Feb 7 2014
Two days ago I sat down with two other volunteers at the table where they were talking. At one point I found myself reciting an old grievance against a brother. Right after that one of the volunteers pointed out exactly what I had done: I had jumped in unasked simply to tell my grievance story. For an instant I thought of justifying myself, but I couldn’t. I knew that what he said was the truth. From a position above the table and a bit to the side, I saw myself clearly. I seemed like a little hate capsule. I recognized what I had done and that I had been doing it for years. Oh God! I was wrong! Completely wrong.
Three years ago I was attending a retreat and expressed a desire to go deeper. A clear message came for me to be in assignment with a certain brother and I agreed. The next day, however, it seemed she didn’t want me to speak and I felt angry. Then she asked if I wanted to drive into town and go shopping. I said “no,” then decided that I “should” go with her. But I was fearful.
On the ride into town she said she was feeling to get a beanbag chair for the retreat and told me to park. We walked into a furniture store — no sign of any beanbag chairs. She kept walking into a little back room and there was a beanbag chair! She had never been there before; she could only have been guided. She asked me to buy it. I was a bit reluctant and didn’t have the money on me. I said I would pay her back when I could get into town when the banks were open. Later that day she popped into my room asking if I had the money. I repeated that I would get the money from the bank soon. I don’t know why she asked about the money again, but began to think I was being unfairly treated and formed a grievance.
The next day I complained about it to the assembled retreat. I said the whole assignment idea didn’t make any sense. Others, including David, spoke, but no one said anything that changed my mind. Instead two retreatants came to me and shared recent negative experiences about this brother. I decided my grievance was justified, locked it in and nurtured it over the next three years. Doubt and mistrust of her and of other brothers would pop up in my mind. I often felt miserable and deeply unworthy.
I look at it anew and see it very differently. Spirit was giving me what I had asked for at the retreat. Perhaps I was too locked into my littleness to see and hear what was being offered: direct guidance, a physical miracle, and the love and support of all those around me. I wasn’t ready to see that my prayers and thoughts were so powerful.
I had also forgotten my reconciliation with that brother, and that she had taken me with her on the most powerful, purely abstract, blissful spiritual experience of my entire life. No words were spoken, lying still, connected only by loosely holding the hands of a person in the middle. I left the planet and soared in ecstasy! The inner experience went on and on and I got higher and higher. I felt completely washed in Light and Love. After an hour or so we finally slowly got up and softly staggered into the kitchen, leaning against one another, with grins on our faces as we made sandwiches. I was in an altered state of consciousness. Perhaps it was too much too fast for my little self. With my eyes still closed I raised my arms and happened to knock her sandwich to the floor. Then confusion returned to my mind. I seemed to forget my mystical experience and return to the grievance.
I’m glad and relieved that this grievance is now officially false and unappealing in my mind. It is the sign I have changed my purpose to forgiveness. And for this I am extremely grateful.