How God opened a door in heaven

 

It was Sunday evening, February 5, 2005. I had just started to watch the evening news with my wife JoAnn, and everything was as normal as could be.

Life was fine, as far as I was aware. I was quite happy, or at least I thought I was. Suddenly I started to feel a vague discomfort in my chest. It didn’t feel life threatening, but I felt a strange dread.

“Would you like to lie down and I’ll hold you?” said JoAnn. I remember climbing up the stairs, and lying down on our bed. I remember JoAnn’s hands on my head. But very quickly I entered a space I had never been in before.

It was like a night in hell

I was only half conscious as I began shaking uncontrollably, tossing and turning, and sometimes feeling very cold and sometimes very hot.

We wondered whether to call 911, but instead called a friend who stayed with us on the phone the whole time. The only way to describe the two hours that followed is that it was like a night in hell.

Was I reliving past experiences?

I believe I was actually reliving earlier experiences, such as when I was a 7-year-old child in London during the early days of the blitz. Dad was away in the war, and Mom and I lived on the fifth floor of an apartment block when German bombs fell all around us and the entire building swayed back and forth like a brnach in the wind as fires flared all around us.

Was the fear of that long-ago night with me still? Perhaps it had hidden itself in me — perhaps in my very flesh — for so many years and now it wanted to be free?

I believe that other painful events and memories also broke surface, so to speak, as I writhed in anguish in my wife’s arms.

A dam broke in me that night

It was like a dam broke in me at last. There was a lot to grieve, and come to terms with, for sure. For example, in 1988, my spiritual leader and mentor had died suddenly. And three years after his death my first wife, Joy, also died suddenly of a stroke.

Then there was the painful, devastating collapse of the spiritual community in British Columbia that had been my home for 36 years — and the fear I felt when at age 63 I had no choice but to return to the world I had forsaken in my youth.

My ordeal was really just beginning

At last my “night in hell” came to an end. I stopped shaking and shivering, and told JoAnn I’d like to try to sleep. When I woke up next morning everything seemed normal. But it wasn’t. Oh no, it wasn’t at all.

For about nine months I spiraled day by day into deep depression and despair. I’m a lean, tall English fellow weighing about 150 lbs — but at the lowest point of my depression I was down to 128 lbs in the doctor’s office.

Then a door opened in heaven

But then a door opened in heaven.  Perhaps it wasn’t really a “depression”  so much as a spiritual crisis. Perhaps my heart opened in a way it had never opened before. In any case as I think I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I  became aware of the most beautiful stillness and peace.

I realized that my past frailties and mistakes simply didn’t matter — because who I truly am and who you truly are is eternal love, and it is already whole and already free.

I believe that God — the truth at the core of our existence — wanted to do some major healing in me and decided the right time for that healing had come. It was time to balance the books, so to speak, so that I could move forward with new vigor and clarity and the door of true freedom could open wide before me.

Laughing more — one of the joys of aging

One of the offshoots of this healing – and surely one of the special joys of aging – is that I’ve learned to laugh more.

It’s kind of sad, but I don’t think I used to laugh much when I was young. I was so eager to know the truth, so serious about it. And when I entered the community in some ways I was in a kind of cocoon. Laughter? I hardly knew what it was.

But that has changed now. I find I love laughing. I really do. I wish Dad was here in the flesh (he is with me in spirit) because I would laugh twice as much at his jokes. Perhaps you can even hear me launghing if, as they say, we can’t blink an eye without affecting the entire world.

I’m laughing because I’m happy. And I’m happy not because things have changed so much in an external sense — I haven’t bought a wonderful new car, for example, though I would like to do that one day and in fact went to an auto show in Denver last week — but because laughter seems natural all of a sudden. God loves to laugh, I guess.

“Every day is a bonus”

“Every day is a bonus,” my dad used to say, as he neared the end of his life, as cheerful and full of jokes as he ever was. He died at 95, within a stone’s throw of his favorite pub in the little Sussex village of Pevensey Bay.

It’s a good attitude to take toward life, don’t you think? Be thankful for each day just as it is. And above all — don’t let despair hide the beautiful timeless truth at the core of your own being.

It’s the one thing that never ages — your own unconquerable spirit.

