Many Paths to Enlightenment
Twenty years ago I had an experience of moving into enlightenment. But that’s a weighty word, so I’m going to just bring it down a few notches and say I had this experience of disappearing and becoming one with everything in the universe. And that was a real game-changer for me. Since then I’ve been speaking, sharing, and giving healings with the energy that I experienced during this awakening time.
So, what is enlightenment? It’s like flowers blooming and spring arriving. There’s a renewal and our body feels this renewal—the energy of enlightenment comes from the earth—our body feels the energy of awakening. We’ve been through winter, the time that we go deep, going within, looking for the hidden mysterious light that can never be put out even when the sun seems to be far away. Springtime is when the beauty of who you are blossoms, when Mother Earth rebirths her consciousness. Mother Earth, or Gaia, is a living being. She’s alive like you and I are alive and she speaks the language of nature. And this language of nature is enlightenment,
Enlightenment is that simple. It is being connected to another kind of communication—a communication that is nonlinear, without words—a knowingness. And when this communication occurs, the entire feel of your persona—your soul/spirit/physical body and the ego body, the ego mind—explodes. It’s a supernova, it’s THE aha moment where you break through the prison wall, the energetic wall called the mind.
Yes, we need our minds. But the mind is also the barrier to enlightenment. Why is that? Because the mind, the thinking mind, just thinks itself into all kinds of little traps and little rooms of muttering and trying to figure it all out, putting things together. And that’s all wonderful. We love the mind and we need the mind. But there is a window in this prison-like room of the mind where the light is always shining in through the bars. And you, who are a seeker, you are the one looking up from the small room of your mind saying, “I want that light. I want to fly out that window.” And that’s what we’re here for today. That’s why I’m here. I’m a guide. I’m like a boat captain saying, “Okay, here are some strategies. Here are some steps. This will work better than something else. Here, check this out.”
Enlightenment, again that’s a really big word. But if we just bring it down a bit, it’s about moving into being completely at home in your body, completely at peace with your world, completely in love with everything and feeling love from everything, spontaneous joy, creativity … all of this is enlightenment. So, it’s really very simple. It’s just that the path to it gets very complicated because we’ve had thousands and thousands and thousands of years of incredible teachings and practices designed to help us find enlightenment. So the path has gotten very, very heavy. It’s loaded with the weight of all these ideas and thousands of big books such that many of us say, “Oh, my gosh, I can never do this! It’s just too hard. There’s so much dogma and so many rules, I don’t think I can do it in my modern life!”
But the thing is, we all really do have help walking this path. Recently, on a trip to sacred sites in Morocco and Europe, I went to the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena and I got a great reminder of how much help is really here for us. Saint Catherine is not a saint I know much about. But I do have a very personal, long-term relationship with her. So my experience at the Cathedral where her skull is housed was very powerful and exquisite. While there I asked her, “Why me? Why did you appear to me all those years ago? I’m not special. I’m as ordinary as ordinary can be!”
I listened carefully to what she had to say in response to my question. And now I’d like to share the whole story with you so that you might be more open to having your own experience, your own mystical opening into the wonders of the great Saints and the Archangels and Mother Nature and what they have to say to us.
Back when 911 happened, I was living in Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles with my daughter who was about six or seven at the time. Three weeks prior to the terrible event that was to shock the world, I was shown the whole thing in a dream. So when I turned on the TV that morning and saw my horrifying dream unfolding before me, all I could think to ask was, “Why was I shown this when obviously there’s nothing I can do to stop it?” After 911, I began to have many dreams of the people who were on the planes—they started talking to me, saying things like, “We’re in a great place. We have our bodies. It’s like we just left one room and went into another. We didn’t even know we died.” One of the young men said, “I just want you to know I’m not dead.”
During this time period, I was in the grocery store at Gelson’s in Pacific Palisades, writing a check for the groceries and suddenly, behind the clerk, a woman appears. She’s petite and young, perhaps in her late 20s early 30s, and she’s wearing a nun’s habit from hundreds of years ago. She’s smiling at me and it’s all so real I turned to the woman next to me and I said, “Wow, isn’t it odd there’s a nun in Gelson’s standing there?” And from the look I got I realized, Oh, my gosh, she can’t see this person! So, I said nothing more and just kept writing the check. Finally, I get my groceries and start to go out and the nun follows me, smiling, not saying a word. So I stop outside and turn to her and say, “Okay, who are you? What’s going on?”
I looked right in her eyes and they were this clear blue, like crystalline blue, and she smiled and said, “I am St. Catherine.”
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“I want you to know that I am watching over you and watching over the children of God,” she said “We want humanity to know that there’s a great light coming, a great Ascension of Transformation that’s coming, and we want you to not be afraid. Even though these events look so terrible, please know that the saints and the angels of God are all here now on the Earth, walking among you to help nurture, love, and minister to humanity and the broken heart of humanity.”
Now, all this is happening right in front of Gelson’s. I was so overwrought I was just crying and the whole world changed in that moment—everything in front of me changed and time stopped. For many years I meditated, prayed and contemplated this vision I had been shown, wondering, again and again, Why me? And for heaven’s sakes, why at Gelson’s?
