wOw’s Question of the Week

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What has been the most spiritual experience of your life?


Whoopi Goldberg: Really coming to terms with the fact that there are things in the world that you cant control, fix or stop

Mary Wells Lawrence: I am one of those people who have “happenings” on rare occasions. So I don’t feel we are alone here, but I  certainly don’t know what I mean by that either. In my younger days, I tried to intellectualize unusual happenings and visited psychiatrists and a few religious leaders about them. They all seemed to agree I was simply having religious experiences, so I gave up trying to understand and just accepted them as a helpful part of my life.

For example,  I was in France when I was awakened  by a voice that told me my mother was dying and I should get a plane to New York right away. I just got out of bed and rushed to the airport and arrived in New York in time to have about fifteen final minutes with my mother before she died.

My mother and I had agreed many years  before that whichever one of us left first would return with a message that would be meaningful only to the two of us to reassure the other that all was well. About six months after my mother died she came to me in France one morning looking good but very serious and told me that she thought I would want to know that Kass had died. Then she smiled and left. Kass was someone I knew when I was very young who I hadn’t seen or heard from – or thought about –  for at least 40 years – from when I left Ohio. I checked and of course Kass had indeed died.  This sort of experience was not strange or frightening. It felt loving.

Every bit of unusual help that I have had has felt like a caring and strengthening aspect of natural life, and, perhaps more important, like a reminder that we are here to care and  give help, too, and  to do all we can to make things better for others.

Joan Ganz Cooney: I think the most transforming moment — I don’t know if spiritual is the right word — was when my stepdaughter gave birth to her first child, a little girl. We were told there was worry about a problem (which turned out not to exist) and that the baby had been sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We, of course, rushed to the hospital and a nurse brought out this nearly nine pound baby with a huge amount of black hair, standing straight up like Don King’s. Since the other babies in the unit were two pounds and under, we nearly burst out laughing. As soon as I saw her, I had the strangest feeling of euphoria and rebirth — and I knew that she would be MY baby, that her parents would just have to share her with me (which they very generously did). For fourteen years I’ve felt the same way … reborn through Chloe, who is surely the loveliest, smartest, funniest, most joyful child on this earth.

Joni Evans: At first, I never believed in an afterlife or anything spiritual. But, at age 50, I was hit on the head by evidence from a psychic who was beyond gifted. I ‘heard’ from my parents — both deceased; my son — who died when I terminated a pregnancy; an uncle I barely knew but saw everything I had done for 25 years; a best friend who had specific messages for her children. Each of these messages were so specific to me: My dad talked of a fabric in my pocketbook, laughing about its cost (he ran a textile company and these fabrics were overpriced for my new brownstone awnings!) On and on.

In time, I too, started to receive (‘feel’) messages. A favorite earring lost — returned magically on my mom’s birthday. Little things, then big things. I now always feel connected to the beyond. A blessing I live with always.

Candice Bergen: I have had nothing like Mary’s reassuring experiences, though I always find hearing about them comforting. In the 60′s and early 70′s people took psychedelic drugs to duplicate or induce metaphysical experiences or visions. But when I had my daughter, I thought, Oh! So THIS is what we’d been looking for! A total rootedness in the Now. An intense and utter bond with another being. The relief of discarding finally one’s ego and caring for another well above oneself. The full vibrancy of being through that connection with another soul. That is about as spiritual as it’s gotten for me.


24 comments so far.

  1. avatar Joan Larsen says:

                                
    “There’s a few things I’ve learned in life: 
    always throw salt over your left shoulder, 
    keep rosemary by your garden gate, 
    plant lavender for good luck, 
    and fall in love whenever you can” 
    ~Shakespeare
    Yes, I have done all that, especially relate to that last sentence most of all.  But I can take Shakepeare’s words and add many others.  .   . the most meaningful to us all is that I not only believe — but know — that heaven exists on this earth.  . and so do 98 other very sane, very normal people whose lives were changed in a single day — a day that they no longer had to look up to a heaven above or pray for an afterlife that probably would be individual for each of us.  I carry that spiritual life – heaven – within my heart every day, every night, always and forever. 

    The 98 people that chose to take the most powerful icebreaker to the Far Side of Antarctica some years back had all been to the continent many times.  .  . but NO ONE had ever had been on a ship strong enough to break ice 10 feet thick for five days (!), taking us as close as we could get to totally unexplored portion of Queen Maud Land.  That day – that singular day
    that was to indelibly change each of our lives – that day when we were to be THE FIRST PEOPLE ON EARTH to step on this portion of Antarctica – was calm, even warm as the brilliant sun reflected on the ice as we stepped off the helicopter and found our way inland. 

