To Sir, With Love
by Christine Ford
Days pass, time flies, and years scurry by in a seeming blur, marked only by dates and anniversaries, births and deaths, rites of passage reflecting both positive and negative events of a lifetime, in an ever unfolding cacophony of experience and memories. At times we feel alive and invigorated and enter into life with the verve and anticipation of agape; other times there is a black, paralyzing numbness and dread accompanying us that defies description or reason. We only know that life must be endured as we trudge from day to day blindly putting one foot in front of the other in an attempt to just get by until we see the light at the end of the tunnel once again. Then there are times as well when the events and situations surrounding us appear for all practical purposes to be in a state of void, still, quiet and middle of the road with no extreme in either direction.
In this way, robot like, we move through our days, months, years, and decades, in an almost trance like state of non being, following useless worn out rituals and patterns, stagnant and lifeless, except for the occasional exhilarating highs and devastating lows, all of which seem to be beyond our control as we march off to our “work” each day sacrificing our freedom, pride and dignity to the system which we somehow erroneously convince ourselves cares about us and supports us. We are so exquisitely programmed to be slaves to our consumer/business/productivity driven society that we have no comprehension of our enslavement and have come to know our non-existence as “life”, yet there is a dissatisfaction, a gnawing feeling that there must be more to this existence, reflected even in song titles such as “Is That All There Is?” “Sounds of Silence”, and “What’s It All About, Alphie?” to name a few.
Wheels within wheels, cycles within cycles, each of us spinning through time in our own unique ignore-ant way, blindly seeking and searching for some quality not quite tangible, beyond definition, that to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon the receptivity of the individual to the prompting and the whispering of the Soul, becomes the driving force of engagement of patterns of behavior which steers the direction of a life’s work and a Soul’s struggle for progress. The most sorrowful part of the equation to me is that most never pause and surrender to the receptivity to allow even the faintest glimmer of guidance from the Soul to be heard. Indeed, to quote Dr. Strickler, that which most believe to be their Soul speaking to them is nothing more than their Ego and Personality having a day with them!
The ups and downs we experience are all part of the joys and sorrows that come with the density of manifestation in this physical plane, and the lessons to be learned, as well as the Karma to be dealt with. This Karma is meted out by the Soul whether one has consciously chosen to follow a Spiritual Path under the guidance of a Spiritual Teacher or not. The inane, frantic “busy-ness” and demands we allow ourselves to believe are necessities generate that which we call our life, usurping the most miniscule glimpse of true freedom that we might perchance stumble upon. We tread this road being too enamored by the sensate world to even take note of the glimmer of a reflection of pure light streaming into our consciousness. We go on and on, endlessly wasting this precious gift we have been granted, squandering our sacred energy and creating a well sealed box within which to conceal ourselves, the known, secure prison of habitual compromises and mind fuck which we come to believe our life is with no Exit door nor time off for good behavior. We plod along like zombies reacting instead of acting, sensing instead of knowing, wishing instead of doing, and most importantly, ignoring instead of acknowledging the call of the Soul to embrace the Light and become the Beauty of that which we already are.
Fourteen years ago I took my first baby steps out of this mainstream miasma that imprisons the mass mind, though at the time I had no inkling of just what a life-altering journey I was embarking upon. On February 22, 1992, the day I met Dr. Strickler at the Aquarian Church for Mind, Body and Spirit in Naples, Florida I began my own personal never-ending journey of discovery, agape and reconnection with the Soul. I must admit, I was “warned” and cautioned numerous times by both Dianne and David that this was NOT sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, but my decision was made.
From the moment I laid eyes on Dr. Strickler my life was inexorably changed. I knew that I had found that which I silently sought and prayed for, that there was no turning back. In that briefest of moments of recognition of David as my Spiritual Mentor I had my initial glimpse of myself as Soul reflected through his eyes, and the Beauty and Light that shone through became a beacon of Salvation and Truth that could not be denied nor dismissed.
Once that initial touch point was made with my Soul, my desire for more became insatiable. There was nothing that could keep me from classes, nothing that could stop me from growing and asking. No influence in my “life”, be it family, friends or prior commitments could take precedence over being in the presence of the Light and Truth of my Soul as I experienced it during the lectures during which Dr. Strickler served as a sort of “step-down” unit. Speaking to my heart as well as my mind, opening doors of understanding and wisdom to me that I had never even known existed, Dr. Strickler patiently began the slow, steady process of assisting me in the recognition of the Truth, the reconnection with my Soul and the beginning of knowing Who and What I truly am. This process continues to accelerate as I come to develop more clarity and awareness of the Miracle of that which I am, was and always will be, a Soul in manifestation.
Though I am entering my 14th year as a student of Dr. Strickler, one of the greatest knowings I have come to hold is that the more I learn, the more I grow, the more I surrender my personal Will to the One Will, an interesting paradox occurs. Just when I have broken into a new level of cognition, just when I think can pause and breathe for a moment on the plateau of the mountain and look down at what has been, I stand poised on the edge of the precipice like the Fool getting ready to once again plunge into the unknown, Key 0 of the Tarot. I am compelled and driven to look out and beyond to that which is still to be brought into my conscious awareness.
