by Donna Marie Pritchard

As published in 11:11 Magazine Issue March-April 2013
 "The most important thing ... is to give 
up who you are for who you can become."
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You know not what you do.
You arrived here, born to die
And in between to live, 
to laugh, to shine.
You know not who you are,
For knowing is not being —
Simply put, you came forth to live.
This is your task 
and no one asks — why do you live?
Except perhaps, you do.

You live because you live.
But why? you ask. 
To what purpose is my life?
Aren’t I here for a reason?  
Beyond today? 
Dear One, No.  
No one is beyond today.
And so they live forever.

You come in. You go out. 
Your life — a flash, a faint, a shout.
You are part of the greater good,
the whole, the divine tapestry
a thread of the mystery, so brilliant
that through the part you weave
of life unending, 
the whole is forever changed.

But what of those most high?
What of those most low? 
Dear One, it is not for you to know
or understand that all parts
make up the whole. 
Their path will always lead to home.

In time, in space, there is no place
Where love, where light doth not abide.
So be. Lift up your voice, 
your soul will seed its place in history. And time and space 
Collapse into you now. 

Donna Pritchard © 2008
 "The most important thing ... is to give 
up who you are for who you can become."
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“Some things can only be told on a slant.”  The words hung in the air for a moment, capturing my attention. The minister was speaking of how Jesus told parables in order for his followers to understand his message.  

Writers also tell things on a slant. It allows the reader to “suspend belief” and simply accept a story at face value. Fiction has a much better chance of bypassing the reader’s filters than truth, and getting their unbiased attention. Because there is little or no resistance to a made-up story, it has a much higher possibility of hitting its mark. Poetry has the same advantage. 

On the other hand, any account presented as truth inherently challenges the reader to accept the entire story, verbatim. They will accept or reject it as they read, comparing the story to their own values and ideas of what is true and real. As the author, I may lose them before they turn the first page. It follows that in order for my true story to be fully believed and accepted by the reader, its chance of success is highest if I present it as fiction.  

I found it interesting that after I published my book, The Man and The Shark, A Modern Day Fable of Awakening and Rebirth, people questioned me as to whether or not the story was true. They wanted to know if it is my story even though the main character is male, an engineer who does scuba diving and photography as hobbies.  

Before I wrote this 4500-word fable, I wrote a story over 200,000 words that is a detailed true account of my experience of awakening, the dark night of the soul, and rebirth. Finding Home never made it past the initial scrutiny of a panel of readers. The Man and The Shark is the summation of Finding Home, stripped of all my details. Most surprising is that I did not realize I had written “my story” until I was presenting it to an audience on a college campus almost a year after its completion. 

My experience of the LIGHT came years after I left Christianity behind, and in a setting far removed from anything I ever experienced in church. It matched very closely to accounts I had heard of those who had been saved. It was no less profound in its effect upon the entirety of my life than perhaps that of a born-again Christian who has experienced the Holy Spirit.

The minister’s words stirred me as he told of Jesus the storyteller, poet, and mystic. On that Sunday morning, Jesus became accessible to me in a way that I had never considered. It was thirty years after I had left the dogma of Christianity and that sweet church behind at age 17. I sat there in the familiar pew and my stomach fluttered as my beliefs were once again turned inside out and upside down as I pondered Jesus, the man. 

Jesus did not shrink from his light, his destiny. The totality of his presence caused a mix of awe and respect, envy and hatred, but he was not swayed by either the adoration or the hate. Dedicated to living a life seeped in spiritual guidance, he acted upon the nudges, impulses, and directives that flowed to him. His was the path of a great master.  

Was there an intersection that I had missed?  Had I denied some vital part of me in rejecting my Christian roots?  Was I no different from the reader who is presented with ONE TRUTH and because I cannot accept that premise, I reject the entire script? Was there a passageway wherein my Christian roots could be embraced alongside my experiences in the metaphysical, the esoteric, the “woo-woo?”  

It is said that the path to awakening cannot be shared. Each seeker pursues their own path, and in pursuing the mystery, the answers will be revealed, unique to that person. To move along the path, the seeker must also move beyond the questions.

Questions keep our minds busy. Busy minds churn. Churning minds are noisy minds. Noisy minds are ineffectual, rendering the individual incapable of listening for answers from deep within. Details overwhelm the mind to give it plenty to do and there is no space for mastery! Ego wins!

