On the evening of Oct. 31, 2005, I took a walk in a school playground area while waiting for the start of a recovery birthday meeting. I felt the familiar stirring activity within my chest that had been with me in various forms at least several times a day for over eight years. I had always interpreted this simply as an indication that I needed to be alone and just consciously breath into and process my feelings.
But this night would be different. In a flash of intuitive knowledge, I suddenly realized that this movement within me actually was the Spirit of God. I simultaneously felt a sensation of clearance at the center of my chest. The spontaneous joy that accompanied this recognition hit me so hard that water literally shot out of my eyes as my knees buckled and I almost fell to the sidewalk. I then completely knew for the first time, that God was with me and always would be no matter what my future held. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I now had been given tangible proof of God's existence, love and presence within my very own body. All my life in the heat of the moment of even the most minor problems, I had immediately reacted to the anxiety that arose within and blocked any ability to move forward in my life with any real faith. As a result of my past abuse, I had in no way believed that it was possible for me to respond differently. But now I finally knew that I would never be forsaken; I would never again be alone. I had always thought that I was somehow painfully and fundamentally different. Indeed, due to this anxiety, I rarely ever thought about God when problems arose, and even if I did it was only a cold intellectual head knowledge awareness that left me unable to penetrate to the heart level of true human experience, where faith, love and wisdom are found.
I returned to the recovery birthday celebration for a real surprise. One of my spiritual mentors, an American Indian woman celebrating over 45 years sobriety, told us that she was leaving us to move back to the reservation for good. I was so grateful for the opportunity to tell her and the group how much knowing her had meant to me and to say goodbye to her. If not for the spiritual experience that I had just had, it is very likely that I would not have been able to express my love for her.
Within several days, I recognized that my heart chakra had opened completely for the first time on this night. I had been practicing a Sufi spiritual path for five years or more, after being encouraged to follow it through several major dreams. I had read in Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee's spiritual autobiography The Face Before I Was Born, that Sufi spiritual practice closes all chakras but the heart center. This makes it a powerful, yet more stable path, from a psychospiritual energy-work perspective. I then saw that my Sufi practice synergetically worked with my daily emotional clearing to safely facilitate the opening of my heart center. In tantric Hindu teachings, the heart chakra is sometimes referred to as the bridge, because it joins the three chakras below it which correspond to the lower (egotistical) self, to the three chakras above it which relate to the higher (spiritual) self. The significance of my heart opening then, was that I had done a sufficient amount of clearing of negativity from the lower self and I was crossing over the heart bridge into the clearing and development of my latent spiritual faculties. Because of the very sick environment in which I was raised, I never had the opportunity to learn how to really give or receive love in any way. (This in fact, was intuitively confirmed during my daily personal work around 2009). This opening of my heart was then the beginning of possibly the most significant development of my recovery.
Within a few days I noticed that my ability to comprehend complex intellectual material--- in particular, the writings of Carl Jung--- had increased by a five or tenfold quantum leap. Before long, I inwardly recognized, that the promise of peace, which I had glimpsed in my first major spiritual experience of December 1992, had been delivered on the doorstep of my soul, after trudging uphill for another thirteen long and difficult years. And it is my testimony that all the material accomplishment in the world, is only a faint echo, compared to this level of spiritual success!