Last Updated: 16 May 2007
MASTER INDEX of articles written, posted online or recommended by Alex Paterson
Below is the account by an American woman named Lydia Padovani Johnson of her spiritual experiences over the past thirty years. The depth and authenticity of Lydia's experiences is extraordinary and Lydia wishes to share her experiences with others via this webpage in an endeavour to assist them in validating their own spiritual experiences. As someone who has experienced something similar to Lydia's experiences of God during my Near Death Experience (NDE) as a child, I completely relate to what Lydia so eloquently describes below and recommend her story to others wishing to understand the nature of reality and rediscover who they really are.
Alex Paterson 2007
I want to begin my story by telling you the truth about myself. I am a lay person (a woman). Not a preacher, a minister or a guru, nor do I come from a long line of holy people. And though, I have come to some understanding about mysticism, I'm just an ordinary kind of person who's primary goal in life is to know, to love, to serve.
At this early point in my writing, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not unfamiliar with the use of mind-altering chemicals. Yet, at the time of my mystical experiences, I was not under the influence of any kind of drugs or mind altering chemicals whatsoever.
Also, I share my experiences in hope that ordinary people, people like me, will come to grasp the truth that there is a higher level of consciousness and that it is possible to experience it. In fact, not only through my personal mystical experiences, but in reading all sorts of mystical traditions, I have come to believe that achieving a higher level of consciousness is the birth right of every human being who desires to know their true identity. Also, I have come to believe that at the deepest level of all traditions, no matter how it is communicated, even in wordless communication, there is one simple truth; God is One.
I also want to express my sincere gratitude to all of the Mystics who have gone before.
Without reading the words of the many mystics, I would have had no frame of reference, nor could I have been able to attach any words to my experiences. How I know and understand the pain of many of the mystics. It's hard to imagine anything more painful then to be brought under suspicion and accused of heresy or whatever is in the mind of the listener, when your heart is full of love and fire, and your mind is filled with deep understanding, compassion, purity, holiness and the true nature and the oneness of God and self. Mostly I have been met with disbelief whenever I have tried sharing my mystical experiences with those who have not had even one. Of course, when I shared my experiences with a Hindu Monk who lives in a Ashram in the Himalayas, he was delighted to hear that people can still have experiences such as my own. This very kind person also told me that he felt that my experiences were coming through from a past life. He believed that in a past life I may have been an enlightened being. I believe that this is possible and that I have come back willingly to share the truth of God's love and humanity's connection to God as one.
I was recently told by a Buddhist person that I should not get stuck in my experiences as "being something special" or being the end of my spiritual growth. For the sake of clarity, I understand that my experiences were just a springboard to a lifelong journey of a faith filled life. In stead of thinking that I have arrived, I am clearly aware that I am just a "sprouting seed" that will take much nurturing to grow into a fully realized child of God. Also, as I open to my, "true nature," I can also help be open to helping others.
Again, the wisdom, which was infused into my heart, soul and consciousness, wisdom that some struggle for a lifetime to know, was simply this: God and man are one and God is pure light and love. "In Him/Her, there is not darkness at all." Some would say that God is transcendent and separate from his creation and in a way this is also true, but while He is transcendent, he is also integrated and connected to every fiber of every living thing, but because this came to me through, "wordless" communication, it is difficult to explain.
To give a very simple example: If one is to take a drop of water out of the sea, it becomes separate from its source. Nevertheless, the drop of water still has all the attributes of the sea, from where it came. But since it has now become separate from its source, it may mistakenly identify itself as an entity unto itself. Yet, when the drop of water is returned to the sea, it again becomes one with its source and knows the source of existence.
And so it is with the divine soul, originally it is one with God and has no consciousness of its own. It is only God conscious, because it is God. When separated, by incarnating into human form, the soul, from birth begins to identify with the ego consciousness, and takes on the false assumption that the ego is all that there is.
Even though the soul is "completely restless" until in finds its home, once again, in God, it can often, for years at a time get lost in the illusion of the material world. Of course, the material world can bring about much suffering, and suffering is actually one of the keys that will lead the soul back to its original source. A simple metaphor to understand where the human being actually gets its true identity is to use our natural surroundings that are always pointing to the relationship between God and man. The moon is a dark lifeless place and has no light of its own, yet on a moon light night, you can find your way up a mountain path by the light of the moon. The moon in reality is a reflection of the Sun. As, humans, this is exactly what we are, a reflection of the God that created us.
In spite of all the soul's wandering, eventually it returns to its original source.
The Bible is full of all sorts of stories, parables and metaphors to help one see and grasp the meaning of the "journey of the soul". One example is when Jesus tells a story of a lost coin, "What woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she [calls] her friends and her neighbors together, saying, [Come party] with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
What became obvious, to me, in this parable is that before the coin was ever lost, it was in the owner's possession. In other words, enlightenment or the truth of our identity is always within our reach, we only have to realize it.
