Steve's Story: An Unsolicited Visitation
Excerpt from Rescued from Hell, Chapter 3: The God of This World
Note: Because I have left out many of the early sections, I need to explain that this chapter is a flashback to the time I first encountered the "god" who condemned me to hell in the part you just read (The Night of Terror). The supernatural being that I describe in this passage completely deceived me as to its true identity. I thought I was finally finding the true God who would free me at last; instead I was becoming enslaved to the evil one.
The pivotal event occurred after Christmas break senior year. I had been home trying to make sense of things and playing George Harrison's All Things Must Pass album endlessly. That didn't help, but neither did the hometown surroundings. High school dreams and high school friends seemed light years in the past. I had tried to connect with some of them: Those who were still devoted to the old patterns seemed like foreigners; but even the ones who were into drugs, seemed to be on a different wavelength from me. I couldn't relate to anyone or feel at ease with them. What was wrong with me? The part of the drug culture I had entered held up the hippie ideal of a person completely at ease (caricatured in comics as Robert Crumb's "Mr. Natural"): laid back, earthy, one with nature and at peace with the universe. I was anything but that! I was breaking down, but not breaking through.
So it was in abject dejection that I returned in January of 1970 to the small off-campus farm house I shared with my roommate since sophomore year, Bobby R. I really loved this guy - we traveled all over the East coast, usually taking his purebred Irish setter, Sean Sol Hampstead d'Aberdeen, with us everywhere we went. We covered the map while engaging in wide-ranging academic debates which I always seemed to lose. It was immensely maddening at times. I once shot back: "Here I am struggling to figure things out and you seem to have known everything the right way from birth!" The humbling was good for me - I just didn't appreciate the taste of it at the time.
At the moment though Bobby had not yet returned from break. I had the house all to myself, which was not a very pleasant way for me to have it, considering my frame of mind. I was thoroughly ill at ease within myself. My early years had been so full of promise, yet everywhere I looked I saw my life circling downwards: Relationships and romances were a bust, I was clearly a dilettante intellectually and dreams of making a name for myself through some glorious career were completely shattered. I wasn't really considering suicide, not in any practical way, though the thought was looming in the background. It just seemed that the life I had been pursuing was ending and I had nothing with which to replace it. I desperately wanted a chance to start over. This sounds so melodramatic, but I promise you I was feeling exactly as if my life were spiraling down like a flushing toilet.
What came next was totally unexpected and unsolicited. I was not doing drugs at the time, had not done any drugs since going home for Christmas several weeks before, so this experience was not chemically induced. I was lying in bed in the late afternoon, awake and thoroughly depressed, when to my complete astonishment, a glowing, bright light began to appear across the room where wall met ceiling. It was shimmering and lustrous, brilliant but not blinding. It appeared to be somewhat oval in shape, approximately two feet wide, with no definite boundaries. Like a cloud, it simply suffused a kind of radiance, strongest in the center. Did I say it was a light? It was infinitely more than light - it was life, the life I had been searching for ever since that impassioned prayer at the main campus circle! This light had being. Instinctively, I sensed that it was god.
Then without any audible sounds, communication began. Words quietly emerged within my mind, which began explaining the revelation. At this late date I can't recall word for word what was projected into my mind, but the general meaning remains as clear now as it did that late winter afternoon. I was in the presence of god, the god of this universe, the god who is this universe. My mind was being merged with his - my consciousness was being awakened and united to that universal consciousness which so many poets and wise men had known. I recalled, rather was made to hear phrases like "the inner light," "the eternal now," "the life force." There was no message of Christian morality, only a heightened awareness that this eternal being united all things at their deepest level in love and harmony - perfect oneness - whether they were conscious of it or not. I was graced with experiencing the life that had been within me and around me all along.
This god - the universe itself in realized self-awareness - had sought me and called me, knowing that I had been searching to find it. I had to have been willing to cast off the tradition bound shell of my former life to enter into this discovery. By some untaught reflex I "shrugged off" my past life and it seemed to slip even further away from me like a snake shedding its skin. I felt entirely reborn - not through forgiveness, but through enlightenment. A childlike wonder arose and with it came a sense of that natural grace for living which had so long eluded me. The highest point of this calling was to raise me, not only for the sake of my own personal transformation to higher life, but for the sake of also reaching others so that a new age could dawn for all of mankind.
This calling was both gift and responsibility: The fate of all that my consciousness now touched somehow hung in the balance to rise or fall with me. It was imperative that I find the path of releasing myself into the flow of this universal spirit. I was made aware that youth all over the planet were undergoing awakenings similar to this one. I also became hazily aware of past lives: dying upon the beach at Normandy, a romance during the Victorian period and hints of things further back. I never dwelt upon these "memories" and certainly didn't try to "recover" others, but they were at once unnerving and intriguing at the same time.
Like everything else in the presence of that light, these experiences seemed real enough in the moment - far more real than the whole of my previous life. How long did the time last? It seemed as if time had been suspended, for so much was compressed into the enrapt awareness of revelation - every sense heighted beyond the customary level and my thoughts shooting about like bottle rockets in response to what I was being shown. In real time it may have only been a mere handful of seconds. I simply don't know.
Are You Curious for More?
You can read most of the book just by following the arrows...