Sadhana and the Divine Transformation

In my last blog I discussed believing in my recovery. This was a challenging subject matter for me to write about. I have not felt for quite some time, that my belief was an issue. It wasn’t even entering my mind. While there was karma to be experienced and spiritual progression that needed to take place, it was all building towards one perfectly destined, divinely created moment. If any subconscious doubts did exist, they would be taken care of through my sadhana (spiritual practice), and through the love of my guru, Amma.

Sadhana is where I go to feel at home and safe. It’s where everything is taken care of. Where all emotional or mental issues preventing my healing, are removed and mended. It is the smiling face of my guru, where my heart opens to the transformative evolution that is constantly accessible to each and every one of us. All we have to do to experience this divine process is show up, ask, and wait. Then, the moment comes when a powerful energy moves through us, smoothing out all of our rough edges, and straightening out every crooked corner. It may not always be easy, but the glimpses of peace and love, and a growing desire for truth and freedom will push us forward.

A few days after I spoke with the psychic medium, my dad and I traveled to DC to see Amma. She was on her yearly North American summer tour. I was feeling confident, empowered, and ready to wrap myself around Amma’s divine grace and spur on my physical recovery. It is always interesting to see her face-to-face. I spend so much time with her inside of my own mind and heart, that it sometimes feels like the Amma I see in a physical body is not the same person.

The physical body Amma, pretends to not be one with God. She pretends to be a normal human being, just a crazy girl from Kerala she says. People have asked me if I have ever talked to Amma directly about whether or not I’m going to walk again. I have not. One of the reasons is I have always felt that I was not meant to ask her. I was just meant to have faith. Another reason is the physical body Amma so often pretends to be normal, that it is often difficult to figure out what she is trying to say. She will say something that appears to mean one thing, but in fact holds much deeper meaning.

It is not the guru’s job to always tell us what we want to hear. It is the guru’s job to destroy the ego, and guide us on the path towards self-realization, the realization that we are one with the infinite God consciousness. I’ve personally discovered that this involves a lot of pulling and pushing. Giving me brilliant moments of insight and peace, and then scrambling my brains like fried eggs on a skillet.

I was only going to receive one official hug from Amma this year. For those that don’t know, she is the hugging mother. When I got up on stage and sat before her, she began talking to me! She asked me why she didn’t see me last year. There may have been some confusion in the translation, as I think she was referring to why she didn’t see me in Dallas. I explained that we had moved, and the sadness it caused me. She started rubbing my legs, then looked up to me and asked another question. The translator then said, “Amma asks if your legs have gotten weaker?”

I was stunned. “Weaker?!” I thought. “I hope they have gotten stronger Amma,” I said feebly.

She gave me a sad compassionate look and we both just sat there for a moment. Never before had I felt the opportunity so strong to ask Amma directly to heal me. “I’ll just do it,” I thought. As the words came out of my mouth, “Amma, will you…” she grabbed me like a bolt of lightning and pulled me in for another hug. I finished my sentence as she was hugging me, “…make my legs stronger?” I was then lifted from her embrace and quickly wheeled away by the volunteer.

I sat on stage afterwards, trying to make sense of it. I recognized immediately that I simply was not meant to ask Amma to heal me, but how could she ask me if my legs have gotten weaker? It was the very last thing I wanted to hear from her.  Could she not have given me encouragement? Let me know I was on the right path? The anger and confusion had reached a boiling point.

After exiting the stage, I remained this way for several more hours. I even had brief flashes of wanting to abandon her as my guru. But there had to be some meaning to it. She was not just a crazy girl from Kerala. She was placed here and I with her, so that she could help me achieve my purpose.

Late that night I sat in the large hall and meditated deeply. I chanted my mantra, and breathed intently, listening for the answers. I could feel energy flowing throughout my body, the healing energy I had grown so accustomed to. My legs ached, my muscles twitched, soothing warm sensations spread throughout. “Weaker?” I asked myself again. “Then what am I feeling now? Why do I feel this healing taking place?”

Then my delusional faith kicked in. I realized that Amma was testing me. She was breaking down my expectations, and forcing me to look within, to investigate the truth that rested in my own heart. She could not build my faith by telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. No, she chose to challenge me, to break down my brittle house of confidence, so that I could rebuild it into a fortress. And I realize now, that again and again she will break down these walls until there is no fortress needed, because why should I need protection from the infinite love that surrounds and penetrates all things.

I also think that maybe Amma was just telling me to exercise.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t know what I’m talking about. I came to the conclusion a while back, that when it comes to the spiritual path, or life in general, all we can do is our best to reach out for the peace and the love that rests beneath our turmoil. We experience things, heartbreak and happiness. We try to make sense of it all through some sort of logical reasoning, but sometimes there’s nothing to do but let that all go, put our hands in the air, and go for a ride.

But that’s not the nature of the mind is it? The mind wants to understand, put things in a box and label them so that we can be comforted in knowing that our lives are planned and organized. We can’t stand not knowing what’s around the corner and how we might prepare for it. But in our need for order we fail to realize that life is a flowing river, and if we would but just melt into its currents we would discover the bliss, the peace, the loving comfort that we seek.

There will be times when I need to make sense of the external messages I am receiving. I will need to take those messages and then internalize them, figure out what rings true for me, and what does not. Lately I’m being told that I must believe. It rings true. There is some kind of wall that must be destroyed, but I never wanted to tell people that they have to believe. It doesn’t resonate with me. I feel that if we are meant to believe in something that is difficult to believe in, then it is through our spiritual effort, our effort to grow closer to God that this belief will grow and anchor itself in our hearts. It is in this effort that we become empowered, immerse ourselves in God’s grace, and fulfill our purpose. I continue to trust in this, and that’s why my sadhana will remain the cornerstone of my life, my evolution, and my healing.

