Saturday, November 7, 2009

Seeing is Not Always Believing.

My sister saw my grandmother leave her body when she died. This experience has not made my sister into a believer of anything much. When asked she says things like, 'well, I could have imagined it', or 'well, I don't really know what it was'.

As Diane Duane says in her book 'The Book of Night with Moon', "almost no-one is willing to see the impossible, even right under their noses and shortly find all kinds of explanations for the strange thing seen."

I, on the other hand, have never had any trouble believing the unbelievable, without ever having really 'seen' anything.

I believe that life is extraordinary beyond our imagining. I believe that what we think we 'know' barely scratches the surface of reality. This belief has been the guiding light and driving force of my life. It has brought me through cults, mystery schools, alternative healing, shamanism, sun-dances, to name some.

About 15 years ago I was having a conversation with a Professor of Sociology from a British University. She is the acknowledged academic authority in Britain on alternative religions, better known as cults. I joined one of these notorious cults at the age of 19 and left 14 years later. We had been talking about the mental and emotional process of leaving. Then she asked me what I was going to do now.

I launched into 'well, I've just finished massage school. I am going to do an aromatherapy course; I am going to do yoga teacher training. I'm also following a Native American shamanic path, doing sweat lodges, shamanic healings......' I broke off. As clear as hearing it out loud I heard her think .....'hasn't this woman had enough of this sort of thing, yet?' I chuckled an said, 'Oh, you're thinking 'hasn't this woman had enough of this sort of thing yet?' The look of astonishment and guilt on her face was a picture, before we both dissolved into laughter. I had read her mind exactly.

So to describe me as driven would hardly be an exaggeration Somewhere deep inside me I had the knowing that the bliss of mystic union was not only real but something I wanted. I wanted it more than family, children, lover, material possessions, anything. Because, you see, I had had it as a teenager and then past a certain age it was as though the door had slammed in my face and I could no longer reach it.

Like Adam and Eve banished from the garden, I wandered in the wilderness, an inner wilderness of the mind and spirit. I didn't understand it then. Now I am getting on for 60, and the journey I took, looking for the way back into the inner garden has taught me much. From these things I have fashioned a belief system of my own.

I believe there is a vast difference between spirituality and religiosity. Spirituality is real, religiosity is merely outward form and far too often is used as control dogma.

I believe that the pursuit of spirituality is the one thing that gives life true and enduring meaning. Without it we walk around as empty shells, strangers to ourselves and others, posturing egos whistling in the dark.

I did find my way back to that inner garden. I found that many cultures carried technologies of the spirit, ways that when practiced have predictable results. They could, therefore, be called a science of spirit. There is nothing chance or random about it. The cultures that house these treasures our culture has labeled primitive, even savage, and done their best to undermine, assimilate, or outright destroy them, often with unparalleled brutality. (And we call ourselves civilized.)

For those who are willing to open their minds and look, these technologies of spirit have been preserved, often in secret, and can be found. I looked and found and took them to heart and practiced them. I discovered that it is not what I believe that matters. It is what I do and what I am that matters. I could go around believing that the sky is green, would that make it so? If I believe Jesus is God or that Mohammed is his prophet does that make me a better person? Am I 'saved'? I think there is more than enough evidence on the table to say a resounding no to both of those propositions.

But when I get down on my yoga mat and actually apply the science of spirituality, I get a result that has nothing to do with any belief system I might have. If I still believed Jesus is God, or that the sky is green, I would still get the same results as long as I do it. I experience something that is real. The energy of spirit literally moves through my body, my cells and atoms, and I experience the oneness of mystic union again. I can tell you, as one who has experienced full body orgasms with a tantric master, that sex is a pale imitation in comparison.

So what I truly believe is that belief is not it. Doing and being are it.

Caroline Aqualastar.


  1. Dear Caroline,

    Thank you for joining us at the Grip and for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    I agree with you--when we think we crave pleasure or money or anything else material, this is really a reflection of our desire to be in touch with the Spirit underlying and permeating the universe. One has to have courage and determination to go seeking that experience of union, as you obviously do.

    Sometimes I think that sex is an expression of that desire for union as well. Every now and then, I catch a glimpse...

    Wishing you joy in your quest,

  2. Caroline,

    I could wholly relate to your post. Five years ago my wife became interested in reiki healing. It wasn't something I'd previously encountered. Although I tried to understand the concept (chi energy, channeled through a receiver/healer and passed on to a recipient) my appreciation could be described as 'academic' at best and 'skeptical' at worst.

    Nevertheless, when she returned from being attuned, I agreed to be her guinea pig as she tested her new abilities on me, but I wasn't sure I fully believed.

    As you point out: 'belief is not it. Doing and being are it.'

    When I first felt the energy from her body passing into mine, I was amazed that such an experience existed, and apalled that I had ever doubted it could exist.

    YOur post adroitly summarised my relationship with that experience, and several others that have followed since.

    Thanks again for stopping by,


  3. Hi Caroline!

    Thanks for being our guest this week. This was a wonderful post. Although mine focused more on my doubts, what you've written here tends to speak for me as to what I believe is true. I think actually though you've expressed it better than i would have. We come from the same background, the same cult as it were, but you've taken a more committed and spiritual direction whereas I drifted to a more conventional path. When I read your post I wished I could turn back the clock and do it all differently from about age 19. Well, we are what we are. I believe you have used your life well.


  4. Thank you all for your kind comments.

    The expereince of writing this has given me an even deeper respect for you guys who do this every week!


  5. Caroline, all I can say is hear, hear, well said.
    Warm hugs,