Again, the owner of the coin would not rest until the coin was found. So it is with our Source. God will not rest until all that belongs to Him is returned. Who does not want what rightfully belongs to them? Of course, we know that God will not force himself on anyone, but will certainly allow circumstances to occur in one's life to bring them back to remembrance of who He is, who they are, and how they were originally intended to live as one (divine union). All the mystics speak of, "divine union" in one form or another.
It is true that enlightenment has been achieved by some through much practice of meditation, contemplation and other spiritual practices. The Buddha practiced spirituality (meditation and other disciplines) for twenty-one years prior to becoming enlightened.
And yet, enlightenment is actually Grace, the pure gift of God. For some, as it was with me, the sudden dawning of the truth can happen at any moment. Again, this does not mean you have arrived at living perfectly in the world. In fact, this is where the battle between the ego and true self begins.
Before I share my experiences, there is one other thing I need to make perfectly clear. Mystical experiences can lead one to deep knowledge and enlightenment of a sort, but it takes many years of nurturing the spirit to live and walk in the knowledge of what has been infused into the heart and consciousness. Being conscious of God, and conscious of others moment-by-moment, a breath at a time, and living the life of peace, love and compassion is the fruit of being awakened. To live an authentic life takes a lot of practice of turning away from the ego on a consistent basis and understanding what it means to be "no-thing".
The message that my experience conveyed is that God loves all, and at the core of every religion God has made His purpose known to all of humanity. And again, God resides at the center of each and every living soul and is knocking at the heart of each and every human being. It was written that Jesus said, "I stand and the door and knock". In my experience, Jesus is not knocking from the outside, but from the inside to come out into the world to continue the work started at the beginning of time.
My hope is that one-day the entire world will wake up to their true identity. At that time, we will witness God's Kingdom Come on Earth, as it is in Heaven and at that time, world peace will be realized.
The first of my experiences I had when I was 23 years old. I'm now much older than this. I was living in Southern California doing my "hippie thing." One day I received a call from a friend who had become a born-again Christian. In my formative years, I had been raised as a Christian fundamentalist but really never had a problem discussing all sorts of religion with anyone. Of course, at that time, I was pretty ignorant of the depth of the mystics and had never even heard of spiritual experiences.
When this person arrived at my home (he came with the intent of introducing me to Christ). The moment I laid my eyes on this individual, I saw a beautiful, brilliant, outstanding white light surrounding his head and shoulders. Years later, I learned that I had seen an aura. At that time, I knew nothing of the human aura.
After spending about an hour with my friend, discussing sin (missing the mark) and repentance (living differently after coming into the knowledge of the truth) he invited me say the "sinner's prayer" and I did. At first, I felt nothing. Yet, as the days passed and I pondered and meditated upon Christ and his holiness (wholeness) I began to feel this overwhelming sense of love in my heart -- a love I had never experienced before.
Today I understand this kind of love to be Divine Love. Then, I knew nothing about divine love. The fascinating thing was that the more I meditated upon Christ (neither had I known anything about meditation) and his loving sacrifice, this newly found love began to turn into a warm glow in my heart; John Wesley said, of his experience, "my heart was strangely warmed." The more I meditated (which I did just about night and day) the warmer my heart felt, until finally I felt a literal "fire" in my heart. (one that did not consume, but definitely felt like fire and seemed to work as a purification process) In addition to feeling this fire in my heart, I also felt it in my head. Again, it was not harmful, but certainly got my attention. Today, after reading about this, I have come to believe that without trying, I had awakened the Kundalini energy in my lower spine.
When the "fire" would subside (when I thought about other things) the reality of my world changed entirely. It seemed as if I was experiencing "Heaven on Earth." Everything around me was pulsating with incredible life, love, peace and serenity. All life, in that "moment of clarity" was perfect, immaculate, holy, and whole and seemed to be operating as ONE. Everything seemed as if it were interrelated and connected and it was all good and perfect. Since I had never come close to this reality, it was so awesome, and yet, I wasn't sure if I could survive in such a rich state of awareness on a regular basis. It was too much for my poor little mind to comprehend and I had no guide, except God, who I was just coming to know. Also, in one part of my experience that I have avoided thinking about was a couple of times when I started to fall asleep at night, I felt as if my body was a tomb. At that time, that part of my experience was difficult and a little scary. Now I understand that I was really experiencing the truth, "I am not my body". My body is just a house or a vessel, which houses my spirit (the breath of God) and my soul (the spark of the divine source).
When I spoke to others about the "fire" that I was experiencing in my heart, some thought that I was crazy, misunderstanding my experience, or making it up. Of course, those who I was speaking to, at that time, had no knowledge of the mystical whatsoever nor had ever had any deep spiritual experiences.
