by Celia Hales
Published in Miracles magazine, July – August 2014 (publisher Jon Mundy; editor Fran Cosentino).
I have had two glimpses of Awakening, both years ago. I was 23 and, then, 34 – 35. I did not sustain either glimpse, but I remember what these glimpses felt like, and they are warm memories for me which encourage me still.
When I was 23, I spent the summer in Italy as an instructor in a study abroad program for the college where I taught freshman composition. I eased into a sense of total freedom from worry, a sense that enveloped me as I started the trip. I had no apprehension whatever about traveling to New York’s Kennedy International Airport and finding my group of fellow travelers amid that hubbub. Yet at that time I had flown rarely, and also I had previously been a worrier, being greatly apprehensive about my graduate work and even my undergraduate classes.
I remember the freedom from constraints that I felt on arriving at Kennedy. I remember walking across the airport floor, heading toward friends with whom I would be traveling. My glimpse had started without any pain, and, indeed, no pain intruded as my glimpse unfolded over the summer. A Course in Miracles says that there is no need to learn though pain. (T-21.I.3:1) And I didn’t, not now, not all summer long.
Once we got to Italy and ultimately to the boys’ school where we would be lodged, I had spent 24 hours without sleep. Normally this would be a difficult feat for me, for I needed my sleep in those days. It did not faze me.
We got settled soon enough. I took my first trip into Florence on the city bus. I walked the streets by myself, unafraid, though young men gazed at me, a common occurrence in Italy. Since they only looked casually, I had no reason to be anything but appreciative of their interest.
Soon I met Emilio. He was a customer in a camera shop, a camera shop where I had gone to try to get my broken camera repaired. I did not yet speak much Italian, and my college Spanish was not enough. I turned to this stranger, and asked, “Do you speak English?” He shook his head, “No.” And then he followed me out the door, where he asked me, in French, for a date. I didn’t turn him down, but I did suggest that he bring friends with him for a group date with a handful of women students. He agreed, and he and his friends showed up that night. All went well.
My glimpse of Awakening was helped by Emilio, helped greatly. A Course in Miracles says that we need to judge not, and we will awaken. (T-29.IX.2:5) I did not judge Emilio. Once we were out driving the countryside when the car stalled. He edged over to the side of the road, a deserted road, and opened the hood. He became increasingly frustrated when large drops of rain began to fall. I watched all this with amusement, not worried at all, absolutely not. He beat on the engine with a wrench, and, for whatever reason, the car started up again. But I had known that we would be fine.
Fast forward to age 34. I had just discovered A Course in Miracles and I was reading its pages as fast as I could, amazed at what I found. In the middle of my reading, I took a trip to Washington, DC, to audit a course at Catholic University. Once I got to DC, I quickly became lost in terrible traffic. But did it faze me? Not a bit. I stopped several times to ask directions, perfectly confident that I would get to the university sooner rather than later. And I did. A Course in Miracles says that when we awaken, we will realize that we need do nothing. (T-18.VII.5:7) The car seemed to be driving itself, though I was doing my part almost unawares. My glimpses of Awakening had started once again.
Back home form the class, I felt led to move to Texas, which I did—without the promise of a job, though I did have some savings in hand. Once there, I found an apartment, applied for one position with a public library, and waited—patiently. Within three weeks, I had started what would be a six-month stint of employment. I was gainfully employed, but with a mind with its head in the clouds. Many synchronicities happened, many things that now I would call miracles. A Course in Miracles says that when miracles do not happen, something has gone wrong (T-1.I.6). Something had gone very right. I was living in an altered state of consciousness, and I was living without any worries or fears—just as in Italy over a decade earlier. But after six months, the experience began to fade. My vision seemed less sure. Yes, I had begun to judge again—a prohibition of A Course in Miracles.
All these years since, I have remembered those two times of no worry, no fretting, a time in which Providence seemed to move to protect me. If I had not doubted that this state of events would continue, would I have sustained Awakening? I don’t know. But the glimpses do help me to see what awaits on the horizon. I may never reach Awakening, sustained, in my lifetime, but I have seen what joy there is for the individuals who do awaken.
And I have hope.