Podcast Transcript - Spiritual Contraction and Growth
As an American, just reading the word contraction in the title of this episode makes me twitch a bit. We don’t like contraction, we like expansion and growth and reaching new heights. But as I expressed in a previous episode through the comparison found in the study of expertise, without contraction, there is no growth, no matter how much one pushes and pushes. There’s both a push-up and a push down. There’s both the crunch forward and the crunch backward and if you’re only focusing on one side of the equation, then you’re only halfway there. The same applies with the general idea of the expansion of the mind as found in spiritual texts. So much emphasis on the expansion of the mind and the broadening of horizons when it comes to mental-spiritual ideas, yet hardly ever the emphasis placed on the contraction of those ideas to solidify into a focus, so that expertise can occur.
Not that I had any concept of such things, I just happened to have read and studied a bit on the science behind expertise after my experiences in 2018 and saw the similarity to what I had done regarding spiritual and religious texts and ideas after my Dissolution Experience. I’m fairly certain I went through a little bit of book burning and it’s at this point when several of the books I used to have on my shelf suddenly vanished. And this is incredibly not like me to do. Someone gifted me an illustrated hardcover copy of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in the second or third grade and I still have it in perfect condition. Getting rid of books is not something I do, but I’m certain the reason I don’t remember the names of the works I had read at this time is because they were all tossed into the trash heap. I didn’t even want to sell them, didn’t want to donate them to a used bookstore or anything since I didn’t want to pass onto others those books and ideas that had led me to my stupidity in the idea of self-divinity and self-godhood. Having so thoroughly been thrashed by the love of God to experience what existence without Him was like, any and everything that I felt had led me down that road was quickly discarded.
Thus, the expansion of the mind phase was over and the spiritual contraction, or Desert of the Soul, began.
Now, I was obviously leaning towards the Catholic Church at this point already, whether I know it or not, but obviously since I was still dabbling in these various spiritual phenomena type things, much like as I said I experimented on the idea of self-divinity versus devotion to God and chose self-divinity for the briefest of moments, so too was I one foot in and one foot out of the Catholic Church at this point.
But that was soon to change.
A few months after this experience, I was now engaged and since we wanted to get married in the Catholic church, we started going to the rite of Christian initiation classes that prepares adults for receiving whatever sacrament they may lack, confirmation on her part, first communion and confirmation on my part. Even though I’d taken communion in the Episcopal Church, it’s not recognized by the Church, so I had to go to the Church as somewhat of a newbie. I’d at least been baptized Catholic as a child by my parents, so I didn’t have to do all of that. You need to have all the sacraments to get married, or scratch that, I think one person has to have all the sacraments and the other has to at least have been baptized if I remember correctly since the Church does recognize baptism from some if not all of the many fractured sects of Christianity. I’m not sure off the top of my head how they determine that, but I didn’t need to go through the entire course of becoming Catholic since I was essentially seen as a fallen away Catholic having been baptized Catholic as a child.
Anyway, the Catholic church has this little thing called an engaged retreat they send soon to be married couples to get a crash course on marriage that shatters all illusions of happily ever after of the Disney sort and gives it to the couple real and straight up. That may sound harsh, and it’s meant to be, since marriage is a serious thing, and one should know to the depths of their understanding at the time what marriage is really all about along with why one is getting married in the first place.
I may have spoken about some of this already so if I’m repeating myself, I do apologize. As long and as in depth as my memory goes, I sometimes can’t remember what I ate the previous day, so forgive me if I repeat myself.
The marriage retreat happened to have been at a monastery run by the Carmelite order of monks, and if you’ve heard me say my patron saint is St. John of the Cross, now you know why and when it began. If you don’t know what a patron saint is, it’s a saint you choose at confirmation, that you either identify with or have received spiritual inspiration from or something to that degree. My reasoning was because of the spiritual butt-whipping I was receiving once I started reading St. John of the Cross’s works and how eerie his words were since it was like he’d peered into my future and had just been writing down every lesson I was going to need to know when I finally came across his works.