The second anniversary of this blog

As I near the second anniversary of this blog next month — in which I plan to launch my new course on the true potential and promise of aging — this is my simple message to you: We live in a loving universe. You are a Child of Light. You are a spiritual being, pure, timeless, and already whole. You are an ‘eternal soul’, as someone wrote to me so beautifully the other day.

I’d love to hear from you. How is your life going in these dangerous, troubled times? Though I’ve probably never met you in person, I am with you. Blessings to you — and please watch out for my course on happy aging coming soon.

Picture credit:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3583/3322628133_1600b25f12.jpg

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being April 11, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Hi Christopher,

I haven’t come by in awhile and as I looked at all the bunnies in our yard the other day I realized I missed you! So here I am.

Amazing story, and you tell it so well. When you said “I awoke one day from my depression to a most startling and beautiful sense of inner stillness. It is the stillness of my own being … ” it reminds me of Eckhart Tolle’s story. Was it really all so sudden? Did you not look back?

I also know what you are saying about laughter. Oh, I was oh so serious all of my life. Now here I am with a blog called Lightspirited Being, I kind of “play” for a living, and people call me light-hearted, etc. That alone is almost enough to make me laugh! ;-) But really… I know what you mean. It’s wonderful to simply enjoy.

And thank you so much for your final and ultimate message. It’s beautiful, as are you. Happy Blog Anniversary! We’re all glad you’re here.

Lots of blessings to you.
Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..Do You Cry For Butchered Trees

Reply

Christopher Foster April 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

Patti, bless you and thank you for stopping by. I sure do feel that light-heartedness — that LightspiritedBeing — every time I read your words.

You know, in answer to your question, it was sudden and it wasn’t sudden. There was a particular moment that I remember very well when I realized the presence of a “greater me” that wasn’t disturbed in the slightest by anything that had happened in my life to that moment. But as far as becoming increasingly aware of or thankful for that divine presence which is our true self I think it’s a process that is forever.

A pile of blessings to you too Patti and thankyou again for the happiness you bring with you wherever you go.

Reply

Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being April 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Thank you, Christopher, for your answer. I appreciate it. I know that “me” that has never been disturbed by anything, and I like your mentioning that the appreciation of it is where the journey lies. Thanks for sharing all that.
Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..5 Reflections to Help Activate Your Magic

sheila April 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Good day to you Chris..

Laughter really is food for the soul. I grew up with laughter, that’s how my Dad got through the hard times, it was his way of keeping life a little lighter I suppose. We do tend to grow up and have our ups and downs, so many of us lose that special gift, how wonderful to find it again!

Too bad that so many of us get caught up in our daily lives that we forget and then yes later on find it again. Better late than never I say.
Everyone should sit back and have a least one chuckle a day !
cheers
Sheila

Reply

Christopher Foster April 13, 2011 at 10:34 am

Yes, better late than never is right, isn’t it Sheila? You put it so beautifully — laughter is food for the soul. I think it helps to bring us together too. Hard to think of someone else in a poor light if you’re sharing a laugh together. Cheers to you too. And by the way — isn’t ‘chuckle’ a lovely word? Makes me think of the English countryside or a running brook…

Reply

Phil Malmstrom April 12, 2011 at 8:13 pm

What a wonderful and transformational story Christopher… Thank you so much for sharing it.

I’ve had the “dam break” a couple times in my life, and funny enough when the floods subsided each time, God reached out His Hand to me and I grew in His Spirit. True inner Stillness is an amazing gift, and a remarkable perspective indeed.

I congratulate you on two years of insightful, wisdom-filled words and I consider it a significant Blessing that our paths have crossed.

Have a Blessed Day Christopher!
Phil Malmstrom recently posted..The Cleansing Rain

Reply

Christopher Foster April 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

Phil, as I move down these beautiful comments, and pause now to consider your own words, I’m feeling another kind of dam breaking in me. A dam of thankfulness. I’m so thankful for your kind and nourishing words here and I feel exactly the same way. Dare I say our paths have not crossed by chance?

Have a blessed day too.

