4: Romance Blossoms
During my time in Canada I had had several girlfriends, and they had each brought various qualities into the relationships. However, none had brought what I was really seeking in such a relationship: spiritual fellowship. That may be inferred by some as meaning a lot of religious, pious, no-fun time in each other’s company, but that is not what is implied at all. Rather, spirituality, as distinct from religion, is an abundance of joy, peace, happiness, freedom in and of the heart and mind (not to speak of love!).
It can be experienced anywhere, any time, together or apart (although preferably, together!), at some lavish occasion, or walking in the hills or the woods, or sitting indoors listening to evocative music on a rainy day. In other words, it is a recognition that life and relationships are not so much about what we do together but rather, who we are within a relationship. For example, if a woman only finds a relationship fulfilling if the man is always taking her out and spending money on her — and the more money spent, the more fulfilling the relationship — spiritual fellowship is clearly lacking.
On the other hand, if just being with the significant other, even — and perhaps especially — indoors on a rainy day, brings peace and joy to heart and mind, then there is spiritual fellowship, whether making tender or passionate love, reading a book, listening to music, studying, attuning with eternity or watching the rain. Togetherness, true togetherness, is a within thing, and spirituality is of the within, experienced in one’s inner being and radiating outwards from there, irrespective of what may appear to be happening outwardly.
These relationships were therefore, from my perspective, unfulfilling. They did not bring a deep, soul-to-soul satisfying sense of belonging together for the makings of a lasting, spiritually functional relationship.
During my leave of absence in England in 1967, while out on a walk in the woods in Kent with friends and their dogs one November afternoon, I reflected on the fact that such relationships were not soul-satisfying, leaving a deep sense of being like a doughnut: hollow in the middle.
I said to the Lord Jesus, “I am willing to remain celibate in my life on the path of spiritual progress with you if that is serviceable. However, you well know that there are as many red corpuscles flowing through my veins as the next man, so if celibacy is not serviceable, please bring me into contact with the right life-partner for this journey.”
In March 1968, back in Vancouver, wishing to exchange written communication with friends and relatives in various parts of the globe, and finding writing letters by hand rather tiresome and time-consuming, I bought a redundant typewriter (remember typewriters!?) from my employer and decided to go to night-school to learn how to type. Armed with a totally unrealistic vision of myself quickly acquiring a typing speed to beat the band, I set off for night-school typing class.
Having initially misread the details of what courses were where, I eventually arrived at the beginners’ class a few minutes late. Everyone else was already seated and the class had begun. I made my apologies and quickly found a seat at one side of the room. The desks were arranged so that all those on one side of the room were facing all those on the other, with a gap down the middle. When I had recovered my composure I glanced around the room, in part to acquaint myself with who else was there in a general way and, far more importantly, to spy out the female talent. All but one other attendee were female. So far, so good. Most, however, were much older than I, or not ‘worth’ a second glance in terms of the ‘talent stakes’. Aah, well!
But, soft! What light through yonder visage breaks?
Across the room, directly opposite and facing me, is a young girl. And she is looking right at me. Smiling. I look back at her and, after holding my gaze for time-no-time, she coyly looks away. Is that a blush I see? I look away but cannot avert my eyes for long. There she is, looking at me again. It is more than a look; it is a communicating. There is something about her. Can it be something that seems somehow familiar? Surely not. I have never seen her before in this incarnation, of that I feel sure. And yet, assuredly, something deep within me feels as if I know her.
The class is a two-hour event but there is a short break after an hour and everyone troops out of the room, to stretch their legs, get refreshment, or simply to mingle. I decide this is a good moment to acquaint myself more closely with this young lady. She is in the hallway outside the classroom, chatting with the person who had been sitting beside her. The details are unimportant as to how the conversation began, but begin it did, and we chatted easily and cordially for a few minutes until it was time to resume our places.
Throughout the class’s second session more smiles and meaningful glances were exchanged that said, ‘I wish to continue getting to know this person.’ After the class ended we met up in the hallway and I asked if she would like to come for a hot chocolate with me.
We gave our order to the car-hop at the drive-in and sat half-turned toward each other in the front of my car. She was very attractive, no doubt about that. Young, but how young? It could be a tricky game, guessing the age of young women. Women of any age, come to that. I put her at late teens or early twenties. That was good enough for now. But who was she, inside, behind the mask we all hold up to the world, until we feel safe enough to lower it and expose the real us behind it?
She told me her name was Theresa when we introduced ourselves. She immediately recognised me as English when I apologised for arriving late, and she was eager to share with me that she, too, was English, although her accent seemed about mid-Atlantic as I listened to her speaking. She was from Margate — so we were both from Kent, an interesting point in common. She had come to Canada aged not yet eight, with her parents. No wonder her accent was ‘half and half’. Surprising and interesting that she had any trace of English accent left at all.