The opening talk on the first night of this marriage retreat just welcoming everybody was probably the harshest opening and let’s get serious right away talk I’ve ever listened to in a conference-like setting. By the end of the night, three couples, each with crying members, had gotten up and left the retreat since the opening talk centered entirely around the reasons why not to get married and in particular, why not to get married in the Catholic Church. The one I distinctly remember that immediately caused a couple to get up and leave had to do with getting married in the Catholic Church because it’s the only way mom and dad would pay for the wedding. Not a good reason to get married in the Catholic Church. I think another of the reasons one couple left was because they wanted to get married in a beautiful church and were basically trying to fake being Catholic so they could get married in the building they wanted. Not a good reason to get married in the Catholic Church as well, and obviously both reasons are reasons that the Church has seen walk through her doors.
Super-serious stuff though. Regardless of your religion or if non-religious, I highly recommend such a retreat, especially if you go to a serious one that deals with serious realities and questions and problems that will arise in marriage. It’s an easy and much cheaper way of determining if you’re ready to marry person X or person Y, rather than blowing a ton of money on a wedding only to divorce within the average three to five years later, with that average getting smaller year after year every time I come across such a news article. I think it’s mandatory now in the Catholic Church, but since some churches and dioceses don’t be following all protocols given out by the Vatican, if you are Catholic and preparing to get married and your church isn’t pushing for the marriage retreat, find and attend one yourself.
Sadly, not every couple that stayed had every partner as interested in the retreat. I remember there was a breakout session where the ladies were kept in their chairs in the meeting hall while the men were chucked outside to work separately on questions within the little workbook they give you, and I remember I was already like two paragraphs in on answering the second page of questions and the guy next to me had his workbook under his chair and was just sitting there playing video games on his old Nokia cell phone, which was probably a silly little game on a terrible phone screen back in 2005. I wonder if that marriage lasted more than the aforementioned three to five years, even though married in the Catholic Church with its no-no on divorce?
Anyways, the new spiritual experience that I experienced at this retreat was that of confession, or the sacrament of reconciliation. I remember I didn’t even know if I could do it since I hadn’t been fully confirmed yet, but they said it was required regardless of where I was at with all the RCIA stuff to complete the retreat. When I sat down with the priest-monk I remember I began with, “Hey I have no idea how to do this so you’re going to have to walk me through it,” since even though try as I might over those two days of remembering how to start the prayer from watching movies and such, I couldn’t remember the words when the time came.
The only reasoning I have as to why I was sort of brain dead when it came to Catholic particulars was because of the infancy of knowledge regarding the differences of the Catholic Church to the entire umbrella Corp that is Protestantism, having blasted through the Bible and Dante so quickly that I didn’t extract the Catholic details at the time, and because even though I’d purchased and read and had re-read often these sayings of the Saints I’ve mentioned, I was more focused on how the book had been broken up thematically versus the voices that were being quoted without really a care as to who was saying it, or that all the quotes were from Catholic Saints and that it was a Catholic book hadn’t really registered in my mind. In fact, the only reason I bought it was because it had sections devoted to hell and the Devil, and like I said, after the near-death experience and Dante, I was very interested in knowing more about the Devil and hell and how to understand that part of the Christian religious experience because of the hellish imagery I had experienced. But I honestly didn’t care who was saying what since again, my modus operandi was to read any and everything I could find about the various subject matter I was exploring, not who was saying it.
So, I had read various quotes on various topics from St. John of the Cross, but hadn’t actually read any of the works of St. John of the Cross. And my comments made to the monk/priest during this confession were quite hilarious, especially to him, and showed me just how off the mark I’d gone and just how much God once again needed to do and show me to get me back on the path that He was willing for me to follow kicking and screaming. Movies also always make confession to be an ultra-serious experience of penitence and chastisement, and though repentance is of course the goal, hearing the priest monk laugh at some of the stuff I was saying made the experience far more enjoyable and human than what I’d thought prior.
