Maria threw her coat on the bed and turned the heater on. The house was cold on her return from the meeting.
“That was a disgrace,” she fumed to Amira. Gortaithe looked sympathetic. He would always be a one-eyed supporter. Amira, however, didn’t say anything. “Conceited, arrogant, egotistical, delusional,” said Maria. She had been thrilled with the invitation left in her mailbox a week ago.
You are warmly invited to the first Co-operative Meeting of Eraldus Professional Healers which will be chaired by the esteemed Bliss Kurt.
There were several semi-famous healers and self-help writers living in Maria’s area. Bliss Kurt was one of them. Tall with long, loose, blonde hair and excellent posture; she was an imposing figure. She had an equally good looking partner who Maria later discovered had only been around for the last six months. They looked like a cross between hipsters and movie stars.
Bliss was not exactly what Maria had hoped for but she told herself that everyone is different. Maria happened to be in the bathroom when it was empty except for, fortuitously, Bliss. Great, Maria thought, I will be able to connect with her when no one else is clamouring for her attention. However, Bliss took one look at Maria, acted like no one was there, and started preening in the mirror. After that, she seemed to have made a mental note not to look at Maria, let alone allow her to speak.
It wasn’t exactly a “cooperative meeting of Eraldus healers”. It was more of a presentation of the past achievements and future ambitions of Bliss. Of course, such meetings are full of the words love, peace, and humility. There is an equal abundance of hugging, oming, and namasting with hands prayerfully clasped together. In spite of all the “love”, there seemed to be an uneasy feeling of spiritual one-upmanship. There was lots of name-dropping. One story which particularly annoyed Maria was Bliss’s recollection of socialising with a world renowned spiritual and self-help leader.
“I’m not planning on coming back,” he said to Bliss. He came from an Indian background and the wheel of reincarnation was an inbuilt part of his view of evolution. “I want this life to be my last,” he said. “I think I’ve done enough to warrant it.” Maria thought that anyone who was not coming back would not be talking about it. However, this man had done a lot to help humanity so he was probably entitled to a bit of enlightenment self-promotion.
“I totally agree,” said Bliss all arms and drama. “I’ve done soo much to help the world that there is no way I am coming back.”
You’ve done enough, thought Maria, to promote your own pseudo-guruship to last several lifetimes. I am not sure how much you have done to actually help the world.
However, the worst thing was what Maria witnessed when she decided to quietly leave the meeting through the open kitchen door.
“Excuse me, Bliss,” said a softly spoken woman in her fifties. “I was wondering if I could join the audience for some of the presentation.” She was wiping her hands on a tea towel after preparing food for the evening.
“Oh, sweetheart,” said Bliss patronisingly. “You are coming along so well with your studies but you are not quite ready yet to sit with the others. They are professionals, after all. I will let you know when it is time. Continue with your service to the Divine, help me with the privileged work without complaint, and the Great One will bless you as it has blessed me.” Bliss then dismissed the woman with her hand as she was very busy. The woman didn’t look in the slightest offended.
Maria continued walking through the kitchen. Just outside the door, a man was sitting holding his hand. He had burned himself on the stove. The woman came out to help him. She looked at him with as much love as if he was the most precious being in the world.
She took his hand and said, “Edward, dear, don’t be upset. There is nothing wrong with you.” The love and peace radiated from her and Edward decided to jump up.
“You’re quite right,” he said as if he couldn’t remember what the problem was. “I have things to do.” He happily returned to the kitchen and the woman serenely followed. Now, there’s a healer, thought Maria.
“Healing is simple,” said Amira, “if one is healed. The unhealed healer teaches what he or she lives which is the ego.”
“It’s my ego that is so annoyed with her, isn’t it?” asked Maria. “Bliss is my peer and instead of showing me respect, she acted like I didn’t even exist.”
“What else can get offended but the ego?” said Amira. “God is not a professional. Truth is not a profession. The spiritual path is more of an unlearning than a learning.”
Love First, Love Last
“It was a case of hot pants!” said John. He didn’t want healing. He just wanted to talk, so he and Maria decided to stay in the lounge room. Before he started, he wanted assurance about confidentiality.
“It’s a legal requirement,” said Maria. Satisfied, he explained that he was the CEO of a successful business and he wanted his personal life to stay personal. In fact, he hadn’t shared the issue with anyone, including, his wife. Particularly, his wife.
“As I said, my wife and I married young by today’s standards,” continued John. “We are only in our late forties but we have been married for twenty-five years. Mostly it was too much heat in the pants in our early twenties. Over the years, the passion turned into a respectful partnership and we are still raising our children. I have been very busy with work and kids and, frankly, I never had much time for interpersonal mumbo-jumbo. I couldn’t see the point of it until I met Sally two years ago. I don’t know why, but I adore her. I think about her all the time. She has influenced my life in every possible way. Although I would not like to speak for her, I think she shares, at least, a little of that feeling for me.” John stared out the window. The climbing roses were creeping along the window sill. “I don’t know what to do. I have a responsibility to my wife and children. My marriage is quite…” John searched for the words. What was it exactly? If he knew, he probably wouldn’t be here. “Serviceable,” he said.
Maria laughed, “It serves a purpose.”
“Yes, it does,” said John, “and I don’t want to hurt anyone but I don’t know that I will ever have an opportunity like Sally again. Not to be dramatic but I feel I can’t live without her. She has opened a door for me and I cannot go back to the blind way I seemed to stumble in the darkness before. It all seems somewhat meaningless now.”
“Do you think you could speak with your wife about it?” asked Maria. “Or begin the conversation anyway.”
“That might be the end of the marriage,” said John.
“Maybe,” said Maria. “Maybe not. Are you sleeping with Sally?”
“I know it seems strange,” said John, “to love someone that much and not be intimate with them but no, we are not. I am not willing to take the risk that it would be the beginning of the end. The relationship is too important to me.”
“It’s not strange,” said Maria,” and it means you haven’t had to lie which saves you a lot of guilt. Guilt is a slow killer. Better to learn how to be more open and let life take its course than live with lies. Lies rob us of our trust and we project our untrustworthiness onto everyone around us. Have you ever noticed that the innocent are very trusting? They neither lie nor hold other people’s lies against them. Liars, on the other hand, see sabotage everywhere.” Maria paused. “Do you love your wife?”
“Yes, I do,” John said without hesitation. “Not like I love Sally, but I do. My love for Sally is blissful.” He smiled. “Maybe, blissfully crazy.”
“Well, we do say we fall in love,” replied Maria. “What can be reasonable or sensible about falling in love? It is crazy, high risk. It is, also, blissful because we see the divine in the other and they give the same to us.” Maria stopped to let the divine presence settle into the room. She waited for John to feel the calm, reassuring energy. “In love relationships,” she said, “we become each other’s teachers. Do not be afraid of love or the course it will take. There is no certainty in life. Choose love first and choose love last and it will give you far more than you ever give it.”
John stood at the front door and shook Maria’s hand warmly, “I was despairing,” he said, “that there could be any right answer. I still don’t have the answer but I have a direction to go.” He looked at the wall hanging behind Maria. It read,
Except for love, nothing you see will remain forever.