Category Archives: Fear

In a Strange Land

I dreamed I was a visitor in a strange land.

It was a place of beautiful jungles and waterfalls, of unexpected wonders and things I had never seen before.

 

I had a guide and he began to tell me all about the place, how to get along and do well.

Then he told me about the snakes. He said that there were many in this new land.

I felt a chill. I am so terrified of snakes.

He told me “The snakes here are different. When you come upon them they don’t just slither away, they stand up on their tails – so high that their eyes are level with your own and you can see their fangs clearly and their tongues flickering.”

I paled and wanted to run.

“There is no problem” he said ” This is just the way things work here. If you look straight back into their eyes, standing tall, they will understand you wish to pass and then they will turn, lie down, and slither away.”

“But this feels unbearable to me!” I cried “I love this beautiful land but I am so frightened of the snakes! I don’t know if my legs will hold me. I know that I will want to turn and run every time I see a snake!”

My guide gently taught me some more of the ways of the snake:

“This running in terror is the most dangerous thing you can do” he spoke ” This gives the snake power and makes them able to attack you. As soon as you turn and run they can chase you and bite you. The only way through the wonders of this beautiful jungle is to look the snakes in the eye.”

I awoke, pondering how I often I turn and run from my fears. Instead of standing tall, staying in my body and facing the things I fear the most; I panic, I run, I give my fear power over me and my direction.

God’s beauty surrounds me always – but in a week full of fears realised and many more approaching its easy to loose sight of this. I can not feel the beauty unless I am willing to let my fear overwhelm me.  In order to move freely and drink in the wonder of the world, I must look my fear in the eye, to know it and taste, and finally watch it dissolve.

Illustration by Eloisa

On Forming a Cult

We had a cult investigator spend a couple of days with us recently. He sent us a very respectful email and asked to speak with us about our beliefs and so we said yes.  David is a Christian minister with a very firm set of his own beliefs, but he wanted to hear about the Divine Love Path, our identities and we shared some interesting discussions. There was no attack or ridicule directed towards us. I have no idea how he will present us to the world, but I respect that what he chooses to do with our vulnerability is a part of the exercise of his free will.

I have many ideas, reflections and fears about this word cult! It seems a convenient way for society’s accepted religious formats (which all began as ‘cults’ themselves) to lump ‘everything different’ into one category. And ‘everything different’ certainly exists across a broad spectrum.

The word itself conjures up fear in many, references to cool aid and mass suicide are implied in its very utterance. Its all very dramatic and I constantly wonder at society’s obvious penchant for sensationalism, doom and gloom. Of course much harm has been done to many in the name of God and religion but we need to attribute the harm to its true cause and not the effect. The inclination to brand and fear groups that are different has its origins in our personal history.

Fear of Cults? or The Cult of Family

I know that there have been very damaging religious movements that have taken away the free will of others. History has documented cult leaders who have encouraged a worship of themselves and discouraged self love in their followers. Of course many other types of leaders, including politicians, economists and celebrities have done the same. I also know that we are not these types of people.

Some of you have heard me joke about ‘the cult of family’. I coined this term because through my experience and observation it is most often families that use guilt and manipulation to control the will of others in their clan. It is most often family members who resist change in the individual as it upsets the status quo of entrenched family relations. I’m not just referring to spiritual change. We know that fathers berated their sons for their long hair in the 60s, that the advent of rock and roll music and free dancing was scandalous for the older generation of the time. Mothers and fathers throughout history have not only sighed and shaken their heads at their off-springs ‘wild’ or ‘immoral’ ways but often they have gone to extreme social measures and emotional pressure in attempts to pressure their son or daughter against change.

I’m not suggesting that we should throw out families or their ‘values’ altogether but I do think we should question the principle that family = sacrifice, or that in order to show that we love we must compromise our own heart’s desires or passions. This seems to be a fairly entrenched belief system in common family life. I also believe that a supposedly ‘loving family’ that uses unloving words, actions or attempts to control their mother, father, brother or sister through manipulation, guilt, or threat of rejection resembles more the harmful and dangerous ‘cults’ they are so quick to imply that I am a part of, rather than anything I am currently involved in.