My second day with Amma in DC, all of my anger was gone. I tried to get a second token so that I could go up on stage and see her again, but it wasn’t happening. We were planning on leaving that afternoon after Amma left the stage.  I sat outside the doorway with about a hundred other people, waiting for her to exit the hall. I began to feel this electric buzzing in every cell of my body. Energy seemed to be building within and throughout my entire aura. I felt a confidence that Amma was definitely going to stop and hug me as she walked past. I didn’t want to think it too strongly, afraid she might play a trick and ignore me in an effort to once again break down my ego. So I sat and did my best to simply experience the powerful, peaceful energy as I waited.

She came through the doorway, her smile beaming, looking at all her devotees with the compassion and love that draws so many near to her. As she walked towards me her eyes met mine. She gave me that look, that look of seeing a dear friend whom she loves so much. She stepped towards me and put her arms around me. She chanted “Ma ma ma ma ma…” in my ear. The simple mantra grew in enthusiasm and culminated in one final “Ma!” at the same time Amma pulling away and smiling, in her own special way saying goodbye, knowing that I would be leaving her.

When she walked away I did not feel sadness, all I felt was the ever expansive love that she shared. The love that lets me know everything is going to be okay, that I am never alone, I am always cared for, and forever loved.

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Delusional Faith

My parents and I recently moved to Virginia to be closer to family, specifically my sister and brother-in-law, and their three young children. It is wonderful to be near family again, but the relocation and the emotional upheaval it created, dealt a strong blow to my belief in a physical recovery.

Francis was to visit Austin before the move, and to prepare me for the event, was blasting me quite regularly through Skype phone calls. The building up of energy seemed to indicate that something spectacular was going to happen. My belief in this was so strong, that the day before his arrival in Austin, I felt a tremendous anxiety. Yes, some of these emotions may have been due to the pending move, but I felt like it had more to do with the anticipation of finally recovering.

It probably seems odd to some people that I would have anxiety over recovering. It was very frustrating to me as well, as I had already observed this fear a little over a year ago, during another one of Francis’s visits to Austin. But despite the fear there was also courage and excitement, and I felt more ready than ever before to break through my barriers, face my future, and experience my destiny.

Unfortunately, the rest of this story has become all too familiar. Sensations, energy, heightened anticipation, a rising action building and building to a climactic underwhelming disappointment. Once again, Francis got in his car and drove away, but this time my reaction was quite different than my usual disappointment followed by a resurgence of faith. No, this time I became angry, and that anger soon led to the feeling that I just didn’t care about anything anymore. Though it sounds like a negative thing, at the time it felt quite nice. It was a feeling of freedom. Freedom from expectations, freedom from fear, freedom from caring what anybody thought of me.

Much of my fear of walking was centered around the notion that I may garner a lot of attention from others. My book might get published, a lot of people might know me and hold me to a certain ideal, an ideal that I could never uphold. I was terrified that I could not be the person people expected me to be, that I could not be spiritual enough, saintly enough, perfect enough. So the freedom I was experiencing was the releasing of this weight. The weight of feeling like I needed to be a certain kind of person, or wear a mask hiding the true nature of who I am in this life. Perhaps this release was exactly the healing that I needed.

This feeling of freedom however, could not stop a slight fall into depression once we packed our things and left Austin. I had told myself a while back that if I moved to Virginia still in my wheelchair, I would refocus my life and start moving in a different direction. This wasn’t happening. I just couldn’t give up. But I needed to somehow create a resurgence of faith, of belief in this path of recovery. Part of the feeling of freedom I felt after seeing Francis, was the desire to be a doer in life. To stop sitting around and waiting for things to come to me. So when the thought emerged that I wanted to talk to a friend of Francis, a psychic medium, I decided to go for it.

I was extremely nervous before calling her, but soon after she picked up the phone and said hello in her British cockney accent, the nerves melted away. She gave me many messages, such as the fact that I needed to relax, quit taking things so seriously. She said I needed to be more forgiving of myself, not give myself such a hard time. And that there was no need to fear my recovery, because when the time came to be in the spotlight, I would be ready. She said it’s like I am baking a cake, but I keep opening the oven door to see if it’s ready. “Just leave the door shut and let the cake rise,” she said.

She encouraged me, telling me I will walk again when the time is right, but that I needed to start exercising again, and believe in my recovery.  She said to stop brushing aside sensations and muscle twitches, signs of recovery as just spasms, or nothing important. I did not think I did this, but after observing the past few weeks, she was right! I didn’t even realize it.

I felt like she knew me intimately, as she pinpointed so many of my struggles and negative emotions. I received everything I needed from the conversation, my faith was restored, my fears disintegrated, and I knew what I had to do. I had to press on. I had to go ever deeper in my spiritual practice, my visualizations, and start exercising. But most importantly, I had to believe.

I used to hate this statement. If someone told me I had to believe, I wanted to punch them in the mouth. Francis stated the same sentiment several days before I talked with the psychic. It didn’t make much sense at the time. He had always told me that I didn’t have to believe, going on to tell stories of people who came in for healing completely cynical and pessimistic, only to be miraculously healed of their physical issues. I asked him why is it that other people don’t have to believe but I do?

His response…“karma”.

I don’t always know what to expect from Francis, but somehow this answer I expected. Karma means different things to different people, but to me at that moment, it simply meant that it was something I came here to do. “Here” meaning this life, this incarnation.

Developing belief in something is not easy, especially when it seems to contradict natural law as we know it. There was a time when I could not believe no matter how hard I tried. The more I forced it, the more I rejected it. Eventually I gave up on believing and focused on surrender and living in the moment. I felt it was more important to not not believe rather than believe. As time went on my belief in recovery began to grow, in large part because of Francis, and the awareness of the powerful healing I could feel taking place.

It can be frustrating, because I ask myself why would I be doing all this, putting forth all this effort if I didn’t believe? Of course I believe!

