Their confronter was angry; Joie and Jenn felt threatened.
Joie was about to get in his face and shout “NO!” which seemed like a bad idea when a movie line popped into her head, “Truth? You can’t handle the truth!” She took a deep breath, not answering.
She’d grown up an Evangelical Southern Baptist, but had never drank the kool-aid, or more accurately the Welch’s Grape Juice. Joie understood enough to know his level of agitation and anger wasn’t just about saving their eternal souls.
She glanced at Jenn, who was petrified; she could tell Jenn was about to say something…
As this guy rambled on, Joie flashed back to the reason they were here. Jenn invited her to coffee to learn everything about Joie’s “meditation episode” she’d mentioned in their class earlier in the week.
During their class, Joie was present and powerful. Her healing work was focused, directed, conveying no doubt that healing occurred. The instructor and students commented saying how different Joie seemed. Something had changed.
Joie Shared The Reader’s Digest version…
In response, Joie shared the Reader’s Digest version of her intense experience during a meditation earlier in the week and asked her instructor what had happened.
The instructor replied, “This is a common occurrence. The physical body seems to store the vibrations of specific memories, emotions, and traumas for processing at a later time.” He compared these stored vibrations to a capacitor storing electric charges and mentioning how we often forget to let go or discharge them so they get stuck in our body.
The instructor explained, Joie had used her intuition to know she could release the stored energy. He acknowledged her success and courage to face a scary unknown adding a footnote how Joie’s accomplishment had happened in-time and on-time.
Joie found his explanation interesting but was busy thinking to herself, “Damn if memories and experiences are held in our bodies as vibrations, then thoughts really are things!”
When she first heard that thoughts were things, that they were real, she thought yeah, right. What a load of crap.
She would definitely be wearing a size 1!
Her rational mind immediately decided that if her thoughts were real, she’d be financially independent, wearing a size 1, able to eat anything she wanted, without ever needing to exercise. But that wasn’t her life, not by a long shot. She summarily filed the whole “thoughts are things” hypothesis away into her someday, maybe folder. Turns out, someday is today.
Jenn had a feeling Joie hadn’t shared everything with the class. Afterward, she invited Joie to coffee to find out the rest of the story.
Joie decided sharing the whole experience with Jenn might be helpful in clarifying more of what happened. The little Joie shared with the class had validated her experience and made her insights more tangible.
When they sat down with their coffees, Joie warned Jenn this might take a while, then started sharing everything that happened during and after the “meditation episode.” Joie had titled her journal entry “My Meditation Episode,” because she had no clue what had happened.
She walked through hell to get to heaven.
Joie started by sharing how she had woken up feeling free, open and loving. The best she could tell, Joie had walked through hell and stepped into heaven. She felt very light. It was like she’d been carrying a ton of bricks that was now gone.
The night before waking up so enlivened, Joie started to meditate and after a few minutes, a panic attack overwhelmed her. The panic attack originated in the pit of her stomach. Joie wondered if the abyss in her stomach was “a psychic center opening or the gateway to hell?”
Joie continued, recalling Buddha’s quote that “Meditation is the key to harmony.” After her episode, Joie was experiencing harmony and grateful for deciding to continue her meditation practice despite the excruciating boredom of her twice daily meditations.
Joie wrote in her journal, “If Heaven and Hell are states of mind, in the here and now, this was all the proof she needed to be a true believer.” Because whatever opened up the night before during her meditation felt Hellish. And after waking up, Joie felt like she was in Heaven.
Joie’s marathon journal entry continued, and as she dumped the details of her experience onto the paper, some things started making sense to her about her life.
Joie realized that at some point during her childhood she was inoculated and immunized against positive thinking. The best part about Joie’s immunity was never being let down or disappointed, ever. If you’re immune to positivity, you never allow yourself to dream, desire, or want anything. If you never desire, you’re never let down when it doesn’t happen. She noted this was a brilliant solution to the circumstances of her childhood.
Over the years she received regular immunity booster shots. Being told: “We can’t afford it.” “You don’t want to do that.” “No.” “Stop that.” “We don’t have the money, for that.” “Oops, Mommy forgot.” “Sorry but Mommy must work.”
90% of her life on Earth this time around.
After 13 or 14 years being let down and disappointed, Joie still held out hope against all the odds that things would change and she would finally get everything she wanted. But things never changed. Joie decided the only way to avoid disappointment is to never, ever want anything. And if there ever was something you had to have, never let anyone know. This skill served her well until her late 30s when meditation set her free.
In her mid-teens, Joie became secretive or as she liked to think of herself, mysterious. Lying became the primary defense of her sanity. Mostly Joie lied by omission, never sharing what was happening in her life. She also mastered “going along” with what everyone else wanted. Joie kept these coping skills honed to fine edges used to cut down all possibilities before they could cause her disappointment.
Joie continued writing insight after insight in her journal and began seeing how consistently practicing meditation was breaking through her long-practiced habit of keeping her desires locked away.