I believe that the fear engendered by the word cult relates not to these afore mentioned damaging movements that have existed in the past but to individuals’ fears of being controlled and that the most controlling people in our lives have been not religious leaders or school mistress’ but inevitably our families. In my family I felt smothered by the level of expectation placed upon me and I felt I couldn’t take a step without full parental approval. Ultimately I felt controlled and my sense of self did not flourish. (My parents’ current unloving treatment of me and my partner indicates their demands and desire for control over my life were real). Without a solid sense of whom I was independent of my family I struggled to have integrity to any ideal. I became angry at religion or any organisation that I felt was controlling or required conformity. This was because of the anger and pain I had at always feeling that I needed to conform to my parent’s values and desires.

A person with a strong sense of self never fears being controlled and knows that as long as others have a sense of self they cannot be controlled either. Instead of worrying about the alarming instances of ‘cults’, society would do better to focus on parenting and assisting children and young people to acquire and nourish a healthy sense of themselves.

 

I am not a ‘Member’

I am not a ‘member’ of a ‘cult’. I simply desire to grow in love to at-onement with God and my Soulmate and to love every other person, here or in the spirit world, equally and abundantly. I see that one of the deepest injuries that we carry as humans on the planet today, is the deep urge to ‘belong’, to ’fit in’. We categorise ourselves constantly. We want to create ‘belonging’. This wound is reflected everywhere around us, it is in our language, it drives our penchant to have a role or roles.

Our lives are full of ‘fitting in’ statements:

“I am a mother”, “I’m an Australian”, “I’m a member of…..”, “I’m a doctor, a nurse, an accountant”, “I’m a cricketer, a vegan, a Christian, a labour man….”

We ask questions “What do you do?” instead of “Who are you?”

And what we really mean is “Where do you fit?”

And even more urgently we feel “Where do I belong?”

How invested we become in our roles is a measure of how much we seek a sense of ‘belonging’ to avoid the desperate void within.

The compulsion to fit and categorise is only an avoidance of the deep sense that we carry from childhood – that we are unworthy, that we are alone, that we are different and that is bad.

I am reminded of the words of Gary Zukov and Linda Francis:

“So long as we reach outward in any way to soften the pain of feeling unworthy, or the terror of not belonging, we bring violence and destruction into our lives, individually and collectively.”

*Zukov & Francis (2001) The Heart of the Soul, pg. 25

When we create ‘belonging’ for one set of people, we create ‘conditions’ for loving, and in doing so we unavoidably create ‘not belonging’ for those who don’t match those criteria. Neediness to be a member or feel superior to others is driven by injuries rooted in our pasts. If we are to heal we must face our own sense of not belonging caused by the pain, abandonment and poor treatment in our childhoods. We must grow the sense of self that we lack.

When I see those people who desire to live this Path creating a preference for others ‘on the Path’, when I see them (or myself) living in fear of how others will view us, using words or attitudes that create an ‘us and them’ mentality, I begin to fear that a cult (not of our making) will form. This brings me pain. One of the largest issues with our attempts to teach Truth in the first century was that people could not go beyond the injury of competition, power and control (all products of unworthiness or greed). This created the “Christianity” that we have seen warring with and excommunicating people throughout history.

There are no chosen people – God loves us all, equally. I believe there is only one way to at-onement with my Heavenly Parent and that is through living this Path. This does not mean I feel a ‘member’ of an ‘elite’. Quite the contrary – I feel humbled to have learned the Truth of my existence, I feel inspired to share the wonder with others and I feel deeply that I exist amidst millions of brothers and sisters and I desire to love them equally and to share who I am with them, to be open and genuine with every person regardless of what they believe and what they feel about me.

The way to from a cult is to cultivate an emotion of ‘us and them’, to breed haughtiness or condescension towards ‘others’. This is not my desire, nor Yeshua’s. We seek God and we seek to love. I seek to feel the cause of every emotion of unworthiness, rejection or fear within me – not to placate these feelings by surrounding myself with ‘like-minded’ people. I do relish the company of ‘like-hearted’ people – but these like-hearts are those who seek to love God and others and such seeking does not lead to division or separation.