I don’t remember the exact words of everything that I said but I sort of summarized all my drug use, porn and masturbation time, and told him of the near-death experience I’d had and what I’d seen, but even after the Dissolution Experience and after tossing out the New Age books I had, I was still sort of holding onto the idea of at least visiting these types of works at a later time and that they had so much more to offer me mystically and in teaching meditation than what the Catholic Church seemed to offer when it came to meditation in particular. Somewhere along the way of blasting through the Open Mind Open Heart book about Centering prayer, since I think I read it in like five minutes since it’s a short work, I completely missed and honestly don’t remember how much it got into discussing anything of St. John of the Cross and neither did the prayer group I went to for however many months I went, discuss too much of anything other than the methods of prayer found in that Centering prayer book.
The priest sort of chuckled and his eyeballs did that rolling around to look at his surroundings before asking me, “Do you know where you’re at?” “A monastery,” I responded. “Do you know what order of monastery this is?” “Carmelite.” “Do you know anything about St. John of the Cross?” The name rang a bell from the book of sayings of the Saints I’ve mentioned and I tried to save face. “I read some of his quotes, but I didn’t know he was Catholic or a Carmelite.” He chuckled again. “You’ve had some serious spiritual experiences, I can tell. When we’re done in here, I want you to go to the bookstore we have and buy the works of St. John of the Cross. You will find and learn all that you are seeking regarding the depths of Catholic meditation and contemplative prayer.”
Feeling like a dumbshit, but at least now a guided dumbshit with something new to read, I did as he suggested and went to the bookstore. I found the collected works of St. John of the Cross, looked around, was intrigued by the rosary and what praying the rosary was all about since it seemed to be a Catholic way of entering into meditation even though the little paper that came with it had a megaton load of words and prayers printed on it, bought a rosary, a small book about the rosary, the collected works of St. John of the Cross, a ten-pound bag of oranges since the monastery had orange groves, and was on my merry little way.
As was my usual case with reading, I began blasting through the text as I was also practicing and trying to remember all the prayers of the Rosary so I could pray it without reading off the little paper. I remember flying through the poetry in the first part of the book, zipping through the first sections of the Ascent of Mt. Carmel and then was suddenly stopped in my tracks when he spoke about needing to relinquish any spiritual visions that one might’ve had or received for the danger of the vision having come from the devil, especially if one’s gift of discernment hadn’t been developed yet. I don’t think he directly said the word vision, it’s some other term in the work that I can’t quite recall, but the point was that while in spiritual infancy, and especially if one didn’t have a spiritual mentor or director which I clearly did not and have not had, one that was unable to discern the good visions from the bad ones, or the ones sent by God or the ones sent by the Devil, had to simply do away with all of them for if there was any merit or benefit from a vision from God, then the merit or benefit would occur with or without the awareness of the individual since as a vision or impression or, geez, what was the term he used? Man, I can’t remember. But that the benefit would come regardless if it came from God, but if from the Devil, one would have to actively focus on it for any temporal benefit to arise, and actively focusing on it would require a loss of focus on the devotion to God and thus would take away from actual devotion and thus would become a stumbling block. So better to do away with any and all such mental impressions that seemed to come from the supernatural until discernment had been developed.
As stated earlier, when it comes to these types of ideas, as soon as they strike a chord within me, I tend to instantly work on taking that to the ultimate level of understanding and comprehension that I am capable of attaining to. All he was talking about was like the benefits of prayer or the spiritual enthusiasm that comes while walking the path, but I took it to mean any and all spiritual gifts, including everything other than the hope, faith and love that St. Paul speaks of, such as speaking in tongues, discernment of speaking in tongues, healing of hands, prophecy, etc, and basically everything I’d been dipping my toes in for four years. And most importantly, though I didn’t see my near-death mystical experience as having been something given by the Devil, in time I would come to see this experience as the basis for my faith and that I would eventually have to let go of even this in my mind as that foundation for my belief in God to truly find belief and faith in God. Sounds strange I’m sure because how can one forget something so monumental having occurred in their lives? It wasn’t that I forgot about it, it’s more like I stopped looking at that experience as the reason why I believed in God, or that I stopped seeing that experience as the basis for seeing myself as a spiritual individual or as a mystic. That I began to detach myself from that experience and began to attach myself to the Catholic faith as a whole and to the prayer of the Rosary in particular.
It may seem like praying the rosary would’ve been easy-peasy for one that had meditated for hours on end or had religiously fasted for three days on no food, but praying that prayer was the complete opposite of what I’d come to understand as meditation, or the emptying of the mind, or in yogic terms, leashing or yoking the mind so it stops jumping around like the monkey-mind they like using to describe the thoughts of one untrained. It was annoying like nobody’s business to have to repeat the same pattern of prayers over and over again with the only difference being in the day and the mysteries of Christ that were highlighted during each decade interval. Super boring and it became a super-boring chore to have to remember the pattern and every time I lost track of where I was on the Hail Mary count if I was praying it without the rosary in hand—like while driving—I’d have to start again from the beginning since I didn’t want to do less that what was required, but more, especially if I had lost concentration as a type of self-punishment or mortification.
As a way of breaking the monotony, I bought the prayer book used for the prayer of the hours. I thought at least having different things to read each day would help with the monotony of how prayer and meditation was going so far in this Catholic excursion, but that thing was even more boring and monotonous than the rosary. At least with the rosary I could hold the thing and there was something tactile to the habit of rolling one bead after the other as opposed to this hours prayer book and it’s antiphons and canticles that seemed to be the exact same thing day after day. That form of prayer only lasted on a daily basis for like a year or so before my mind couldn’t take it anymore since by that time I’d tried mashing the two together and found myself sitting there saying both prayers as fast as humanly possible so that I could be done and over with it and the entire process was still taking thirty to forty minutes to do every morning and night. As a side note, I would find out later the prayer of the hours is primarily meant for those in the religious life, like priests, monks and nuns and that was why it was so boring to me since I was trying to do that and the rosary in the morning and at night while getting to work or exhausted from work.
Eventually I settled into the rhythm of the rosary and memorized each of the prayers. The first one that needed memorizing was this weird Apostle’s Creed that started the prayer and it was both difficult and easy since I realized it was just a shortened form of the Nicene Creed, and if I remember correctly the older prayer of the two. And what’s weird is prior to the rosary I had memorized the Nicene Creed during those random visits to church over my lifetime, but even now during mass there’s times I can’t remember the Nicene Creed without mixing it up with the shortened Apostle’s Creed that was hammered into my mind over the three to four years of daily praying the rosary. I have to rely on the priest giving the mass or the parishioners around me for guidance when its time to recite it. I get frustrated with those priests that sometimes trail off on the Nicene Creed and stop leading the recitation of it because then I’m guessing and mumbling the words when I start mixing them up and speak louder when I get to a part I remember. Every time this happens I have to stop myself from laughing during mass because I remember that old Mr. Bean episode when he goes to church and only sings the chorus of the hymn since it’s just “Alleluia,” over and over again, and he booms it all loud since it’s the only part he knows. I have an app that gives me the mass for the day, specifically the readings since if you’ve got babies, you have to enclose yourself into the little isolated side rooms and oftentimes there’s no mass prayer book in there. But since it means I’ve got my phone in my hand I always get self-aware like if it looks like I’m not paying attention and just messing around on my phone, when it’s really because I’m following along on my phone. Much harder to hide this when standing and doing the Nicene Creed versus sitting and following the readings on the phone, so priest’s, please don’t trail off when leading the Nicene Creed.
