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    Virtuoso Kwame Nyame's Avatar
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    Default "my-faith-a-reluctant-churchgoer-gets-the-holy-ghost"

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/0...-ghost/?hpt=C1

    I had my first brush with the “Holy Ghost” when I was 9 years old. I’m still trying to digest what it meant more than 30 years later.

    The day began as a typical Sunday. Aunt Sylvia herded me and my brother into her 1972 baby blue Chevy Impala and drove us to church for a service that would often last five hours.

    Sunday worship at a black Baptist church wasn’t just long. It was scary. Elderly women who “got the Holy Ghost” during worship would thrash so violently in the pews that their wigs flew off. People shouted, wept and fainted.

    This Sunday service started off no differently. But as the frenzy of the worship intensified, an invisible switch seemed to click on. A wave of heat rippled through the congregation as people beside me threw up their arms and shouted.

    Suddenly, something seemed to slip inside of me. A tingling raced up my spine. I stood up to clap, scream - I didn’t know what I was about to do.

    Is this, I wondered, the Holy Ghost that Aunt Sylvia sang about?

    Singing gospel to keep muggers away

    Easter Sunday is supposed to be about resurrection. For me, it’s also about remembering. When I see women herding boys in crisp new suits into the pews during Easter service, I sometimes think about the woman and the church that gave me my first lessons about faith.

    I also think about an eerie encounter that I kept to myself for years because I knew it would sound so bizarre.

    I didn’t join the church. I was drafted. My aunt forced me and my younger brother, Patrick, to go to worship service every Sunday.

    We grew up in Baltimore, in an impoverished neighborhood so dangerous that my aunt would sing gospel hymns aloud as she walked us home from the mall at night. She thought church music warded off muggers.

    My aunt wasn’t just my protector; she was my anchor. My mother was gone. My father, a rough merchant seaman, spent most of his time carousing overseas. I spent much of my childhood in foster homes with my brother.

    Aunt Sylvia gave us a sense of family. She was a short, round woman who wore black wigs and wide, colorful hats with feathers to church. She would watch us on the weekends and buy presents for us when Christmas and our birthdays rolled around.

    She never married; never had children. I told my elementary school teachers that she was my mother.

    She was my biggest fan. She would collect my report cards, take me to museums and shower me with books that she nabbed from her job as a high school secretary.

    I craved her approval even more than her scrumptious coconut cake. Whenever I made her particularly proud, she would give me the same peculiar look. She’d tilt her head to the left, stare at me in silence, and then her dark face would light up with a warm smile.

    She was the only adult I knew wouldn’t abandon me.

    Shunning church

    My aunt’s smile, though, would turn into an icy glare whenever she saw me nodding off in Union Temple Baptist Church.

    I thought my church was full of buffoons. I didn’t like the screaming and shouting, and I couldn’t stand the pulpit theatrics.

    My childhood pastor, Rev. Churn, would sweat and yell during his sermons while taunting the congregation with lines like, “You don’t know what I’m talking about?”

    He was right. I didn’t know what he was talking about; he shouted too much. When I was a kid, I thought that Rev. Churn was literally angry at the congregation because he yelled at them so much.

    Once, during a fiery sermon, I thought about standing up and pleading with the congregation: “Just do what he says, and he won’t shout anymore.”

    Despite my disdain for church, there was one part of service that I liked: “Testimony time.”

    Testimony came at late-night services, as dusk approached and street traffic quieted outside. The services were less heated and more intimate, and during testimony, church members stood up at random to share a struggle and ask for prayer.

    People often revealed the most personal details of their lives. But no one seemed to judge. Instead, people in the pews nodded and smiled, or chanted “weeeeell,” to encourage them.

    Even as a fidgety kid, I was entranced. I can still remember how people visibly gathered strength when testifying, as if invisible arms from the congregation were encircling them.

    Getting the ‘Holy Ghost’

    Still, I wasn’t ready for any personal displays of vulnerability when my Holy Ghost moment came at 9.

    When I felt that tingling race up my spine, I became afraid. I didn’t want to lose control. So when I involuntarily stood up in the pew during the service, I caught myself. Then I quickly left the church and took a walk in the cold night air until I calmed down.

    As time went on, I resisted church even more. After entering high school, I mustered the courage to tell Aunt Sylvia I didn’t want to go anymore.

    She was furious. She prayed aloud to Jesus. She tried to spank me. Then she retreated into silence as she drove me to church one last time with tears in her eyes. I never saw her so sad.

    Soon, though, my time for tears would come.

    In my sophomore year of college, I found my way back to church. A series of remarkable coincidences took place in my life. I made new friends and joined an interracial church full of people my age. And I shared it all with my brother, who quickly followed my example.

    I also gained more respect for the black church. I attended college when there was a national debate about making the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday. The debate prompted me to start reading about King and the civil rights movement.

    The more I learned about the movement, the more I realized how crucial the black church was to its success. It gave the movement its spiritual fuel and many of its most courageous activists.

    But my intellectual awakening didn’t quell my emotional insecurities. I had inoculated myself so much against organized religion as a kid that I began to think it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t think I was good enough.

    One night, it all came to a head. I decided I was going to quit. How, I thought, would I tell people? What would my aunt say? I went to bed in despair.

    Then, something strange happened.

    I bolted awake, tears streaming down my face. I was on my back, right arm over my closed eyes, but I squinted anyway because I felt as if I were looking directly into the sun.

    I felt a presence within that light. I was crying because I had never felt so exposed. This light seemed to bore through me, revealing my most sordid deeds, my inadequacies and my fears. I felt like an insect.

    Despite that feeling of shame, I felt something even more powerful: love. It seemed as though this presence, something as immense as the universe, was telling me that I was accepted.

    What do you do with such an experience? Was it a dream, a breakdown, youthful foolishness? I don’t know. But that moment changed me. I couldn’t quit. I had encountered something else besides my aunt that wouldn’t abandon me.

    One last smile

    As I think about that nighttime experience now, it takes on another meaning as well.

    If my aunt was my childhood anchor, the black church was her source of strength. How could I reject the institution that nurtured her?

    I thought all of the shouting in my childhood church was for show. I didn’t know the history behind the shout: slavery, segregation, people who “got happy” because life was so grim.

    Faith, without emotion, is dead - that’s the lesson I absorbed from the black church, and from my aunt.

    I never saw my aunt “get happy.” But I can’t imagine she would have sacrificed so much for me and my brother if she wasn’t driven by a powerful emotion - love.

    And I would have given up on my faith if I had not been overwhelmed by the emotion I experienced during my night of tears.

    I never shared my nighttime experience with my aunt. It was too embarrassing to share with anyone. Yet she saw me and my brother return to church.

    Three years after I graduated from college, though, I had to say goodbye to her.

    She was 60, and dying from liver failure. I took a week off to visit her in Baltimore, but I didn’t go to the hospital to see her for several days because I kept making excuses. I didn’t want to accept that I was losing her.

    I finally went to the hospital with my brother to see her one sunny afternoon. She was in a hospital bed, her once stout body shrunken, her dark complexion yellowed. She was unconscious.

    I didn’t know what to do. I felt guilty for taking so long to see her. So I started to babble. I don’t know if I told her I loved her, or if I even thanked her. But I do remember this: Though I went there to comfort her, she ended up comforting me, much like she did when I was a boy.

    As I looked down at her, trying not cry, she opened her eyes.

    She was too weak to talk. But she gave me that peculiar look - the tilt of her head to the left and the long stare - and then she smiled.
    Last edited by Pope Bitterz D'Alomo; 24th April 2011 at 08:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Q' lypse's Avatar
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    touching story, Kwame what do you got to say about it?
    When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques and churches become important.
    .........Jiddu Krishnamurti

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    Virtuoso Kwame Nyame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q' lypse View Post
    touching story, Kwame what do you got to say about it?
    l think the guy had a spiritual wake up call at age 9 and as an adult,the experience he had appears to be an experience with the Light of God.Remember St Paul's experience on the road to Damascus where he experience the Light and Sound of God.
    The Light and Sound are twin aspects of the Holy Spirit.The Light shows the way.And Soul rides on the Sound.
    When you experience either the Light,Sound or both,it is God communicating to its creation.
    The guy said the light was light being in the sun.The light takes many forms and intensity.The same with the Sound.My understanding is that these twin aspects of the Holy Spirit can come together and form a matrix.This matrix can take the appearance to a Spiritual Master,Saint or Angel.lt all depends of the experiencer's spiritual unfoldment and leaning.
    lam not saying this is what the guy's experience means or stands for.lm only throwing guesses at it.You could say it is my take on it.
    Tell me Qlypse,what do you make of it?

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    Moderator Q' lypse's Avatar
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    Hmm, nice info. Your description is dead on so far as I know. I think Ive heard of this experience before.

    What I know about catching the holy ghost from a family friend who once had this experience was the feeling the writer described. The tingling, burning sensation. The so called anointing. This is what people feel when they fall and act like they are having an epileptic attack. In the East it is called the chi energy or something like that? Then what?

