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A spiritual journey begins

A spiritual journey begins

A spiritual journey begins: 

As early as I can remember I have felt the presence of something higher, divine in nature. In fact, I grew up on a farm in Ohio and life could not have been simpler and more carefree than when I was three years old. I remember further back than three but it was when I was about three when I recall feeling the presence of spirits or spiritual energies around me.  

Innocence: I realize that I was on a spiritual path now but way back when I was a child being spiritual came naturally. It was a natural state of being and I feel most children below a certain age of maturity have a natural spirituality.  I didn’t have the capacity to question what I was experiencing and doubt it as I did later when I “grew up”.  I just knew I was experiencing something beautiful and real. Now that I look back I have become aware it was the presence of God I was feeling.  

I was raised Catholic. In my many visits to the church, I felt the same feeling I had running around in nature. After all, God is everywhere present, not only in churches. I also felt a close connection with the stories and images of Jesus.  I especially remember the quotes that made me feel so loved by him.

Jesus with little children

Matthew 19:14:  “but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Now that I am grown up and look back I think of what I have learned throughout my life. I have studied Holy books and many other books that may be considered fiction. Yet whether books were fiction or not, many rang with words of wisdom my soul could identify with. I feel we as humans have an inner intuition that helps us identify our own inner truth. Through studying and reading what other great minds have experienced as well as remembering my own experiences as a young child, I have learned the kingdom of heaven is very close when we are first born and very young. There are reasons children are more perceptive to the heaven world. 

I always loved the stories about Jesus and his life and the feeling I had when I was at church or catechism learning spiritual things. I wasn’t bored and ornery like some of the other children there. I actually found learning about spiritual topics interesting as a child. 

Childhood innocence versus “maturity”

As I grew up and spent my adolescence in the 70’s experiencing the age of modern materialism. The advertising and social conditioning I experienced growing up in America and going to school threatened my childhood innocence. That is a normal phenomenon. I feel it is important to keep aspects of the inner child active and alive.  That is quite a task in this culture we live in. To totally throw the inner innocence away is truly a betrayal of the inner child consciousness Jesus referred to as a necessary quality one must possess to enter the kingdom of heaven.  This is what teenagers and adolescents face on a daily basis in most civilized nations. 

peer pressure

The pain of peer pressure

To make matters complicated I often felt misunderstood. I didn’t feel understood by my peers. I was way too “deep” for them. My friends often told me if I go to college I should pursue theology as a major because I was deep and always questioning things. I loved the BIG questions.  Why am I here?  What is the purpose of living? What does one experience in space?  Is there life on other planets?  These seem to be the questions a lot of other people just didn’t want to ask or have an interest in. But why? I was perplexed.  Why didn’t they want to know these things? Where were the people like me who wanted to know these things and better yet, where would I find the answers to these questions? 

Later, I would come to realize that having these questions is a part of the experience and nature of soul searching. The pressures of growing up and experiencing injustice, ridicule, and indifference from others are part of the pressure of life that makes one grow through diversity and pain. Now I know, without the experience, I would not have come to know myself. This caused me to question and search for understanding. It also caused me to have compassion and humility because I was able to empathize with others going through the same experience. As hard as these experiences are, I believe they help us in many ways if we face them head on and try to understand why they are happening. 

Becoming an “adult”

I found myself getting caught up in the throes of modern society and the search for a job and completing my education. Being a spiritual person is a great attribute but unless you decide to get a degree in theology and have the money to devote your life to the study it usually means living a life of poverty. After my graduation from high school in 1981, I had some major decisions to make. Jobs were scarce in Ohio and my family was not a rich one that could send me to college. It was then my family convinced me it would be a good move to enter the military and “make something of my life”.

English houses

Off to the Military:

So, I joined the Air Force. I was stationed in England for my first military duty assignment.  I was told at the last minute I was assigned to go to England but the weather there was so much like Ohio that I cringed at the idea of “more” rain and bone-chilling cold winters!  I must admit I didn’t fare well in the cold and rain and it became very challenging for me physically to live in England.

Despite the challenges of the weather, I did well in the Military and worked through it successfully. Even in the 198o’s the Military could be a challenge to navigate and “fit in” as a woman in a man’s world. In many ways, I didn’t feel like I fit in with the military paradigm. There were growing pains to be felt in traveling through this process but I learned a lot about myself and acquired needed skills. I often expressed this quandary of opposites with my mother in our long conversations from afar. 