True belonging is a sense we find within ourselves. For myself it is a knowledge, from God, that I am loveable – no matter what. The absence of this sense, the absence of a sense of self, causes us to seek out ‘our people’, ‘our tribe’, or even just ‘my kind of person!’ This division leads us far away from the loving state of viewing everyone as a brother or a sister.

Our fear of ‘cults’ and the label ‘cult’ really translates to a fear of control and powerlessness. When we heal these wounds we will know that with authentic self respect and love we can never be controlled or have our true power taken from us.

Where To Begin?

I have been afraid for a long time. Afraid to remember, afraid to tell my story.

Its hard to know how or from when to start telling my story…. Do I start three years ago?.. do I start 32 years ago?… 2000 years ago?… or in some space in between those points?

I’ve decided to start today and write what I think will become my story in a blog format. What will be in part my daily journal, in part a chronicle of my first century life and spirit life and I suspect in the main part a description of my ongoing struggle to come to terms with my identity, my passion for God and my emotional journey in striving to come to love myself and others in the Way that God loves each of us.

Why Tell My Story???

I want to try to explain why I have decided (feel compelled) to start this project. I’m struggling to find the words to do so and am reminded that AJ always says to me: ‘stop trying to explain and just say what you feel’ 🙂 so here is how I feel;

Mainly I feel ridiculous, awkward, self-conscious. Who would want to read my story anyway?! I’m afraid of being judged as self-involved and a freak… the intense vulnerability of it is terrifying..

I have been on this path for sometime now, teaching it even, but I have largely avoided sharing of myself and my experiences.

I have been full of the terror of judgement, ridicule, speculation, mis-interpretation… but fear is not love and it is not truth.. in fact I’ve been reflecting lately that fear is usually my excuse NOT to love and NOT to give myself a voice. I have become more able to see that even my smallest, seemingly inconsequential decisions, when driven by fear, inevitably result in more fear and pain for myself or for those around me. So I have been starting to view my fear as just an emotion, to experience some of it rather than live in it, to challenge it rather than accept it as truth and as I have been doing so I keep feeling that I need to share more of myself, to find my voice, to be more vulnerable.. to tell my story…

So here goes!

An Introduction – of sorts… 🙂

There is no simple or easy way to summarise my life in the last three years, since I began to understand my emotions and memories, so I’m not going to try to do it all at once. I’ll just give you an introduction of sorts, some context hopefully and no doubt in future posts I will reflect and recount on it in other ways.

I’ve always considered myself a fairly down to earth person. I’m not really sure how others have perceived me. While I have always had an interest in things spiritual; it has been mainly a personal and fairly private interest. And I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a pragmatist. i.e. ‘OK so you/ I…. (insert various ‘spiritual practices here e.g. chanted for two hours/ attended a church service/ wear crystals/ went to Israel/ etc). …and how does that make you/ me a more loving person in daily life? How does that love reflect in your lifestyle? How does it translate to your shopping list, your voting ballot, the way you talk to your kids or the waiter, or the guy who just asked you for a dollar for the bus?’

Frankly a lot of times I just didn’t see it. I don’t believe that wearing crystals is the key to our spiritual enlightenment; I don’t believe that if you are on the church committee you are therefore a loving person.

What bothered me a lot was that I seemed to also encounter, in those people who had God or spirituality in their lives, the same injuries I thought were problems in the rest of  the whole human race. It seemed that the only difference was that they dressed up their judgement and separation in ‘spiritual’ words. I felt like New Age throw away comments like: ‘you know we are all one, its all an illusion, a reflection, we are all God, etc…’ were actually ways to distance the person from love and connection with others and from their real emotions, when I was discussing things like mothers dying in Africa, refugees in the Middle East (OK so they are big topics, but these were the things I wanted my spiritual life to help me understand and respond to… and by the way I don’t think we are all one, life seems pretty real for those refugees, I don’t see you going through what they are going through and I’m sure God is not an axe murderer…’ which is of course vastly different from loving the axe murderer!). I couldn’t come to terms with Christianity because it excluded homosexuality, and it seemed to me at the time to be full of fear and exclusion, not acceptance and love. I couldn’t meditate.. my mind kept thinking all of the time and just what was the point again? I didn’t feel that peace and calm my yoga class was supposed to induce, my hamstrings are too tight.