Reply

Phil Malmstrom April 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Nothing in this life is by chance Christopher, but you already knew that. :-)

Have a Blessed Day my Friend!
Phil Malmstrom recently posted..Thankful Thursday- Children’s Tylenol

Sandra / Always Well Within April 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Christopher,

What an incredible story! Thank goodness you didn’t get lost in the darkness and found your way to heart of love and light. Trauma can easily be trapped in our bodies and you certainly had some traumatic experiences in your life. The body knows how to naturally release them and it seems that this may have been what happened to you.

Thank you for sharing your moment of truth and profound healing with us.
Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..Stop the World and See

Reply

Christopher Foster April 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you Sandra. Thanks for your words. You have such a kind, understanding heart — and a strong heart. As I said to John just now I’m so happy for the privilege of sharing life’s journey with you in this way.

We all have a particular and unique aspect of spirit to bring to the table don’t we. Blessings.

Reply

John Sherry April 13, 2011 at 5:13 am

I’m with you Christopher. My own dark night of the soul lasted nearly two years when all pain and suffering spilled from life into me and despair and deep loss gripped me. So awful and black were the feelings and pure inner desolation that I decided to end it all, to heed what I felt was clearly the call to no longer be put through such misery.

But on the fateful night (New Years Eve 1999) as I held the knife to take my last Earthly action something stirred within me, a light of hope, a weird yet sensational spark to more that lay inside, before, and in front of me in my life.

Call it God, call it my higher self, call it the spirit within, call it what you will, but it was real and due it’s force of power I am here today to marvel at your wondrous story and your journey to switch on human lights everywhere. Callings happen in marvellous and inspiring ways. May you be blessed in every way Christopher and may your blogging journey go on and on to become a new adventure.
John Sherry recently posted..How To Live As A Victor And Not As A Victim

Reply

Christopher Foster April 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

John, this is very moving. Touches me to the core of my being. I am immensely thankful for two reasons.

1. Thankyou so much for sharing this remarkable story. It’s kind of a mirror of my own life. Your words are really beautiful.

2. But the other thing, if I can word it properly, is that I am so thankful for the extraordinary and unique path we all take. Sometimes very painful, to be sure, but if anything had been different in our lives — we wouldn’t be here in this present moment of great potential for happiness and freedom would we?

Bless you John and thankyou and I’m so happy to share the journey with you.

Reply

Steven Aitchison April 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Christopher what a beautiful and terrifying story you have shared with us. It took a lot of guts to share this but you came out smiling at the other end.

I share your sentiment about being serious and wanting to know the truth of life, but letting go was one of the big things I learned to do, so I totally get where you are coming from here. Learning to laugh more is truly a joy.

Thanks for sharing this Christopher and I would have to say it is one of my favourite posts of yours.

Take care my friend.
Steven Aitchison recently posted..Interviewing The Coaches – Jonathan Wells

Reply

Christopher Foster April 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I have to tell you Steven I’m excited and so thankful to receive this comment from you, one of my special friends. It seems a long time ago now I had a coaching session with you, some time after starting my blog. It was an important step for me. The memory is warm still but I appreciate even more how friendship can grow and mature — put down roots perhaps we could say over time.

Thankyou so much for your unfailing kindness and generosity to me and many others. Be well

Reply

Marty April 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Christopher this is such a touching article and testimony. I love to laugh too. I’ve been out with dear and very long term friends tonight to reminisce and laugh at what we used to find serious.

You mention 5th February (my birthday)

You mention 1988 (the year I married Christine)

These are both reasons I’m touched because I feel there is some connection between us. God does bring people together, doesn’t he!
With blessings.
Marty
Marty recently posted..How Persistent Are You

Reply

Christopher Foster April 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Just beautiful Marty. Oh yes. God does bring people together and despite the mayhem going on I think this trend is growing at an increasing clip. It was really fun to hear about your cool night out. Blessings to you too.

Reply

Tess The Bold Life April 15, 2011 at 12:25 am

Christopher,
You are one amazing person and I’m grateful for all of your stories and wisdom. Thank you.
Tess The Bold Life recently posted..100 Best Posts- By Top Personal Growth Authors Motivating Inspiring &amp Personal Growth

Reply

Christopher Foster April 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Dear Tess,

I just want you to know how thankful I am for you and my connection with you. Incidentally I tried to click on your n”100 best posts” article both here and at google but my computer wouldn’t let me do it. Sounds a great resource. I’ll try again later. Every good wish.

