I met an elderly woman some years ago who told me this story. It reminded me of a similar experience that I once had. Here I share her memory with you:
“For several years following my divorce in the 1980’s I had fallen into a state of total exhaustion and acute mental and physical anguish, but one morning I woke with a strange premonition that something good would happen. I had an immense desire to go to Chartres Cathedral to see the Virgin Mary there.
In the cathedral I prayed before the statue of the Virgin. Immediately I smelled a very strong rose perfume. It was so intense that I turned around to see where it was coming from. I walked around the cathedral and the scent followed me around the whole building. As I left and stood in the open air in the square by the entrance, the scent was still there. A few yards away from where I was standing I could see an Indian lady wearing a white sari getting out of a car. She looked at me and smiled, and I felt attracted to Her. Suddenly my head emptied of all thought and I could only see this lady, as though nothing else was there. She was still smiling at me. I approached and felt an explosion of joy within myself, since I already knew somehow that this lady was very great, and this was what I had been waiting for. I could not move away now.
‘Why don’t you join us?’ someone suggested. I followed the little party into the cathedral. As we walked, I felt a pleasant tingling sensation rising from my feet, through my legs and throughout my body. I had a feeling in my heart which I can only describe as expansion or fulfilment. The rest of that day was spent in joy and bliss and, from then on, my sickness and depression simply disappeared.”
I was born an optimist.
Despite the chaos of alcoholism, I survived childhood.
At the age of twelve I wrote an emotional essay on the insanity of war
that raised many eyebrows, but echoed away into silence,
With sixteen I enthusiastically came across the theories of meditation
and the age of enlightenment, only to be mislead by
But my desire was pure, and the light that I came to believe might just be imagined,
turned out to be real and all-pervading.
Despite the fruitless jungle of youth, with its years of aimless wanderings under the influence of narcotics, I stumbled out into adulthood, and, step by step,
made my way up the mountain
— thanks to our fourth, natural (and now thriving) state:
Here, on the brink of universal change, when darkness takes its last stand, I am firmly rooted in the belief that each of us carries the seed of the highest ideal in us, about to sprout, or already stretching out its magnificent boughs.
We need to nurture that.
We are not these shells.
I have felt, again and again, the immensity of who we are.
The time has come to shine.