To be honest, as the years went by, I wondered many times if what I had really experienced that day might have been an acute psychological break. But as time marched on, when nothing of the sort ever happened again, the idea of a psychological break seemed more and more unlikely. Of course, I also wondered, was it possible that someone other than Jesus had visited me that day. After periods of reflection, however, I always returned to the understanding that it was indeed Jesus. For one thing, I grew up in a non-practicing Jewish family, and had no prior knowledge of Jesus. And yet, the moment He appeared, I instantly knew who He was without question. More significantly, however, He had such a profound affect upon me the moment I saw Him, every worry, concern, and fear I had (and there were many) instantly disappeared. In fact, everything about life in general, and my life in particular was so indescribably blissful and perfect in His presence. So perfect, I didn’t have a single question, nor did the idea of asking questions even cross my mind. Then, He was gone from sight, and that incredible bliss I experienced in His presence quickly devolved into the most intense worry, anxiety and fear unlike anything I had ever experienced before. (More on that later). For now, suffice to say, whoever (or whatever) I experienced that day, the message was extremely clear, though it would end up taking more than two decades before I fully understood and embraced it.
Now then, here are the details:
On March 2, 1984, I woke up with an idea for a short story that I immediately sat down and wrote. The story was kind of silly really, about a young man who goes to traffic court to fight two parking tickets issued at the exact same parking meter on different days. In his defense, the young man calls into question the reliability of the parking meter’s internal timing device — a line of questioning that raises enough reasonable doubt, the judge decides to dismiss the young man’s case as well as all others on the docket that day involving expired meters. Though far from perfect, the simple act of writing and completing this story left me feeling elated and euphoric. You see, having recently failed at university a year shy of my undergrad degree, I was at a crossroad. I had no idea where I was headed, and was fearful of what the future might have in store for me. On one hand, I so wished to express myself through a career in the arts. But, on the other, I lacked confidence, was full of insecurities, had not yet recovered from the traumas of childhood and adolescence, and had a terrible habit of fixating on my failures while ignoring or forgetting my many triumphs. Thus, when self-doubt and criticism began to overpower my feelings of elation that morning, I decided to seek out the most creatively successful person I knew to read my story. That person just so happened to be my father.
Of all people, the fact that I looked to my father for validation was an interesting one. My father suffered the tragic loss of his only brother when I was just three years old. He had nothing to do with the circumstances surrounding his brother’s death, however, he felt responsible. And it changed him. According to my mother, prior to my uncle’s death, my father had been a happy, loving, compassionate man, whereas, after the loss of his brother, my father was generous and caring to friends and coworkers, however, behind closed doors, he suffered from migraine headaches, had a short temper, was physically and emotionally abusive, and shunned closeness. Thus, much of the trauma I suffered during childhood I owed to my father. Nevertheless, by the time I was 23, my father was a highly respected, award-winning director of film and television. And when it came to creative pursuits, I valued his opinion.
One hour later, standing in my father’s downtown office, I handed over my story. And that’s when something unexpected happened. As my father sat down to read it, I suddenly felt a pronounced visceral urge to submit to God – the exact same sensation I had experienced a year earlier, the rejection of which set in motion a highly strange chain of events. This time, however, having little desire to tempt fate a second time, I immediately excused myself to my father’s back lounge, shut the door, and got on my knees for the very first time in my life. And that’s when something strange and wonderful happened. Now, before I continue, I should clarify why I chose to submit privately. In all my years, my father never once spoke about God, but was openly critical of my mother’s spiritual practices on more than one occasion. Thus, not wishing to give my father a reason to be critical of me in that moment, I excused myself to the back room, figuring I’d be done well before my father finished reading my story.
And so, with my head bowed to the floor in the back lounge, no sooner had I put myself in that position, I involuntarily began to weep. And I mean, deeply weep, like a dam had suddenly burst, and there was no stopping it. At the same time, I was doubly surprised when words began to issue forth from my mouth – words that had no known connection to my conscious thoughts.
“Why are we so bad? Why are we so bad?”
As I heard myself speak these words, I felt a sense of deep, deep shame, and yet, I had no idea what I had to be ashamed about. Meanwhile, I suddenly felt a sensation of light pressure on the center of my spine, like someone was gently pushing down on me with their hand. I instinctively tried to move, to hopefully relieve the pressure, however, I was unable to move. Now, I knew my father hadn’t entered the room because I had purposely shut the door upon entering, thus, there was no way he could have opened the door without me hearing him. So, what was going on? Given all that I’ve just explained, you might expect that I would have been scared. But I wasn’t in the least. It all happened so fast, perhaps there wasn’t time to be scared. Nevertheless, the high strangeness continued.
Paralyzed, with my forehead pinned to the floor, and an unseen force lightly pushing down on my spine, my head was suddenly grasped by two firm hands that lifted it inches off the floor and gently turned it to the right where I immediately beheld a sight I will never forget. There, on the floor beside me, a robed, bearded man knelt in a position just like me, and gazed into my eyes with such pure intense compassion unlike anything I had ever experienced. In the presence of this man, I immediately knew that everything was okay, just as I also knew this man was Jesus. And, although He didn’t speak a word, his eyes spoke volumes, transmitting everything I needed to know in a matter of seconds before He suddenly turned His head away from mine and bowed it to the floor. Moments later, the hands that were still grasping my head, turned my head back to the floor to the very same position I had started from — the same position I had just seen Jesus assume. And, that’s where I remained, paralyzed and bewildered as I heard the unmistakable sound of the door opening and my father’s voice asking if I was okay. As I recall, I said something unintentionally comical like, “I don’t know. I’m stuck to the floor. Please call mom.”
