The answering machine blinked. On July 22, 2011, a woman talked haltingly, as in a daze, not really knowing WHY she was calling me after some thirty years of silence. How had she found me? My thoughts went to the Internet results found under my name and the Consciousness Conference in Stockholm I had recently attended, where my telephone number was also listed. Later on in the day I returned her call. I had recognized her name and remembered her black outfit in which I last saw her - black, warrior-like, mannish.
Who had she become and why had she found me? Deborah had been “inspired” to call me just like that, after some thirty years. The conversation which followed made it very clear that a part of her had known the content of my recent expansion unto the web and, furthermore, that her life experiences resonated with mine. More than a generation separates us in time, but she has matured through the hardships in life and I have become liberated in ways not known earlier in my life. Somehow, our paths meet like two lines on a graph.
Talking about my experiences comes spontaneously to me. I referred to what I call a mystical experience I had when I was 11 years old in an olive grove near the old Appian Way, 19 km. outside of Rome. She wanted to hear about it. We had been on the phone for a long time, and I sensed that it would be easier if I sent her my description of that experience through the mail, since it was not listed on my website. Therefore I have decided to rewrite it for Deborah, a person of a distant past and list it here.
The experience: July 1948
As usual, I walked towards the large expanse of century-old twisted olive trees at the edge of my grandfather's property, circumscribed by our grape vines, the Old Appian Way, a neighbor’s ravine and a walk leading to the main house, a 17th century villa, later monastery, then villa at that time and presently an abandoned residence, around which horses ran freely and grapes were once raised.
It had been built by the nephew of Pope Urban VIII, a Barberini Cardinal and prince. His coat of arms, made of a turret of bees carved out of travertine, stood for centuries crowning a 40 foot gate until a dozen years ago, vandals laddered up to it, detached it, and got away in the night. It probably now adorns a villa in California or New York. My grandfather had bought the property in the early Twenties, knocked off half of the third floor creating a magnificent terrace overlooking from a distance St. Peter's dome in Rome and the villa where the Pope spends his summer months at Castel Gandolfo.
My childhood years were happy, magical and were spent mostly among adults. I was homeschooled by my Mother, playing with rabbits, cats, wild flowers, investigating ancient ravines where wild strawberries found fertile shaded niches. It was my Eden, and I knew it. I still remember a picture of me looking at a flowering begonia near a giant hut built by my grandfather so that I could play outside when it rained. The thought came to me even then: “I have never known sorrow, like so many people I talk to have!" The all-powerful CREATOR had ordered the Universe and I LOVED IT, because I loved its exuberant creation.
This state of affairs suddenly ended on a cold November night in 1944 when escorted by a German military convoy, my father drove his Lancia into Rome and we entered the dingy and dark hallway of my grandmother's apartment at Via Flavia 104: two pet rabbits I had milk fed since birth came along in a basket, and so did my one-year old cat Nerina in a different container. As we entered the dimly lit kitchen, I saw the old marble table upon which I had been delivered eight years before. It was bare and stark except for a mouse trap neatly placed in the middle of it with cheese bait still uneaten. As I recalled it later, that image was really meant for me, as it was the cage in which I would remain for more than half my life. While training in hypnosis in 1985, I tried to dismantle that image. Now I wonder why that became necessary, since within 3 years,[???????] I would have the most profound experience in my life which would transcend Time and Space and take me to the experience of bliss and the meaning of life.
Some have to fast, flagellate themselves, pray or go into caves or the desert for years - and then there are some like me who suddenly and literally out of nowhere enter a portal of what some may refer to as 'eternity'. For years after the experience I felt a certain guilt, as a survivor of a great battle feels when many of his buddies have not survived it. And the survivor asks – “WHY ME?" This was probably the reason I did not talk to anyone about this experience for about 35 years or so. I told others, because I started reading and found out that I was not alone - many other people over the millennia had had this experience – and these were people we knew about, saints, visionary mystics. I was none of that, therefore the question remained: “WHY ME?”
Now, at the ripe age of seventy-five, after having finally accepted responsibility for the event, because it did entail certain actions, I feel liberated and free in talking about it. I should also mention that a message came as the vision waned, and it was about "TALKING WITH OTHERS" who were also in despair and need. But the wise person-child knew that she could not talk to anyone about the experience. I felt an enormous sadness, which I feel right now as I am writing, about my incapacity to share with others what had been revealed to me.
I had to change several skins, like the grasshoppers I once raised, I had to acquire strong ego defenses, I had to read a great deal and become overeducated to finally arrive to a place in life where the opinions of others no longer mattered, because I had earned my wisdom and could feel safe in saying anything I needed to say. I had arrived at a new way of life where communications would make it possible for me to speak out and be heard to fulfill the command which came to me at 11 years of age:
That the Mind is eternal, that it is part of the energy of the Universe, and that LOVE holds the whole thing together. I had asked “IT” to reveal itself after having endured the nothingness which engulfed me at the end of WWII. I needed to know that God existed, to know God, the Source of Power, as I referred to it as a child, the power which had created the world ex nihilo. No one can KNOW what God is but as an inference, and only because our minds are also like sun rays coming out of the Sun.
What is “IT?”
Someone who read this story asked me, “What was the experience about?”
It was the same experience that some thirty years later I read about in several texts written in various cultures about it. I was standing on a pathway through the olive grove in our farm on a warm July afternoon, flanked by the trough where the horse and the cow drank and by the ancient olive trees.
Suddenly, as the sun was lowering itself over the wall separating the property from the OLD Appian Way…suddenly, I felt surrounded by a giant wave of light and experienced my whole being becoming light. I was still standing and I was totally conscious while at the same time being totally immersed in this expansive experience. As Chopra would say, I was in a state of pure consciousness reflecting upon itself. The emotion was one of bliss, of feeling tremendous love for everything. As the experience waned, perhaps after a few minutes, perhaps after five, perhaps after ten, it is hard to say, a part of me knew that I was in a state of total knowing about life itself. A thought arose in my mind: why do I have to keep on living now that I know everything, since life can be so much about suffering? ... Another thought arose in form of a message. I had experienced similar messages previously. The message was verbal, not auditory and it said, “You must go on living in order to tell others about what you experienced, so that it may help them when they may find themselves in despair as you did.”
The experience was over. I was overcome by a deep sadness because of the incapability at the time, and “for the next thirty years,” to talk about it with others.
I knew that I was not a saint or anyone worth of such an extraordinary gift. Allegorically speaking, I had no reference for such an event at the time. It became a wall behind my back, but it also isolated me from my contemporaries. It remained in a state of isolated vacuum in my consciousness until I was able to learn that there had been many others over thousands of years who had had the same experience.
It did become an issue over these last years because time is passing: “What am I going to do about following the instructions I was given?” I’m still working on it…………
What are the limits of the Human Mind? What are its connections to what in all cultures has been referred to as “GOD?”…Answering this question will be the content of a later entry.
Is this, Deborah, what you wanted to know?