Next, I had to learn the Hail Mary itself since not having been raised Catholic, I didn’t know this prayer even though it’s a very short one. I knew of it, or the name of the prayer, from Tupac’s Makavelli album, but beyond that, I had never prayed the prayer in my entire life and didn’t even realize the Ave Maria song is this prayer, but in Latin. Learning this and praying this itself was difficult since like most not in the Catholic Church, the recurring thought in my mind was that this rosary prayer seemed to be focusing a whole lot more on Mary than on Jesus considering the fifty plus Hail Mary’s the prayer requires, just like how in the Mad Max remake, the movie doesn’t seem to really be about Max, but about that Charlize Theron character and probably should’ve been named after her character with a guest staring Mad Max or something to that degree. I mean I guess the Rosary isn’t called the long-beaded Jesus prayer, it’s called the Rosary, and the Rose is the general symbol attached to the Virgin Mary and is the symbol for the Beatific Vision at the end of Dante.
I know I started to understand more once I finally read that rosary book I’d bought alongside the rosary since naturally I hadn’t read it since I was knee deep in each and every paragraph found in the Ascent of Mount Carmel and the Dark Night of the Soul to even be able to fathom reading anything other than St. John of the Cross. If you can believe it, during the span of close to four years, I almost exclusively read the works of St. John of the Cross and it’s the slowest reading I’ve done in my entire life since each and every paragraph after reading about the need to put away thoughts regarding spiritual things seen, brought my awareness to critical mass the moment I’d open the book and read each and every pitfall he warns about that I’d already swam in, and I had to stop and meditate on it to fully digest what he’d said, line after line, paragraph after paragraph. Almost four years, only this, that little rosary book and the Bible, after having spent the previous three years reading at least a hundred religious spiritual books alongside fun reading and all school and university reading.
Reading at such a snail’s pace was not like me but try as might, I simply couldn’t read any faster. I’d even tell myself before beginning to read that on this day and this sitting, I wasn’t going to stop and contemplate what I was reading to any further degree than just notating something interesting or journal writing, and every single time my plan would fall apart as I’d pause to make the mental note or jot a note down, and then I’d find I needed to think deeper, and then I’d start meditating and then twenty minutes later I’d come to if I happened to have fallen asleep and I’d realize that my bookmark needed to remain on the page it was on and that I’d made no progress towards finishing this book and had to do it again the next day starting from the same page. Like I said in the first season of the podcast, I have since become traumatized after reading this work and haven’t been able to re-read it ever since. If I have had a spiritual teacher in the spiritual sense, it most definitely has been St. John of the Cross lashing me over and over again to think deeper on each and every line in his work.
In addition, something weird began to happen alongside this strange reading one paragraph at a time stuff. Other than the Bible and that history of the Rosary book, any other books I tried to read would instantly put me to sleep, as if some barrier had been placed between me and reading. I’d start trying to read some random fiction, let’s just say I wanted to read the Lord of the Rings again, and I’d get as far as, “And Frodo Baggins was blah blah blah,” and I’d fall sleep. I was somehow incapable of reading anything else during this time and it was the strangest thing I’ve ever encountered when it comes to reading. Sure, I’d fallen asleep while reading before, plenty of times, but that was after a few pages, a chapter, or when trying to push to finish the next chapter before going to bed and you’d wind up with your chin on your chest and the pages bent on your book because you’d fallen asleep and dropped it. But I’m talking I couldn’t get past two to three sentences before the sandman was dumping a truckload of his sleep dust upon me and I’d knock right out. I even made a joke of it, of saying time to go to bed and I’d get into bed with a book open and read a sentence or two and would instantly knock out.
I have no explanation for this other than the Spirit would not let me read anything other than what it wanted me to read. No other way of saying this than that and I know it sounds super wacky-tacky, but that’s literally what happened to me over a three to four year period.
After three years or so of my mind being bludgeoned to death by the daily chastisement I saw of myself found in the works of St. John of the Cross, I knew I finally needed a break and found and bought the dramatized Bible audio series. I was an outside sales rep during this time and while driving from customer to customer, I primarily spent my time listening to boring snooze-fest sales training CD’s and hadn’t even thought about expanding my knowledge of the Bible or Catholicism in the same vein. This audio series was just the New Testament, but I listened to that thing front to back I don’t know how many times in between saying the rosary while on the road like I mentioned in a previous episode.