I didn't learn until years later that "fire" was quite a common way of experiencing God among Christian, Hindu and Sufi mystics. In fact, I later learned that the philosopher Blaise Pascal also described God as "fire." The Sufi's describe the fire as a cleansing process, which is exactly what I had experienced. I have been told that only Ascended Masters experience the "fire". I don't consider myself a master of anything, but do accept the knowledge of my Hindu Monk friend.
What I have come to believe now, is that God's grace or free gift was preparing my heart for something more to come. Still, because I was unable to understand the discipline it takes to live a spiritual life, it took some time before I came to the understanding that the soul is actually on a journey and all experiences are for the growth of the soul and to eventually lead the soul back to divine union for eternity with God.
After my experiences, I continued to live my life as if nothing had ever happened. Since I could not understand what had happen to me, I just wanted to leave my experience behind. Yet, because my experience was so deep, so profound and so real, it always remained in my heart. I knew it meant that there had to be more to life than just existing, but I didn't know what direction to follow, so I didn't follow anything, and lived an impulsive life.
About four years later (still in my twenties) I had another experience. This experience has never left my heart and mind. Furthermore, after much study and putting the effort into becoming a spiritual director, God's desire is that I learn to share my experience with others in a more comprehensive way. God desires a love relationship with all of his creation. God takes delight in what he has created. He/She wants humanity to be whole, happy, content, fulfilled and full of the knowledge of their purpose and destiny and one with God and with all of creation.
My second experience came to me again when I was again deep in thought. Without trying or formal training of meditation on the breath, etc., I had actually achieved a deep meditative state. Again, I was feeling unfulfilled with life. The longing in my heart (I know now it was the desire for divine connection) was intense. At that time, I had the sense that I had no purpose and that my life was going nowhere. Even though I had experienced God so profoundly, I had lost the connection and had not learned to apply the love that was shown to me in my daily life. What I was experiencing was a, "dark night of the soul."
In the midst of all of my yearning, which had lasted hours, I had what I now refer to as a "shift in consciousness" or a moment of "enlightenment" or, for lack of a better term, a "Cosmic Christ" experience.
In short, this is my experience to the best of my recollection and vocabulary: Again, everything was connected -- God, humanity and the Universe were all one. I had the sense that my heart, or body was the place of the Immaculate Conception. It was as if I had given birth to the Christ Child within my heart. All at once, I was Mary, the birth, the life, the death and resurrection of Christ. (Meister Eckhart, somewhere in one of his writings, said that, "the body is Mary". I completely understand what he is referring to.
I had the sense that all human beings at the deepest level were also meant to be like Christ. In other words, the Christ experience was not just a historical story that took place a long time ago, but a reality that each soul, if open to it, can experience, or must experience in order to understand the, "being one" concept. I regret not having the words to describe this experience in its entirety and I apologize if you are unable to understand the reality of what I'm saying. Only those who have had glimpses of this level of consciousness will understand what I am speaking of. Also, those who like Lau Tsu for example, would probably be much better at conveying this experience in terms that could be more easily understood.
Again, in my experience, I was given a different kind of sight and I saw that all living things came from the exact same source of light, divine love and unmeasurable compassion and that all of it is connected. I also learned that deep within each soul, there is an innate desire and ability to heal the world. Of course, each soul is unique in that it possesses different gifts and aspects of the divine source. In other words, God is gracious and always creative. Humans are also endowed with a lot of creativity. Some may have not tapped into this creative process, but it is there waiting to be discovered.
On several occasions, I have attempted to write about my experiences, but up until more recently, I have been unable to do so. This too will not be my last attempt. As time goes on, I may find the words and ability to get down on paper what is necessary for humankind.
At any rate, in the midst of my experience, and it was far more than I am describing, I was gazing up at the dark starry sky and I heard a voice that seemed to come from somewhere deep within and yet I could hear it audibly. The voice simply said, "You are the Earth Star." When I heard this voice, I had a sense that I was filled with the overwhelming power of God, but at the same time, I had made the agreement to be crucified with Christ. Again, I had the sense that the entire universe was being poured through my body. The image that I get is that which represents, "the Age of Aquarius." I was the vessel, the water was the universe. Simultaneously, I had the sense that I was also one with the universe. As all of this was occurring, I felt as if my body was going to die. Because of my early Christian training, I called out, "Jesus, please save me." At that moment, I felt a gentle breeze and again, from somewhere deep within, came a fragrance that is beyond anything I have ever experienced. It was the most beautiful combination of flowers, incense and perfume one could imagine.
This experience lasted for 12 or more hours. By daylight, I had returned to my normal conscious self.
