ME & MIRACLES
In my previous blog posting I related what happened the night my second marriage broke up; the unseen hand of synchronicity at play; and the impact of A Course In Miracles (ACIM) that, I have no doubt, opened up my mind to a profound spiritual experience.
After I packed my bag and left home, I phoned my wife from my in-laws’ place (they were overseas) and poured out my vitriol on her and her friends, who I thought had betrayed me. My self-justified rage, as the innocent victim, knew no bounds.
After slamming down the phone, the delicious thought of taking my own life to ‘get even with her’ crossed my mind. However, this was immediately dismissed when I remembered my two young children. This immediately plunged me into further dark despair. That’s when I cried out, “God, please help me!” Pretty weird request from an avowed atheist! Then something happened! Something inexplicable!
I felt a great rush of energy surge through my body from my feet to the top of my head - an amazingly indescribable feeling of ecstasy. Simultaneously, a dazzling light completely engulfed me and seemed to radiate out from me as well. I felt my anger, my rage, my despair, my need for vengeance, my self-pity - all immediately evaporate. Concurrently I felt a wave of acceptance and forgiveness overwhelm me - a wave of calmness and peace and joy. Somehow I knew everything was happening for a reason. Somehow I knew things would work out. I didn’t know how, when or why.
The next thing I knew, I was again on the phone, this time telling my wife to ignore my threats and that I’d forgiven her. Furthermore, I told her I had also forgiven myself. It was as if I was detached from my body looking at myself making that call. It was only later that my intellect kicked in and I began to question why I should forgive myself. Hang on a minute, I’m the innocent victim here – none of this was my fault! I nearly convinced myself this pathetic denial was true.
There were two immediate life-changing effects from this profound spiritual experience that I’ll mention right now. Miracles?
I was a binge drinker, another form of alcoholism. This addiction was usually confined to weekends, when I’d drink until inebriated. Alcohol had been my prop, my escape, for nearly the previous 30 years. You’d think the traumatic end of my marriage should’ve sent me running to alcohol for refuge. In fact, the exact opposite occurred. It was as if I’d lost the taste for it and the need for it as well. I didn’t stop drinking immediately. I simply discovered that I couldn’t be bothered drinking to excess any more.
Some 30 years on, I can either take or leave drinking alcohol. Mostly I choose to leave it, except for the occasional glass of a good wine when dining socially, or a glass of champagne to celebrate some special event. I neither need nor miss drinking.
The self-doubts that increased throughout my teens – primarily ignited by incidents that occurred during my formative years - manifested mentally through anxiety and nervousness and physically through tension headaches. From a comparatively early age I began taking painkillers to relieve my severe headaches, which, by the time I was in my early twenties, were occurring at least twice a week and usually lasted a day or two.
I started off taking mild analgesics and progressively graduated to the strongest painkillers I could buy without a doctor’s prescription. Although the latter were very strong, at best, they’d only take the edge off the pain. For a period of about 20 years, I kid you not, I was taking the maximum dose of these tablets at least four days a week. Imagine the state of my liver and kidneys after that prolonged abuse!
Unlike alcohol, I gave up painkillers cold turkey. And this was before my tension headaches had begun to diminish significantly in frequency and severity. I realized that if the cause of all problems, including sickness, began in the mind, I’d better focus on healing the cause, not just the symptoms, or effects. The discipline of doing ACIM workbook lessons helped me greatly in this regard. I still suffer from headaches infrequently. When I do, I know my attitude, or way of thinking, has gotten off the rails, and I concentrate on correcting it. My headaches now rarely last longer than a day, and usually only an hour or two. I haven’t taken a painkiller of any kind since 1992, except recently when painkillers were prescribed by my surgeon when I was recovering from an operation on my back.
Yes, A Course in Miracles set me on a different path – a path of attitudinal change. And with changes in my way of thinking, came miracles.
Can I now claim I am constantly filled with joy and peace of mind?
No way. I’m still a work-in-progress at removing the self-defeating barriers I’ve placed in my mind through the ego. My guess is that if ACIM hadn’t come into my life way back when, given my depressive nature, chances are I wouldn’t be on the planet now.