    The ice?  The ice was powder blue, and continual skyscraper-sized stunning blue frozen-in icebergs were standing in a line that stretched forever forward as we walk inland for miles, our feet moving across the 10-foot or more ice that was actually floating on the ocean far below. 

    No one spoke.  No one spoke all day.  We were in a cathedral of blue icebergs, some with darker blue caves at their bases.  We weren’t told what to do — but we slowly walked in single file with large spaces between us, perhaps in our effort to make this ours alone.  There was a hush that never was touched by a whisper.

    Still in that cathedral of ice we turned a corner in the row of icebergs, and in this single place  stood thousands and thousances of Emperor penguins and their babies, staring at the first people they had ever seen.

    Keeping to ourselves, the passengers wandered wherever we wanted and as far as we wanted.  Could scenery get better that this?  It did.  The silence continued.  The beauty was the greatest beauty on our earth.  I sat down .   . and a 4-foot high penguin with its most cuddly soft gray chick would come to my knees to be introduced – with mother proudly showing off her most prized possession.  When sitting, the Emperors were taller than I, totally unafraid, but our feeling, expressed much later, was that we – and they – felt that we were more than friends.  One family after another arrived, chick in tow, bowing low.  Emperor couples, bonded for life, stood, interwinding their necks, raising their heads high, and bowing to each other.  There was love there — and it flowed, making us wish that human life could be so caring and so flawless.

    I have to admit I cried.  Most people did.  The day — the best day of our lives had weather that was perfect with cloudless deep blue skies.  We were unaware of time as some wondrous thing had penetrated our hearts.  I don’t know how to better explain this.

    We had eight hours on the ice in this world of 24 hours a day of sunshine.  There was no one that wanted to go back.  No one.  When we had to, we – the first and last people on earth who had been there – again walked the miles through the frozen-in totally blue iceberg cathedral back.  Photos showed that while nothing was said, we walked in single file with large spaces between us, totally silent, totally still, and our pace slow, as if we were not through worshiping.

    Our eyes said that something had happened that day.  The behavior of each individual in a group who did not know each other was the same.  While the feeling we had, we later said, was impossible to explain to another, we did say we knew we knew life would never be the same.  

    Only one phrase was softly said by each person in the next hours or day — “we have seen PARADISE”.  Whatever their way of life, whatever their religion, 98 people were united in the belief that in this place was HEAVEN — and it was on this earth.  If there was to be no heaven at a future time, we had already experienced it and forever would hold it within us.
    We need no more.  We can bring that day, those moments – only a few that I have shared – up at will, each time giving us that feeling as strong as that single day among the icebergs.

    Since that time, the expedition has never been re-attempted.  Several of us have had that day’s experiences written up in books.  But this day had been the best of our lives — and 45 days later when we got off our icebreaker, we all were as one. One day had bonded us together as nothing in the world could.  . paradise.  And I am sure that all others on that trip — each who said it had been the best day in our lives - remained changed people with the blessing of it always in our hearts.  If you would say we have changed, we have changed for the better in everything we say, in everything we do in life.  We acknowledge it — we do not question.

    If I would speak for others — and I believe I can — we can ask for no more.  We have it all.

    Joan  

    • avatar Effie Velardo says:

      Joan this sounds so magnificent I envy that experience

    • avatar mary burdt says:

      Dear Joan…I cried as I read about your spiritual experience in Antarctica. What a thrill to be the first and last people to explore this region of such beauty. Making friends with the Emperor Penguins and their young is extraordinary and a memory you hold dear throughout your amazing life. Somehow, I feel you were chosen for this journey so you could tell the rest of us just how special and enlightening it was. Through your writing of this I feel like I also shared in this peek at PARADISE. Thank you for the wonderful gift you have given all of us.

      • avatar Mary says:

        Joan, your experiences are incredible and I am always in awe to read them!  Thank you for sharing!

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      The bonds with animals, particularly those in “the wild” whether it is a panther or a penguin, somehow instills this sense of something magnificent at work which is simply beyond our comprehension and leaves us in total awe.

      • avatar Joan Larsen says:

        Baby Snooks . . . as you have written later in this thread, there are many things that may happen to those of us who are sensitive and observe well that are not explainable.  . and are not going to be.  But our minds are not playing tricks on us when such things happen — making me think that perhaps some of us have been given those moments as gifts – intangible – but so much better than anything we could believe.  In your latter writing, this happened.  We don’t need to try to figure it out – impossible anyhow — but accept and be blessed.