I’ve always wanted to talk about the deeper pains, the things that are important to others but I have also always harboured a bigger insecurity. I wanted desperately to ‘fit in’. I felt so different as a kid, being the only one at school in a tiny farming community with homemade brown bread sandwiches and dried fruit in my lunch box, wearing second hand clothes and no TV. So as I grew up I never strayed too far from the mainstream (only enough to be fashionably cool and different) and I never wore my passion for understanding God and Love on my sleeve.

I want answers! Actually.. maybe not these answers…

This is why when I met AJ Miller in December 2007 it was simultaneously the most scary and exciting time in my life.

Here were the answers, they seemed infinitely loving and they translated into a practical world view. But I was also very afraid… ‘this man is saying he is JESUS… and I am Mary Magdalene…. This means NEVER FITTING IN AGAIN…’

Sadly my terror of rejection, ridicule, being perceived as a freak, arrogant and, insane interfered a lot in my early relationship with AJ and also in how I communicated my feelings and experiences to my family, friends and to others on this path

Not long after I met AJ I began to have memories in full force (I want to write more about this another time). I became very afraid. I felt disorientated, thought I was going mad and I grappled then (and now) with the bigger picture of what it all meant.

I shut down, I ran away, I got angry…. My family decided none of this was true and I was actually being manipulated by AJ.

This was an incredibly painful time for me. I have always felt so close to my family and for the first time in my adult life I felt that I thoroughly disagreed with them… but it was difficult for me to stay true to these feelings as the pain of their disapproval and rejection of my experiences was quite intense. I wanted desperately for them to understand and accept what I was going through.

There were many times when I tried to pressure AJ to change so that he would be more acceptable to my judgemental family and friends. There were also times I flat out rejected him because I felt I couldn’t trust my own feelings and the fear was overwhelming. I blamed him for my memories, I raged against my own inner knowing. I rationalized, I thought up other possible explanations.

I did not want this Truth.

I still feel so much sorrow over these times – the power of my fear to shut down love and trust of myself is a lesson hard learned.  And during all of this AJ only ever respected my feelings and decisions – he stayed away when I demanded it and came back with a heart of love when I felt so lost and desperate and alone, as I often did.

The year following meeting AJ was one of the hardest in my life. I was full of terror about the experiences and feelings that I was having, regardless of whether I was around AJ or not. I knew the Truth lay with AJ but I risked loosing my family’s approval and my relationships with friends. I felt torn between changing the world in a socially acceptable way i.e. completing my Masters degree and heading off to a remote African village to work with disabled children, and following my heart and being regarded forever more as a crazy, cult lady by the majority of the world. There were many times when I quite seriously thought of packing up my backpack and getting on a plane to anywhere other than here.

Ultimately my heart won out. I’m ashamed to admit how long the decision between love and fear took, years really, and my relationship with AJ suffered as a result. I also now no longer seek out the company of my immediate family as when I do I am still met with their harsh judgements of my experience and of AJ, whom I love.

Today I still have great fears of ridicule and rejection, I still have pain at the lack of my parent’s approval and their anger but I have decided to stop letting these thing prevent me from sharing of myself.

My heart is full of love and passion for the message of God’s Way of Love, the Divine Love Path. My fears still make me feel that I would like to talk and teach about the Way while ignoring who I am and my personal journey, but that would be hypocritical. How can I encourage others to tell the truth, to be vulnerable and humble while I hide what is happening for me and how I feel?

I have decided to teach this path for the rest of my life – as I have done for most of the past 2000 years – and this online journal, however long it may last, is about me sharing that journey with whoever would like to hear about it.

AJ & Mary meet in LondonApril, 2008

AJ & I meet in London
April, 2008