Divine Union and Contacting the Soul: An Interview

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Divine Union and Contacting the Soul: An Interview

Post by figaro » Mon Nov 14, 2005 4:38 am

Divine Union and Contacting the Soul: An Interview with author Laurie Conrad by Diana Souza. October 28th, 2004. Ithaca, New York.

Q So, one of the biggest goals of the spiritual path is to find divine union?

L That is very well said.

Q Have you experienced mysrical union?

L I think I have. I would say that my accident, and the period following my accident, brought me to divine union, to mystical union. It was the Dark Night of the Soul. I could also say that there is absolutely nothing else in our experience on earth, anything that we could experience, that is more profound, more peaceful, more filled with love, or more powerful than mystical union. If I had not experienced it, I could never have even imagined what it would feel like. But I think I have felt it, and it is extraordinary, beyond human comprehension. There is nothing here on earth to compare with that experience. If you take your deepest, most passionate love for another human being, whether it be a lover or a husband, a wife or a child, or a dog or any other creature - it would be like comparing a thimbleful of water to the vast ocean. There is really nothing like it in our human experience. I should also say that there is not always this high price to pay for it. I am in many ways behind most other people in my natural understanding and inherent goodness - and I am far more stubborn in some ways. So mystical union does not have to come as the result of a car accident and difficult injuries. This way was my destiny, my path, and most likely the result of my own stupidity and resistance to holiness. There are saints and ordinary, simple people that I might even know, who are able to make that transition to divine union, I am sure, very easily. But I am not a saint, so instead I had a car accident. And it is only through Grace that I then was given mystical union.

Q So it was the vehicle of your deliverance to divine union in a way?

L Well, it was. And it is still very hard for me here on earth in many ways, because of my injuries, for instance. But this other thing is incomparable.

Q So it's a high price to pay, but the reward can't be compared to the price you're paying really?

L Yes. And as I say, not everyone has to go through what I went through to get there. I am sure that many people just very easily walk through that Door. Through their deep and constant devotion and natural sanctity.

Q I'm not so sure about that.

L Well, I certainly hope that I am right.

Also, after the accident, when I was mainly in that deep, deep place inside - and from that inner place I could see that most of us, in our daily lives, are living on the periphery of a greater truth. After the accident, people took care of me around the clock for months, if not a year or more. And when they came in the room, talking and so forth, and I was so deep inside, in this inner place ... you could say that I was in the spiritual Heart because I was mostly meditating - and wherever I was, I was standing in that greater truth, whatever that is. That was not said very well, but I think you get the idea. You could say that I was standing in the soul. There were no thoughts where I was because of my head injuries, and when there are no thoughts it is very, very quiet inside. And when it is very quiet in that way for long stretches of time, it is contemplation.

During meditation, or contemplation, we are waiting for something greater than ourselves, hopefully the soul, to present itself to us. And when people would come in with all their usual cares and chatter and pursuits, I would just lie there and feel that people were missing the meaning of true Life and of true Being. And I couldn't express it to them, because I could not yet speak. So, I would comfort myself by saying inwardly that when I was more healed and could speak, I would tell them. As time went on, I could again speak - but I still did not tell them. I am not sure why that is, and it is a regret - so I am saying it now.

Interestingly enough, friends afterwards said: "You know, the only time I really felt peace was when I was sitting with you in your house, after your accident." And I think part of that was just where I was inwardly. But also because I couldn’t reflect the world back to them in the usual way. So they were given an opportunity to find that inner place. As the sages and teachers and saints of all religions have told us, as Christ Himself told us: if we get too caught up in the world, we are missing a deeper life. We are missing true Life. And I am not sure that I would have fully understood this, at least not in this particular way, if I had not been in the accident. So from that point of view, I was very very fortunate to be so injured.

Q It opened up a huge vision you wouldn't have had otherwise?

L Yes, from the soul's point of view.

Q It opened up your soul's vision.

L It opened up my vision. The soul already saw. I think, during our lives here on earth, we must try to come from the soul's point of view as often as we can, we must try to align ourselves with the soul's vision. In my opinion, it is one of the major tasks we are given. That, combined with humility before God; trust and humility. I think those are the keys.

Q In all your books, you always put the words "die" and "death" in quotation marks. What is your purpose in doing that?

L I put them in quotation marks, not because I particularly object to the words "die" or "death"; I put those terms in quotes because we do not really die and we are not really dead.

When people first started asking me to clairvoyantly find their lost animals: "Is Pumpkin still alive? He hasn't been home for three days," I began to realize that I could not clairvoyantly tell whether they were still in the body or not. If they were still alive in the body, I would see them alive in the body and sometimes I could tell you exactly where they were. But even if they had been hit by a car and killed, when I saw them clairvoyantly, they still looked alive and happy and were full of life. Because they were still alive, they were just in another realm.

It is the same with human beings. When I am asked "is so and so still alive?", I have to say that I honestly do not know. And I think that's true of every clairvoyant. We clairvoyants cannot tell unless we see them in another realm that we can identify as another realm. There is no difference visually. So, the main reason I put the words "die" or "dead" in quotes is because we do not die, we just go somewhere else, to another realm.

Q Tell us what you mean by this statement from your book: "The only truth I can ever state with surety as a human being is that I do not know truth. In this way I am protected from all harm and also protected from all delusion."

L One of the biggest protections that we can have here on earth is just to simply say: I don't know the truth of this situation. When we are faced with a problem, we tend to gather facts and try to think it through. If the problem is with another person, we might try to get to the truth, and we go back and forth with questions, with statements, and can stay as muddled as ever - or get more confused. We have all had that experience. The more we think or talk about it, the more possibilities come in, the more contradictions come in. In fact, the original problem can amplify itself and make less and less sense.

When I was in my late twenties, I once found myself in that position. The more I tried to understand, the more tangled it all became. Every time I asked a question, the answer seemed to make the situation more unfathomable. I remember walking down the street saying to myself, "the truth must be much deeper than all the information I have been given, because there has to be truth in this situation." That led to the thought that we humans are only living on the periphery of truth. We will never know the deeper reasons for many aspects and events of our lives. To say it another way: There is a depth of truth to life itself and to our own individual lives that we really are not going to penetrate while we are on earth. To understand those higher laws is not even the goal of our existence here on earth.

Just coming to the realization that I will never fully understand any situation I might encounter - became a very great hope and also a great comfort. It meant that I did not have to use my own little brain to try to untangle my world, for one. And I now also knew that nothing in that whole tangle of the other person's opinions and viewpoints and truths, nor mine - were absolute truths. Together, they could not even find Truth. Therefore, I could now extract myself from the effort, and know that there was a truth underlying the situation that I did not comprehend. And this attitude resolved the problem better than if I had come to some sort of mental half truth that later would fragment or dissolve into more questions and opinions.

And I do consider it to be a truth, at least in my life, that we will never know this absolute truth. We might get glimpses of it. But we will never see the whole picture, not while we are incarnate on this earth. And so I am protected. The knowledge that we do not know absolute Truth, and we are not going to know it, should be enough to protect us. Otherwise, we will think that we possess a truth, that our opinion or our observation or our ideals are a sort of absolute truth - and they are not.

Q And when you say "it's protecting us", would you say it's protecting us from a level of fundamentalism that is really ego driven perception?

L Oh, on that level as well, yes, that is certainly true as well.

Q So what else do you mean by "it protects us?"

L Well, this awareness or knowledge protects us from getting lost in our own personal vision, opinions and observations, and in a sense illusion. I believe that Our Lady, the Madonna, told one of the visionaries that life is a mystery, a grand mystery. And it is not our goal while on earth, or our assignment or mission while on earth, to unravel that mystery. She said we could not. And I take that also to mean that it is important for us to know that life is a Mystery. Because if we thought we had all the answers ... If we look around at the world, most of the wars being fought in the world now began because people thought they had the answers. And until that changes, the wars will continue until there is a victor, and many innocent lives will be lost.

Our Lady was basically telling us that there is a larger truth to this universe and our individual lives than our human minds can hold. Therefore, we must trust in God and in the Divine Plan - and the Divine Truth that exists and underlies all of our universe, the Higher Laws that guide us. We cannot understand it, but it exists. That should be enough for us. An example: try reading Shakespeare or Einstein to a two year old. They are not going to grasp the meaning. Nor should they.

We can get glimpses, though. I remember when I first realized that on a soul level we are all connected in Love. That the arguments, the break-ups, the anger - is only on the surface. The true relationship is much deeper, and exists between all souls. This was presented to me in a clairvoyant vision, but the concept is preached by most religions. I just never grasped the full meaning until I personally experienced it, clairvoyantly saw it. So, for me, it is no longer an article of Faith - I have seen it. Blessed are those who can understand and trust this truth without a clairvoyant Glimpse of it.

Q Could you be more specific about your experience?

L My first Glimpse was when I was in my twenties. A typical scenario: I was in a relationship with someone I deeply loved, and another person entered the scene. I lost my relationship and was distraught, very sad. One night I was at my kitchen table, thinking about it, and a little clairvoyant movie began in my head. I stepped into the movie until it became my entire world. In this movie, I saw the three of us together, seated around a simple wooden table. And we were smiling and laughing, glowing with radiant Light. The scene itself was mainly an unearthly Light. That scene is so burned into my mind, that even all these years later I can still see us there, happily talking, seated around that simple table and glowing with Love for each other. It was just this one short scene, nothing more. And I knew in those moments, watching that little movie in its rich colors - that the vision was a true one. We did Love each other, and would always Love each other, no matter what happened, no matter what we did or said on earth, in our waking state consciousness. I am now growing very hot just thinking of this vision, I am burning with Heat. It was a very deep, mystical experience. So even though I was still not too pleased the way things had turned out on the material earth plane of existence - I knew that this other place was the truth. I knew that immediately and irrevocably.

That the love, that connection between us on the soul level is much more real and infinitely stronger than anything we would ever go through in this everyday, waking state consciousness. And, as it turns out, we are good friends now.

The goal is to remember that in the moment, during the argument or break-up or fight - that on the soul level, we are connected to every other sentient being on this planet, in this universe. And that in the soul state, there is only Love and Beauty and Light. And I think if we remember that, we will not take these ups and downs so very, very seriously. I personally would certainly feel very embarrassed and disappointed in myself when I eventually went to, hopefully, a higher realm and looked back on this life and saw that I had missed the boat. Acted badly. I believe that we all know these things, on a deep level of our being. I know that in my own life, this understanding has helped me through my most difficult moments with other human beings.

Q So our willingness to admit that we'll never be able to know absolute truth or the mind of God, is another way to reach what you referred to before as humility?

L Yes, that is true. Yes, it is another form of humility. Sometimes, it seems as though all the separate virtues distill back to the same few virtues. In a certain way, it could be seen as one large, encompassing Virtue, that we have split up into smaller ones. As you deepen each of the individual virtues, they seem to bring you to all the others - in a way, a unity of Virtue. Because to truly develop any one virtue, you must have all the rest.

Q I love this statement from your book Realms of Light, talk to us about it. You write: "It is a great challenge to write a book using words when what one truly wishes to convey is wordless. Thinking can only get us so far."

L Well, the mystical is, by definition, mainly wordless - even true Mystical experiences that involve images or words. We do not have a human vocabulary to describe most of the deep, mystical experiences. In addition, people will undoubtedly experience them differently. I would think it to be a very personal thing. Sainte Therese of Lisieux mainly fell asleep during her meditations. Each saint’s and sage’s experiences are unique to them. The entire mystical life, in general, is fairly uncharted and very personal, very subjective.

For example, none of us even know where we fit in the schema of the spiritual path, how advanced we are in the stages of the interior life. We are not supposed to know. Faith is a virtue. We are supposed to do our best and have enough faith to know that we will somehow get to the end of our individual path. One day we will end up on top of the heap, if we just keep trying. That grace will be given to us.