Once I started doing this, it was like it dislodged me from only being able to read the Bible and St. John of the Cross, and I was able to study and read like a normal human being again. This is when I read various works surrounding the history of the Bible itself, various works of the history of the Church, the history of the split with Protestantism along with the juicy stuff I’ve mentioned like that Hostage to the Devil book and books about exorcism and exorcists.
Back then it was like my wife was a magnet for weird supernatural ghost-like things and I’d have to bust out these little prayers for spiritual warfare pamphlets that I got from somewhere and walk around the house booming it while splashing holy water everywhere. I guess it eventually worked to send that weird stuff back to the netherworld since she hasn’t said anything about weird supernatural things for over seven or eight years.
The other thing that began in another interesting synchronous nod when I started reading the works of St. John of the Cross in 2005, it’s also when I began writing what would eventually become my book Lucifer Revealed. I had no idea back then that what I was writing was the reflection of my spiritual journey during the course of time it took to write the thing, and really over the years of trying to wrap my head around disciplining myself as a writer to write it. The opening for instance reflects the station of the character abandoned or lost spiritually, and though I didn’t feel lost spiritually, it did feel like much, if not all that I had learned the previous four to five years had to be purged from my mind and it left a feeling of dryness, a feeling of parchment, an emptiness, or the spiritual phase I would come to call the Desert of the Soul, since Dark Night was too confusing to me as St. John had worded it since it mentally creates the image, at least in my mind, of a singular moment, not the daily grind trudging through the desert of one’s mind and soul in the search for answers, clarity and ultimately God.
And it was around this time in 2008-2009 and probably what spurned me to start learning something new and what got me to buy that Bible series since I remember I was driving around cold calling in my territory reflecting on how I hadn’t had a single synchronous type event, how I’d gone from trying these healing of hands and that it had worked but now I couldn’t try practicing it further since was it God or the Devil, and that when I prayed it didn’t feel like I was receiving any succor, it didn’t feel like I was receiving that spiritual enthusiasm from when I’d first begun. It didn’t feel like I had that connection to God anymore that had carried me during those early years.
Due to my Dissolution Experience, I constantly thought I was being punished, this was the just the reward for having turned away from God even though for only an instant but turning away from God after God had saved me from death and given me a second chance. I remember looking deeply into what Jesus says about forgiveness if God and Jesus are denied, but no forgiveness if the Spirit is denied, so I knew, alright, I’d messed up, but I hadn’t messed up that far. And somewhere in the works of St. John of the Cross, I can’t remember where, but he describes these different phases. He describes that early on, to boost one’s confidence, to build one up, to show favor, to bring one closer, that God gives these things to the spiritual person walking the path for they are needed, like a child being cooed to take its first steps. But that at some point this ends, and that it’s a sign of spiritual maturity, and a sign of needing to grow anew, for the early growth is ended. But that’s it difficult, because it’s as if God suddenly hides his face. The prayers or meditations that were once so potent at instilling a sense of oneness or purpose suddenly lose their flavor and become bland and one suddenly feels as if God is nowhere to be found, as if God has abandoned them. And this is the oft quoted verse I’ve given from the traditionally said to be St. Paul, but maybe not St. Paul, from the Book of Hebrews quote of milk for babes, and solid food for adults. That if one progresses, God eventually takes the training wheels off and tosses you into the Desert of the Soul. And I realized this while in my car driving, and I think I even yelled it out in the car when it dawned on me while I was feeling the way I was feeling. “I’m in the Desert of the Soul phase. That’s why everything spiritual appears and feels like it sucks!”
As harrowing as that realization may have been, it at least gave some relief and comfort since I at least knew where I was at. I at least knew that this was now the testing phase, the gold refined in the fire phase as in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. I at least knew that just as my there but not there teacher St. John of the Cross had explained in his work, I had entered into a new phase of the spiritual process and had actually made progress.