Reply

Tess The Bold Life April 15, 2011 at 12:26 am

I almost forgot. Happy happy birthday to you and your blog. You are affecting the entire world.
Tess The Bold Life recently posted..100 Best Posts- By Top Personal Growth Authors Motivating Inspiring &amp Personal Growth

Reply

Christopher Foster April 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Oh Tess, life is an amazing journey isn’t it? A birthday coming up for me personally (79), a birthday coming up for my blog, and at the same time more or less if all goes well — I’ll give birth to my first course on “the true promise of aging.” All of a sudden wherever I turn there is a 128-year-old man (or woman) dancing all night and climbing Everest and running in a marathon…Exciting times we live in..

Reply

The Vizier April 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Hi Christopher,

I may be a big fan of history and I love reading about wars because of the strategy involved, but this is all merely an intellectual interest. I have never lived through a war and I hope I don’t because of the great fear and suffering involved. Having said that, I can clearly see why such an event that happened so very long ago would be buried deep in your unconscious.

While my experiences are nowhere as intense as yours, there are moments where I recall past hurts, rejection, disappointments that I have buried deep within me. All at once these memories rise to the front and I remember them with vividness. But over the years, they have lost their intensity. I believe that it is our way of making peace with our inner demons, but these things can’t be rushed and may require a few repeats until we can finally put them away for good.

Like you in the past, I was also very serious. But nowadays, I have learned to lighten up a little and I do enjoy laughing. I especially like parodies and trying to see the humour in things. There is still a long way for me to go before I laugh a lot, but I believe I will get there.

I am glad your course is coming out soon. Given your experience and insights, I am sure it will be great!

Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

Irving the Vizier

Reply

Christopher Foster April 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Irving, here we are together again in this particular way and I want to agree with you absolutely that when it comes to our healing, and who doesn’t need healing, it can’t be rushed. One of the things I love about your blog is your reiteration and expansion on the beautiful attitude of Chinese elders that sees the absolute importance of governing ourselves by the same principles that govern all the rest of nature.

So happy to share the journey with you. Haven’t been doing so much commenting, trying to get my course ready, but will try to do better this coming week. Meanwhile — blessings, and a lot of good laughs :-)

Reply

Barbara Zarrella June 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I mention laughing with my ‘buddy’, but I am so very aware of the fears, anger and more that are deep inside. I have not been an active church goer for a while, but I speak to Him regularly. One day… my grief, my fears, will find their way out and I will be a ‘lighter’ person for it.
Barbara Zarrella recently posted..Stumped!

Reply

Hank@eblucigs.net June 14, 2011 at 1:38 am

Clearly God does not promise a life free from struggles, or pain, or tragedy. Throughout the gospels we are offered, through the life and stories of Jesus, a glimpse at the nature and heart of God, and in today’s lesson, Jesus is preparing his disciples for the rough times that lie ahead.

In the precious time he has left to be with them in person, he offers assurance of his presence, the steadfast and eternal presence of God that will dwell in them, through the gift of the Spirit.

Reply

Christopher Foster June 14, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thank you for sharing Hank. It’s good to connect with you in this way. Blessings.

Reply

Juliet May 3, 2013 at 4:18 am

Hi Christopher,

Great post! I have nothing to say more and I have nothing to add some topic.Informative article, its really helpful.

Have a Blessed Day Christopher!

Reply

Christopher Foster May 4, 2013 at 10:24 am

Thank you for your kind words Juliet and you have a blessed day too.

Reply

try ageless male - youtube.com June 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Usually I don’t master content with blogs, however i want to claim that this write-up very obligated myself to have a look during in addition to undertake it! Your writing style continues to be pleasantly surprised me. Thanks, pretty terrific write-up.

Reply

Christopher Foster April 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Dear Phil, everything changes, doesn’t it, when there dawns a recognition — in whatever way it comes to us — that life is not a random occurrence but we are part of a very organic (and very smart) whole. So happy you are part of my life.

Reply

Phil Malmstrom April 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

Amen Christopher. :-)

Have a Blessed Weekend!
Phil Malmstrom recently posted..Come to me- all you who are weary

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: