It’s been a bit quiet lately around here at 22C+ for a good reason. I have been on holiday in Australia for three weeks now. In fact as I write this I am about 35 000 feet above sea level traveling from Melbourne to Brisbane by plane. I have been fortunate enough to get a window seat, and I can tell you that it is a magnificent day out there. Far below me the flat earth of southern New South Wales is a magnificent mosaic of patch-work green. I have spent little time in my home country in the last 15 years, but my trip here this time has truly reminded me what a beautiful country it is. Wide open spaces, fresh air and magnificent blue skies really do restore the spirit after four years in Asia without a break!
In this post I am going to share with you something beautiful and remarkable that happened to me about a week into my trip here.
After delivering some lectures at universities in Queensland, I traveled south to my mother’s home in Taree, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. I arrived late in the afternoon, and it was only an hour or so before dusk. My elderly mother has just rented a new home in a peaceful retirement village on the outskirts of town. After chatting with my mother for a while I told her I was going out for a walk to stretch my legs, as I’d been on a train for eight hours. In fact I was being a bit sneaky, and had another plan in mind.
Fourteen years ago my father died unexpectedly of a heart condition, just before his 58th birthday. Tragically, a week later, the day after burying my father, my young brother Jerome took his own life, essentially out of grief and remorse over unfinished business with my father. It was a truly traumatic time for all the family, as you might imagine. Only one week after burying my father, we returned to the same cemetery to lay Jerome’s body next to my father’s. Jerome was only 21 years old.
As it happens, my mother’s new residence is only a couple of kilometers from the cemetery where my father and brother are buried. So my secret ‘other plan’ for that day some two weeks ago was to walk to the cemetery and pay my respects. I didn’t want anyone else to be there with me, as I intuited that the event would require privacy.
I had not been back to that cemetery since Jerome’s burial, and my memory of the exact location was fuzzy. I recalled that it was in bush land along an obscure road. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure how far it was from my mother’s house, nor whether I could get there before dark. But I set off by foot, nonetheless, walking along the Pacific Highway, over a small bridge spanning the Dawson River, and moving down a tributary road which ran off to the right. After walking along the wooded road for about five minutes, I saw a smaller road off to the right, which disappeared into the forest. I knew that the cemetery was around that approximate area, but wasn’t sure of the precise location. I centered myself, and my intuition told me it was the shadowy road was the right choice.
Less than five a minutes later, at the end of the road, I found myself looking across the expansive lawns of the cemetery where my father and brother lay at rest. It was a slightly spooky scene, as dusk was falling, and the headstones and graves already lay in dark shadows. I was the only soul there. Well, the only living soul. I guess people don’t like wandering around cemeteries at nightfall.
There was a problem. There were thousands of graves there covering a huge area, many of them recent ‘additions’, and I had no idea where my relatives’ graves were. I had perhaps fifteen minutes to find Dad and Jerome’s resting place before it got too dark to read the headstones.
As I scanned the area, I saw a large kangaroo leaping away across the lawns. Talk about lack of respect for the dead!
I began to wander down amongst the graves, and realised immediately that the odds of finding my target in time were very slim. I stopped, and asked my intuition to connect with the relevant graves. A small voice said clearly “To the right”, and so I made my way towards the other side of the cemetery, all the time scanning the headstones.
I really wasn’t sure what would happen if I found the graves. Would I feel peace? Would I feel grief? Would I feel nothing? Would it help me heal any lingering issues within my psyche I might have with my father and brother? I chose not to try to predict what would happen. I just let go and allowed Spirit to take its course. If there was nothing to feel or acknowledge, so be it.
It was quite some time after the sun had disappeared below the horizon, and probably in the last few minutes of any visible daylight that I found them. I turned around from examining one headstone, to look at the one behind me, and there I saw it. On the small headstone was a photo of my brother Jerome. I had taken that photo myself, standing at the bottom of the stairs in our old family home when he was just 16 years old. Immediately beside was my father’s grave, and upon it was a small picture of him in his baker’s clothes, working in the small bread shop which he had owned and run for about 20 years.
As soon as I saw the photo of my brother, I was hit by a wave of grief. The grave sites were covered in manicured lawn, so I sat down cross-legged in the precise position between the two graves, and allowed myself to feel fully all the feelings that came to me. I let go. This is something that I have been guided to do by Spirit over many years of seeking healing and spiritual well-being. When emotional rivers begin to run, I just let the water flow.