But maybe I don’t? Maybe my belief still isn’t seated at the throne of my higher self, the central generator of spiritual power. Maybe the ego and the subconscious are still playing their cruel tricks manifesting secret intentions behind closed doors.

It is scary to take on these responsibilities, but I cannot run from it. If the message I am receiving is to believe, than I have to believe. I have to trust in the divine path, and the ever present God consciousness that pervades all creation. There is no such thing as a life without purpose, there is no such thing as a single moment without purpose and my recent struggles are no different. They are providing me with the exact opportunities I need to move forward, and I pray now, that my belief, my faith, and my self-healing powers will grow ever stronger as I continue on the path of spiritual evolution.

I can see many psychiatrists observing my life and my decision-making, thinking that I twist reality to suit my fancy, my delusional vision of what I want to occur in my life. But maybe that’s what absolute faith is, refusing to take anything at face value, listening to the heart, and being completely delusional to the illusion that life is limited in any shape or form.

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The Blessings of a Difficult Life

When life throws us one challenge after another, it is easy to lose faith. It is easy to fall victim to despair, to feel like a pawn in a game of winners and losers. But no matter how bad the heartbreak, or the fear, eventually we must find our strength once more. We must breathe in deeply, and exhale, finding the courage that only a moment ago seemed forever lost. And with that courage we move forward, we believe that things can and will get better. Then something changes within us, something clicks, something shifts, and a greater purpose is fulfilled.

I believe that all challenges in life are opportunities, opportunities to further step into the light of who we truly are and evolve.  So why wait to take this step? Why not take a giant leap towards our destiny instead of crawling on our hands and knees?  Why not choose to evolve? Still the question is how? How do we do it?

There are many paths and ways to evolve and spiritually grow, but within hardships and challenges in particular, it may be important to become a witness to our thoughts and emotions, and experience them on a transient level, an evolutionary level.  Most often, when we are experiencing emotional pain, we either express the negative thoughts surrounding the emotion, or we refuse to feel anything at all, digging a hole and burying the pain deep within. Neither is particularly conducive to the evolutionary process.

Instead, we might try placing ourselves outside of the mind and body, and observe the two feeling and thinking and reacting. As we do this, a counterintuitive process emerges, and we slowly lean into the emotions until we are directly in the middle of them. We may experience an array of physical sensations such as a tightness in the chest, heaviness in the stomach, or an antsy feeling up and down our legs. The instinct of the ego at this point will tell us to run away, to put up shields and barriers, but if we allow the process to continue, the pain and the correlating sensations will flow around and through us. We become the witness while experiencing what we must in order to move forward on the spiritual path and reach a higher level of vibration. Then the moment comes when it all fades away, the pain disappears like a wisp of clouds, and suddenly we feel lighter, freer, and settle into a newer version of ourselves.

Once we start making the conscious decision to evolve our way through challenges, it is quite natural and normal I believe, to experience frustration that the goal of constant awareness and bliss is not happening as quickly as we would like. But as Amma says, spiritual growth is evolutionary, not revolutionary. She explains that God takes great care even in the opening of a flower blossom, and we too must have patience as we witness the miracle of the inner blossoming of our spirit. But that miracle can only take place if we are evolutionary, and have the patience to put forth the necessary effort.

The best way to put forth this effort is through sadhana (spiritual practice). I am no expert on the Hindu scriptures, and I believe that it is possible to make almost anything a spiritual practice, but the core of my personal sadhana is meditation and japa (the chanting of mantras).

When it comes to meditation, I find that it is often a loaded word for many people. They think it is beyond what they are capable of, that all thought must be eliminated. It is impossible to sit and not think, so why do it? But meditation does not have to be so confined or defined. To sit and allow oneself to think in fact is a form of meditation. It allows us to at least attempt to be the witness, the one who is experiencing rather than the one who is reacting. And when we do this we lend ourselves to the opportunity of evolution, because that small act of effort, of sitting in silence, will bring forth all the energy and all the help that we need to move steadily down the spiritual path.

But as usual, we resist.  Why on earth would we avoid the inner blossoming of the spirit? The most basic reason, is that we are scared to face the mind and all of its fear mongering. So we choose to stay busy, we choose to avoid our insecurities, we choose to avoid a vast and frightening unknown. And if we do manage to finally fend off the urge to avoid, and turn inwards, the ego suddenly finds itself vulnerable, and convinces us that we are missing out on something. It reminds us of an endless list of needs and desires that must be fulfilled at that very moment. But the ego is conniving, because in reality, our sadhana is filling us with a divine light that the ego and its demands can never give. It is giving us the miracle of spiritual evolution.

We must always try and recognize that it’s not all about this human life in this physical body, it’s about the spiritual life, the true self and its quest for love and bliss within an infinite experience. If we could only be aware of that during our daily lives, all the hardships, small or big, may not seem so bad after all.

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A Distant Light, An Inevitable Dream

After years of working with Francis, I am becoming more and more amazed and inspired by how dedicated he is to healing others.  He always says that God rewards effort, and he truly lives by this motto, doing everything he can to hone his craft, and increase his abilities so that he may serve God in the highest capacity possible. I have observed and experienced the effects of his effort over the years, as his healing abilities are constantly shifting and transforming, consistently rising in its vibration and intensity.

In early January, my father and I visited him in California and I could tell that there was a distinct difference in the healing. Up until that point, the healing energy always felt warm and comforting, but I was now experiencing an energy that shifted between warm and cold.  It was a type of energy I had only heard about from Francis, but never experienced. It often left me shivering and uncomfortable, but the power I could feel emanating through these healings made the discomfort well worth it.

I did not get visible signs of recovery during this trip but it did ignite a profound confidence in me that significant strides were being made. Before heading back home, Francis notified us that he would be coming to Austin in about a month to do healing on me and all others who wished to receive. He felt that his energy would be even more powerful at that time. I went back home excited and ready to experience yet another new and improved Francis. I began going to the gym twice a week, per Francis’s instructions, and continued my spiritual practices and visualizations with as much intensity as I could muster.