I got many answers and lessons that I want to share with you. The main lesson I got was: Don’t have a preconceived notion about where your aha moment—where or when your awakening moment—will happen. Just throw that out. I wasn’t in a church or a monastery. I wasn’t in a yoga studio. I wasn’t meditating. I was writing a check at the grocery store in a checkout line. And this vision, this experience of St. Catherine, was one of the most powerful visions I’ve ever had. It’s one of only five times in my life where I’ve seen the actual physical body of a saint or an archangel or prophet. (I used to see a lot of ghosts but I don’t anymore because I asked for that to stop and it did.)
The lesson was to be in the moment and know that while doing the mundane work of living, Spirit is right there—that awakening is right there as a potential all the time.
So, what are the steps, what are the keys to being in the moment so that when the aha happens and you have an experience of expanded consciousness you are ready for it and can actually coax it along and help it happen?
Step 1: First of all, be inquisitive. Be inquiring, be active. Enlightenment or receiving alignment is not a passive state, it’s an active state. And when I say “be active,” I mean make a commitment—intend to live life fully present and experience it fully. Look for the light in life, look for the goodness of life. Look for those moments because they are there all the time. We just get so busy we run right by them. So, the first thing is to be inquisitive. Be pro-active. Ask to be given information.
Step 2: The second thing is to say to the universe in the morning when you wake up, “I am ready for my enlightenment. I am ready for my awakening. I am ready to reconnect to the most magnificent incredible creation of all that is.” And then, even while you’re doing the rest of your work, put your attention on that, make that important. Make it important in your heart, important in everything you do. It can’t be something that you just casually think about once a week or are reminded of when you go to yoga. It has to be something that is living inside of you 24/7.
Now the mind, that small little room I just talked about, your mind will keep trying to get you to think that life is simply that small room, that prison. It will distract you. It will throw up obstacles so that at the end of the day you say, “Oh, it’s impossible for me to get out of myself and really expand into who I truly am.” That’s what the mind says. So, what you want to say back to the mind is, “I hear you. But you’re a liar and that’s not true and I’m going to stay connected to life—the energy of life, the wonder of life—and to the light of my soul’s awakening. I am ready!”
I really want you to get that you are ready. Declare that to the universe. “I am ready!” And then don’t have a timeline. Don’t say to the universe, “I’m ready and I want this by next Friday at 10 o’clock.” It’s not like you’re scheduling a doctor’s appointment. We have to come from the attitude, “I am ready and it’s on your time, Spirit. When you feel it’s time, I want you to know that I am ready.” When you say that, wow! The world, the creation, the mystery, all open and the veils part and that inner eye, that Silent Watcher within you, gets activated and the action of the world shifts profoundly. That’s when the magic happens, that’s when synchronicity occurs. And it may happen for just a few moments. But here’s the other thing about enlightenment. It’s very important to know that it’s not like you have this experience and then you stay like that forever. Yes, that happens down the line. But in the beginning stages you’ll expand, you’ll have this moment of oneness and then it’ll close down. At that moment it’s important to think, “Okay, I felt it ! I felt it! Now, please know, I’m ready again!” Pray to be in the moment and then seize the next time the opening happens. Do this and you are well on your way to having your greatest dream answered: The dream of living a fully connected and happy, joyous life.
I’d like to leave you now with a prayer and blessing from St. Catherine. So, close your eyes for just a couple of minutes and gently watch your breath and allow the presence of pure creation to open, like a great orb of white light sitting on your crown chakra. You can feel the weight of this orb, a slight pressure, a tingling as this orb of light of divine truth opens your crown chakra. Now, this orb of light begins to descend into your brain, illuminating your brain in the clear light of enlightenment, clarity, peace, and forgiveness.
And now this beautiful, beautiful light descends down into the back of your throat, softening and opening the back of your throat so that your throat is filled and bathed in the clear light of truth. Now, speak aloud: I am truth. I speak my truth. And now this orb of white light descends down past your shoulders, into your heart. And there you see in your heart this orb of white light, the lily, the white lily with the most beautiful fragrance. Say: I am the enlightened heart. I am the fragrance of a flower. I am peace.
Let your heart relax, let all the muscles around your heart relax so your heart gently opens to receive this light. Now let this orb of light descend into your solar plexus and into your belly. Soften your belly and your solar plexus until it’s a pure white space and all the stress and anxiety just dissipate and wash away. Say: I am serenity. I am serenity. Everything is perfect.
As this beautiful orb descends into your hips, into your pelvis, relaxing the pelvis, all the stress melts away from your lower back. Say: I am divine action. I am creation. And as this orb floats down through your legs, down to your feet, finally your feet come to gently rest on this orb of light and the light is radiating into your feet. Say: I am connected to Mother Earth. I am supported by Mother Earth. Life is always with me, filling me from Mother Earth.
And now St. Catherine takes her hands and places them upon your head, saying to you, “My beloved, know that you are always cared for and loved. This presence, this energy, is the energy of the relief of suffering. Find relief letting go of the story that you must suffer. Let those stories from another time wash away. You are here to live in joy. You do not have to carry the belief that you must suffer. You are free, free from the prison.”
Now, gently open your eyes. Take a nice deep breath and set your intention for the day: I am ready, I am ready.