Chapter Eighteen: Two Steps Forward, Many-Steps Back
(1999 ~ 28 years)
‘If you stop doing what you want, you can do what you like’
My mind wondrously expanded during the process of reading Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, a book I borrowed from the fire farm. The life experiences of this profound being, together with so many other profound saintly beings, fulfilled a previously unquenchable yearning in my heart.
From here, I felt vipassana meditation had been for the higher purpose of purifying my mind in preparation to receive such divine truths. I embraced this book as a gift from God! For here was a great Hindu yogi’s self-written account about his colourful life and associations with many of India’s God-realised masters. Always destined to become a yogi, Yogananda shares the miracles he experienced in his life as well as some of the sacred teachings he obtained on his road of awakening. Reading this was a dream come true for me. I absorbed Yogananda’s every line of his life story, adoring his writing style, magnificent expression, and grace… the treasure of his heart and soul! Yogananda was the first yogi ever to share the divinity of his experiences in such a way. And, through his sharing, my faith in God grew boundlessly stronger and my belief in healing my physical challenge became unquestionable!
WITH SUCH GODLY WONDER in my life, it was easier to inform Di of my decision to study alternate weeks with Reg. Blinded by blinkers, Di resolutely disagreed stating it would make ‘continuity of study ineffectual’. Aware of my promise to remain non-sectarian, she made the decision for me and her mindset affirmed that the Jehovah Witness’ policy was unaccommodating to an unbiased approach to learning. She was upset to lose a new student, but ultimately the choice was hers, and we warmly said goodbye.
Di returned a few days later bearing a gift: a little red book called Mankind’s Search for GOD published by Watchtower Bible. Primarily without prejudice, the book provided an overview on the worlds various religions. It was the perfect gift that focussed on the overall unity among religions, and so union in diversity! Di wrote a note on the inside cover, ‘Dear Suzie, May this book help you find the ‘Truth’. You have a good heart and you seem to be searching. Christian Love, Dianne’ Isa. 55.6 Proverbs 2:1-22.
Because of Yogananda, I felt a sense of God intoxication for the first time. He presented God as most loving, sacred, and precious. Fear of God was not exhibited in the old Western way; instead, Hindu’s teach to guide one’s life in awe of our Maker—in love with… For the first time, my idea of God rocketed. He even interpreted Christianity beautifully—the Bible is completely different when explained with esoteric yet lucid, supernal wisdom, insight, and light—the reason why I sought to study it here in Oz.
* * *
Love all around, my brother David wrote me a note, displaying his heart and mind at that time:
‘To my Suzie
Just a little note to say I am so proud of you. The way you deal with your little problem is a credit to you and I will always try to help you through this.
Unfortunately, I am living in a mixed up world at the moment. I do my best to help you because you are so very special to me. Please understand that sometimes I go through strange moods but deep down you are my most beautiful person in my life. Love Dave xxxxx’
I was encouraged by my family’s love, and was so thankful I never experienced moods because of my ‘problem’. Ironically, though, I was still hunting for the right type of anti-depressants (as per the phenylamine/vitaminB12 injection/anti-depressant cocktail discovered by Cari Loder—the English girl with MS), and thankfully, no types affected my usual positive temperament. I felt no mood alteration at all! After a two-month trial, the third brand of anti-depressants also proved futile. This would have been disheartening if a new brand of anti-depressants hadn’t joined the market. Doctor Carmel had mentioned these in my last visit, saying they worked on a new area of neurotransmitters, similar to the ones that had already proved best of the three for me.
This sounded promising and my confidence grew when I saw the Efexor packet for the first time. ‘They’re the ones’, I said seeing images of suns and moons on the back of the tablets, indicating morning and evening doses. To me the symbols exemplified sun and moon energies that give light, movement, and life… I took this as a sign that those were the ones! The sacred fires of agnihotra seemed to present this gift to me, in honour of the sun and moon cycle.