When the questions die down, the mind quietens. It is there in the quiet, in the not asking, that the answers come in the form of impulses, sensing, so-called coincidences, and “ah-ha!” moments. Learning to tune in and being open to the answers is much more effective than busying oneself asking questions.  

Years ago, I participated in a week-long workshop that involved going into trance states for approximately one hour, five times a day, using semi-hypnotic tapes to facilitate the process. The point was to access alternate planes of awareness; then, to learn how to move in and of those states on our own without the help of the tapes.  
These alternate perspective, once integrated, could then be drawn upon to enrich our daily life. Like developing any new skill, it took practice.  

One day about a month after the workshop, I took myself into a state loosely described as, “Mind Awake, Body Asleep.” My goal was to experience deep relaxation of my body and simultaneously maintain an intently alert mind. I moved into it easily, stayed for ½ hour, and came out feeling quite pleased with my accomplishment. That is, until I tried to get up. I could not move, not even a finger! It was close to an hour that I lay on the floor incapable of motor skills. Apparently, I had more to master!

Another exercise involved listening for answers to questions that we had not asked. In this way, we learned to train our minds to expect, notice, and perceive what came in. We learned that our psyche, when given space, will flow to us the impulses, nudges, and directives that will guide us on a path of mastery, should we choose to follow. 

For my clients with highly active minds and a passel of questions, an “intuitive writing” will often bypass their monkey minds. The client makes up a list of questions or writes a page in a "stream of consciousness" format. I instruct them to skip the back story − the less backstory, the more I can tune into what is going on for them. I scan the questions quickly, and then set them aside until I am guided to respond at the appropriate time, usually within 48 hours. When I feel the impulse to begin writing, the response addresses the underlying theme bubbling up from the questions. 

Always within the litany of questions is revealed a deeper truth, and deeper knowing − waiting to be acknowledged. The questions are subterfuge and rarely if ever, have anything to do with anything that is really happening!  

Every person can learn to listen beyond their questions, and tap into their reservoir of knowing. To begin, desire it to be so, and ask that guidance come. Then, expect it to be so and it will happen. Pay attention to anything, no matter how seemingly insignificant, that appears to be in response to your quest. Notice and be grateful for the guidance, even if you aren’t certain that is what it is.  

As you continue to acknowledge the nudges, feelings, and synchronicities, you will have more of them. Over time, you will learn to discern between your busy mind and a message that comes from a broader perspective. The guidance will have a quality to it, a “signature” that you will begin to sense and recognize. As you practice following the guidance, you will also learn to trust it as a reliable resource.  

For starters, try this exercise: Write a list of questions you have about your life. When you are complete, set them aside and ask to receive an impulse when it is time to answer. Expect it to happen. When you get the idea to respond, then sit with pen in hand and write, “Dear One,” ... and then write every single word that comes into your mind or through your pen, without questioning it or trying to make sense of it. If you feel like you are “doing it wrong,” switch hands and write whatever scrawl comes through. You may even draw a picture. Don’t expect big results the first time. Repeat the exercise daily. Practice leads to mastery! 

As to the mystery, just look in the mirror, be that mirror one on the wall or the eyes of any other person. The mystery is that we are now – our body, our personality – completely unique in time and space. The mystery is that before we are born and after we die, the energy that lived as “us” joins with all the energy in the universe, blending in a field of consciousness.  

The mystery sources our desires, our purpose, and our free will. The mystery fuels our life force and our passion, setting the stage for mastery. During the time between birth and death, we have the opportunity to find the God within, the quiet mind, the open heart even as we toll at our work, feed our families, and remember to play and rest. And, through that process, we discover the mystery of our own true self, a story that can only be told on a slant.  
 "The most important thing ... is to give 
up who you are for who you can become."
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My questions were circling around, pointing to something that was brewing inside, wanting to be uncovered. I could barely wait to leave church and rushed home, straight to my desk, and the poems began to flow as soon as the pen touched the paper. One after another they spilled across the page, laying out the cross-over between my past and present, confirming what I already knew – that since I, a non-believer, has experienced that which is God, then everyone has full access!  

Two weeks later, I found myself in the pulpit, reading my poetry to the congregation of my hometown church. I had reclaimed my Christian roots. The heathen, so to speak, had found her voice. My path to God can only be told on a slant.

“Why?” – the perfect question. “Because!” – the perfect answer. I can strive to master the “How?” but the “Why” of it, the mystery, remains out of reach.