The Light in Britain

Standing stones at Avebury,

Spending over two years in England captivated and captured my imagination and spirit.  the country was breathtaking and so green and invitingly magical. This was the beginning of my spiritual journey. I was able to experience traveling around the English countryside. I traveled to Paris and Greece. However, there was a feeling welling up within me that I couldn’t explain or deny.

A powerful force began to awaken within me again while I was in this magical land. It was the same feeling I had in nature when I was a child and in church when I felt “that Presence” I came to know as God. 

However, this time that presence was accompanied by a soul-wrenching feeling that I “needed to know something”.  I felt unfulfilled but why? I had a successful career in the military. I was secure and had friends around me and enough to live. Yet there was some important piece of my being that felt “off”. This puzzled me greatly enough that it spawned a quest for information, for truth. It felt like a part of my soul was missing or something.  It was a very painful and lonely feeling. Perhaps I was having the dark night of the soul some authors have written about?

The love of a mother:

Spiritual Journey

Original drawing by JoAnn (loving mother) – A Rainbow Bridge to Spirit

My mother was always so instrumental in my life. I think we often overlook the assistance of those close to us and don’t realize how instrumental they are in our growth. She thought like I did and had a very similar outlook. We were kindred spirits. Being a librarian and very well read, she often brought to my attention spiritual principles and ideas through the books she read. This guidance helped tremendously. I dearly loved her gentle, loving soul. I now realize she was not only my mother but a spiritual teacher and a great blessing to me.  While in England, she sent me a book entitled “The Light in Britain” by Grace and Ivan Cooke. This started me on a spiritual quest that has been the greatest experience of my life.

The true spiritual journey begins:

Even though my spiritual path actually began when I was a toddler, the conscious realization that I was on that journey didn’t set in until the pain of feeling a lack of fulfillment set in.  It was this realization that there was something more I needed to know and perhaps even do that urged me to research and read spiritual books.  The Light in Britain was a great influence on my life and one that set in motion many other questions.  

Click here to view my articles on the portions of the book that sparked my curiosity and set me on a more intense spiritual path.  

Lessons Learned in the school of life:

spiritual path

Original photo of a large crystal ball with moving water at an atrium.

It’s easy as one grows into an adult to forget the simple beautiful truth God demonstrates through all kingdoms, natural and otherwise. If one buys into the perceptions of marketing and materialism completely losing sight of our spiritual origins and begins to believe that we are only material beings and nothing more; I feel this outlook is very destructive on the other more subtle levels of our consciousness such as the emotions and the spirit.

This play of life we find ourselves involved in is the true school that assists us to learn the balance between the material physical existence which so-called maturity of our societal expectations bring versus the inner peace and tranquility of meditation, going within to realize and explore inner innocence, simplicity, and spiritual understanding. 

Material versus spiritual 

One may believe they are only material and nothing more, to be snuffed out into nothingness when the body dies.  It’s true that free will and personal choice are the right of every person to have. I honor your personal choice. You have to travel your own path and be OK with it.  If you believe you are only a physical being, here today and gone after death into nothingness, then peace to you.

But for those who seek to know more about the nature of existence, I say keep on the path of searching for your answers. Don’t give up. Find like-minded people to be your friends and align yourself with them as kindred spirits. We have a lot to contribute to one another. 

Balance is the key:

spiritual balance

I have learned many things I have come to embrace as truth for me. This learning and striving have set me free in many ways. I have only experienced dissatisfaction when I have sought for material success and possessions. It is important to have a balance of these pursuits.

The material world is important to a degree of course but not at the expense of my spirituality and inner exploration. I still do not deny the value and need of the material things in my life.

I am continuing to rid myself of superstitious fears and beliefs that limit my perceptions and lower my vibration. I am not perfect yet but continue to strive for the balance needed for a happy consciousness rooted in God.  Striving, trying, searching, questioning and striving to learn more is important. 

Spiritual exploration and searching is a lifelong pursuit in my opinion. We are all a small facet of the consciousness of God and in the bigger scope of things, we are all one. In my opinion, these are important keys to understanding to experience a happy existence.

I will be sharing my spiritual journey and experiences and aspects of my spiritual experiences in this blog. It is my hope sharing my experience may help you in some way. If sharing my experience brings you any comfort, peace, and understanding, terrific! 

Please share this article with anyone who you think could be uplifted by it. 

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