There was nobody else present as I sat upon the graves, so there was no need to hide or deny anything. I simply channeled the hurt inside myself, and let my tears flow freely. There was tremendous grief and guilt about my not having done enough for Jerome, or seen what was coming in those days before he killed himself.
I’m sorry, Jerome, I’m so sorry.
There was also anger.
Why did you do this? You are so selfish. Why didn’t you open up more? You could have lived a full life.
There is no true forgiveness unless we acknowledge our anger.
Then I turned to my father’s grave, to my right, and spoke to his spirit. I was surprised to find more guilt coming out.
I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to talk to you Dad. I’m sorry I have not turned out to be a better person.
And then anger.
Why were you so cruel and unloving? I hate you! I want to kill you!
The psyche does not actually exist in the present, but contains a reservoir of repressed emotional energies from the past. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of the angry child within my wanting to kill my old man, who had been dead 14 years.
Just then headlights appeared at the top of the hill, about fifty metres in front of where I sat. Someone else had arrived. In the dim light I saw the car. Someone got out, and standing near the vehicle, lit a cigarette. I thought about getting up to leave, as I knew I would feel self-conscious with someone else listening in. I asked Spirit if it was time to leave. A voice said: “Wait”. So I did. The car remained for several minutes, and then I asked again if it was time to go. Again the voice said: “Wait.”
I am very glad I listened, or the next phase of the process would not have unfolded. For just a minute or so later, I heard the car door close, and the stranger drove off. I tuned into my emotional body again, and the energy of Spirit.
There was just a little more emotional energy remaining, but soon my consciousness shifted to a more gentle peacefulness.
By this time it was completely dark. Remarkably, a beautiful full moon appeared at the horizon, sneaking above some spooky, twisted gum trees on the hill, just to my right.
I began to channel the energy of forgiveness. I prayed to God, asking that any lingering hurt or blame towards Dad and Jerome be acknowledged, so that all three of us might have peace and healing. I told my father that I loved him, and that I understood why I had been sent through him as a child. The truth is that my father was often cruel and just plain mean, and had masses of unresolved issues which he projected onto me and other family members, sometimes brutally. As I sat there in meditation, I found that I could acknowledge that without judging it. I told my father and Jerome that no matter what unresolved emotional energy I discovered within myself in the future which involved them, that I would release it.
I moved into a gentle and peaceful meditation as the last of emotional energy dissipated.
I turned to God, and opened my crown chakra. I felt the light pour in through my head.
Dear God. Please forgive us for our mistakes, for we are only human. Let there be healing for all of us, if that is your will.
Spontaneously, my arms dropped to either side of me. My left hand began to move in a counter-clockwise direction above the grave of Jerome, while my right hand began to rotate in the opposite direction, above my father’s grave. My hands were right about where what remained of the hearts of my father and brother would be, some six feet below me. As I did this, a bright blue light began to pour out of my hands, and move down into the earth. I could see the light very clearly, despite the fact that it was then night time, and the only source of light was the full moon sitting low on the horizon before me. Yet there was another brilliant light there too. This was the light pouring in through my head. I always find that this is particularly strong in the evening, when I am outside in nature. It was as if a second full moon was shining directly above my head, illuminating me from within. Many meditators and mystics will know what I am talking about when I say that the light is perfectly visible, but it is not with the physical eyes that it is seen.
The blue light was stronger in my left hand, above Jerome’s grave, and less intense in my right. I don’t know why, but I can only speculate that the connection with Jerome was stronger than that with my father. Maybe he needed more healing, or it was the right time to heal my issues with him. It is also true that the left hand tends to channel more healing energy than the right, as it is connected to the right brain and its intuitive capacities.
Then I knew that it was time to leave. The love and gratitude that I felt were spontaneous and genuine.
Thank you God. I love you.
So many healing and unity experiences lead one to a consciousness of gratitude and love.
I had probably been there about an hour. I said goodbye to my father and brother, and walked back down the dark wooded road, along the highway and back to my mother’s place.
As a child I remember being terrified of cemeteries, and going to one even during the day was scary. But once death is simply acknowledged and embraced, the fear of death and 'the dead' dissipates. That evening was a truly beautiful experience, sitting there in the moon-lit darkness, meditating and praying above my brother and father’s graves. By myself, but not alone.