From time to time while writing, Joie quieted her mind enough to allow bad memories and experiences to surface after being buried for decades under countless layers of bitterness, cynicism, and resignation. As Joie wrote, it seemed she was purging a lifetime of negative emotions hidden away in the abyss. The void filled instantly with feelings of love and acceptance.
Through her reflections and writing, Joie realized her “meditation episode” had evolved slowly, over time, revealing her emotional quagmire in such a way she knew making it through to the other side of the abyss was possible.
Joie trusted her inner-knowing that the only way out was through.
Joie smiled, “in-time and on-time’ had just become something real. Facing the discomfort of her unexamined past, she trusted her inner-knowing that told her the only way out was through and now was the time to start.
Curious about what she’d find on the other side, Joie cautiously stepped into her discomfort, to the very edge of uncertainty. Dare she go further? She leaped.
She recalled reading about the stages of grief. And during the journey through her past, she experienced every stage of grief for the death of her childhood innocence. Some stages passed quickly, while others seemed to linger forever. The catharsis felt like waves welling up from the pit of her stomach, choking her and making it hard to breathe before disappearing into the ether.
Her biggest surprise was seeing how much energy she had been using to keep the abyss safely hidden deep within her being.
On the other side of the abyss, Joie found nothingness, peace, stillness.
Joie, when reaching the other side of the abyss, felt like a small child, susceptible and vulnerable. She was impressionable and open. Free. She couldn’t help thinking she’d been born again, seeing things newly and for the first time, as if through the eyes of a child.
Joie fell asleep in the chair. Not hearing Samuel come in, she slept like a baby.
She woke up feeling rested. Like waking up the final day of a 10-day vacation. Joie’s mind, no, her whole being was quiet. Still.
The time first ever, she thought about exercising as an opportunity for self-love and care rather than some medieval torture.
As she wrapped up her marathon journal entry, two things about her experience stood out.
First, she realized her worst fears had never come about nor would they ever happen.
Second, she now knew herself to be a warm, loving and compassionate person.
The spiritual eyes of Joie’s soul opened.
As Joie closed her journal, tears came to her eyes, aware now of a deeper part of herself that she’d forgotten ever existed.
Joie had rediscovered her Spirit. The spiritual eyes of Joie’s soul opened revealing the very essence of who she was. Harmony and acceptance were the only words that seemed close to describing her state of being.
Joie walked on cloud nine. Life seemed brighter, more perfect, harmonious. She experienced freedom. Not like being free from responsibility but rather free to create any possibility she wanted, a foreign territory indeed.
When she thought of something she wanted, she could see several ways to make it happen. Gone were the roadblocks of her past.
As Joie finished talking, the sounds of a barista steaming milk reminded here where she was. Jenn had an astounded look on her face. They sat quietly, each lost in their own thoughts.
Jenn spoke first, asking Joie about her feeling of freedom and of being born again.
Joie shared what it felt like to see things as through the eyes of a child. The only way she could think to describe her sense of freedom was that she’d been born again.
As soon as the words left her mouth, she knew she’d made a mistake.
The guy at the next table almost fell off his chair. He started blurting, “Being born again isn’t a joke. God gave his only begotten son to die and be reborn to wash away our sins.”
Both Jenn and Joie jumped at the sudden interruption. The had felt his presence but ignored it, each thinking he was “perving” on them.
His indignant, self-aggrandized rant continued for what seemed an hour but was less than a minute. His eyes were bulging, a vein pulsing on his left temple as he incoherently spewed Christian rhetoric at them at a staccato pace. Something about blasphemy, following false prophets and the devil.
His tirade ended abruptly with the question, “Are you Christian?!?”
Without waiting for a response, he added, “Well, are you Christian?”
His glare continued.
After what seemed like five minutes, Jenn spoke first saying “We study the teachings of Jesus.” He got even angrier.
“ARE YOU CHRISTIAN?” he asked again in a loud, hoarse whisper barely audible past their table.
Against her better judgment, Joie said “No, we’re not Christian,” bracing herself for his next barrage.
The fury left his face as he handed them each a tri-fold brochure, calmly inviting them to join him at church this Sunday.
He started gathering his things, then looking at Jenn managed an embarrassed smile and wink saying, “I’ll save you a seat at the 10:30 service.” Suddenly, he stood and made a beeline to the door.
Jenn and Joie looked at each other, and each with a WTF expression on her face.
After several minutes of silence, Joie asked Jenn if she was going to accept his invitation. After all, “the gentleman” promised to save her a seat. She couldn’t contain her cheesy smile punctuated it with a wink…
Jenn agreed she was looking for a good man but didn’t think this was the one.
Relieved it was over, the friends joked back and forth for several minutes, blowing off the residual nervousness of the confrontation or whatever the heck that was.
I’m going to a psychic faire Sunday.
Jenn said, “Anyway I’m going to a psychic faire Sunday. You should join me. It’ll be fun seeing how other professional readers work.”
Joie thought for a minute remembering Samuel was playing golf and accepted, adding it to her calendar.
Joie was curious about how other readers worked. Her only experience was from the church where she took her spiritual development classes.
She had a “feeling” something important would occur by attending the psychic faire. She was both intrigued and anxious about what that might be.