It is at this still quiet point of equilibration that I stand awe struck by the scintillating beauty of the enlightenment that I have been blessed thus far to receive into my conscious awareness under the guidance and direction of Dr. Strickler. The more I see beyond the horizon, just out of reach but within sight, the more there is to aspire to and seek out; the higher the mountains rise before me, the more there is to attain. I have been granted a gift that is so rare and unique that to attempt to convey it to you is merely a foolish waste of words.
The heartbreaking reality that I have been coming to terms with over the past 14 years, however, is that there are very few ways that I can truly share this unique, rare Mentor with the world. My fervent desire since our first meeting has been to bring people under his guidance, to open his lectures and classes up to the masses, to somehow be the instrument to bring to him the recognition and accolades of which I feel that his work is so deserving.
In the beginning, I was almost a crazed lunatic in my desire to share the “Word”, which IS what he brings. You notice I say this was MY desire. Yes, I WAS responding to a message from my Soul that I was in the presence of a True Spiritual Teacher, but my translation of the compulsion to “Go tell it on the mountain!” was in error. The frustration that I have endured over the years has been greatly due to the fact that I have been told over and over that the course is running as it is meant to run, that the words of my Spiritual Teacher are not meant for the masses, but rather are brought into being for those with ears to see and eyes to hear. That which is held in Will is progressing as it is meant to progress, but this has been a most difficult, bitter pill for me to swallow, the greatest lesson being that my puny personal Will, however well intentioned, cannot hold a candle to the Will of the One. Easy to state, tough to live.
As Dr. Strickler has said, you can plant many seeds. The seeds can receive equal amounts of water and fertilizer. The rays of the Sun can shine down distributing life giving radiance to every one of those seeds, but only a few will germinate and grow into mature plants bearing flowers and fruit. The Sun does not determine which seeds will thrive and which will wither, it simply shines; life or death is totally dependent upon the seed itself. Similarly, we may all be exposed to the radiance and eminence of a Spiritual Teacher, but only those Willing to hear and see will grow.
Over the years I have come to temper this driving force, finally realizing just over the past year, my 13th year under his guidance, Key 13 of the Tarot, Death, that my desire to save the World, reflected in my desire to take Dr. Strickler “public” is futile. Death, according to our tradition, means transformation, change, locomotion and movement. Indeed, change there has been. I have awakened to the true KNOWING that the only world I can save is my own world. Then, once I am in a state of Light and Beauty, to whatever degree I am able to maintain, through the connections and everyday interactions with individuals, that Light and Love which I am finally beginning to accept and acknowledge as my Soul that flows through ME can overflow and spill into the lives of those I touch. A far cry from world saving, I know, but as I enter my 14th year I can honestly say with the patient aid of Dr. Strickler, I have come close to putting my martyrdom issues to rest. Dr. Strickler told me when I arrived in Phoenix almost four years ago that this journey was all about ME, the REAL me buried under the shadows that I mistook as my True Self. How blatantly narcissistic and conceited, I remember thinking. Finally I am getting an inkling of what he meant.
The asking, seeking and knocking, the intercourse of dialogue and true exchange of ideas, the whittling away at the gnawing feeling of life not being quite right and working it through to resolution have all been part of this journey so far. The tears shed during true spiritual discourse bring to the surface the suppressed pain of years of guilt and shame in honest disclosure to no one but myself. As I discover and have revealed to me the games I have played, the insulation I have built up, in this so-called process of life I participate in a genuine experience of agape. Destroying the false face I have previously presented to the world that is to their liking but is Not the true Soul and Spirit that reside and are hidden so deeply within the confines of the box I have constructed has been a challenge. The breaking down of these barriers and the opening to that which my Soul is shouting and screaming at me has resulted in the disconnection, severing and putting to death of the “Chris” built upon layers of years of experiences and ingrained indoctrination of the physical world. The reassembling and becoming the walking, living, breathing miracle of “Christine”, that which my Soul is beseeching me to be receptive to and walk within each and every moment of manifestation of my daily life is a totally awesome process! For this process of becoming, with all the trials, tears and turmoil, as well as beauty, light and love my heart and gratitude go to Dr. David Strickler; thus the title, for those of you who are old enough to remember the movie, “To Sir, With Love”.
Fourteen years later, I am reaching an understanding of Dr. Strickler’s once confusing, to me anyway, statement that “It is more important to understand the questions than to understand the answers.” To ask, seek and knock. To have the wisdom to shut up, be still and listen for the whispering of your Soul as it speaks through the layers of confusion and chaos surrounding this world. To be granted even more intimate glimpses of the beauty, truth and love that you truly are, as you begin to generate even MORE questions to be understood dialogued and shared in the infinite process of communication with your Soul. This is the genuine wheel within the wheel, cycle within the cycle of Spiritual enlightenment and Soul awareness. This is the Path of Return, and to my beloved Spiritual Teacher and Mentor, Dr. David Strickler, I can only say thank you from the bottom, top and innermost recesses of my Soul. I understand and know the best is yet to come.
Whatever Path you choose to take, may it lead you to direct intercourse with your Soul.
Editor, Spiritual Climate Newsletter