I’m doing my best to remember if there’s anything anywhere that speaks of how long this phase lasts, and I honestly can’t remember. Since Jesus was you know, Jesus, he was only in the desert for the 40 days and 40 nights as a method to show us the path. And I wouldn’t make the connection to seeing this phase reflected in Moses and then the Hebews until way later, in the months leading up to the mystical experiences in 2018. But nothing speaks about how long this phase can last. I know it was during this time, once I realized where I was at, that I bought and began studying the Desert Father sayings, since naturally, they were in the desert, and even though I wasn’t entirely aware that I was reading this to find the similar experiences in others that had been tested in this way as I now was, but I suppose I was unconscious of it, or led to it, because after St. John of the Cross, I read this work many times and why to me St. Anthony of the Desert is just the heavyweight champ of this phase of the spiritual life. I also have a half-written book about one of the stories told in these tales and even call it Desert Father. Hopefully someday I finish it.
And looking at my timeline, reading through my notes, there’s something about this that brought a kind of strange revival in me. Many journal entries during this time speak of a deep and spiritual thought process occurring similar to the one’s I read in the previous season of episodes, of feeling a deepness and connectedness, like something was pressing through my subconscious and into my conscious mind regarding the entire spiritual process I was going through. The struggle to find God while out in the Desert, within, instead of continuing to seek Him, without.
But differing ideas have a way of sneaking in. Even though I was reading the texts, seeing the examples, loved the story of St. Anthony in the Desert not paying attention to the dancing naked beauties as he focused on God, saw the similarity of that to what the Buddha was tempted with, almost as if on cue with recognizing that I had entered the Desert of the Soul, big super giant hint hint at what happens in the Desert of the Soul, this was when I discovered the conspiracy theory stuff, when I started reading into the ancient alien theory type stuff, was watching stuff on ghosts and possessions, when the pull towards video gaming over studying and writing more overcame me again after my two year hiatus, and the lure of the world overtook my mind. And though I had a few months of seeing the light, way far out in the distance and ever so faint, it was quickly enveloped by the dancing shadows, by the distractions of the world.
The reading of St. John of the Cross stopped. I kept forgetting my rosary when I’d leave for work after carrying it in my pocket for almost four years. The scapular that I’d bought and wore ripped and I no longer could wear it around my neck and didn’t have the will or the care to go and buy a new one. Going to church every Sunday became maybe every Sunday. I stopped listening to Catholic Answers on the radio every day. I went from the rosary and mediation morning and at night, to maybe at night, and then to no longer at night. Then the rosary itself broke and I didn’t like carrying a broken rosary in my pocket, so I no longer worried about remembering to put it in my pocket.
So many signs that I was given that I’m seeing now in full as I reflect and write this out. I knew each of these had occurred, but while these things are occurring, one never really puts the pieces together, or at least I was too blind to see it. The scapular had snagged on a jacket zipper. The rosary was hanging out of my pocket and snagged on a door handle. I had to focus on work. I needed to rest and relax by watching endless movies and playing never-ending video games and doing the rosary and meditating wasn’t relaxing but had become work. These were the things I was telling myself, not that the signs I was looking for while dwelling in the Desert, were all around and right in front of me. I couldn’t see them because I couldn’t see them, or maybe didn’t want to see them. Quite eye-opening that they all occurred around the same time as I see it all in retrospect.
Yet what’s interesting is that I can’t say that my faith ever deterred. Praying in my mind and hoping, never stopped. But all the external things that were ceasing, or breaking, or being removed were the reflection of the internal succor that God gives ceasing as well. The march through the Desert of the Soul, where only the cardinal virtues exist of faith, hope and love.
It doesn’t appear like everybody out there gets put to the test like this. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve seemed to be the recipient of such attention from God and then such apparent neglect from God but that’s how it’s been for me.
I’ve talked very little about writing. I had dreams of being a writer after my near-death death experience. I have a story to tell I’d tell myself. And I’d try writing whatever stories I could come up with, but they never really wound up meaning much to me so I never did anything with them. At this Desert of the Soul phase, even with all the distractions of the world, I’d managed to complete my book Lucifer Revealed, which back then I’d called Angel of Eden, since it was the only work I truly cared about. I submitted it to publishers and actually got a response back and was told they weren’t accepting new submissions at the time, but that she wanted me to re-submit it in a few months since they would reopen submissions again. It seemed like the fruit I’d been cultivating from writing was near.
