Sunday, July 26, 2015

Grateful for Africa

My goal is 'no response to any of the "good" or "bad" events or interactions'. Acceptance of every­thing as having equal value. To know that all things are imbued with the Spirit of Life. When the Guru Master Person asked us not to resist evil, he was perhaps saying that what we see as evil from our level of con­sciousness, contains God, but seen from another level of conscious­ness it may well be entirely good, and the best thing that could have happened.  Now I have a good story to illustrate that in my own experience.  It concerns my year long stay in West Africa in the country of Nigeria.  But it begun long before that.  As I was preparing to make this trip, and remember now, going as a tourist was not part of my thinking process; no, I was moving home.  In order to learn anything was my frequent saying, one has to live with a people.  The fact that this man whom I, at the time, considered to be the love of my life was from there, and was returning had much to do with the decision to move there myself.
It took two months to prepare. But when there is a mission I can be relentless. So a week before Christmas the year was 1980, I boarded a plane to go "hone". There was no one to meet me at the airport in Logos. My first clue that this idyllic trip may be in for some restructuring.  I had the name and address of a friend of a friend, and I took a taxi all the way to another town, and found her. She was accommodating and let me stay in her home for what turned out to be two weeks. The fun had only begun.   

Before I had embarked on this trip to end all trips, I had gone to three, count them three, psychic readers, and each and everyone of them had advised me to go, saying that this was the best move I could make.  I had also begun to read and study The Teachings some years before. I was certain that this was a divinely guided mission. Undaunted that this love of my life refused to show up and claim me, I hung around a society that was very strange to me, claiming kinship because I looked like most of the people.

There were some petty humilia­tions and some great disappointments, as my money ran low, and work was difficult to come by. It is not that there was no work to be had, but in that society in order to obtain work, one had to be recommended. No one knew me well enough to recommend me. I showed what papers I had to certify my claims to being able to work, but that was insufficient. People on the other hand were very kind, in that they fed and housed me. That housing though was from house to house always with the most polite of excuses when I became a burden. That stubborn streak, which I claimed not to have, kicked in and I refused to return to America, but was quite determined to stick it out and make a life in that country.

I stayed a year and had two significant signs to prod me into returning. One was a priest from England who gave psychic readings and just happened to be visiting the town in which I was living.  When he saw me, the first words out of his mouth were "go home."  The very day he told me that if I did not return to America where my work was, I would die, a best friend, Toni Cade Bambara came looking for me. Shame had prevented me from writing to anyone, including my parents.  Everyone over here was worried about me over there. I was being tough, with that gambler's hope that any day now things would change even though they were getting worse. My friend's story was that my all friends back home were having dreams of me calling them to come and rescue me. She was the one chosen to make the trip.  Go home!  Again, I heard those words and the stubborn, I can make it, I am strong self, gave up and I returned home. 

How could that have been the best thing to have happened, when the entire incident was clothed in so much shame. Before I went to Africa, I was dabbling in The Teachings, a mere dilettante. After I came back The Teachings became my life. So much have been granted to me which is a direct result of The Teachings. There are so many healed places in my psyche, that had I not gone, and was still dabbling I would not have. The lessons in forgiveness are so many, as at the time of the trip, it seems that so many people were unkind, or just lacking in understanding. A few years ago during a meditation that an incident came to my remembrance from that year, and with it some anger and resentment.  The Holy Spirit was gentle in leading me to forgive, release, and grow. That is how it is. This man to whom I was so attached has faded into the pleasant memories of my past, one of the steps I chose to take to grow to be the me I am now. 

My return began what I can now look back and call my time of accelerated growth. God is so gracious. I was given a job with a company who moved me an average of every nine months. This gave me the opportunity to take on a new persona every time I moved. No one in the new place knew me, so I could be anyone I chose. If patience was the attribute I was working on becoming, when I moved I became patient. I use patience as the illustration, because I remember exactly when I became patient.  It was on the trip from Pittsburgh to Detroit, driving through the hills of Pennsylvania, I decided to become patient, and arrived in Detroit a much more patient person than the one who left Pitts­burgh. That was the grace of Almighty God in action, as no one in Detroit knew that I was a very impatient person before I got there. I merely named it and claimed it, and it was so. It is so clear in my mind how many persons commented on how patient I was during my stay in that Detroit.
The city from which I had launched the great trip to Africa was Atlanta, where I was becoming very comfortable, and had a very good support group of friends and one relative who had multiplied to three before I left. It is not that great spiritual strides could not be made in one location, but my choice took me abroad. Running it would seem from city to city, having to rely on the Spirit within to find me and apartment, to acquire new friends, to find the grocery stores, the tire place, a new favorite restaurant. Trusting on that inner guidance to select the dentist, the chiropractor, the mechanic, all added up to what I now know was accelerated spiritual growth.

For me that was the ideal method, for others it may be different. One observation came to me while all of this tripping around the country was going on, was that becoming new with each city I did not have the expectations from those who knew me before.  It has been very profitable, and for that I am grateful. While I was in Africa, I thought often of what those three psychic readers had said, and vowed never to go to a reader again. I concluded they were all full of beans. But they were correct. Even if one or all of them had told me not to go, I would have gone, finding some way to rationalize their error. If they had told me how much "suffering" I would endure while there, I would have scoffed. That too is a lesson to me that I choose my own experience, and will not be denied any experience I choose to have.

Truly, that is what sovereignty is all about. Choosing the experiences and living with that choice, always knowing that in the infinite graciousness of a Universe of Love, I can choose again. There are experiences that I would not choose now, but I now have the wisdom of  previous experiences to draw upon, to make more harmonious choices.  And there are experiences I am choosing now that will appear to be the greatest of folly from a pace up the road.  That now will have the wisdom of all my previous experiences as well.  Living on this earthly plane affords me the grand opportunity to make errors. As I learn how to use the tools of creation, which are the gift from my Creator, I will make more harmonious choices.  As those errors are made, one of the lessons I learned with stark vividness is not to do things that way again.  I do not arrive at this conclusion with pain and bitterness, but with the wisdom that was the gift of errors.  It all brings about a gently balance to my moments that is exquisite and tender.  I am grateful.