        I carry my own “blessing” with you every day and my story has taken a new life in the published work of others.  My life has been bountiful, but the world of nature travel has taken me to the far reaches where I have seen things that have not been written about.
        But sitting high up on a remote island called Bird Island, with the bird with the largest wing span in the world – one who has returned to nest – allowing me to sit next to her as if conversing with an old friend as she showed me her babe for moments – melted my heart.

        But in all of nature, only penguins have shown the closeness to human behavior in all of its phases.  I have gone down again and again to study them, finding them touching me indelibly.  I have had situation where there are 300,000 in a single place, moving back and forth to the sea — and why would only one see me from far above, and fall over one after another in front of it, to reach me, standing in front of me as if I was a returning friend?
        Actually, I have a series of photos that prove this — from its first look to its bonding with me after passing thousands of others in so doing.  When I stood and walked, the penguin, an Adelie, followed me. 

        As I believe, there is much more to our lives than meets the eye — and each time there is a place reserved in my heart for such moments.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        I have had situation where there are 300,000 in a single place, moving back and forth to the sea — and why would only one see me from far above, and fall over one after another in front of it, to reach me, standing in front of me as if I was a returning friend?
        ___________________________________________________________

        Or merely open to becoming one.  It’s all such a mystery. And yet deep within perhaps not a mystery at all.  Some of us are touched by an angel. Some of us are touched by a penguin. Or a panther.  Years ago a friend who was living in Cuernavaca found a panther, actually a black jaguar, on her veranda. Fast asleep.  Looked up at her.  And went back to sleep. My friend noticed her two Dobermans at a distance. And then noticed their food bowls. Empty.  Eventually she ended up with two Dobermans and a panther at the foot of her bed. And six chihuahuas on the bed.  The black jaguars are very solitary creatures but apparently from time to time decide they like being spoiled and end up as “house cats” particularly in Central America.  This one loved her Alpo!

  2. avatar Effie Velardo says:

    Since I’m 72 years old I’ve had many spiritual happenings. The one that stands out the most is when my 6 year old son died of leukemia and minutes before he passed said to me “mummy see the stars and angels..” After that I was afraid of nothing in this world. Since then standing in the middle of the colloseum in Rome, or standing on the great Wall of China or the top of the Harbor bridge in Australia.  For a poor woman, of really meager means these are fantastically spiritual experiences. I am very religious, and like Whoppee (my idol) have come to the conclusion that I have very little control over the ways of the world and no money to do anything about it anyway.

  3. avatar Linda Myers says:

    For now, I would say waking up each day knowing it’s a new beginning.

  4. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    From the time I was a small child I knew things. This didn’t set well with my parents as they tried to train it out of me. Eventually I learned not to talk about things and ignored them. When my father was ill I was living over 300 miles away and I woke up early one morning to see him standing beside my bed. I looked at the clock, saw the time and assumed I was dreaming. Just after my husband left for work I had a phone call from my sister. Before she could say anything I said, “You don’t have to tell me, dad died.” She asked how I knew and I told her I just did without going into detail. Since that occasion I have seen my father and other deceased relatives several times. I have also learned to pay attention to my intuition again.

  5. avatar Maggie W says:

    I don’t know if my life so far has been predicated by sheer luck or by fate. Have spiritual guides such as other worldly beings helped move things along or made clarifications?   I don’t believe that.  I give fate the edge.  I know I was born in the right era and in the finest country in the world.  I’ve never known hunger or despair and have always had love in my life. I picked up a couple of degrees along the way that broadened my life experiences.  That too was made possible by being in the right place and in the right time period.  Had I been born a hundred or so years ago, I would have been a factory worker or sitting on a milking stool in some drafty barn. 

    So,a spiritual experience?  In the years I have left, perhaps one may come my way.  I suppose if I  recently had been casually tending my garden on a nice day only to see a wall of water rearrange my country so that it now resembles a moonscape, I would be having second thoughts about spirituality.

  6. avatar Linda Myers says:

    Since we can only pick one, I had to think today on which one. Since for myself, spiritual is more about the feeling of a moment rather than the view – this one would be it. At one point in my life, I was taken to a place which visually was beautiful, though the feeling that engulfed was incredible. I was very aware of what my life was and everything surrounding my life. But with the energy of this place, I  didn’t have any desire to return. I just wanted to stay in the energy of where I was. Absolutely nothing I knew of my life seemed to matter at that time. I was told I could not stay, but return when I chose for renewal. Many times I have reconnected with that energy, and after being there, I lost all fear of death.

