You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you; none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul -Swami Vivekananda
I had a lovely time with Marty Lipsky on my IC show this week. Marty was one of the original students of Sydney Banks. He met him back in the mid-seventies when Syd was just beginning to share his enlightenment experience with others. Marty had been a spiritual seeker for some time. He'd studied with a Zen Buddhist Master, and as much as he enjoyed his studies, he still felt that something was missing. While he was hanging out with his Zen friends in Vancouver, a poster caught his attention. It said, 'Meet an Enlightened Man.'
Marty was curious so that Friday night, he found himself in a room full of people eager to meet this enlightened man. He said the first thing that struck him when he walked into the hall was how happy everyone around him was. When he looked up at the front where Syd and his then-wife Barbara sat, Marty remembered thinking how ordinary they looked. But once Syd started to talk and share what he had seen, Marty knew he was indeed in the presence of an enlightened man. His search was over. Marty felt that he was home. He saw that everything he'd been looking for was already within him.
My search to find myself took a lot longer than Marty's. Having grown up in a narcissistic environment, I was a very sad and unhappy child. I felt abandoned, abused, and neglected. As you might imagine, I grew up to be a very sad and unhappy teenager. At the age of sixteen, I finally left home to attend a local Art School, where I finished my A levels. That’s where I met my first love. He was with a wonderful young man, but after a year of dating my insecurities took over. Unable to trust that it would last, I ended the relationship. Repeating the patterns of my childhood, my next relationship was with a Narcissist. After two years of abuse, it ended very badly with me feeling even worse about myself than before the relationship began. With my confidence in tatters and my self-worth in the toilet, I didn’t feel equipped to have healthy relationships or to survive life.
It's incredible how Spirit works. Luckily for me, I came on holiday to California at twenty-one, and I never left. A friend of mine who lived in the Hollywood Hills had given me a free plane ticket to come and visit her. While exploring the delights of West Hollywood, I discovered a metaphysical bookshop called The Bodhi Tree. It was a lovely old cottage, barely visible from the street, hidden by large trees and foliage. Inside was a network of tiny rooms linked together. Each room had book shelves and tables piled high with every conceivable book one could imagine on the subject of spirituality and self-improvement. As I meandered from room to room, I discovered more hidden treasures. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I devoured everything I could get my hands on. Desperate to make sense of my tumultuous childhood, I believed the answers to my pain and suffering could be found in books.
That was the start of my 30-plus year search to heal and fix myself. I studied everything from Buddhism to Hinduism and from Kabbalah to Kundalini Yoga. I perspired in numerous sweat lodges and drank Ayahuasca in the desert. I participated in dozens of workshops from "Healing the Shame that Binds" to "Reclaiming Your Shadow." I even became a certified Shadow Coach. I attended weekly therapy sessions for Codependency and PTSD, and I completed a Masters'
Program in Spiritual Psychology. I must have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over those years, all in an attempt to try and fix myself.
Despite all the work I had done, I still felt something was missing. I was always on the lookout for the next best thing I could do to improve myself. I had a library full of self-improvement books that could rival the self-help section of Barnes and Noble. Like Marty, it was only after I came across the Principles that I knew I was home. The search had ended. There was no more striving for something on the outside to fill me up. I saw that the peace, love, and confidence I had been searching for all those years was already within me.
With love and appreciation, Del💕