    Yes, that is my question. On Sundays or during intense prayer sessions (all nights), they catch the 'holy ghost', then what? What happens afterwards? There is no super natural transformation in these people, its back to normal day activity and behavior. And they will go back and experience this energy again! Over and over again.
    When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques and churches become important.
    .........Jiddu Krishnamurti

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    yea the tingling and burning sensation is the flow and waves of chi energy and since the congregation is in itself a mass consciousness, the chi energy is exponential in its vibrancy......

    but i always wondered about the violent epileptic reaction to this ..... i mean i practise and feel the tingling and burning sensation in my heart which normally leads to the overall vibrating and humming of my entire body while i lie quietly and let the energy flow in peace ..... no epileptic movements or anything....

    does it have to do with fear/the ego reaction to the sudden movement of chi or its just a natural reaction to the vibration of chi(holy spirit) in the body
    statistics are what other people have chosen to make real.

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    Virtuoso Kwame Nyame's Avatar
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    Today many Paths and Faith have completely or partly lost the teachings about the Light and Sound 1st taught by their founders and handed down by early disciples.What was once the essential spiritual teaching has now been reduced to dusty signposts.Scriptures have taken the place of Living Masters.ls it any wonder that people today only speak of experiences with the HOLY SPIRIT without 1st hand experience?
    Of all the paths and Faiths on earth today,l can say without doubt that the teachings of ECK(Holy Spirit) is the most viable spiritual path.ECKists experience the Light and Sound of God more than any other group.lf you want to stop talking only about other persons experiences with the light and Sound;lf you want to start having your own experiences with Divine Spirit,l highly recommend ECKANKAR,the ancient science of Soul Travel;the path of Total Awareness;;religion of the Light And Sound of God.
    For those interested in taking the next advance step in their spiritual unfoldment,l suggest they take a closer look at the ECK teachings.
    lf you are happy where you are,by all means,stay there.However,if you are dissatisfied with the path you are on and dying to find 1st hand answers to age old questions like....who you are.....what you are doing here on earth....and where you go from here,take a look at propably the only spiritual path on earth today that teaches the spiritual techniques of experiencing the twin aspect of the Holy Spirit 1st hand.
    For further information,go to www.eckankar.org or pick up one of the hundreds of ECK books in any good bookshop or library.Eckankar is in over 100 countries worldwide.There may be an ECK Spiritual Centre near you.
    Love and Respect
    Kwame Nyame
    Last edited by Kwame Nyame; 26th April 2011 at 08:21 AM.

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    Moderator Q' lypse's Avatar
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    ehi Kwame, you are recruiting already loool
    When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques and churches become important.
    .........Jiddu Krishnamurti

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    Virtuoso Kwame Nyame's Avatar
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    The Light and Sound of God
    The Light and Sound of God together are the Voice of God. In scriptures we know It as the Word or Logos. In other words, it's God speaking from beyond creation to Its creation.

    Sri Harold Klemp,
    The Slow Burning Love of God



    Light and Sound as the Holy Spirit
    The Light and Sound are the twin aspects of the Holy Spirit, the divine life current that flows from God. This current, known as the ECK, sustains all life.

    Light and Sound in Spiritual Tradition
    Light and Sound have long been a part of religious rituals throughout the world. Chants and hymns are among the most well-known examples of sound in the Christian tradition. The singing of cantors plays an important role in Judaism. Om, sung in some Eastern religions, is often used in meditation.

    Likewise, the Light of God is symbolically represented in most religions. Stained glass, precious stones, and skylights are common in religious structures. Native American celebrations, as well as those of certain other religions, use fire and drums, as well as chanting, all examples of light and sound. Each ceremony represents the effort of people to speak to God in their own way.

    The Light of God has appeared to many saints and mystics. Saul of Tarsus had a dramatic encounter with the Light of God on the road to Damascus. Moses saw It in the burning bush. Throughout history light has been depicted around images of holy people and in illustrations of angels. Today, many refer to this light in popular books about near-death experiences.


    Experiencing the Light and Sound of God
    Eckankar teaches how to recognize the Light of God. Sometimes It comes as an inner scene or vision. It can be a flash of blue or white light. It appears in many ways.

    The Sound of God was the rushing wind that visited the disciples during Pentecost. Some hear It inwardly. It can be heard as the sound of rushing water; the single note of a flute; the music of violins, woodwinds, or bagpipes; or even the buzzing of bees.

    Of all religions on earth today, Eckankar offers the most direct teachings on the Light and Sound of God.

    For people who experience these twin pillars of God, often through practicing the Spiritual Exercises of ECK, life becomes fresh and new again. As we unfold spiritually, we learn to express the love of God through service to others.

    Taking another step
    For those who are ready for a new spiritual step, Eckankar offers a membership program designed to allow students to unfold spiritually at their own pace.

    Source: www.eckankar.org

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