But would this attractive English girl be what I was really seeking? Would she be like the others — conscious only at the outer, earth-physical level of awareness, or would she, could she perhaps be aware that we are here for some greater purpose and that we can have awareness of that greater reality beyond the immediate? Could it be that she might have a desire to travel the path of progress toward eternal spiritual enlightenment? I was eager to find out the lie of the land. Grant me patience Lord; but hurry. I had no real desire for one of those drawn out ‘getting to know you’ events that, after weeks or months of exploration of the possibilities, lead to what is clearly no real foundation for a lasting and soul-fulfilling relationship.
Plucking up my courage and taking a deep breath I looked her straight in the eye and asked, “Do you love the Lord?”
To my delight, a look of surprise that was tinged with pleasure — rather than ‘Oh, dear, we have a nutter here, let me out, quick’ — flashed over her face.
“Yes, of course,” she said, and laughed.
“Oh, good,” I replied, feeling very pleased and relieved that this risky litmus test had come out positive. We chatted animatedly about spiritual matters as we drank our beverage, and all too soon it was time to go.
It turned out that her family had been vegetarian for some years, and this was an area of continuing interest for her. Great; I had also been moving in this direction for a while, and only now had the opportunity to begin practising this, having just moved into my own place. She was also well aware of the reality of the spirit world and our ability to have contact with it, because her mother had been a medium for years. Things were looking better and better! Here was plenty of common ground and potential for a relationship to develop into a long-term fellowship and life-long, soul-to-soul partnership.
I dropped her off at her home and drove back to my flat with a keen sense of anticipation. I could hardly wait for the next class, when I would see her again. It was two days hence. Good; no need to wait for another whole week. My feelings for Theresa were of great warmth, kinship, tenderness, comfortableness and pleasure in her presence and I could tell that these were reciprocated. Here indeed was a soul without guile.
We sat next to each other and I could feel the closeness and mingling of her aura with mine.
We sat next to each other in class two nights later, and I could feel the closeness and mingling of her aura with mine. We were bonding at a soul level, even without looking at each other. We only attended a few more classes together and it was obvious to us both that there were rapidly becoming much more fulfilling — and interesting! — ways of spending Tuesday and Thursday evenings for the next couple of months or so. On what was probably the last evening we attended the class, we walked through the rain back to my car a few blocks away. Theresa put her arm through mine to huddle closer under the umbrella. Bless the rain!
I unlocked the passenger door for her and we stood under the umbrella beside the car, looking deeply into each other’s eyes, each other’s souls, in the light of the street lamps, for what seemed like several minutes. Everything said this was the moment for that first kiss. As our lips touched there was a bolt, a wave, of energy that went through me, starting at my lips and surging throughout my being. It wasn’t just my body, although that was good enough! It was all of me — body and soul. Wow! Those lips were unlike anything I had ever experienced. So soft, so full, so sweet, so gentle, so giving, so full of promise of much more to know and experience; so eager to experience more. How long that kiss lasted I have no idea, but it was a timeless moment. There would certainly be more. We both knew we both would be ready and willing for more.
Theresa and I saw each other every day. We belonged together. Apart, there was something lacking. I felt aimless if she had other commitments, which, blessedly, wasn’t too often. After we had known each other not very long she began coming to my flat after work and we would eat together, walk along the beach, talk, kiss, talk; eagerly recapitulating on the events in our lives while we had been apart, before being re-united in this incarnation. For, assuredly, we knew each other. We had always known each other. It became impossible to think of a moment in eternity when we could have been without each other.
A couple of years previously I had taken a former girlfriend out to Olga’s cottage, keen for her to experience Olga’s spiritual wisdom and enable her to grow in understanding of matters eternal and invisible, which she had always had difficulty in doing. As we drove away afterwards, Cheryl said to me, “Gee, what a cute little old lady.” That was all she saw. I knew that marked the end of the prospects for this relationship.
As Theresa and I drove away from Olga’s cottage after her first visit there, she said, “Wow! What a wonderful soul; so full of life, insight and wisdom”, and she was bursting with enthusiasm for the encounter. Here indeed, was another positive outcome to what was, for me, a further, crucial litmus test!
Our relationship continued to blossom, and the thought of being separate from her was alien to me. The sense of belonging together, and completeness that I had with her, would certainly have left a vast hole in my life without her. There were numerous instances of telepathy between us, so attuned to each other had we rapidly become.
However, not all was sweetness and light. Theresa had come from a violent and abusive family environment. She was physically, emotionally and sexually abused from earliest childhood (although I had suspected the sexual abuse for a number of years, it only came out fully into her conscious recollection long after we were married). This had impacted and deeply traumatised her, and like most of us, she held up her mask to show herself to the world as a ‘rational, well-balanced human being’. The trauma of such experiences goes deep inside and is internalised, even to the point where the conscious mind deliberately ‘forgets’, as an act of self-preservation, when the pain (emotional or physical) is too much to bear.