It has taken me many years to understand that this was, indeed, a mystical experience that brought with it some knowledge of the meaning and purpose of life. It was as if I had walked through a doorway in my mind that led somewhere beyond my insignificant self. This doorway led to a place of divine love, deep compassion and truth that is currently present, but not realized and acknowledged (not by most people, anyway). Also, I believe the part of me that was being crucified signified the fact that each living soul, in some way, must die to the "shadow side," for lack of a better word, or the ego, or "false self" that is actually only an illusion and has no part in eternal life.
I have not entered through that doorway again since my experience. Yet, it has kept me constantly seeking those who have had experiences like my own. I have read of many that have gone before me, but have not had the privilege of meeting any living souls that have had my same experiences.
What I have come to believe as a direct result of my mystical experiences
I honestly believe that if every soul that is present on this planet today could have access to this level of consciousness that I have tried (perhaps not too effectively) to describe (Jesus refereed to it as the "Kingdom within"), this entire planet would be inhabited by people who loved God, themselves and their fellow human beings. If all souls could come to the realization of their innate gifts and potential to heal, and to perform other miracles, this entire planet could be healed and whole. No violence, no wars, no hatred, only love.
With the knowledge that I was able to ascertain in my mystical experiences, all suffering, as we know it, would cease to exist. If we could all see ourselves in the true image that was intended for us from the beginning, we would find ourselves in a continual state of worship and gratitude toward God and one another. The Buddha, I believe, refers to this as Nirvana. Christ refers to this as, "the Kingdom Within."
Because we would all be in such awe and wonder at the realization of God within, competition could cease to exist. Those things that get in our way such as pride, greed, lust, anger, envy, gluttony and sloth would vanish along with every other negative aspect of our shadow selves.
Can you imagine a world absent of the "seven deadly sins" (ways we miss the mark of love)? Just think of all the good people could do, especially those who are financially well off. In a perfected state, there would be no lack. Recognizing that our source was eternal would encourage each soul to give of their particular innate gifts continuously. Fear, which can literally deplete life's vital source, would be non-existent.
The need for material possessions would pale in comparison to the desire to end all suffering in the world. We would not have to be in fear of a nuclear war or war period. Imagine all the creative ways people could come up with to make this planet a place of peace, love, unending joy and compassion. Even our ideas of what is considered beautiful would change. In our true state, living out our true nature, all humans would appear perfectly beautiful, accept themselves completely and be God-conscious, as opposed to self-conscious. Also, the wisdom, knowledge, acceptance and understanding that life is eternal would bring an entirely new perspective to the aging process. Those who are closer to the other side could be viewed with the dignity and respect they have always deserved. Death would become a time to celebrate as opposed to a fearful event.
Also, as children grew in the knowledge and wisdom of their true identities, and understood that everyone had a purpose and contribution to make to the world, they would automatically regard themselves, as well as others, with respect, loyalty and dignity. Elders could be viewed as the Wise Ones, Mentors, Gurus and Masters. Becoming wiser would become something to look forward to and the first white hair that appeared would become a celebration (goodbye Ms. Clairol).
There would be no generation gap and education would become more creative. The entire world could become a classroom for our youth.
Different cultures would become a means of exploration and experience. Instead of looking for differences, we would come to see the similarities and celebrate the beauty of each and every culture.
Religion too, would take on a whole new perspective. Everyone would become willing to worship and serve one God, the God of love, peace, compassion and mercy. We could learn to appreciate the rituals in all religions without judgment. As children of God, the entire world would become our community and we would live in a worshipful condition continuously, by always acknowledging and bowing to God's presence within each and every human being.
My hope is that my experience will lead others to become curious about God and their own true identities. As each and every soul awakens to the true selves and true nature, they, with their own innate and special gifts, could pass on the message to those they were in contact with. Eventually, the message could catch on like a wild fire and the world in its current condition would cease to exist.
Hope this has helped you.
May all of humanity live in eternal love and peace.
Copyright © Lydia Padovani Johnson 1999
MASTER INDEX of articles written, posted online or recommended by Alex Paterson
Lydia resides in Southern California with her husband Erik Jay and her two dogs, Max and Cecily. Lydia has spent almost 40 years studying various mystical and religious philosophies, and earned her certification as a Spiritual Director from Centerpoint/Stillpoint. Lydia's goal is to open up the Adamare Center - from the Latin word meaning "to love deeply and fully" - because she believes that people need a safe place to explore their individual spirituality without dogma or disapproval.
She can be contacted at:
The document, 'Earthstar Experience' is the copyright © of the author, Lydia Parvoni Johnson. All rights reserved by the author. Notwithstanding this, the document may be reproduced and disseminated without the express permission of the author so long as reference to the author is made, no alterations are made to the document and no money is charged for it.
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