The Harrowing of Hell – Book Excerpt

I was in a state of turmoil.  Here I was was back in London, my childhood home, living with my parents, out of work and out of my beloved Zen practice, separated from my teacher, Dr. Kim, with whom I had invested so much of the past 2 years of my life, and I was away from my beloved Canadian Rockies.  I felt, despite the experience of the moon and of the knowledge of God, that I had failed miserably.  My dream in the Hockley Heights Monastery of being in a car and reversing a full speed until I crashed on a heap of black coal felt very real; I was living it moment to moment.

I went to bed that night full of the thought, “what the hell am I doing here?”  At the same time, returning to the west and to Dr. Kim and my Zen practice was not an option.  He had sent me away and it was definite, done, over with.  I thought about what Fr. John had said to me, “You don’t handle your emotions very well,” and it occurred to me that all I had to do was go back to Canmore and express whatever it was I was feeling. But, in my will, I said, “No, I will not go back.”

In a sudden moment, my spirit erupted in a deep and overwhelming rage.  In my mind’s eye appeared a golden triangle and the image of an eye, like on the back of an American dollar bill.   There also appeared a golden thread running from right to left; where it came from and where it went, I did not know. I was beside myself with anger, literally. For a brief instant, I experienced the separation of my conscious self from my feeling self.  It was an emptiness and a feeling of being alone that terrified me beyond description.  I thought, “I wouldn’t wish this on Adolph Hitler.”  And then I knew that we do not die, even if the body should die, we, our conscious selves do not.

For a brief moment, I was in hell; no feelings, no love, no self, no God. My parent’s dog ‘Stanley’ jumped off the bed and sat trembling in the corner by the door.  In my despair, I cried out to God: “I loved you as a boy, please love me now. I beg you, Lord, save my soul from destruction!”

I was utterly spent.  I felt like my being was a rubber band that had been pulled too far and could not come back together.  Weeks later, my sister-in-law Sandy would tell me my eyes looked dead.   Dr. Kim’s prophecy that the devil would come to me came true.  It was beyond the shadow of any doubt, the darkest moment of my life.

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on December 2, 2016

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