The Quest for the Divine Glance

This is a guest blog for Barbara Franken which should actually be over on “The Skyclad Writer.”  Wrong link!  I’ll post it here and there, too!

The Quest for the Divine Glance

Rumi wrote of it. Christ Yahshua (Jesus) certainly experienced and shared it, when he spoke of “letting your eye be single,” and “full of light.” The Hindus and Sikhs call it Darshan.

And yet, with millions of Christians in this country, it seems virtually unheard of. Even feared.

This is the story of my first experience with the most powerful encounter with God — looking into God’s eyes.

I experienced it for the first time at the Healing Center in Columbia, SC, sometime in late 2001 or early 2002, if I recall. The group focused on “A Course in Miracles” and they had a leader from “The Academy” as it was referred to.

I came in a little late and the group had already started. The leader, Peter, was standing with his arms up in the middle of the room. I think someone told me later that what he was doing was called, “creating the space,” but I can’t be sure. Peter was a tall, thin man with a fascinating accent (Australian, maybe?) and medium brown close-cropped hair. He looked at me with this loving smile of joy on his face as I came into the room. I felt instantly connected to him even though I had never met him before and then I felt a force come from him that touched me all around my head and shoulders.

I didn’t recognize what it was at the time and Peter himself did not seem to know what he had done. When I told him after the meeting what had happened, he said, “That wasn’t me, that was you!” Actually, I think it was both of us. I was ready to receive it and he was ready to give it.

This happened shortly after I had a spiritual awakening in which I became aware of the presence of God in the here and now. For three months I walked around in a state of bliss. As Neale Donald Walsch says (or God says, through him) “Heaven is nowhere. Now. Here.”

It was probably a year or two later before I met a man who knew what this experience was and how to share it with intent. He was a Sufi who made chain mail armor and jewelry to sell at renaissance fairs. I met him, believe it or not, on an online dating site. His spiritual name was Hanuman but his birth name was Manny.

Manny was not much taller than I am, around 5′ 5″ or 5′ 6″, thin, with long dark hair and deep brown eyes. His physical presence hid an incredibly beautiful spirit. He was Jewish but had become a follower of Sufism, the esoteric, mystical sect of Islam. He once told me that if he were on a plane hijacked by Muslim extremists, he would be one of the first they would want to kill but that he could keep the plane safe by going into a prayer chant, “La illaha illa ‘la,” There is no God but God. Muslims are forbidden to kill someone while they are connected to God, so if they were truly Muslim, they would be unable to blow up or crash the plane as long as he was praying.

When we went out on a date, he told me that there was a time when for an initiate to enter the order, he had to be able to demonstrate mastery of the Fire breath. The initiate was taken out into the snow and told to sit under six wet blankets. In order to be accepted INTO the order, he had to use the Fire breath to dry all the blankets and melt the snow for six feet around him. Imagine that.

So, over dinner in a noisy restaurant, we were talking about our favorite subject, God, whom the Sufis call “the Beloved.” I think I must have been expressing my joy in His presence and my love for Him. (Although I refer to God as He and I experience Him as masculine, I feel that Spirit is both masculine and feminine, and neither. God is Spirit. I know and respect many who experience God as She.)

At one point Manny went silent. He dropped his gaze for a second and then looked up at me and gave me the most loving, joyful smile I had ever seen. When I looked into his eyes it was suddenly like looking into the eyes of eternity, into an infinite depth of stars. That force I had felt before, through Peter, touched me with undeniable power. I felt this immense Love and suddenly it was all joy, all of it, existence itself, and I had to laugh. I knew without a doubt, this time, that I was looking into the eyes of God, the Beloved.

This may upset some people but I felt in that instant like life was a huge cosmic joke we are all enjoying. I remembered what Neale Donald Walsch taught me and I felt it when I looked into the Beloved’s eyes. I know this is hard for people who have experienced a lot of pain in their lives to hear, but we are all doing this to ourselves! God is not outside of us, judging our every move. He is INSIDE us, living with us through everything that we call into our path. So it is our choice whether to experience joy or pain. I prefer to give Him my joy.

I remember saying in that instant, “I felt that!” Manny said, with that same joyful smile, “I know.”

Soon after our date in Hilton Head where I lived, I went down to Florida to visit Manny. This is where I found out that the Divine Glance can also be dark.

Once, Manny looked at me and I saw something hungry, predatory, and arrogant. I can’t describe it any other way except “demonic.” I felt an instant of terror and I told him, “I just saw something… else…” He said, “Something more human?” I said yes, because I couldn’t bear to tell him what I really saw.

I don’t know what was different in that moment. Perhaps he was thinking of me with lust and that was why it shifted. Perhaps it was some unnamed fear in me, of him, that I was projecting. I don’t know, but that instant still haunts me. I would like to believe that aspect of the Divine is a mask, an illusion.

Manny told me that he did share the Divine Glance in an unusual way once. He had a female friend who was being stalked by a man who claimed to be a Satanist. When this Satanist was bothering her at a party, she came to Manny for help. Manny looked at him with the Divine Glance and the man got a look of terror on his face. He left immediately and never bothered her again.

If the Divine Glance is a mirror, I can imagine what he saw. I would bet he dropped Satanism.

I was able to share the Divine Glance after Manny shared it with me but I have also experienced someone receiving it as darkness from me when I did not intend it that way. I thought my intent was pure but I honestly can’t say now. I had just done a healing session on a woman which had gone extremely well, miraculously clearing almost all of her pain, but before the session she told me she was feeling a lot of fear in her life. Perhaps it was her fear of God that called it darkness. Or perhaps it was my ego that twisted it. Maybe I was “showing off” just a little instead of sharing.

I do not believe in coincidence, so what does it mean that her name was also Sarah? For me, it calls up the scene from one of the Star Wars movies, when Luke Starwalker goes into the dark cave and fights himself.

For a long time, I stopped trying to share the Divine Glance after that. I did go back to sharing it without that experience of darkness eventually. I think it is time to share it again, this way. I was afraid for a while that talking about it would create resistance from the ego but I believe ultimately in Divine Order. This article will come to only those who are ready to read it. I don’t expect it to get a huge following but I would be thrilled if it did! Perhaps we are all ready to awaken.

So, keep that ego in check, and keep your eyes open for the loving Glance of God. I will be looking for you in Heaven, Beloved… Here and now…

And the quest is complete when we realize our journey is not TO God, but WITH God.  With the Beloved.