As promised, following the blog “Choosing life” I will describe a number of personal experiences to explain and make concrete what is discussed in this blog. Personal experiences are really important to me, because the way spirituality takes shape is always personal and not transferable. It is of course possible to follow what others are experiencing. Good descriptions also help, but most spiritual reflections only really become clear when you experience it yourself. Then you’ll recognize it immediately and especially the details. They are important. Experiencing divine presence is always in the details, never in the big picture. It is the hidden light.
The ego always looks for things that are grand and compelling and selfishness is exactly what you want to avoid: thinking that you create and control your own spirituality. The body cannot exist on its own and is always seeking nourishment and safety. Those are the biggest blocks to feeling divine presence. After all, they are the exact opposite of this presence. God’s presence needs nothing, wants to give everything and is formless. It takes the form we recognize in our material existence. Like water flowing into a pit. The water takes the shape of the pit. If you want to experience God’s presence, you must at least have the desire to develop the same qualities. Otherwise you will never recognize it.
How do you feel God’s presence?
The following Logos 17 from the early Christian Gospel of Thomas perfectly describes how to experience the divine presence:
I will give you
What eye has not seen
And what ear has not heard
And what hand has not touched
And what has not entered the human heart.
In 1 Corinthians 2:9 a similar text is added:
What God has prepared for those who love Him.
It is clear that this Logos deals with experiences that are separate from our senses and therefore from our body. Have you ever wondered what precedes a thought?
It is a mysterious experience that is very familiar at the same time. It is a darkness that I experience as a filled void. There is no time, distance or movement. It looks like a silence, but then it is a creating silence. Everything is so airy that afterwards you cannot say that you have seen, heard or felt something, but you are 100% certain that you have experienced something new, which at the same time fits your inner self seamlessly. Something very familiar suddenly looks completely different and therefore it brings peace and gives direction. Erik van Ruysbeek rightly calls this “unground” (ongrond). It is unimaginable and a kind of being. Some say it comes from your subconscious, but that still leaves a big question. How then can it feel like a tremendous force; like true love; like eternal rest? A biblical statement is: “Do you build your house on sand or on a rock?” This place is that solid rock. “Ongrond” is at the same time a solid rock.
Thanks to ayahuasca I was once confronted with my subconscious. That’s a totally different experience. Rather comparable to an earthquake, where you can no longer hold on to something. A compulsive maelstrom of images and feelings that can end in depression. My subconscious does not know that peace and quiet. I live with complex PTSD and chronic trauma. In case my amygdala smells trouble, a bell will ring (Anne van den Ouwelant) and my brain will immediately go into survival mode. Thanks to ayahuasca I was able to experience that from a drugged, semi-conscious state. It is so powerful that it made me afraid and despondent. I felt my self-confidence run out like loose sand between my fingers. I couldn’t stand it. The “I” in this case is my conscious logic. I wanted to learn to let go and to trust a bit more: “no way….”
I can assure you. The above divine experiences do not automatically arise in my human heart. I do not create it and I have no control over it. I literally keep being lifted above my traumas and my survival mode. Maybe because both my conscious “I” and my amygdala completely trust these experiences and therefore stay still. And…..I notice that the bell has been ringing less and less often lately.
That was different twenty years ago. Trusting that “life” will support me while my bank account is dwindling and my home needs maintenance was next to impossible for me. The bell went off and my survival mode immediately took over everything. Yet, there is a breakthrough!! I can’t say I did that. Well, I’ve always wanted to make that breakthrough. I think, that has been my contribution: my desire to be free and my tenacity.
Gradually, confidence was added. This because I experienced time and time again that my worries about the future were unjustified. Time and again a solution came from an unexpected angle. Never too early and never too late. For a long time I had no financial buffers and I felt completely dependent on what came my way. We now have more financial resources. I think because more confidence brings more well-being and prosperity. That is why I now want and can be a safe haven for others. That seems to me to be the intention. After the example of my greatest love. How else can I transfer what I experience every day? People call me a Sunday child. I was also born on a Sunday. However, I don’t see it as luck. It’s grace.
What God has prepared for those who love Him.
To love here means to love god above all else. That for you God cannot be compared to anything else. An incredibly beautiful mystery that you can fully rely on and build on. Like on a rock.
The first step towards unconditional love is realizing that you need a turnaround in your life in order to be free of everything from the past and your fears about the future. The first moment is when you realize that you can only be free when you recognize that you grieve, fear and crave justice. Because then you can do something about it. Taking steps to free yourself from everything in daily life that you no longer want to invest in. At that moment you can also accept that you are both in one. Man with everything that goes with it and “unfounded” as a rock.
“Blessed are the mourners, for they shall be comforted”
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”
In Jewish mysticism, the further steps towards fully loving God are described in detail. In the beginning, the darkness I mentioned really feels like an empty dark hole. Only later do you realize that it was you who turned it into a void. I’ll come back to that later.