Sheridan, Clare – I abandoned my body on my bed and went soaring as though in a dream
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
My Crowded Sanctuary – Clare Sheridan
I could not have pulled through these war years without his help. Father John's love and his wisdom are the cosmic love and the cosmic wisdom of all the ages. But to reach him, to contact this great spirit, necessitates an effort. Just as in the flesh we take the trouble to convey ourselves to the place of pilgrimage, it requires a little journey of the soul to bring me to his feet. The revelation that it was not necessary every time to drag my body to the spot came through Father John himself.
One day when the noises emanating from the house were more than usually discordant, he said to me, 'Sister, if you come in the spirit the sounds will not disturb you. They do not disturb me- it is only in the physical they have the power to disturb you.'
After that, and with Dick's help, I abandoned my body on my bed and went soaring as though in a dream and came to Father John with just as much reality. It is a wonderful and blessed discovery, for it means that no barriers can keep me from him. I might be on the other side of the world in the flesh, I could still be with him in spirit.
Really, when one comes to analyse it, this applies in the profoundest sense to all life. Perhaps this was in Tagore's mind when he wrote of the 'supreme freedom of consciousness' and quoted from the Upanishad, 'Life is immense'. Whenever I free myself from my body I am infiltrated with a sense of immensity and of a freedom that is so transcendent and complete that almost it threatens disintegration.
Father John surprisingly enough does not despise the physical.
'Your life will be transfigured', he told me, 'as soon as you realize that your physical body is divine. It is divine, just as the tree is divine with its sap and its leaves. The tree only ceases to be divine when life has gone out of it and it becomes a decayed empty thing.
The body ceases to be divine when life goes out of it. But while it harbours the spirit and is the temple of the spirit, it is a divine thing.'
Father John's love reaches out even to the man-made creations. Here are the words he spoke as he held my hands in his in an attitude of prayer:
‘Sister love the earth that God has made-- love the earth. Love the birds, the wind, the rain, the dew, the lovely clouds. Love, too, the beautiful things that man has made, for the beautiful made by man is inspired by God. The cathedrals, the temples, the statues are God-inspired. Love beautiful people, the people with lovely souls and thoughts and selfless lives. Love-- the Golden Way.'
Then, when I involuntarily exclaimed, 'I love you, Father John,' he answered, 'You love the Divine in me; I love the Divine in you. We prayed together’.