Grateful for Life’s Teaching
Teachers in my life have come as people, places, and structures. Without their blessed influence, I would have long ago been swallowed up in the quagmire of my forgetfulness, and lost touch with the “golden thread” of our divine connection with the whole. Listed chronologically, I am grateful for:
… my parents, Don & Bette Hicks, who purchased our beloved Shuswap Lake summer property in 1958, before they even owned a home. It was here, in the abundant natural beauty of the area at the time, that I experienced regular unitive states of consciousness.
… our family doctor Jim McKeen who, seeing in me a wisdom beyond my years, began loaning me spiritual books at ten years of age.
… the United Church of Canada who, with one Sunday school class at the age of 12, exposed me to the astounding gospel teachings of Jesus. This event awakened a lifetime of passion for the Universal Truth in all Scripture. From ages 12 to 15 years, I contemplated Scripture every evening — a practice that grew a deep awareness of the sacred current within the nervous system of the body-mind as the experience of “God Within.”
… my first meditation and energy-healing teacher Lewis Bostwick who, through the Psychic Institute of the Church of Divine Man, taught that our relationship with God was one of attunement and energy flow. He taught meditation as an energy awareness, and supported the development of intuition and spontaneous Knowing, while being grounded in the body.
… Doug and Naomi Moseley who, through their steadfast commitment to exploring unconscious “shadow” material, created a safe environment for shadow patterns to surface — for exploration and integration.
… Lalitha and Lee Lozowick of the Western Baul tradition. I discovered that the turbaned dream-presence in my mid-20’s was a none other than the Guru and “hidden saint” (of Tiruvanamalai, India) YogiRamsuratkumar. His phenomenal Presence is the Source of the most profound Mystical experiences of my life.
… the Vancouver School of Theology whose academic structure allowed me to combine my love of Scripture with the daily practice of Silence and inner-attunement. With this academic precision and rigour, I was able to design a Research thesis “Surrendering to Silence: A Heart-Centred Practice” which has turned into a facilitated group practice since June 2010.
… Mystic-in-the- Marketplace teacher Thomas Hubl, whose transmission and integrity is astounding. He walks his talk like no other Western teacher I have met.
… participants in my Silence Practice groups whose openness and yearning, draw “the deepest Knowing” from within me.
… my husband who, although not obviously on a spiritual path, has offered his love and his willingness to share our home as a place of sanctuary to many.
An Intimate Encounter with Silence
I was alone in my Vancouver kitchen on a rare sunny mid-November morning in 2012. While enjoying the everydayness of a cup of tea with family dog Rosie by my side, something substantial landed within my awareness. At this point in my life I had been facilitating Silence Practice groups for a couple of years following the completion of a 2010 Master’s Research thesis entitled “Surrendering to Silence: A Heart Centred Practice.” What I did not realize at the time, was the depth of commitment and consequent awakening this regular practice would initiate within me.
I had experienced many major and minor shifts in consciousness before, but this one had a solidity to it — like I had crossed a threshold of some kind. It seemed as though previous mystery-glimpses had now rolled into a solid view. I also experienced a deep knowing that my life did not “belong” to me; that my True Life, my Real Life, my most Alive Life belonged entirely to the experience presently flowing through my awareness.
The more I surrendered to It, the more I became It. How delightfully circular and joyously playful. At the same time that we were “one,” we were also two. At this point my “thinking” mind had receded and all of this felt abundantly natural. There was no questioning or second-guessing. I was not separate from what I was experiencing, and yet “I” was enjoying it.
My heart beat faster. Rushes of vital energy flowed up and down my body and out of my arms. My body was light and alive, and yet solid. The lightness seemed to come from a diminished resistance in my body: I had no personal agenda in this moment, so it seemed as though I could just be there in a sort of suspended and “held” way. Rosie, the cup of tea, and I were held in the same timeless moment. My heart raced again in response to this beautiful congruency, accompanied by a pulling sensation in my chest. My eyes brimmed with grateful tears as I recognized how deeply we are held in this Beauty.
I also knew, with strikingly calm clarity, that I was not the identified-self I had strived to maintain for most of my life. From the perspective of this spacious awareness, the “identified-self” was thin, frightened, meagre, and ghost-like. With sadness, I could also see that this “ghost-like” self had kept me occupied for much of my adult life. Although I have been aware intellectually that I was not that, I seemed to be caught in an endless battle with it: and the more I struggled, the more entangled I became.
Abruptly this beautiful harmonious awareness was broken by a sharp familiar voice within me, “You’re making all of this up”! I recognized this voice as the all-too-familiar voice of fear. A felt a slight heaviness enter my chest. My breathing became more shallow and contracted. I became aware that the middle of my back was hurting. I was also shocked to see that 3 hours had passed in a space of time that I thought was about 20 minutes. I had had an encounter with timelessness in my own kitchen, with my dog Rosie by my side!
“You have a Choice.” I was brought back to the threshold of this expansive encounter by a calm inner voice that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere in particular. So much vitality disappears as entanglement with habits of fear and resistance re-surface in my awareness. They seem so very real, and yet they cost us all so much. If I do have a choice, it is clear that there is only one sane choice. Practice, silence practice: letting go, again and again and again … eternally … into the timeless spaciousness of inner-Silence.
You can contact Laura Madsen by making a comment below or by calling 1 (604) 222-4111