When Francis arrived in Austin, he was confident like I have never seen him before. He has always been confident that I will walk again, but this time it seemed as if he strongly believed that the moment of celebration was imminent. As the days passed, the energy was building in intensity and I too began to feel like a miracle was near. At one point, cold icy energy flowed down my arms and into my hands as a whole new type of feeling cascaded down my spine and into my legs. At that moment Francis told me that a new energy had just started flowing through him, unlike anything he had ever felt.  Then my abs began to tighten, as if my core was beginning to engage! My heart quickened in pace, and I found myself looking down at my foot, thinking surely I would see it moving in accordance to my demands. But not yet, the foot remained stubborn, the healing session ended, and the tightening sensation in my abs eventually dissipated.

In the coming days my mind began anticipating my recovery and was frantically trying to make sense of it all. It was like I was trying to prepare for every detail of the impending, monumental change which was about to occur. I was especially fixated on the book I have been working on, and all the editing that was still left to do.  Logically it made no sense to me. The book would be finished whenever it was finished. No reason to stress.  But my mind had no use for logic.

When the mind is acting in this manner, it is most likely trying to deal with some sort of negative emotion or feeling, and expressing that negativity through fixated thought patterns. By tapping into the underlying emotion, and observing it through spiritual awareness, the emotion is allowed to run its course and then naturally dissipate.  Realizing this I began practicing the art of letting go, as taught by Dr. Hawkins. Through this process, the thought came to me that I was likely experiencing fear over my impending recovery and all the dramatic life changes that will go along with it. Believe it or not, the ego actually feels more safe and secure when surrounded by the protection of victimhood. As a victim, the ego has something to latch onto and identify with, giving the ego life and power. It is with spiritual awareness that we overcome tricks of the ego such as this, and diminish its negative hold over our lives and spiritual growth.

This is why we should always pay attention to every single moment of mental unease, pain, or discomfort, and recognize it as an opportunity to further deepen spiritual awareness, and remove yet another layer of negativity which is preventing the light of the inner being from shining forth.  The process may feel difficult at first, but the results will leave a far greater sense of freedom and relief.

Before I knew it, it was the day before Francis’s departure, and I settled in for what we both hoped would be the miraculous healing we were anticipating. The healing energy poured into me, filling every nook and cranny with divine light. But instead of letting go and surrendering to the process, I found myself trying to embody whatever state of mind I was supposed to, in order to get up and walk. Surrendering, believing, stating my intention, directing my higher self to heal the body and anything else I could think of. One could say that I was trying to spiritually manipulate the situation. At the end of the session, Francis put his hand on my head, and in all seriousness, blessed me and told me to get up and walk. I tried, but nothing happened.

I went home very confused. Scared that maybe I was preventing it from happening. Perhaps I was not embodying the correct state of mind. Maybe I didn’t truly believe it was possible. When I got home, I sat in front of Amma’s picture, and began to meditate. It was then that an all pervading peace overcame me. The mind was still busily running through thoughts and fears, but yet I was blissful. It’s as if I was the spirit, observing the mind without judgment or guilt. I had no answers, no understanding, and it didn’t matter one bit. The answers would come.  Then, the following morning, my mind had settled the matter…

I believe I will walk again. I believe that Amma has told me I will walk again. As my guru, I have surrendered my life to her, so the when, how, and where is completely up to her.  All I can do is set my intentions to the best of my abilities, act to the best of my abilities, and then surrender those actions.  I refuse to go through the rest of my life struggling. Setting time frames and forcing my hand upon God. It does no good. The only thing that truly matters in life is finding peace and happiness, joy and bliss. And by surrendering the fruit of my actions to God, I creep ever closer to embodying this life, and the true nature of my spirit.

Who or what you surrender the fruit of your actions to, matters not. You can surrender it to Amma, Jesus, Baba, the Buddha, your spirit, the universal consciousness, the great white spirit, to the earth, to a tree or a rock. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you feel you are surrendering it to love, to the place where all truth is present, where you feel at home and safe, where you feel that everything which cannot be understood is understood.

The many shapes and forms of God are infinite. But truly, God is more of an experience, a feeling of peace and love than anything else.  It is that space of peace and bliss that we give ourselves to when experiencing a state of surrender. It is always there, and always ready to receive everything that we are.  If you have not found this place yet, keep searching, and it will find you.

That morning I went in for my final healing before Francis got on a flight and went back to California. As the hours passed the feeling of surrender was not as potent, but I did the best I could. When the final surge of energy went through Francis’s hands, once again it felt like the divine timing had arrived. My body was about to come to life. But as I sat, fully ready to experience the moment, it drifted away, remaining a distant light, a dream yet to come.

I could not help but feel the initial disappointment, but I knew that wallowing in pity and dissatisfaction simply would not do. The more quickly I surrendered, the faster I could move forward on my path, and grow, evolve, and heal.

As of this writing, I am feeling a tremendous amount of increased sensation and strength. Both my hands and feet are burning as a strong buzzing sensation has spread throughout my entire body. The muscles along my spine and into my core feel as if they are tightening and engaging.  Areas of my body that once felt absent of energy, no longer feel that way, such as in my right hand and scapula.  Brick by brick, layer by layer, a strong foundation is being built, one that will eventually support the resurrection of this body.

I realize I have been talking for many years about the most powerful healings I’ve ever had and my inevitable recovery. But the fact that I keep saying these things doesn’t make them any less true. I am on a path which my heart demands. It is a path of healing, a path that will illuminate my purpose, and fulfill my destiny.

