Podcast Transcript - Experiencing the Mystery
I will apologize ahead of time and state that I don’t know where to begin this episode. So many things occurred and continued to occur that though I have all my notes of each of these experiences none of them have dates, so my mind is searching for a timeline to follow. But since there isn’t one, I feel sort of scatterbrained and am mentally trying to group them into categories so that it’s easier for you to follow along while listening to this or reading it via the ebook.
After reviewing some of the Eastern religions, I opened up to reading more contemporary writings about God and spiritual ideas and concepts, or New Age stuff, and this is when I began to learn more about synchronicity after reading some Carl Jung, probably while I was in my Philosophy of Religion class.
To further drive home the infancy of knowledge between the history of Catholic and Protestant Christianity I had at this time, though I had bought a Catholic Bible, since I was living in West LA, not that far from where I had lived in Santa Monica ten years prior as a child, I wanted to go somewhere familiar for church services and I wound up going to the Episcopal church I used to go to down by the third street promenade. It was an excellent choice, and again, to further this blurring of what makes it difficult to discern the differences between the two, then for me, as I’m sure it does for others now, literally right when I started going to this church, a few of the members had started a Centering/Contemplative prayer group that’s based on the works of St. John of the Cross, a Catholic Saint, that some other modern day priest had formed into what is called the Centering prayer movement within these circles. Father Keating I think was his name, and the book I think was called Open Mind Open Heart. In one of those weird synchronous things, after I read why the Church disapproved of the interpretation of St. John of the Cross’s works found in Centering prayer and the works of this priest, the book sort of vanished from my library of books and I actually have no idea what happened to it.
Anyways, it was here where after telling my tale of the near-death experience during the new member orientation when a lady I was talking to told me that God had been trying to get my attention and needed to drop a boulder on my head to do so. Having read the Bible now, I was also starting to form that internal knowledge that God puts those He loves to the test to refine them like gold in a fire, over and over again. Since then, I’ve sometimes seen this idea in the positive, sometimes I’ve seen this idea in the negative, and I’ve loved when I’ve read stories like St. Teresa of Avila recounting a time she was walking along a road talking to God and I think it was a cart that rode by and splashed her with mud, and she told God it’s because of stuff like this that you have so few friends. Or the Muslim way of expressing this conundrum: if God lays hands on you, how can you complain or fight it if God’s the one doing it?
So, this is where I started learning to meditate, going to this Centering/Contemplative prayer group weekly that focused on the work of a Catholic priest, two Catholic priests in fact, though I think the priest author of that book Open Mind Open Heart was eventually excommunicated, and meeting this group at an Episcopal Church. Kind of funny when you think about the Catholic Protestant thing.
My next strange and horrifying experience happened on one of these nights after leaving the prayer meeting group though, and it’s the primary reason I never ventured towards anything other than the more ancient forms of the Church. Not that I have anything really against Evangelical Christianity other their hostility towards anything not Evangelical Christianity, meaning their hostility towards me since I’m Catholic and that they somehow have convinced their members that the Catholic Church is some type of a cult, which would make it a pretty ancient and massive cult and the fount from which their Christianity emerged since the Catholic Church gathered, compiled, preserved and edited the very Bible they use. Not in King Jame’s time which is what unfortunately many Protestants seem to think, but in St. Jerome’s time around the year 400 AD. But anyways it was because of what happened on this night that I never bothered with anything other than Episcopal, which is essentially American Church of England alongside Anglican, or King Henry’s church, or the first real split from Catholic other than Eastern Orthodox, or. . .the Catholic Church.
Just for context’s sake, I’m now many moons removed from any and all drug use, so probably starting at this point, anything that I say that I saw no longer has any potentiality as having been the result of recent drug use. I’m not sure how long that stuff stays in your system. There’s that myth of the spinal tap of acid re-surging in a user up to a decade later since it stays in the spinal system fluid or something like that, but I never found myself frying balls within the decade after having taken acid so I’m pretty sure that’s just a myth.
I was walking up the street from the church towards where I’d had to park my car. Anybody that lives in the West LA area knows what I’m talking about, but if you’ve never been, finding parking is hell on Earth in West LA. For instance, on my first day of school at Santa Monica College, even though I was stupid enough to buy the parking pass, since there was no parking anywhere to be found even with a stupid pass, I had to drive up and down the side streets trying to find parking. I got three parking tickets on that single day, running to my car to move it after each class and failing miserably at moving it before the meter maid had nabbed me. Over the next two weeks I was more successful and only got another two parking tickets. Hell on earth, just like driving the freeways there. . .