third heaven.  This was a very brief encounter. 

Now I see that sometimes, God blinds the hearts of a person, so that his will can be carried out.  Eventually I became thankful I hadn’t become a nun, as I met many nuns who were not happy in their vocation. Providence had worked through a lie. 

Years had passed, I married and had three children.  I still kept seeking, and I did become catholic, mainly because my children were at a Catholic school, and it was easier for them, if I also became one, but I was drawn to the mystical literature, St John of Cross, Teresa of Avila, The Philokalia, my favourite book, at that time “The Hermitage Within”, by A Monk.

The longing for God, though never left me, so I applied to go on a 4 week silent retreat.  Due to me having children, and a lay person, I had to go for an interview with the Jesuit director.  Thus, I was given permission to attend. 

I had no problem with the silent retreat. The whole 4 weeks were in silence, you were not allowed to phone home, or go out anywhere.   What was there not to like, meals were provided and the rest of time, was spent alone in silence, although a spiritual director visited you each day. It was what my soul craved.  There was very little time to spend alone with three children and a husband. This was time spent alone contemplating scripture, not meditation as such.  I did do that though just to give my brain a break.  

Although, when my children were babies, I used to put them to rest for an hour in an afternoon whilst I had some meditation time, and the same when they were at school.

I was the only lay person, the others were nuns, and a group of White Fathers, whom I learned had to do the retreat and likewise the nuns, as part of their training.  They were there because they had to be.  I was there because I wanted to be.  This was quite amazing to me.  It was also an eye opener.  For instance, I heard several voices chatting away from the room next to mine, so I put a note under the door saying, ‘I thought this was supposed to be a silent retreat!’.  I received a note back, stating, ‘Just having a conversation with the angels’!’

All the meals were in silence and when we sat down, they were all grinning from ear to ear, and I couldn’t help laughing. There they were, they couldn’t wait for the retreat to finish, and I had had to go through the interviews.

After that, I asked one day the elderly priest of my parish, why he became a Priest?  His answer surprised me.  He was of Irish descent, he had been born into a large family, he was the eldest, and he was expected to choose, by his family, between being a priest or a doctor: he chose priesthood because it was more prestigious. He hadn’t chosen it either out of desire for God. It was the church’s understanding that once you became a priest, you became one forever after order of Melchizadek.  Even if they fell from grace, then they would be a priest for ever in hell.

This is really not what the scripture intended.  To be born forever after the order of Melchizadek, you had to be born of spirit. I was flabbergasted at such a worldly interpretation.

We  know from the book of Hebrews that this Melchizedek was ‘without mother and father, or ancestry, and his life had no beginning or end.’ and that Jesus the Master was of this order, the order of Melchizedek.  We see an interesting parallel in Shiva. 

‘Shivo-iham’ “‘I am Shiva’, I am neither male, female, nor sexless, but Shiva the Peaceful one, whose form is self-effulgent, whose form is powerful radiance.  Neither a child, a youth nor an ancient, I am of no age, but Shiva, the Blessed, Peaceful one, who is the only cause of the origin and dissolution of the world.”[1]

So here across cultures we have our ‘True High Priest’.

That’s when I chose to do a BA Divinity (Hons) in Catholic theology to find out what the church really believed as the instruction I received to become catholic, turned out was very ‘secular’ and not really actually Catholic teaching.  The history of the church, after studying the actual ‘history’ and not the glossed over account, I just could not go back to the church. 

However, I believe there are many sincere people in the church, and I also met a few who were ‘trapped’ in their vocation, really wanting to leave, with no place to go. For me to follow anything, my heart has to be really in it, otherwise, I could not teach or pass on anything my heart was not in.  I had to be true to myself.  Also I had met plenty of people, who went for social reasons, who went to further their careers. 

Eventually I was to turn to Eastern thought.

Sakthi

[1] The mythic Image by Joseph Cambell, Bollingen Series C. Princeton University Press 1974, Chapter IV :3 The One Thus Come p304, fig, 287

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