Even within ourselves it is so hard to define and clarify these experiences - much less to try to then express them to others. So it is kind of an odd thing, I felt, to write a book about these mystical topics that basically are wordless experiences. When you are in those high mystical states, there are no words. The very definition of those high mystical states is the lack of thought. It is only when we can push that little ego aside, that restless tangle of thoughts that lead to all the emotions, that the soul can present itself to us. Or the Divine can express Itself to us or through us.

But if mystics, throughout the ages, had not written poetry or books - or spoken about the mystical life - there would be no teachers for all the willing students. Didn’t Christ tell Peter: "Feed my sheep"? I certainly have had wonderful teachers, and have read many valuable books. Even though the highest experiences are without thought, in using and training the mind in study, we are trying to prepare ourselves for those experiences. Can you imagine running a race in the Olympics with no training, and no sneakers? Like me, Laurie Conrad, at the starting gate or whatever it is called ... Well, I certainly wouldn’t win the race.

We should use our mind, our reading and our studies, to strengthen our understanding. To better define our ideals, to learn about the virtues and divine gifts. To better understand the ego so that we can more easily transcend it and the animal appetites, and to learn and define our daily practices.

You do your practices, you study, you think - and then you have to hand it all over to the Higher. And if you just stay in your thoughts, in your philosophy, you won't get there either. There comes a point where you have trained the mind, through study and practice. You have brought it to the height of its understanding. Then you have to do your prayer or meditation and leave the mind, the little mind behind. But without all that thought, the understanding - the results of prayer and meditation might not be as great. Thinking helps the prayer and the prayer helps the thinking. They should help each other. That is how I was taught.

I am sure that many great saints never studied, never thought about these things. But I am not a great saint. I need the study, the understanding and the practice.

Q Besides being a devout Catholic, what path are you on?

L I would say that I am on a more philosophic path. In my case, I feel that it is a safer and faster route. Many devout people, of various religions, through the depth and intensity of their prayer life have reached amazingly high places spiritually. But there can be a danger if you do not understand the nature of the ego. Perhaps some people instinctively understand the traps the ego presents us with - I needed training to understand it. I am not using the word "ego" in the usual sense here. In spiritual Philosophy, the term "ego" includes thinking that we are the body, thinking that we are anything but the soul. The ego would be defined as all our thoughts and perceptions and the emotions caused by our thoughts. That we confuse our thoughts and emotions with our true being, i.e. that we identify with the body and the personal mind rather than the soul. If you don't understand the nature of the ego and all the traps it presents, even if you are on a spiritual path, you can get lost on it or get even more deeply entrenched in the ego.

The great saints would probably say that their prayer life was the essence of their spiritual life. I think that is -. But, in my case, I felt it safer and wiser for me to have the additional aid of philosophy, that understanding of where I am going on the spiritual journey and the various traps on the way. Maybe I do not have a deep enough prayer life, or it is my destiny, what God wishes for me. You know, I do not understand these things. I only know that it feels safer to me.

But I am not saying that it would be the best path for everyone.

I have known some extraordinary people who have never studied. They just follow their faith in a simple, honest, true way and have a very deep prayer life. As a result, they are guided to truth without philosophic study.

Q Is that the devotional path?

L That is the devotional path.

Q So what you're talking about for yourself is more the mental or mindful path?

L It is a more philosophic path. Perhaps because I am clairvoyant, I need the philosophic path. Clairvoyance can present more traps, more confusion can arise. So I feel safer having the aid of this understanding. There is also the path of action in the world, helping in the world. And I try to do that as well, partly by writing music and partly by writing books.

Q You feel more balanced on the philosophic path?

L Yes, more balanced and more useful to the world and God. But I would never pretend to know what is best ...

Q For each person?

L For each person. That's something we all have to look for very deeply inside and find for ourselves. That's a large part of being on the path, that inward looking - to contact the soul, contact the Divine for guidance. And some people seem to have a very natural instinct for that. I have to look very deeply inside, often.

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