As I said earlier, my mother was the spiritual one in the family. Therefore, stuck to the floor as I was, it was obvious to me that if anyone was going to know how to help, it was her. And my father didn’t disagree. I recall him asking if I was going to be okay while he went back to the front office to make the call. “I think so,” I shouted. “Please hurry!”
Strangely (as if this experience wasn’t strange enough), the moment my father left the room, I suddenly began to hear unmistakable sounds – sounds that were definitely out of place in the safe and civilized environs of my father’s office. Situated on the second floor of a renovated century home, my father’s office was a stone’s throw from one of Toronto’s busiest and toniest shopping districts – Yorkville – definitely not the kind of neighborhood where one would expect to hear machine gun fire, women shrieking in terror, and wailing sirens. But that’s what I heard, with vivid clarity, while in my mind’s eye, I saw a similarly vivid moving image of devastation in the street – blown out office windows, fire ravaged cars, and snipers scurrying in the shadows. My city was a war zone, and I could see it and hear it just as plainly and clearly as if it was happening right then and there. In that moment, I wondered if I was having a vision of the end of the world, and if so, how long did I have before that day would come. But there was no answer — just a horrifying glimpse of a scene I hoped would never come to pass.
Meanwhile, on the phone with my father, my mother said that she would pray and would also do a “Latihan” for me – a spiritual practice she had adopted back in the late ’60’s when she first joined an international, non-denominational spiritual group called Subud. Well, her actions evidently helped, because a few minutes later, the sounds, visions, and paralysis stopped just as strangely and suddenly as they had started.
Minutes later, however, while my father escorted me back to the front office, a new problem surfaced — something else that I had never experienced before — namely, I was suddenly overcome with the most overwhelmingly intense feelings of paranoia. It was so extreme, in fact, as soon as the large windows in my father’s front office came into view, my legs immediately buckled and I fell to the floor, certain that one of the snipers I had just witnessed was going to shoot me.
My father was soon back on the phone with my mother at which time she advised him to drive me to their house. In my mother’s opinion, I was having a spiritual crisis (the second in a year’s time), and the best place for me to be was home with her. The only problem was, I was too afraid to stand up, let alone leave the building.
After several failed attempts to convince me otherwise, my father devised a winning plan. He would leave me on my own for a few minutes while he fetched his car, and pulled it to the curb, about twenty feet from the front door.He would then come and get me and usher me quickly into the car. A few minutes later, that’s exactly what happened.
As we exited the building, I cowered, convinced I was about to be shot. But, I wasn’t. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help myself from reclining my seat back as far as it would go. And, there I remained, slouched below the car windows for the fifteen minute drive to my parent’s house.
Strangely, I have no memory of returning to my apartment though I obviously went there at some point to collect my clothes and my possessions, and to give my roommate some sort of explanation. What I do know is, after living with a roommate for several years, the day that Jesus appeared, I immediately relocated back to my old bedroom in my parent’s house, and remained living there for nearly a year before I was finally ready to venture out on my own again.
Interestingly, although the intense paranoia subsided soon after I arrived at my parent’s house that fateful day, it was soon replaced by an equally strange mania. In fact, for the next two days, theories and formulas about life and God, the creation of the world, and the demise of the dinosaurs raced through my mind and prevented me from sleeping. In fact, by the time I had been awake for fifty hours straight, I was so flat out exhausted, I swear I could feel my thoughts moving through my head, and they hurt. But, I couldn’t turn them off, and felt panicked by this sudden inability. By this time, I was also feeling scared, and exhausted, and desperate for sleep. Not knowing what else to do, I crawled into bed, and next thing I remember, I woke up remembering a vivid dream in which I had fallen asleep feeling like my head was going to explode only to wake up to find that I had developed a walnut-sized protuberance at the base of my scull. Not sure if that was an actual memory or a dream, I slowly reached behind my head, afraid of what I might find, and was greatly relieved to discover that there was no bump — my head felt completely normal. Regardless, I was convinced that my brain had been altered to prepare me for whatever it was that God had in store for me next. And, with that in mind, I fell back to sleep.
The next morning, after sixteen hours in bed, I arose. The mania was gone. I felt stable, both emotionally and mentally. But, I was concerned about a relapse. And, I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to me and why. Of course, there were no answers.
A few weeks later, at my mother’s recommendation, I joined the same spiritual group that she had long been involved with — Subud — and started my own regular practice of Latihan. A few weeks later, I realized that I finally felt certain that a relapse wasn’t going to happen — and it never did.
Incidentally, I no longer remember what my father had to say about that short story I gave him to read. Either way, I never did write another piece of fiction, nor did I go on to make a living as a writer.
In the years that followed, I got married, had three kids, and began a career in the field of film production. And, even though I often felt that something was terribly wrong in my life, as if there was something I was supposed to be doing on account of that incredible visit from Jesus, I never knew what that something was. Consequently, I carried on with my life as best I could, hid behind my work, and slowly advanced my career until finally, in 1999, I accidentally discovered the wisdom of my Higher Self. And, soon after, a new chapter of my life began to unfold.
For the continuing story of my awakening, please see this link.
(See this link for the previous story.)
For the beautiful truths that Jesus conveyed to me in our five second meeting, please see this link.