Karen M's Experience
As I said above, I was really struggling with my life and had recently married and moved far away from home. I was homesick and not sure I had made the right choice at the time, but felt overwhelmed at the notion of returning home to our very poor, violent neighborhood and trying to start over looking for a life-partner. I had felt guided to be with my husband, and he is still my husband forty years later, so I was praying for guidance about what to do. I had returned home for a two week visit with my parents at the end of January, beginning of February 1974 and I thought I would use the opportunity to pray, even late into the night, seeking guidance for my dilemma.
One night I was lying in bed in our guest room upstairs, next to my mother's room, awake praying and feeling almost immobilized by the state of concentration I'd created in myself, when my mother came into the room and prayed, 'Lord Jesus, please help this child. She is troubled, please help her." I believe she placed her hands on me. My mother was very spiritually-oriented and belonged to a Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group at the time. I did not 'relate' to Jesus at the time, nor had I for many years prior, so while she prayed for me, I also prayed, "Oh All That Is, if you are really there please hear my mother's prayer. My mother is so good. If I could re-enter her and start over, I would."
My mother then left the room, and suddenly, where she had stood there was a figure of Golden Light that was like a streaming of beautiful gentle flame, in the shape of a person holding hands out over me. The Light had a beautiful fragrance and an overwhelming energy of Love and Happiness and Strength and Peace! I might have expected 'forgiveness' for the mistakes I felt I had made earlier in my life but I did not feel any forgiveness. In fact, it was clear that there was no 'need' for forgiveness - there was only LOVE. I felt completely accepted and loved. I felt very safe. I heard several different 'voices' talking at once inside me. One was saying, "Wow, this is incredible!" Another was saying, "Whoa, this is too much!" Another was saying, "Thank you so much for coming to me, this is great, but could you please leave now?" When I heard that voice, I noticed that the Golden Light started to 'move away' or grow smaller.
I remembered reading in a book that believers can ask for the Holy Spirit, so I quickly added (silently, telepathically), but please give me the Holy Spirit before you go. When I thought that, I felt a wind blow through me and I saw a figure that looked like me but that seemed to hold all my heaviness, go out of me or off of me, as if a garment were being blown away by the wind. And then the Golden Light moved far to my left and disappeared. I felt that during the streaming of the Golden Light of Love I received a lot of information about how to live my life in a more positive way, that God loves everyone all the time and only wants us to live life fully, joyfully and with a kind of quality of intensity. Later when I learned that Jesus had said he came to bring Life Abundantly, this made perfect sense to me - this was what the Golden Light had tried to communicate to me.
I knew that I didn't
need to be afraid of returning to my new life with Gary in California and that
the Golden Light of Love would always be with me in the future, and I could rely
on that glorious, peaceful energy, and I could encourage other people to trust
that this huge Love and Happiness would be there for them to - that this was the
intent of the Divine for us to experience. After all of this had 'flowed into
me' in the matter probably of seconds or at most minutes, I felt like I could
surrender, stop making my intense efforts to pray, and just go to sleep and I
fell into a sleep so naturally and so deep and peaceful that I couldn't ever
remember such a complete dropping off to sleep since I was a baby. The next day
I felt free, light, like a child, re-born and full of joy and hope. This
feeling lasted for a long time although I can't remember now if it was weeks or
months. I can still come back to this feeling, almost at will, if I have the
opportunity to focus myself.
Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience? No
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? No
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? No
What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience? Well, I seemed to be hyper-alert and conscious on many levels at once. But my body seemed to be inert.
Was the experience dream like in any way? That is difficult to answer because in retrospect it could be said to seem 'dream-like' but at the time it seemed incredibly real, hyper-real. But it was so unusual that it was 'dream-like.' It changed like dreams do, but always in a way that made perfect sense, while dreams often do not.
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? No I seemed to maintain my location of lying down in bed while the experience happened.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt great joy, relief, incredible love, but also some fear. It was an 'awesome' experience, quite out of the realm of the ordinary, and I found it rather overwhelming.
Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises? I heard 'layers' of 'streams' of voices talking all at once, but could 'hear' some of the streams quite clearly. Others less so, just like in the background.
LOCATION DESCRIPTION: Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures? No
Did you see a light? Yes It was a Golden Light that was glittering, swirling, streaming but contained at the same time in the shape of a human being. I could feel it even though it wasn't actually touching me. There was also a magnificent fragrance filling me along with many other positive feelings.
Did you meet or see any other beings? No
Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state? No
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? No
Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different? Yes Yes, the fragrance was unlike anything else I've ever smelled. My body felt like the joints were slightly detached, which was odd. I was hearing on several levels at once - or perhaps thinking - there was no separation between thinking and hearing.
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? Yes Time was difficult to measure.
Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? Yes Yes, I covered that above in my description
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes Yes, I felt as if the Golden Light withdrew to a certain point and then disappeared - although I don't think this is the kind of boundary you are asking about.
Did you become aware of future events? Yes Yes, but only in a general way. I knew that everything would be all right. That this Divine Love and Goodness wanted to permeate our lives and that if we welcomed it, It would!
Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body? Yes I am not sure I was really out of my body during this experience, but I did ask that the experience come to an end because it was a little bit 'too much' for me, and it did come to an end but very gently and leaving this 'enlivening' breath of hope and spirit with me, as per my request.
Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience? Uncertain That's hard for me to say for sure, but I did seem to have a more developed prayer life, sometimes would find that I was praying for someone who I later learned had really needed prayer at the time, had many subsequent 'unusual' experiences during prayer / meditation. I later became an acupuncturist and was able to do healing work with people that seemed to involve paranormal 'knowing.' However, before the experience I had been told that I had paranormal gifts, so I'm not sure exactly how the experience affected those - but most definitely everything became more activated or energized after the experience. I became much more clear about that the direction of my life was spiritual and I was able to help other people who were struggling around spiritual matters.
Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience? Yes Yes, I definitely believed in God after that. Prior I had always had doubts, and in fact this caused a lot of my suffering. I was always spiritually inclined, perhaps was somewhat psychic, brought up in an environment where belief was expected, but seemed so inconsistent that I was never really able to 'buy in' to it. So, I guess I was struggling not only with matters in my outer life - like whether to stay married to Gary - but also struggling with inner matters of faith. This experience totally changed that. I believed in a Loving God now, but I still was not sure about Jesus, and other 'religious' issues.
How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices? The experience kept me in my marriage, brought me into a more developed relationship with religion. When I told my mother the next day what had happened and how free and re-born I felt, she said this was like the experiences in the New Testament and introduced me to some people who told me how what I'd experienced was described in the NT. I became very involved in Christian spiritual practices after that for at least a decade but soon realized that I believe that God is God for everyone and that religions somewhat create walls that keep us apart. I wanted to live my life in a way that combined religions because really we are all One. So I became involved with a Hindu saint who I felt also reflected that belief of mine: Amma. And now I am back in Christianity, but in the Alternative Christianity of the Mary Magdalene tradition. I'm teaching in that tradition, using much of what I learned in Hinduism too. I wanted to help others by offering support, affirmation and encouragement and did that for some years in the context of Catholicism, but when things became more professional for me there, I felt a movement away from that, and went on to study Chinese Medicine (and some Ayurveda) and was a practitioner for twenty years. I know that I have a positive effect on others even without using techniques, needles, herbs, etcetera and now i do elder-companion work. I feel I'm especially helpful to the dying because I do not have the fear of death and they can feel the peace when I am with them.
Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes I think I've answered already above how my life has changed specifically as a result of my experience. Perhaps one thing I could add to that is that I was given an opportunity to study theology at the master's level as a result of the work I did in the context of the church as a result of my experience. Since I had never actually completed my undergraduate degree I was only accepted because of my pastoral work, and that grew directly out of my experience.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes Some people are highly inspired by my sharing of my experience, but I have had people who thought I was lying or mentally ill. The people who were inspired went on to explore their own spirituality and to make that a more central part of their lives. I used to share my experience in the context of prayer meetings, but now that I am not doing that anymore I don't share as often at all. Also it seemed more acceptable to people who were spiritual seekers within the Christian community - I think because it is easier to think that the experience had to do with 'Jesus' (a known quantity in terms of society) - and after all my mother prayed to 'Jesus.' Without that 'setting' for the experience, it may seem too 'special' or something. Sometimes people tell me my experience makes them feel jealous or somehow it's too much for them, so I often just keep it to myself these days.
What was the best and worst part of your experience? The best part was the unconditional love I experienced from the Golden Light and recognized as something that is ultimate about the universe. The worst part was still having enough fear in my system that one of the streams of talk inside me asked the Golden Light to go away! I realize now that there was an option to merge with it, and I wish I had taken that option, but overall I have no complaints about the experience! It was wonderful and gave me a new start in life. Perhaps the worst part of the experience was the anguish I felt leading up to it.
Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience? Even though I never did attempt to commit suicide, I was definitely thinking about it and so I look at this experience as a response by the universe to someone who was really pretty desperate. No need to go into the details of what had brought me to such a pass - the most important thing is that after this experience everything began to turn around. My life went forward from there in a very good direction and many things have unfolded for me. I would like to help others more directly from my experience but even the more or less indirect way I am able to help others as a result of my experience feels good to me.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? Yes When I met Amma, the Hugging Saint, I felt some of the same feelings in her presence, and experienced some aspects of the Golden Light again when near her or after my darshan experiences.
Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes