While many people are still on the sidelines whether there is really proof of Heaven, there are many others who do not have the luxury of still deciding. There are thousands of people who have had their own Near Death Experience or spiritual awakening which no matter how much they try to ignore and just continue, their lives have been turned upside down. Not a day goes by when they are not remembering and wondering what to do with their experience. The intense love in an unspeakable vastness which accompanies a spiritual awakening is so beyond normal worldly life, their minds just cannot suppress what they now know in their hearts. Call it post traumatic love syndrome or what you will, their spiritual awakening is very present and somehow they must integrate their soulful life with ordinary life. In the midst of friends, family, fellow workers trying to support them or fearfully rejecting them, people who have had a spiritual awakening must somehow come to terms with what has happened and how to continue.
Whether it was a Near Death Experience from an accident, illness, a relative who has died who mysteriously visits them, a very lucid dream, profound meditation or prayer, while others want to be convinced these experiences are real, the people who have had the experience need no convincing. More pressing for them is to find what this realm they discovered is all about and why me? Once this realm has been opened, the awareness of vast space, limitless peace, love, and brilliant light, is not so easy to live with. To now quiet their heart and continue life as usual is nearly impossible. People are crying out inside, how do I live after having proof of Heaven?
Recently I read the book Voyage of Purpose and afterwards got into contact with David Bennett, the author. He is one of the many who have had a remarkable Near Death Experience. What makes David and his book so special is his accounting of the process. David has found the words many are searching for. Words are difficult, trying to describe the experience, the challenge of living with it, and then the long process of integrating the other side into this side of life.
In our discussion, David who is currently actively involved with those who have had spiritual awakenings, confirmed that many people are stuck in their experience while trying to get back to being "normal." Partners leave them. Jobs no longer are fulfilling. Friends, family, church although trying to be supportive, without their own experience, more often then not, do not find any common basis to relate from. Experiencers, as David calls them, are very much on their own and suffer being alone with their spiritual awakening.
People who have had a spiritual awakening now know Heaven is not something far away or for only "good" people. How else could experiencers explain what they discovered while being perfectly aware how human and ordinary they are? As experiencers integrate what has happened to them, they feel the separation from the love. They miss it yet somehow it is still with them. Slowly they realize Heaven is not something they have to wait for. We do not have to physically die to know this love. The mind can die unto Heaven as awareness rests in the great heart that is found in the heart. Underneath our complicated lives, our busy personality as our awareness embraces our heart, is the pure presence. Here is where Heaven begins. Yes, love, including this special Divine love, is no further away then our hearts.
David says, " finding and trusting one's own heart, one's inner life is quite a challenge. I have found I needed many years, community, and I am still integrating my experience of the unending space of love that I discovered. People who have had experiences of spiritual awakening need to support one another, come together. Otherwise living with Heaven inside of us and realms of struggle around us is much too much." A Heaven experience can be a mixed blessing, knowing eternity's joy while living in this world which includes so much suffering.
David and I talked about the necessity to get outside of our skeptical culture and our own judgmental mind. People who have been taken into another realm need time alone, to be, to feel, to really receive the love that was and still is remarkably present. We discussed how they need the peace and quiet of silence not only to unplug from the chatter all around us but our own mental chatter as well. I shared the healing and affirmation that takes place in silent retreats. In silence, in the depths of meditation in the heart, the vastness of love is present. Retreats are opportunity to integrate the two sides of life, the other side and the world we live in. We agreed experiencers need to feel safe to explore and continue feeling the special landscape of Heaven. They need a welcome break and retreat from the stress of the two worlds living so close and yet so far from one another.
David through his years of trying to integrate his experience finds himself in a completely new life, with a new partner, work, community, daily activity. His Voyage of Purpose is about a great experience of heart opening calling for a new life of much heartfulness. David has found this through what he calls his "quiet ministry." He tries to be present with everyone and everything that comes into his day. He has a profound commitment practicing being present with his heart. As he is more in the moment, his mind is less busy and he more full of life and love's presence. In these moments, David hears his inner guidance and affirms his heart's vastness in everyone and everything. The separateness which was normal before his spiritual awakening is now more then ever a life of connectedness.
What is special is that these memories of Heaven seem to be much more then memories. As normal events in our past slowly drift into back corners of our mind, the vividness, the extreme realness of a spiritual awakening continues to be present. As the days, months, and years pass by, life is all about finding purpose and meaning. How can such an ordinary person like me experience so much intimate love? How can I tell others, knowing that I am not special but nevertheless have experienced something very special? How do I live in this world of so much distrust while trusting there is so much of another world, so much love inside of me? The spiritual awakening in many leaves these questions and much more. "How can I possibly love enough, in gratitude for the gift of my life that is freely given? How do I sincerely live knowing proof of Heaven?"