I commenced the final type of anti-depressants available in early February, and took the first dose in the morning while reading in bed. Not half an hour had passed and I could move my right foot in a quick sideward motion. This was unbelievable. I hadn’t been able to do that since MS came on. Exciting adrenaline surged through my body! Yet, do you think I got up? No! Mum was at work; so to avoid disappointment, I decided not to get up in case symptoms were still present, and read for another hour with the thrilling thought that walking again just might be possible! But when I rose, my first steps confirmed my former symptoms, although reduced! I wasn’t too disappointed. I welcomed the increased balance plus sturdiness when lifting my right leg, pleased with even this improvement!
AN IMMINENT MEETING with Shastri would bring me more information about my health. I first heard his name from Grace at the fire farm. She said, ‘You have MS… there is an Indian man named Shastri—a learned master in deciphering Ancient Sanskrit records—who comes to Australia once a year. He reads from an ancient Sanskrit book that was interpreted by Ancient Rishis (fully-enlightened beings who brought Vedic and Ayurvedic knowledge to the world). He will tell you why you have MS and what is going to happen. If positive, he will tell you how to put all your energies into healing, if negative he will provide a way to turn it around if it is karmically within his power to do so. It also serves as a karmic account record, providing a summary of your karma as it is right now!’
Five days before the meeting, I went to Ruby’s for the day—a woman who I’d met through Mum and chose her to be my scribe for the Shastri reading. We’d met only once to do a double agnihotra sunset fire (as Ruby performed agnihotra too), and we wished to get to know each other more before the meeting. On the Shastri day, I knew it wouldn’t be easy for Mum to take notes, far too mentally and emotionally occupied to convey details to paper. And, having heard of Shastri, Ruby knew the encounter would be unique for all of us.
While I was at Ruby’s house, one of her friends came to visit, an interesting woman named Irene whose clairvoyant abilities consciously functioned. Ruby had told Irene of my Shastri appointment, and despite knowing his great source of reference she was confident enough in her own ability to express the following:
Looking at the shape of my hands, Irene said, ‘You are very artistic’, and ‘should work with children, perhaps doing painting’. She went on to say I shouldn’t seek work in the missionary field as I have done it many times before, and this life was not for that. She said, ‘Your faith is very strong!’ Next, she asked me to stand up to have my aura smudged and cleansed. Before I knew it, Irene held a sage stick above my head, and then began flapping the smoke with an eagle feather birdlike around my body.
Despite the blessing, standing for such a length became more difficult as the minutes went by; however, she was to say another profound thing before I sat. Holding the bottom of my spine, she said, ‘You have the weight of the world on your shoulders’. ‘You have felt much burden, and still hold it in your spine.’ ‘Something happened in a past life, where you saw people die… children… in an earthquake or a volcano! Something devastating like that, to which you felt responsible. You felt you could have saved them!’
Amazingly, Shastri soon reveals that—‘You and the children die in an avalanche, and you felt responsible!’
Two days before the mystical meeting, Ruby met Shastri when he bought hats from the hat shop she worked at and she phoned me to say he had a happy, vibrant personality. This eased my mind. I had been worrying if I was doing the right thing. Fears had started to rise since I’d been studying the Bible every fortnight with Reg the pastor from the Seventh Adventist Church.
I wasn’t a yes sir student, often battling with Reg - albeit benignly, on missing foundations struck from the Bible such as karma and reincarnation, in the 4th Century by Constantine. As well as about the sad misguidance of gays not being ‘allowed’ into ‘heaven’ due to their so-called sin, and drunk drivers who fatally hit children destined to ‘hell’. I’d say, ‘If they’re going to hell then I am too. And I know God wouldn’t want that, if there is such a place’. Now archaic thinking had me worrying that I just might be breaking Bible commandments by seeing Shastri. I sent prayers for a sign, and it seemed answers came to me three days before the Shastri date, when David and I went for a swim at Ettalong Beach.