And then, the final nail in the Desert of the Soul coffin that told me God was taking me somewhere I had no idea where He was leading. After days, weeks, months, years at that point of not feeling the presence of God, of not hearing the small silent voice within of guidance. Something entered into my mind.
I had just gotten a new job, was doing well in it right from the get-go, but had also finished this book, had received that response, not exactly what I wanted to hear, but positive. Getting any response from a publisher, especially back then since that entire landscape has now changed, was positive. I had just left the LA Fitness I used to work out at and I was stopped at a red light waiting for it to turn green. And my heart spoke and it said that I needed to shelve the book. I needed to sacrifice it to God and give it up for I had placed too much of my faith and hope on writing and the completion of this work, and not on God.
I know that sounds super weird, right when I was at the cusp of possible success with writing, something within was telling me to give it to God instead. What’s interesting is I am exactly where I was eight years ago today as I type this. I am waiting on the rights and permissions for using copyrighted material in the Vision Explained Deeper section of my website that I’ve built with all podcast audio completed and all ebook material put together and everything ready to go. I’ve only begun these next episodes since I’m still waiting. Interesting the cyclical nature of time and the spiritual experience. Eerie, I just got the chills even. As a side note, if you’re wondering why I haven’t read anything in this season of podcasts it’s because this entire rights and permissions thing is slow as molasses for a few of the publishers I’ve submitted to, and this entire process has left a sour taste in my mouth.
Eight years ago, though, when I’d completed the work, I lacked one thing, and it was why my heart told me to give it up to God. And it is the difference versus today as I type this.
I lacked the knowledge and understanding of the Vision of God, even though I had experienced a version or form of it through drug use. Neither was the focus of what I had written on the vision, and neither had I any sense at the time of the form or shape of the vision. Had I not listened to my heart, and kept pushing where I was at then with the book, it would’ve been entirely of my own ego, and not of God’s will, and would not have become what the work has become today. And remembering myself as I was then, had success occurred then, I probably wouldn’t have cared to study or dive deeper into the mysteries of Christ any further and would not have truly fulfilled my promise to God when I was spared death of helping others learn the Narrow Path. I didn’t have God on my side then, for I was not fully on God’s side, for I still had one foot doing what Jonathan wanted, and one foot doing what God was willing for me.
My body is tingling with the sensation of vibration throughout my body as I type this. I hope that you can see this clearly, and that I’ve explained the cyclical nature of time through this episode by sharing my current personal details.
It was a completely irrational thought that had entered into my mind. I fought against it for several days because it made absolutely no sense to shelf what I had just spent seven to eight years working on. But when I quieted my mind and reflected on just how irrational a thought it was, I knew that I hadn’t been the one that had thought it. It came from my heart. It came from the Spirit. It came from God. And I followed it, angry and kicking and screaming within, but since it made absolutely zero sense to me, I knew it had come from a deeper place than my conscious mind. And I have now further answered for any that are listening or reading, why I haven’t spoken about these spiritual things sooner.
We are nearing the end of this Season of podcasts. My goal is to take you right up to where I was when I began the podcast with the mystical experience of the Ascension to the Temple of the Father on March 25th, 2018. Where we just ended, with this mysterious voice within telling me to put aside the writing because I did not understand fully yet what I had written or needed to write, was sometime in the middle of 2013, July, my mind is saying. The next two episodes will close the gap and bring us back to where we started. Until next time.
If you have yet to visit logosofexperienceandtruth.com and born witness to and made the connection of the near thousand images portraying what is seen during the mystical vision throughout all time, all peoples, all cultures, all traditions, the visual representation of the epitomes of science and all religions, make sure to visit and see and judge for yourself if what is shown equals my claim to experience and truth, and that which potentially unites all the deeper hidden invisible mysteries of humankind.