A Journey Through the Darkness: My Easter Story

For most of my adult life, from the age of 13 or so, I have sought to soothe the hole of my emptiness through spiritual practices. While you would think I was on an authentic search for God, in truth, I was just looking for a place of belonging among people that would take away the fear and anger. I thought if I chanted the same mantras, posed in the right posture, rattled the same feathers, recited the same prayers, and rested in the same stillness…if I precisely practiced the prescribed rites…I would finally find a piece, or maybe a peace, of home.

As you can guess, I missed the mark entirely. While I could sweat with the Navajo, swing with the sufis, bliss out with the bhakits, and breathe with the buddhists, my spirituality was a superficial cloak of the ego to which I was blind. Those decades of workshops and rituals, simply my red herring.

Then came my love…the brush with belonging to another……the man I had manifested…the home I had craved…and the belief in my own power.

Followed quickly by the terrible fall, the tower of babble, the confusion, the mistrust, the pain, and the loss. A spiral of excruciating descent. A darkness so overpowering my soul felt fractured, as if such a thing is possible. Death may have been preferable to that pain. And while I reached for the light of my practices, none of those flimsy threads, those lines from other people’s understanding, could tether me through the storm.

Richard Rohr writes “God finds you blow by blow” and I was a bloody mess.

Through the long and fierce battle, I was striped of all the ego masks of spiritual prescriptions. I was left alone, dripping with sweat, naked and afraid in the wilderness. Only one choice was left to me - my stubborness or my surrender. With the willingness of a rock and a hard place, I fell to my knees, defeated. Not one bootstrap left to pull on.

And in this annihilated emptiness, exhausted by the fight and the fear, I got my first real glimpse. The one where Krishna shows his true face, but Arjuna has to look away due to it’s sheer force. The one where the bush burns brightly. The light illuminates that way.

All that I am is an illusion. My existence is a fractal…a wavelength of a color in the prisim of light. And that light? That light is all that exists. For me to find a home, to fill that terrible emptiness, I have but one task - to love this creation - the light and dark - with all my body, mind and soul. To fully give myself to the mystery, to the thing I cannot possibly understand and do not know to where it leads. To love my brother - the wind and ways and wild things - as myself. This thing I must love is only partially held by the word God, only pointed at by the vastness of the sky. It is understood by every prophet and mystic but confused by every religion and spirituality. It is always lost in the translation. As this will be too.

So I must build my own relationship to it. I can no longer follow a prescribed rite or learned cosmology. It must arise from an inner whisper only I can hear, not from the commandments and commitments of cultures that have not steeped my bones. I must unwinding the still small voice from the dictations of the teachers, gurus, and shamans of my past. I must see the moon, and stop looking at the fingers that point to it.

When I listen , I learn…and I see God in the flowers and the feet…I see this moment as holy not because I followed the monk and finally got it right, but rather because I finally let go of his teachings, throwing them out, like feathers in the wind.

Through my death I was resurrected. And through those brutal punches I was empty out — finally humbled enough to kneel and kiss the ground. To find the mystery, and my place in it.

jackie dobrinska