    • avatar Mary says:

      Linda, your experience sounds very similiar to one I had long ago and I have had many since.  I was very very ill and had been in the hospital for about 6 months.   Many times I was sent to the intensive care unit.  One of the most difficult times I was very very close to the end of my human journey.  I was surrounded by soft and silky fabric and was so warm and so content.   I felt like I was being held and craddled like a infant and I did not want to leave that place.  There was incredible light and so much love.  I don’t know how long I was there but remember being told I could not stay.  I was so disapointed and sad to be returned to my hospital bed, but, I was never afraid again of death or for that matter of life. 

  7. avatar D C says:

    This probably isn’t really spiritual, but who knows… maybe?  I have always had very good intuition about all kinds of things.  But in 2008, when I saw that a hurricane was heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, 10 full days before it actually hit, I said to myself — “That storm is coming right up my driveway.”  That was Hurricane Ike, and it did, indeed, come just about right up my driveway.  I went to the store that day to get some supplies, and I remember walking around the store looking at people and thinking, “What’s wrong with them?  Don’t they KNOW?” 

    As to being visited by the dead… I hope that never happens.  My father died suddenly of a heart attack on Chistmas Day 1978 when I was 18 and a freshman in college.  I was in the band, and we were playing in a bowl game on New Years Day, so 3 days after my dad died, we had the funeral and on the 4th day I left to go on the bowl trip.  My aunt told me, “Don’t worry honey, your dad will see you.”  My thought was … if our loved ones can see us when we’re “performing” or getting married, or whatever, then they can also see when we are in pain, and how can that be heaven? 

    • avatar Linda Myers says:

      In whatever name it is given, there is an energy beyond us that is indescribable. :-) I live most days with a foot in this world and one somewhere else, it is just the way it is.

    • avatar Linda Myers says:

      They see, feel, view if they choose of what we are doing – they just are not part of the emotion. Pain comes from emotion.They observe the overall rather than being part of your experience.

  8. avatar central coast cabin home says:

    Single mom. 3 sons under the age of 7. Waitress by day bartender by night and in nursing school….you know the drill. I was over drawn at the bank and was certain the power would be turned off. The temp outside was 15. I called the local Salvation Army on my way home, it was 4:55 and they generally turn the power off at 5:00, been there before! As suspected, we were scheduled to be shut off. I prayed like a son-of-a-gun getting down on my hands and knees. Please dear God, get us through this night. When I arrvied home the power was on and there was a refund check in the mail for 40$. We ate a warm dinner in an even warmer house and I never lost my faith again. Eventually graduated with my AA, BA, MA and I am enrolled in PhD. I also ring the bell EVERY Christmas season for the Salvation Army!

  9. avatar central coast cabin home says:

    Joan, your story of the totally unexplored portion of Queen Maud Land is one of the most beautiful I have ever read. Incredibly ethereal and haunting. Thanks for sharing. You really started my day feeling blessed.
     
     

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Your own story, Log Cabin Home, is one that fosters hope — as well as a sense that there are elements of life we are not meant to understand.  But sometimes, in a single moment or a single day, the tide turns — and then it is what the person does with that gift they have been given.  You took it and ran with it, turning life around in an incredible way.  You were given hope, and drive, and deserve congratulations — and I know it is not over yet.

      In my story, it is only with regret that I could not share the incredible beauty – never seen elsewhere in a lifetime of travel to faraway places – that are indelibly stamped into my mind and heart.  Forever.  PARADISE is not a word to be bandied around.  You realize that it is all heaven could ever be . . . but so much more.  On our icebreaker were 33 of the world’s top nature photographers whose names are common knowledge.  Their lives are spent trying to capture the unique and most beautiful.  Even they, whose lifetime of experiences around the earth overshadowed ours, said that of all their days on our earth, this day was the one that would always stand apart as paradise on earth.  The gift given that day was better than anything material thing, any monies, or success.  My heart feels so full.  Joan

  10. avatar central coast cabin home says:

    Your are most insightful; it is not over yet. How could it ever be in this great existence of life? Your full heart fills us all Joan. Keep posting. With my cup of coffee in hand I visit my WoW friends on the web each and every morning  for inspiration, humor, gossip (ashamedly), fashion, discussions about the dread aging process and life in general. Thanks for your mental power, emotion and understanding.
     
