Comm-Unity On the Hill Congregation, Washington, D.C.* Sermon for January 24, 2010
Rev. Robbins S. Hopkins, Ed.D.
I am an ordinary mystic. This means I spend loads of time in Silence and in communication with all forms of Divine Presence and I also live in society. From the outside I usually look pretty normal in the clothes I wear and the company I keep. I have a home in the suburbs. I have been happily married 37 years and have two sons in their 20s. I have gradually come to embrace my ordinary nature and my mystical nature publicly though the knowing has been inside a long time.
I realized one day that I was beginning to really feel that God and I were One. I felt it deeply and uncompromisingly in meditation. From those feeling I began to see all other distinctions about who I was, what I was doing, why I was here, and what I was facing, begin to melt away. Therefore, the seeming contradictions I had silently harbored of the mystic and the mother, or the mystic and the wife or the next door neighbor were really not contradictions, but merely different views of the whole that is me.
What I mean by God and I are One is this. The Love, Passion, Power, Knowing and Light of God is the same Light of which I am made. There is no difference except in my seeing this as indeed true. I now feel this knowing has been true all my life and perhaps all my other lives as well. And it is true for everyone in body regardless of what is going on in our lives. We simply have to release the deep fears we have and call in Spirit to be with our Deepest Companion and Friend, The Beloved.
It is possible that I may have done this ordinary mystic thing before. It feels much better now that both the ordinary me and mystical me have found each other. Before this time, I had lots and lots of indications that major parts of my life were out of balance. I had chronic, deeply serious back pain for 18 years. I spent a lot of time defending myself whether I was leading a workshop or managing a dorm of 55 adolescent girls. I spent a great deal of time, it seems to me now, getting angry at even the tiniest challenge to my right to be fully independent, competent and powerful as a woman. I more than once laid into my brothers or my dad, men of the deep South, if they even hinted that I was “just a girl”.
I did not suffer fools gladly. In fact, I embraced confrontation on a regular basis. But all this was very wearing. It was not fun and it was certainly not in balance. So, there was a warrior spirit alive and well within me long before there was a peaceful spirit revealed. Perhaps that had to be, so that I could even find a mystical path. For the signs to introspection are not easily seen, nor culturally supported, nor readily embraced by most humans in body. However, for whatever reason, I was pulled into a greater and greater balance in part, a great part, by my eldest son.
Our first child, a son, came as the happiest, smiling person one could imagine. We even called him smiley face, a lot.
When he was 10 he had what was considered routine surgery for a benign cyst in his jaw discovered during the process of getting braces. That began our odyssey into the world of medicine, fear, pain, loss, trauma and anguish. When he came out of the surgery, he was a completely different person energetically. He had lost his smile and many other aspects of his personality. He was unable to study, focus, go to school, go to sleep or interact with anyone at all, in the way he had before. He had so loved his lego creations and had spent hours creating happily by himself. After the surgery, he would sit and simply not be able to create anything. He was glum and withdrawn.
The surgeon declared the surgery a full success. We knew differently however. We were the ones sitting with him as he cried and raged 2-4 hours every day for months and months, and months. We were the ones sitting with him until 2 or 3 in the morning when he might or might not fall asleep.
The first year, we saw 27 doctors and psychologists trying to get help. I stopped my work to take care of him. I had to. He was out of school for months and had all types of strange new behaviors. He would suddenly freeze and stare as if blinded like a deer caught in the headlights. He would fall down and shake or sometimes he would simply withdraw and not be able to converse.
We went and went, searching for medical help and the going wore us all out. After 12 months our son came to my husband and me one night to us and said he could not go to any more doctors, they were not helping him. I cried myself to sleep that night with the deep fear that we would never find someone to help us if he would not go anymore to doctors. We had been having great toughs of war for the past 3 months about going to doctors at that time.
In a great state of fear, I thought the only thing left for us was to really, really pray together, out loud and ask God to help us. We had done all we could possibly do ourselves and it was not working. Amazingly, my husband and I had not actually sat down together and prayed about this with God in the past year since it had all begun. We did pray together, out loud and things began to change almost immediately. At the time, we really did not know what had actually happened to our son. He had had the surgery and then had to take his braces off and he had to go to eye therapy after the surgery but we had no sense of the source of the imbalances for him.
After our evening of praying together, however, we were led just a surely as if God took us by the hand out of the dark times into the Light.
Our son took 2 years to appear mostly healed to us with some remaining remnants of those times still showing up for the next 12 years or so. This experience catapulted me completely and wholly into spiritual healing. Our experience dramatically affected our entire household in the most profound and unexpected ways. We each know Spirit in individual and specific ways because of what we all went through together.
