THE HEALING BEGINS
(Continued from India: Meeting My Guru (The Doors Blow Open))
During my year in India, I ignorantly approached my desire for spiritual awakening with the fervour of an ambitious young architect. As a consequence, I blew open my psychic field and was challenged to find the balanced link (or yoga) between spirit and matter.
Nine months of intense burning fevers and long periods of spiritual bliss fuelled by intensive sadhana (spiritual practice) awoke subtle energies and connected me to “otherness”. A neophyte along the path, I thought spirit and matter were separate. I wanted to meet God. And to me, God was “out there”. I had been inadvertently telling my body that I no longer needed it, so off I went, higher and higher until a near death experience forced me back.
The fever that I had when I landed on Indian soil grew into an array of physical challenges. That, coupled with the intensity of my spiritual practices, culminated in an experience that changed everything. While traveling in the desert in Rajasthan, I collapsed and was brought by an inn-keeper on the back of his motorcycle to a hospital due to high fevers. A bed-ridden patient there, I had the classic NDE (near-death experience), traveled down the tunnel of light that led “to the other side”. At the end of the tunnel of light, I was greeted by a group of beings, welcoming me to travel over. I remember vividly what happened next. As I went to merge with them, a voice I can only describe as the voice from the root of my soul said: “I want to live!”
Within every ounce of my being, a total redirection occurred. At that moment I very quickly found myself falling down that tube of light, landing into my body and waking up in a hospital bed unsure how I had gotten there. I had no idea whether I was at the hospital for a day, a week or a month. Meeting my guru Amma opened the doors to who I was. This NDE blew the doors wide open to the multiplicity of otherness. Now I see it was all Her anyway.
As I have shared in the past, I was a child sensitive to “otherness”, skills I suppressed through high school and university. Well, our puny willpower is no match for the force of nature or the evolution of the soul. My natural gifts were now roaring with a vengeance. What followed was a period of extreme bliss and fierce psychic skills housed in a weakened body. Though my spiritual self had never been stronger, I needed to learn to befriend and heal the neglected body. Standing tall at 5’9″, I was then barely 105 pounds. I had lost nearly 20 pounds over the year.
My year in India ended after I had an intense dream and gut sense that something was wrong at home. Following my instincts, I began the long journey towards my flight back. It took me almost a week to travel from the middle of the Rajasthani desert in northwest India to the southeastern city of Madras, where I would catch the plane back to Toronto. On Canadian soil at the Toronto airport, I was greeted by my father who looked pleased to see me, but also worried. He told me that my grandpa, his father, was in intensive care and was asking for me. My paternal grandfather died a day or so after I visited him in the hospital.
Suddenly back in the West, I felt like I had been catapulted from the Middle Ages right into the heart of the twenty-first century, in the space of a few hours on a trans-global flight. I understood that it was now my time to open to my healing. My mind had become quiet though the all-embracing year of intensive meditation practice. My yoga practice was deep, resounding in my cells. I was listening to nature and operating at a rhythm that was different from what I saw in the highways, concrete structures and speeding lights in the West. I needed to integrate the East I had found and loved with the West I was born into. Everything flowed in perfection while I was in India, so surely that same flow, or “golden thread” as I called it, existed in Toronto, or wherever I would be.
Stationed temporarily in my parents’ home, I got rid of everything I could and slept on the floor. I meditated for hours every day and thought only to be a dedicated spiritual practitioner, create art and sing. These habits still form the foundation of my character and daily practices today.
At that time, my psychic senses were so alive that I could not take a bus or sit beside someone as I felt completely overwhelmed. I would know what happened to them when they were six or what would happen at 86. An Ayurvedic doctor said I was like a hi-fi stereo on volume ten. I had sensory overload and my dials were up too high. The psychic doors had blown open. I needed to learn how to turn down the volume and master the lock on the doors.
INSIDE OUTSIDE IN
The next years were just as full of amazing people, places and teachings as my time in India. The weak health in my body asked me to move my attention inward in a way I had not yet done. I had touched the expansiveness of the cosmos. It was now time to find that same expansion within, rooted in my being. The universe is immense outside, just as much as it is immense within. In fact, I found that the notion of outside and inside were illusions that did not need to confine me. The more rooted in my being I became, the more useful and practical the psychic skills were. Like anything in nature, the more grounded I was, the more broadly sky-bound I could be.
It was at this time that I opened a small yoga studio in Montreal and worked as an assistant minister at the United Church of Canada. I found that my awakening had very practical use. My call was to serve. This life clearly was a gift. I had been given a second chance to live. All I needed to do was love.
With subtle insight, I found that I could teach yoga and know where people’s energies were blocked or stuck. People could call me from the other side of the world and I would know what was ailing them. I learned to walk down the street or take a bus and find a place (or asana) of balance within the whole flow. Life was becoming Yoga.
Over the years, my studies deepened and my practice flourished. I studied Chi Kung, Ayurveda, Thai Massage, Shamanic Soul Journeying, Sound Healing, Astrology and Nature Co-Creation. I offered these skills in treating people. My musical career also flourished with much greater meaning. I went deeper and deeper into various forms of yoga such as intensive work within the Iyengar method and completing another teacher training program with Esther Myers of the Vanda Scaravelli lineage. Healing, yoga, meditation, music, life… it all started to flow as part of one greater whole that I understood as Yoga.
These years were the formative years for YEM. Just as I listened intensely “out there” to find God, I listened intensely within to find the Divine and be guided. YEM flowered naturally, effortlessly.
Out of this vast array of experiences, I grew to see that all things are interconnected in ways our limited mind and senses cannot comprehend. We are not the body, but we temporarily inhabit it and are responsible for its well being. Like a temple for our spiritual practice, the body houses the spirit and also reflects it. It is a temporal housing of the infinite spirit we are. Just like Siva and Shakti, or Yin and Yang, the body and spirit are married, sharing the most exquisite balance.
(Continued tomorrow with My Practice Today)