     

  11. avatar Leslie Beil says:

    Though I have “Woo Woo” moments all the time (more so lately for some reason) there is one that stands out for me.  In the spring of 2009 I lost my job but because I knew ahead of time (and received a nice severance package as well) I started my new life as a writer by spending 7 magical weeks on Martha’s Vineyard.
    Having done my homework I was able to find a reasonably priced apartment in a turn of the century mansion in Oaks Bluff.  From my wicker covered wraparound porch I had a lovely view of the large public park with its gazebo, small pond, ferry landing, and the ocean.  I loved nothing better than sitting on that porch on rainy days as I watched the ebb and flow of this little town’s resident’s daily lives. What really floored me was how quiet it was there! No sirens, not the constant noises of cars honking or planes flying over head. I never slept as good as when I was there! God, I miss that place.
    Anyways when it wasn’t raining I could be found roaming the various beaches of the island and they have some stunners!! South Beach and Lamberts Cove were my favorites, but there was a smaller one just outside of Oaks Bluff called State Beach. It’s there that I found the most beautiful sea glass, stones, and seashells.    
    One day I headed there taking my backpack stuffed with the essential writers tools – pen, paper, beach towel, water, various “tobacco” products, and my Tibetan singing bowl (optional but I find it comes in handy when I want to commune with nature and my spirit guides.)  My meditative focus on that morning was where did I want to live? I was getting tired of the DC area and the frustrations of living in our nation’s Capitol, the noise, the traffic etc.  
    So I mediated but nothing immediately came to mind, so after a few hours of writing I headed to my car to go for a leisurely drive around the island, trusted map in hand. (It’s funny, when I went to the Stop and Shop to buy a map the young man behind the counter gave me an odd look then said “Miss, why waste your money, this is an island, you can’t get lost.” I replied “Trust me, I can.” )
    As I was driving down this one road I came across a street named Washington (where I live now), then Berkshire (the name of the street I grew up on), then Leslie Lane! Then I headed into Vineyard Haven, another cute little hamlet, and what do I find, but Leslie’s Pharmacy!!!
    The Universe had answered my question – this is where I needed to be. But alas, Universe hasn’t provided the funding to live there yet but I’m still hopeful as I belief in magic, even though I still live in the DC area(pun intended)J

  12. avatar KarenR says:

    Spiritual, mind-blowing, resulting in the worst depression ever: a summer night spent on the streets of Chicago – the harsh smack of reality seeing homeless bunking on the perfectly-sized window ledges of high end retail shops, wandering into a seminary courtyard off of Michigan to admire a lit fountain only to discover every darkened corner of the yard occupied by those in repose, some with cardboard beds, seeing the well-dressed drunk lady tripping and falling in the drive by the entrance to her high-end hotel as she staggered back alone from who knows where after 4 a.m., giving still warm french fries to a street kid who seriously appreciated them, being approached by an obviously tweaking speed freak who was still well enough put together to indicate he hadn’t spent much time in the gutter yet (“please, I need $5 so I can get my driver’s license renewed. I can’t get a job without a driver’s license”), watching a father pile his young daughter into a luxury SUV at the train station while a guy across the street rummages through a garbage can for dinner – with dawn’s arrival they all fade into the crowd and become largely invisible amongst the tall, shiny buildings and fake public imagery that’s presented as success in America.

  13. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    My mother came to me the night before her funeral.  I turned on the light and noticed the dog sitting up on the bed, her tail wagging a mile a minute, looking up at where I had seen my mother.  Perhaps a dream. Perhaps a hallucination. Except for the dog.

    I found out later she had also “come to say goodbye” to my godmother and to my mother’s best friend.  And came to them the night before the funeral as well. 

    Like Mary, so many other “happenings” in my life. But that one more than any other. Simply because it was one that happened to two other people.  And one that a dog shared with me. 

    I call them the things that go bump in the night.

  14. avatar Linda Myers says:

    A friend of mine was found a year ago today dead in her home when her daughter dropped by for lunch. Cold, dead weight and flat lined. The paramedics at her daughters insistence used the needle in her heart and paddles and she came back. The first couple of months afterwards were tough in building her strength again, then depression since her daughter took her dogs to the pound while she was in rehab. I gave her my dog in October to foster and find her purpose again in life. He radiates the love she has poured into him and vice versa. Prior, she had been tethered to oxygen for COPD, now she rarely needs it or thinks about it sitting in her back room of the house.. After this happened and she started talking about where she had gone, and what she sees now as far as spiritually – her daughter took her for a psyche appointment and she repeated the same to the doctor, then just asked him if he could prove different. He told her to go home and enjoy her life. She is happy now, stronger, though still sassy. :-) She said all she remembers about the time she was gone was being told she had more to do. Nobody knows for sure when she died prior to being found – it had been three days since she had been seen. The last memory she had before being found was Sunday morning and seeing the sun come up. She was found on the following Tuesday at noon. True story with a lot of impossibilities made possible which is what miracles are.