Come forward with me 16 years and here is what I have learned spiritually.
Spiritual health is THE basis of all health, happiness and well being. Spiritual health and physical health are one and the same though we do not live our lives this way, for the most part. We still think of healing and health as a physical phenomenon. We still act as if the recurring pain we have originates in the body. We and most of the medical profession look at health strictly through the lens of the body.
Our bodies are the encasing of our consciousness, of our knowing of All That Is. Every nerve, fiber, cell and pathway daily reflects our sense of peace as well as our sense of anxiety. Our bodies are no more than the outer casing for our consciousness. We either exude joy, peace and delight or we exude burden, stress and regret and everything in-between. The choice is ours. We are our thoughts, our feelings, our traumas, our fear and our hopes all rolled into one bundle, we know as the body.
These experiences I have shared were my family’s path to greater consciousness. Here are some of our personal spiritual learnings. Perhaps they will connect to a kindred knowing within you as well.
- Our son learned without a doubt that he had to ask for help for himself. We could ask all we wanted but at 12 years of age, he had to ask, for himself, to be well. He did ask and this was granted as fast as he could absorb the teachings.
- I learned that I had carried tons and tons of responsibility and given half a chance anytime, I would do everything myself. This was most exhausting and I had to learn that asking for help for me was an act of self-love.
- My husband learned that the darkness does exist within us and we have to command it out to be in peace.
- Our youngest child learned that he could love, love, love and never say a word and that his brother could feel it. What an amazing learning at 5 years of age.
Our youngest son used to know when his brother was agitated. He would come into his room and lay on top of him just like a cat.
He would wait a few minutes until he calmed down then he would jump up and run off to play, never having said a word. The first time I saw this, I was totally speechless and brought to tears realizing that at 5 years of age, this little fellow could give his brother something we could not, unconditional love. It was mind altering to see. All our words and efforts just faded into the background with the unconditional love of this child for his brother.
We all learned that in calling in the Divine Light, there was a Presence far greater and more powerful than any of us had ever imagined. Only our thoughts, fears and traumas could appear to bound and limit the Presence in our lives. Once we released those, even we could experience God’s Light and Grace as everywhere present, all powerful and all knowing.
There is more to the story of the healing experience for our son. He did receive wonderful medical help and happily now is completely healed and fully functioning in life. When our son was 12, two years after his initial surgery and trauma, we were able to work with an extraordinary medical trauma recovery physician in West Virginia. We were led to work with this doctor through a chance article sent by our sister-in-law, then living in Nepal. She thought the article sounded like the experiences our son had had. This was a one in a million hit, as they say and was the key to our finding the perfect specialist to work with our son. The doctor we found used hypnotherapy, video, role play and art with our son and helped him and us piece together what had happened having never worked with children before in his life. This is our knowing now of what most probably transpired for our son.
During our son’s surgery, he thought he died because he was not given enough pain killer, for what they actually found when they got into the gum. The surgery went longer than was initially planned. Our son was in horrific pain during the surgery but was paralyzed and could tell no one that.
Energetically, our son’s soul energy literally left his body, because he thought he was dead. After the surgery, the anesthesia made him forget the experiences during the surgery, so then he also began to feel he was insane.
For two years, our son darted between wanting to simply die and have his experience end and attacking everyone and everything because of his explosive outrage at what had happened to him. When we found this trauma recovery specialist, we were still very much uncertain that our son could fully recover.
My husband and I worked with the doctor in the room during hypnotherapy, role playing and debriefing so that our son would trust what was happening. The doctor wanted to reunite the frozen parts of our son’s energy with our current son’s energy before the trauma. From ten to twelve years of age our son had not grown one inch nor gained any weight. He was frozen in time by the trauma of feeling he had died. After three days of therapy to reunite these parts of himself, using video, art and role play, our son crawled up into his dad’s lap with a huge smile on his face. He was back!
We knew we had witnessed a life-changing miracle of God and man working together. This continues to inform my practice and strengthen my life as it does the lives of my husband and boys. May these lessons of love and miracle, asking and trusting, extend to all of you and your loved ones as well.
God is so deeply present, closer than the breath we breathe and ready to be our guide in the most challenging of times for each and every one of us. Take all your fears, sadness, regret and heartbreak to God. Release that which is weighing heavily upon your heart. God is Great and we are One with that Greatness. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
*Comm-Unity on the Hill is a Unity Congregation. All are welcome.