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I Am Not a Victim, I Am Blessed

There was a time in my life when I felt like the world was against me. Nothing ever seemed to work out. When I wanted something, I’d work towards it, but would inevitably fail, destiny cruelly imposing all sorts of environmental factors upon me to prevent me from achieving my desire. Not only did the world impose these factors upon me, but God also cruelly provided me with a genetic makeup that left me shrouded in fear and anxiety, trembling at the thought of rejection and failure. I was a helpless victim, constantly toyed with by the hands of fate or lack thereof. Was I immersed in a world purposely organized to torment me, or was it just a chaotic reality, where one either received the luck of the draw or did not?  Which was worse I could not say.

My spinal cord injury was just another blow from the cruel world I had come to know all too well, but I quickly realized, I could not accept this premise any longer. I could not accept that the world was against me in this matter. It simply was not an option. And thus, I entered the spiritual journey, seeking out the answers to this mysterious existence which had confused me for so long. The answers I found were empowering, but debilitating as well. God was not the reason for my failures, environmental factors were not the reason, luck or lack thereof was not the reason…I was the reason. This brought up a great deal of anger, but now I was angry at myself. Angry that I did not have the strength to choose courage over fear, to choose peace over anxiety. Time and time again I allowed my fear to control me, to dictate the outcomes of my endeavors. And once again I felt helpless, helpless in the face of my own inability to overcome the inner negativity that created failure in my life.

To recognize that I was creating my own life with my thoughts and emotions was difficult to accept. Once a victim of external factors, now a victim of internal factors, factors that seemed impossible to change. For the first time I was looking at all the negativity stored within, and it was terrifying. No wonder I had suppressed the feelings all those years, no wonder I looked to blame others instead of myself. It was simply too much to handle. But I had no choice. I had to make an effort to connect with the peaceful place within, to cast aside negativity and embrace the light, the light that would bring me peace and heal my body.  And so I did everything I could to embody the true self, my infinite spirit.  Slowly but surely I made progress, and all the tools necessary to bring about my healing flowed into my life.

Since beginning this journey, I have come a long way. I feel lighter and more empowered, but I’m not there yet. This became evident shortly after Francis left Austin, and moved to California. I thought it would be an easy hurdle to cross, but I was wrong. All kinds of fear emerged. Fear of abandonment, fear of a future of paralysis, and utter confusion of what I was supposed to do next. Speaking to a friend about my struggles, she recommended a book. Being that I have recently focused on the path of spiritual devotion and practice, I’ve not paid much attention to the path of knowledge, but I knew I was struggling, so I remained open. The book she recommended was called “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”, by David R. Hawkins. There was no doubt that I was currently drowning in my attachment to my physical recovery, and needed some help in the surrender department, so I bought the book.

It seemed like a typical book I had read in the past, explaining the power of surrender, the power of identifying with the spirit rather than the ego. But then the author made a statement contradictory to what I had come to believe. He said that it was not thoughts which caused our suffering, but the feelings associated with the thoughts. It was an interesting concept, but I didn’t buy it. Thoughts caused suffering. Byron Katie taught me that, author and creator of the four questions. The Buddha taught me that as well.  So I put the book down, unsure of if I would read further. Still it did make an impact.  It reminded me of surrender, the power of this act, and my current failure to do it.

Those who have been reading this blog and know me well, can probably guess what I did next. I sat in front of Amma’s picture, my guru.  There I realized that I was not only attached to my recovery, I was also very much attached to Francis. I had subconsciously come to believe that I needed him in my life, and his absence was causing me pain, causing me to doubt my path, my internal truth about my life. So I sat in front of Amma, and told her, “You are now in charge of my healing”. And I sat, and I sat, and I sat. An unmoving fixture I became. The results were more than profound.  A flood of energy overwhelmed me, building and building the longer I stayed. Negative emotions began to rise to the surface.  They bubbled to the peak of my awareness, then popped, and disappeared. She was all I needed. She would provide. Francis would play his role of course, but he was no longer the central cog in my healing. And then, practically all my fear over Francis leaving, faded away.

Realizing that it was the book that provoked my newfound surrender, I went back to it, opening my mind to what this new perspective had to say. Maybe it was in part because I could sense what the author was describing occurring as I sat in meditation. I was not focused on the thoughts causing my suffering, I was simply observing my fears and their dissolution. The author explained that while it may seem that a thought is causing your suffering, it is really feelings that we have suppressed and repressed over many years, feelings that in turn create thousands and thousands of thoughts that run in loops inside our minds. I did not have to go and dissect every thought, I could simply let go of the fear and feel the expansion of consciousness which follows. This was very different than what Byron Katie had taught me many years ago. Her tactics of questioning one thought at a time was very beneficial to me, but at different moments in our lives, different approaches are required. But while the approaches may be different, the main catalyst for spiritual evolution remains. The letting go of negativity, of the attachment to the small and selfish ego, and surrendering to the peaceful presence of the divine, infinite spirit. The spiritual aspirant cannot avoid this task.

There is no doubt that it is scary to look within, to uncover the demons that are lying dormant.  We think they are not causing damage in their suppressed state, but in fact these demons within are constantly affecting our lives in one way or another, whether it be in our relationships, the health of our bodies, or the brick walls that are impeding us at every turn. To ignore the suffering within, to push it down or ignore it, is only hindering us and our purpose in life. To uncover these demons is not as bad as you may think, in fact it is the most liberating feeling you will ever experience. To let go of negativity, is to free ourselves into becoming who we truly are.

So many of us feel like victims, but the truth is that we are never a victim in life. I was not a victim before my accident, and I was not a victim afterwards. I was never a victim of the world, and I was never a victim of my own thoughts. To claim oneself as a victim would be to doubt the perfection of creation. We were meant to go through this process, we were meant to feel this pain, and work towards the expansion of light and truth. I am not a victim, I am blessed.

One of the reasons I have gotten away from the path of knowledge, is that sometimes the knowledge can work against me. The knowledge that surrender can cause me to get things, can be a negative attachment in itself, and hinder the process. Also, gaining spiritual knowledge is like diving into the rabbit hole, pieces of knowledge tend to contradict one another, creating a cycle of confusion.  Therefore, I believe it is best to learn about these universal laws, and then surrender them, embodying the process, but not attaching yourself to it. Ironically, this will likely make the process more effective, removing the obstacles in life, while increasing prosperity and abundance. However, it is best to take part in this process of evolution not because it will bring us our desires, but because it is fulfilling our infinite purpose, brings us into the joy of who we are, and allows us to become more loving and compassionate beings.

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Another hurdle? No Problem…

In the spring of this year, Francis informed me that he was moving.  He would no longer be located in Austin.  It was very much a surprise, as everything he had always said seemed to indicate that he would be in Texas for the remainder of his life.  But, as Francis always says, he has surrendered to Baba and he simply does whatever Baba asks him to do, without question.  (Baba is short for Sathya Sai Baba, Indian holy man and Francis’ guide and guru.)

When he told me the news, it was still going to be quite some time before he actually left, so while it did worry me somewhat, I soon accepted that it was simply part of the plan, and quite possibly meant that I would walk before he left.  I embraced this notion, but as his departure date inched closer, concern and anxiety emerged.  I questioned God’s plan, my path, questioned my intentions about my life and what I was choosing to create.  When the desperation reached its height, I opened my heart and prayed, and the answer was the same as it has always been, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

And that’s what I did.  I put everything I had into the healing process, which for me mostly means spiritual practice, connecting with the divine within and without, the place that holds all the power of the universe.  I exercised as well, in my own unique way, while visualizing and expanding the energy throughout my body.  I did this with as much effort and intention as I could muster.  Some days I was focused and invigorated with faith.  Other days, not so much.  Francis was working hard on me as well, healing me whenever he could.  I asked him one day, why he was so dedicated to healing me, when there are so many other people who also need healing.  He told me that he was rewarding my effort, and that he was meant to heal me.

With not much time left before the move, every healing I received by Francis felt like the one which would remove my paralysis forever.  Perhaps everything was coming together, the divine timing of the many paths involved converging to create that one beautiful moment.  But with each consecutive healing, we had to accept that it was not yet time, that we must wait at least a little longer.  Then the move date arrived, and Francis did one more healing.

The energy built up slowly, and reached its peak.  My muscles trembled, new and thrilling sensations shot through my body.  Tears flowed from my eyes.  This was it.  It was all about to happen.  I truly felt it.  Everything was coming to a head.  But then the healing session ended.  “God bless you Colin”, Francis said.  I opened my eyes and tried to move my legs, wiggle my toes, but nothing.  I could sense a slight bit of frustration in Francis as well, but not much.  If he ever does experience frustration or disappointment, he gets over it almost instantly, relying on his unflinching faith and surrender.  “Do not worry Colin,” he told me.  “You will walk.  The date is set.”

After he left the energy knocked me out cold.  It truly felt like the most powerful healing I have ever received.  As the day wore on, I got frustrated.  “Have I not put in enough effort?” I wondered.  Over and over again my family and I are guided to continue this journey.  But how much longer must our faith be tested?  How many more hurdles must we climb before the effort and faith is rewarded?

By evening, I gathered my strength, and once again got the same message.  “Don’t give up.  Don’t ever give up.”  I must continue to follow my heart, and have faith that there is a purpose to this gut instinct, to this undeniable desire to heal and prove what effort, determination, and faith can accomplish.  So many of us dream of great things, but as life wears on, we are led to believe that it’s hopeless.  I wish to serve as an example, proving that the dreams that rest in our hearts are not meant to be ignored, they are not meant to be seen as false realities, or silly notions to lock away, replaced by more practical realities and visions.  We are everything we dream ourselves to be and more.  We are that which cannot be explained, that whose mystery is more beautiful than anything our limited minds can imagine.  How can such a magnificent creation ignore the burning desires of the heart?  No, not me.  I refuse to do so.

If you wish to see Francis, or receive distance healing, he does healing through Skype now as well, visit his website at http://www.Francisthehealer.com  He will be spending the majority of his time traveling to various cities, perhaps one near you.

God bless everyone.  Thanks for visiting.

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The Great Enterprise…Planet Earth

Whenever I begin to think about the troubles of the world, one of my favorite quotes from Satya Sai Baba comes to mind.  He said, “The Earth is a great enterprise, a busy factory, where the product is love.”

“Love?” you may ask.  “Really?  What about war?  Famine?  Abuse?  How can any of these things create love?”

It is very difficult to understand, and is easy to think of our planet as a broken place, a place that desperately needs fixing, but I would like to challenge people of this thought to a different perspective.  While there is a great deal of pain in the world, most of which is honestly caused by our own minds, every part within and without, is an elaborate drama, a play which serves as the foundational structure for the fundamental purpose of life and all existence.  It provides us the experiences and the mechanisms necessary for each and every one of us to attain self-realization.

In this manner of thinking, we no longer have to be corrupted by the negative thinking of others or by the constant narratives that our planet is in chaos.  Instead we can see it as a grand creation, all of it, both good and bad, which is providing us with the magnificent opportunity to discover who we are.  To discover that we are not mortal beings of flesh and bones.  That we are not a machine, being powered by a physical blood-pumping organ within our chest.  That we are not defined by what anyone else says, thinks, or feels.  We are what our natural instinct is telling us that we are.  We are that which calls out to us day and night, begging us to peer through the misty fog of selfishness, anger, and depression.  We are the love that never dies, that always has been, and is the essence of all existence from here to infinity.

Even this knowledge however, does not stop many of us from wishing the world could be a better place.  This desire becomes even more powerful when the grace of God bestows upon us the awareness that all is one, that we are all a reflection of the same love.  Then, to see other reflections suffering as they are, invokes the need for us to help them somehow.  But then comes the mistake.  People tend to want to attack large problems.  Problems that they think are systemic issues within government, society or culture.  They instantly want to transform widespread ways of thinking that they believe are inherently bad.  But I believe that the greatest gift any one of us can give to the world, is to find the love inside our own hearts.  To learn how to express our own consciousness fully and completely, and then use that expression to spread love through selfless service and action.

It doesn’t have to be much.  It could be carrying someone’s groceries to the car.  It could be sitting next to someone at the park who looks like they need a friend.  Maybe it’s giving a nice tip to a hard-working waiter or waitress.  Or simply smiling at someone, saying hello, saying thank you.  We should all strive to embody kindness, love, and compassion.  It is these infectious qualities that spread from one person to the next, that open up hearts and filter through consciousness like ripples on a pond.  And even if we do not feel our hearts are open enough to act in this manner, by taking small steps to act with kindness, the experiences will slowly open the heart which felt so closed.  When we help someone else, we are in fact helping ourselves.

It may seem pointless at times when we turn on the news and see one crisis after another occurring, but it is not up to us to decide how the drama of God’s play is written.  The only person we can control is ourselves, and in doing so we play our part to shift not only the global consciousness, but that of the entire universe.

Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly affecting other people with our thoughts, emotions and energy, and vice versa are being affected by everyone else’s thoughts, emotions and energy.  One of the hardest parts in attempting to overcome my paralysis, has been overcoming the large systemic belief that walking again is not possible.  For the longest time this belief system smothered me, constantly attempting to control my thoughts and beliefs.  It has taken great effort and spiritual work to get to a place where I believe in a truer reality, a reality where anything is possible, where miracles are real.  We must all take on that challenge, to find the true reality within our own hearts.  The reality where nothing is broken, not us, not the world, not anything.  It is all perfect, it is all God, all here perfectly created for the ultimate purpose of our existence to be fulfilled.

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Why Fear Anything?

There are moments in my life when the passage of time haunts me. Staring through a narrow prism I view my life as if I am trapped in quicksand, and each second that ticks away blares in my ears like a megaphone. I wonder, “Where is the life I dreamed of? Where is the goal I strive for?” But these moments are just an illusion, and nothing more. To think that I, a spiritual being, am trapped, inhibited, or shackled in any way is ludicrous. I am a brilliant sun, whose rays extend out into infinite space, reaching forever and ever, into the abyss. I am constant motion, energy swirling, colliding, flowing through and out, ever-changing, ever shifting, ever-growing. I have no beginning and no end, no once was or will be. There is no weight on my back, there are wings, wings that can carry me anywhere I wish to travel.

Soon I would once again see my guru as she traveled across the United States. I thought I would be kneeling at her feet, displaying my new physical body, a body that was once broken, and reimagined. But time hurries for no one, and I found myself approaching her, still in a wheelchair, still physically impaired, still wondering when the recovery I knew was going to occur, would take place. I fought off the depression, the sadness that another timeline had come and gone. I told myself I would simply throw myself at her feet. With one swing of momentum, toss myself out of the wheelchair and onto the floor, crying out for her mercy, her healing touch, for her to display her infinite power of healing. Looking up to her I’d ask, “How can Mother ignore her child, her broken child? How can She ignore me when I know She can heal me?”

But, I experienced my first darshan with Amma, and I made no such scene. Once in her presence, I no longer felt the need to express my pain to Amma. I no longer wanted to blame her. I just wanted to feel her love. And I did. Her embrace was as warm and loving as ever. Her compassion was sweet and tender, soft and deep. It wriggled its way into the core of my being. And every time I even thought about asking, “Will I recover? When will I recover?” The question went unsaid, the opportunity vanished. Then sitting in meditation, over and over again I heard, “Do not worry, you will walk again.”

Then another message appeared, that I was not meant to ask about my future. I am meant to know, deep within myself, deep within my heart, that I have not been led down this path in vain, for it is a path which has given me so much, and will continue to do so as I enter a glorious ocean of grace, and prosperity. I must go through this arduous period of faith and surrender. I must epitomize the characteristics of persistence, determination, and faith. That is my path. And while there may be people out there who think I’m crazy, while there may be people that don’t understand, it matters not. This is my choice, and in this moment, I am not worried. I feel more guided than ever. I feel more loved than ever. So why fear anything? What reason is there to fear? When I know I am loved and cared for.

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The Harmonious Contradiction

I cannot deny that the past month or so has been frustrating. There have been moments of depression and anger, for the first time in a long time, seriously doubting my path and what the end result of all of this is going to be. I found throughout my journey however, that these moments are almost always followed by a wave of peace, and realization.

Surrender tends to be a common realization for me. Each time I surrender I feel that I’m doing so on another level, gradually ascending some invisible staircase leading toward higher levels of spirituality and oneness. There was a weekend recently when I felt so sad and defeated. Every part of me seemed to be giving way, crumbling, each piece falling to the floor and shattering. As usual, a fight ensued, a fight to push away whatever it was that I was supposed to deal with. When this fight inevitably came to no conclusion, I fell to my guru’s feet, and for the thousandth time shouted, “I surrender!” It was then that a warm sensation spread through my heart, and expanded, giving me the peace that I sought. That night I grew very ill, and spent the entire sleeping hours, curled up under my covers, shivering and aching. I cannot fully explain these moments, except to say that I know it is a spiritual, as well as physical, shift taking place. I cannot help but complain at the time, for the physical suffering I am enduring, but within, I know it is for the greater good.

This feeling of surrender lasted a little while, but as a warm sunshine cascaded over the landscape, I felt an insatiable desire to be free of my physical limitations, and embrace the emergence of spring and summer with the youthful energy that I once had. I was continuing to feel tremendous healing taking place, but I asked myself, “Is it ever going to lead to the recovery I have dreamed of all these years? Will it always be this way? Sitting on the edge of a miracle, peering through double plated glass at a vision that only my inner eye can behold?”

