On my path there were various ways in which I was “purified” of guilt, often quite consciously. But I had two noteworthy episodes that I did not recognize as purification when I went through them.
The first I have written about a few times before. I began A Course in Miracles, which was the start of my spiritual path as well, in 1984. It was my life from the moment I picked it up. I was in a study group for a very brief period at the very beginning, but after that it was just me and the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in my mind). Despite early experiences of direct Revelation, a Holy Relationship, and higher miracles I remained largely intellectual in my approach to my spirituality.
In the late 90s I found my study and practice tapering off until one day I realized ACIM had been sitting on my end table gathering dust for quite a while. I simply had no motivation to read it. I felt no rancor toward it. I was not frustrated or angry. I was simply not interested anymore. As I put the books up on a shelf I felt baffled. ACIM—my spirituality—had been my life. What happened? I could not explain it, but I also could not force an interest I had no longer.
For a couple of years I had no interest in spirituality at all and even forgot the principles taught in ACIM. At this time I had a house cleaning business, which I enjoyed in many ways but did not find fulfilling. Then one day I thought that I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life and I put this “out to the universe”. And a week or so later I read about life-coaching and I knew that was what I was looking for. I entered into life-coach training and in the process I was to build a practice. It was suggested that for marketing I look for my natural communities. I was not a social person and I had never been a joiner, so I came up with only two. The LGBT community was obvious. Then I thought of ACIM. I could join a group to market myself. That’s all I was thinking: Marketing.
I got the books off the shelf and looked them over and lo and behold my life did a 180 and I was back into my spirituality and I knew I would never leave it. Moreover, I found I could understand the message as a whole where before I only understood this here and that there, but had never been able to put it all together.
It was many, many years before I understood that that period away from all spirituality was purification. I had read ACIM initially through a lens of guilt and I was locked into that mindset. I needed to step away and forget about it to come back with a mind open to reading it a new way.
My other experience of purification seemed more personal at the time. I had always loved romances in books and movies and had, in fact, written (but didn’t publish) three romance novels in my twenties and early thirties. But sometime in my forties I lost all interest in romance. In fact, I could think of nothing more ridiculous or yawn-worthy than romantic love, in fiction and in real life. All I could see them as were special relationships, which had become meaningless to me. The poor fools. Couldn’t they see they were deceiving themselves and making idols? I felt relieved to drop this interest. What a distraction such things had been.
Then when I was around fifty I quietly noticed I no longer found romances tedious. In fact, I was enjoying them again and in a new, refreshing way. I didn’t see them as special relationships. They were just Love, period. I saw that romance is just one way Love is expressed in life and culture. That’s all. It was no longer special.
This time I understood I had gone through purification. For me, the focus of special love had been romantic relationships and as special love lost value for me, so did romances. But romantic love is not inherently special love. I had to disentangle form and content. The vessel of romance had to be emptied so that a new content—Love Itself—could be poured into it.
I share these episodes of purification on my path as examples of why you can trust whatever is unfolding on your path. You may sometimes feel you have gone off, or things are falling away, but whatever is unfolding for you is part of the path. We mostly understand why we go through what we go through in hindsight.