I was reading EnlightenNext magazine (used to be What Is Enlightenment?). In it there was a description of an experience of God’s Love a woman had under totally normal circumstances—she wasn’t meditating or praying. Here is the account:
“Suddenly she was sucked away from her body and became afraid that she wouldn’t be able to get back in. She thought her soul was going to die. She started trembling.” She was with her partner and he then began stroking her and saying “Calm down, you’re safe here, you’re not dying; just go into the experience.” So that’s what she did. Then, “She saw herself walk through a doorway and then found herself surrounded by the presence of God. She had a feeling of being totally loved, being completely precious to God, as was everyone. All the things she had regretted in her life made absolutely no difference in this flood of unconditional love. This was totally contrary to her beliefs—she had thought that if she ever met God, she would learn how she didn’t measure up.”
I read and reread this account and thought about it. As I did, I realized that the part that captivated me the most was the line, “All the things she regretted in her life made absolutely no difference.” Can you imagine that? After reading this, I got in touch with the fact that every single second I have this background sense of “I’m doing something wrong or at least not right enough.” That weight on me is so constant that I barely even notice it’s there, just like I’m so used to gravity that I barely notice the weight it places on me every second.
Imagine that that weight was suddenly gone, that the gravity of guilt was suddenly turned off. Imagine that you knew that all the big and little things you did wrong “made absolutely no difference” in the flood of God’s unconditional Love. Imagine how you would feel toward others if you believed that all the things they did wrong “made absolutely no difference” in that same flood of unconditional love. What a weight would be lifted! How free we would feel! So this weekend I was focusing on this idea, telling myself that this or that or the other thing that I or someone else did “makes absolutely no difference.” It was very freeing, especially imagining the slate of certain people wiped clean.
As I practiced this, I realized that this fear of meeting God and possibly facing the condemnation “due” us is a massive issue for us. A friend of mine, Barbara Whitfield, had a profound near-death experience many years ago in which she experienced the same thing as the other woman. Talking about her life review, she said:
“Even though I had been an atheist for years, I felt God’s love. This love was holding me. It felt incredible. There are no words in the English language, or maybe in this reality, to explain the kind of love God emanates. God was totally accepting of everything we God and I reviewed in my life….
“No matter how I judged myself in each interaction, being held by God was the bigger interaction. God interjected love into everything, every feeling, every bit of information about absolutely everything that went on, so that everything was all right….
“I did not see an old man with a white beard who sits in judgment of us. I only felt limitless divine love.”
Another friend of mine, a Course teacher here in Sedona named George McOwen, just passed away a few weeks ago. He was a former Catholic who had found profound solace in the Course’s message that God is unconditionally loving. He found such solace in it that he spent eight years writing a book about the idea. For him to spend eight years writing about one idea suggests just how much that idea must have meant to him. Yet as he neared his own death from cancer, he confessed to battling with thoughts of fear of what would happen when he actually died and had to face God. He had done a lot of things, he told me, that he regretted. I did send him Barbara’s life review and it really touched him. I went to his memorial on the 12th and his sister-in-law got up and shared how in his final two days he kept joyfully reaching upwards with both arms, over and over. You could tell it really reached her. It gave her hope. I can’t help but suspect that he, just like Barbara and the other woman, finally found out for sure that all the things he regretted made absolutely no difference in that flood of unconditional love.