I couldn’t believe that I was actually doubting my inevitable recovery, but every time I began to brainstorm about other avenues I could take, I knew that none of them were for me. I knew that I couldn’t give up. It simply wasn’t an option. “What should I do?” I asked myself. I was feeling trapped, and smothered, unsure of what the next steps was. And so I went to the place where the answers are always given, where peace is always found. I sat in front of Amma’s photograph.

“I will just sit here,” I thought. “Whenever there is a still moment, whenever the silence turns into noise, badgering me with doubts and fears, I will simply sit here.” And as I sat there, I felt the familiar warm sensations flowing through my body, my legs began to ache with pain, and I knew she was working on me.

“Okay Amma,” I thought. “There is no path for me, except the path of recovery. That is my path.  I will sit here and feel your energy and love, until I am recovered. I have nowhere else to go.”

It was then that I got a new message, a different message than surrender. The thought came to me that even though divine help is all around me, including Francis, guides and angels, Amma, and who knows what other divine beings, ultimately, my physical healing is up to me. I must continue to put forth the effort. I must do my japa, I must visualize my healing, I must wiggle my toes, and push down through my feet. I must continue to believe in Francis, and know that the incredible energy, and sensations I feel flowing throughout my nervous system is not an illusion, it is not my imagination trying to convince me that something which is impossible is possible. No, I must continue to fight, and do everything on my end, to make this dream a reality.

It is easy to think that surrender means not doing anything.  But it is always necessary to combine surrender with effort.  Surrender without effort, is like plugging a lamp into the wall, without turning the light switch.  We are all instruments of God, but in order to make the music play, we must put forth the effort.  Surrender allows us to tap into the divine, clears thoughts of negativity, and opens the door of intention.  Then we must act, create, and move with determination and perseverance towards our destination.

At first the notion that my physical healing was up to me, felt contradictory to all my previous lessons of surrender. But effort and perseverance have a beautiful relationship with surrender. When their forces combine, that is when we achieve our goals. That is when everything we thought to be unachievable is realized.

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Confidence in Me As I Strive to Be Free

Suffering is caused solely by the mind, not by external circumstances or physical limitations, therefore recovery from paralysis and walking will not eliminate my suffering.  A truth I have been speaking about a lot recently.  I figured to fully embrace and enjoy my future recovery, and the plethora of experiences I will one day undergo, it was necessary that I transcend my suffering through spiritual liberation.  I did not like the thought of suddenly recovering from paralysis, then being thrown into a world of anxiety over having to face a new reality.  But is the only answer to this dilemma enlightenment?  Must I be fully liberated to transcend my fear?

Yes, some level of spiritual enlightenment may be necessary for me to completely transcend fear, but I realized recently that while I am yearning for self-realization, I am also simply yearning for self-confidence.  For the ability to step outside my front door, and be honest with what I truly want and desire, and go after it, willing to be vulnerable, willing to be embarrassed, and willing to fail and succeed.  I do not believe enlightenment is necessary to achieve this type of confidence.  I believe confidence to be a human trait that can be gained through experience, through putting yourself out there over and over again, until fear no longer controls you.

My cave of peace has been very rewarding.  The great spiritual masters throughout time would not have spent years and years in meditation if this type of solitude was not beneficial for the path towards spiritual liberation.  My cave of peace will be with me always, but I cannot allow my cave to be become a cage, protecting me from the outside world, from wants and desires unfulfilled, from awkward situations, and unconquered fears.  Soon it will be time to gather and ground myself in the spiritual energy I have created, and go forth, armored with the spiritual tools I have refined and sharpened.

In the past this has frightened me, but lately it seems as if a seed of courage has been planted inside my belly, and has grown roots.  I’m feeling a deep yearning to face fears, to build confidence in myself, in who I am, and what I have to offer to the world.  It makes me happy to realize that it is not necessary for me to gain enlightenment to become this person, but this does not mean I will not continue to strive for this goal.  In fact, reaching for enlightenment will also help me to be more confident and self-assured, it likely already has, but it is only through liberation that I will completely transcend all fear, all ego, and live in a state of love and compassion.  There are plenty of confident people out there in the world, but most do not live in a state of love.  It is the love which is my ultimate goal.

Many years ago, I made it a point to constantly face fears.  Looking back on it, it seemed like a valid stage in my progression, but more of a novice level of spirituality.  Now here I am, coming around full circle, once again ready to befriend fear, to look it right in the eye, and conquer it.  It is impossible to say what an individual person should and shouldn’t be doing on their spiritual path.  One person may need a particular experience or mode of operation, while someone else needs the complete opposite.  There is no linear series of steps that each person must make on the path of spiritual growth.  For many years now, I have existed more in a state of solitude, finding peace alone in contemplation, realizing that I needed nothing but my own spirit to bring me comfort.  That is what my spirit needed, that is what was necessary for my unique manifestation to move forward on my path.

Did I always understand this?  Of course not.  The human mind will rarely understand what exactly is going on.  We think, we see, we taste, we feel, but how much do we truly understand and know about the true reality?  So very little.  When we realize how little we understand, it’s easy to get frustrated, to yell and scream, and pitch a fit.  But even during these times, when nothing makes sense, it is quite possible that tremendous spiritual evolution is taking place.  Especially if one is dedicated to the search, and desires to achieve the God-given sight, that will allow you to see things as they really are.

My limited human sight is currently staring at a pot of water on the stove.  As I wait for this water to boil, little tiny bubbles are rising to the surface, but when the heck is that water going to boil?!  The longer I stare, the longer it seems to take, but I know it will eventually boil, just like I know I will eventually walk again.  And while I may not understand the timing of it all, while I may get frustrated with my inability to truly see and understand the meaning of all this, I know that my spirit is not standing still.  It never does.

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