But of course, the mask cannot be held up to everyone all the time, and in a close relationship such as ours had already become, there are moments when it slips and ‘irrational’ behaviour comes out. Although my parents’ marriage was not a good one in many respects, our home life was not abusive and indeed, mostly loving, so I like to think of myself as reasonably emotionally balanced and rational. Therefore, irrational behaviour, which, by definition is ‘illogical’, is something I was not very good at handling, and this was a long-term cause of misunderstanding between us. Nevertheless, our relationship was mostly good, and very loving, there being a soul bonding between us that was able to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and not long after we met, the Master said to me, I have brought the Little One to you to be your Companion of the Way. Alleluia; there is a God, He and Jesus love me and They do answer our prayers!! God was in his Heaven and even if all was not right with our world, this was a terrific start as far as I was concerned. And it sure knocked the socks off celibacy!
From time to time during that summer of 1968 Theresa and I would visit her parents (she had moved into her own flat shortly after we met), more because Theresa felt a sense of daughterly duty than out of a desire so to do. But I was becoming increasingly aware of the negative, oppressive atmosphere in their home, and this made me less and less comfortable about such visits. There was a psychic black cloud enveloping the place that could practically be cut with a knife and I felt very sure this was affecting Theresa, who was a bundle of nerves when the time came for one of these visits. It was like walking into a place of spiritual darkness.
After one particularly unpleasant visit I said to Theresa, “I’m not going there again. If you feel you must, out of duty, so be it, but I don’t believe it is good for us, so unless it is essential, let us stay away.”
I could tell Theresa was not happy about my decision; not because she didn’t agree with me, but her fear of her parents and their domineering, manipulative, controlling ways caused her deep concern about their reaction once it became clear she also was not making her occasional visits. For her, such a prospect was even worse than continuing to go there.
send out a blessing; it will act as a buffer, neutralising the negative psychic energy
Not many days after telling Theresa this, early one Saturday morning, as I was emerging from a deep sleep, I heard a man’s voice speaking to me. It was the Rector. If there is a deep divide between you and others and you send out a blessing to them, it will act as a buffer between you, neutralising the negative psychic energy, and there will no longer be discord between you. A cordial association will then become possible, he said. His speaking had begun during my sleep and continued into wakefulness, and I realised that he had arranged this to be sure that I would bring the message through into my waking consciousness. I lay there musing upon what had been said. It made a lot of sense so I decided to try this immediately. Still lying in bed, I sent out a blessing for peace and goodwill upon all Theresa’s family.
Instantly I saw them all, gathered as if to have a group photograph taken in front of their house, and my blessing left my navel like an umbilicus of translucent-white living substance, about as thick as a finger. It streaked toward them, and a pace or two in front of them it opened out like a funnel, encircled and joined up behind them, enveloping them all completely as if inside a balloon, creating a buffer between them and anyone — including me — outside the balloon. Needless to say, I was considerably astonished and greatly excited. I knew this was a ‘real’ experience and that my blessing had done just as I had heard the Rector telling me it would do.
Theresa worked as a dental nurse on Saturday mornings, but as soon as she arrived at my flat at lunchtime that day I said to her, “Come on, we’re going to see your folks.”
She was about as astonished as I had been earlier.
“I thought you said you weren’t going there any more,” she replied, with a hint of relief in her voice that at least she would have me to help her cope with what had been, for her, decidedly unnerving visits.
“I did say that, but something amazing has happened and the situation has changed now, so there won’t be any more bad vibes.”
On the way there I told her what the Rector had said, and how I ‘knew’ things would now be totally transformed.
Even as we walked up the steps to the front door, Theresa feeling slightly apprehensive, and holding my hand for dear life, the transformation in the atmosphere emanating from the household was palpably apparent. The unpleasant, negative, oppressive energy had given way to a peaceful, welcoming, friendly aura. We glanced at each other, grinning from ear to ear. All this ‘spiritual stuff’ works! It has real, tangible earth-meaningful value and benefit; it’s not just glib, trite, airy-fairy platitudes! Theresa’s parents were warm, effusive, smiling. The TV was switched off! They engaged in friendly, sincere, caring conversation, made a cup of tea. Nothing like this had happened on preceding visits. A miraculous transformation had taken place, just as deep in my inner being I knew it had.
Not a word passed between us about this until several hours later, when we had got into the car to drive away. Even then, it was all so wonderful; a blessed relief to Theresa, and a grand affirmation to me of the reality of this other, all-encompassing, precious dimension in our lives, about which the world around us had no awareness. We drove home so absorbed in our thoughts and quiet thanksgiving that little was, or needed to be, said.
I continued to send out blessings to Theresa’s family from time to time and her parental home environment remained largely transformed for the better from that day forward until we left Vancouver eighteen months or so later.
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