We were lying and swaying in the tranquil waters, sharing quality time under the warm sun. It was very special, as it had been a long time since Dave had been in the ocean and his face beamed rejuvenation. The occasion was blissful! Before leaving, we had brother sisterly moments when he held my hands as I lay on my stomach and pulled me through the water, thrashing me from side to side. It was fun! Although I discovered, I had lost both contacts when we were back in the car. Those things cost a lot as my eyes had stigmatism. Oh no that’s a bad sign, I thought, but kept the loss from David to avoid dampening the happy mood!
The next morning, sitting for agnihotra sunrise, I prayed for another sign. Soon after, the fire went out! Oh my God, I’m not meant to go! A saddening prospective! I phoned Grace from the farm later that morning to share my reservations about seeing Shastri. Grace answered and on realising whom it was she exclaimed, ‘I was just thinking of you!’ I told her of my fears that seeing Shastri could be totally going against the Bible. With much thought she said, ‘How can I say this without hurting you? It seems you don’t want to be empowered; you don’t want to empower yourself!’ She went on to suggest my hesitation might because I preferred to remain with my physical challenge, proposing I found comfort through dependence.
I’m unable to recall Grace’s exact words because my thoughts were back on the fire farm, of me having a placid disposition, sitting happily regardless of my situation. Even before MS, some people assumed me somewhat giddy, too happy, and friendly to be the full quid. At the farm, my position had been in the student role, so I had no inclination to speak over Grace and Luke to get my experiences and views across. I was more than happy to listen and receive pearls of wisdom. Grace’s words implied they had missed my message; however, I received wisdom again, for it was certainly time to become empowered! On hanging up, my mood had risen: I was off to see Shastri, surrendering the outcome of the meeting to God, finally realising it was God was sending me there anyway! So, I was calm when the day arrived.
MY GREATEST CONCERN while dressing was the rising temperature. It was hot! I wore a light fitting white dress, and the Shiva-Lingam and copper Shri Yantra around my neck. The only other item I brought along was the Autobiography of a Yogi for support and as mark of acknowledgement for the mystical journey I was about to embark on.
Mum and I headed off on the twenty-minute journey to Anna’s house. All four windows were down in our non air-conditioned car, and hot wind thrust about us as we zoomed along. I had expected to feel a pit of bubbly nerves in my stomach on approaching the destination, but I wasn’t anxious, surprisingly, despite the magnitude of the meeting and the knowing that my life would have irrevocably changed by the return route, having bitten the apple and gained the fruit of knowledge… No longer ignorant to what was really going on... My recent fears left behind. There was no turning back; I trusted only good would come out of this meeting! To Shastri we went!
To meet this mysterious Indian man involved a very long climb! The afternoon was growing even hotter and Shastri was staying at Anna’s home—the place on top of the very large hill I visited for the meditation evening last year. This time, on looking up at the eighty-plus flight of steps, I feared how the soaring temperature would affect my ability to battle them (too steep for a car), as my MS symptoms had already worsened. I knew the exertion would be incredibly worthwhile despite all difficulty… especially on discovering secrets of my soul, karma, and soul plan. A priceless pot of gold was the awaiting reward for my feat; all efforts were prepaid!
The purpose was to gain insight into my condition, to discover why MS had come about and what was going to happen to me. If the revelations proved positive, which I intuitively and trustingly believed, I would receive invaluable guidance and information to strengthen healing. The other major reason was to find if I was to renounce this worldly life...
* * *
Throughout the next 14.5 pages of this chapter:
Incredibly sacred, liberating, and colourful revelations given at the Shastri reading that changed my life irrevocably.
Enrolled in part-time Child Care studies as per Shastri’s suggestion.
Leon finally released from my heart after Shastri’s holy man predictions.
Letter/poem to my unmet soul mate.
Julie and Glenn’s engagement party ~ attempt at partying like old times.
Mum is relieved of work, becoming my full-time carer.
On Shastri’s counsel, commenced writing my autobiography, ‘Blessed are they who have found their work’.
Met up with Harry… friend from my teenage days: commence short romance.