THE NEW AGE MISSIONARY CHURCH OF IRISH-CATHOLIC TRIBAL HOLISTIC MEDICINE
The Dunn Family in the early 1970’s (author at far right)
I will not pretend to be more than I am: a flawed and irrepressible seeker. But neither will I pretend in false humility not to have been blessed with the company and guidance of great souls. Though I was born and raised a Catholic, and later accepted a great master of India as my guru, I only realized later in life that I had never really left the path into which I was born. It was a different kind of church, and not one easily labeled. It wore one kind of face in public (at Mass, and at St. Edmund’s Grammar School), and a different one at home. If I had to label it now, I would call it The Missionary New Age Church of Irish-Catholic Tribal Holistic Medicine.
The tribal aspect were ten incessantly warring siblings, who yet regarded themselves as a race apart; the Catholic reality was standard catechism, sacraments, stern nuns, and devotion to sweet Mary; the Irish element was my mother’s volcanic Celtic temper - daily eruptions that became a sort of semi-sacred family ritual; the New Age strain was my father’s hatha yoga practice and my mother’s insistence that we all be schooled in methods of clairvoyance (leading to my vain attempts to meet my brother Mark at midnight in the kitchen – but only in our astral bodies) – and the presence throughout our hulking Victorian twelve-bedroom home of books on yoga, reincarnation, and the work of Edgar Cayce; while the missionary holistic medical aspect was the passion of our parents’ lives – a dedication to fulfilling their self-appointed role as the alternative healing court-of-last-resort for thousands of children with learning disabilities, brain injuries, and bio-chemical imbalances who would not otherwise have been helped - with a ready laboratory of their ten offspring on whom to lovingly experiment.
The Dunn Family home at 333 N. Euclid in Oak Park, Illinois
Now, rather than identifying with any church (though, in fact, I am a loyal member of a spiritual fellowship) I think of myself as just a lover who yearns to personally love (and be personally loved by) Divine Reality itself. But I was blessed with an environment which primed me to seek that love, schooled me in devotion to the Divine Feminine, taught me there were things in heaven and earth undreamed of by Sister Consolata Marie, and lifted me out of a parochial view of the destiny of souls.
But still as a young man I felt thwarted and unfulfilled, having learned enough to know that there had to be a method, had to be a teacher, but wary of the paths I had seen, the teachers I had read, and unwilling to surrender my questioning mind to the siren call of easy answers and the refuge of charismatic fundamentalism.
I had learned to demonstrate clairvoyant function (though I never did master the trick of meeting my little brother in the kitchen in our astral forms). I had dabbled in trance-channeling, had nearly been killed in a fire by a malevolent entity (more on that later), and had experienced fleeting and terrifying glimpses of past lives. My ego had been inflated and punctured three or four times, and I was working on the humility thing.
I had meandered through the bookstores and libraries of Chicago and New York, had read the Bhagavad Gita, and The Cloud of Unknowing, the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and the great mystical commentaries of Aldous Huxley, had developed a one-sided conversation with my Maker, and knew that to love as deeply as I yearned to love I needed a method, must somehow find the discipline to follow it, and would surely need a teacher to show me the way.
I dreamed one night of a Light at the head of the table at the Last Supper. I floated towards this beautiful light, arms outstretched in a transportment of yearning.
Let me go back a little. Before I met my Master, there was that matter of the broken heart, the treacherous limb, and the wrong woman.
Chapter Six – The Love We Seek
It is the desire for union with irresistible beauty, the joy of silent companionship, the sublime assurance that you are loved beyond reason and without reason, the fore-knowledge of forgiveness for any and all trespass, a perfect trust in your lover’s faith, a joy in each other’s joy that thrills your soul, an ease of intimacy in all phases of life, a constant counselor, friend, and lover who never deserts you – even in death.
And yes, a Lover who may even one day make Herself known by touch, make Himself known by voice.
This is a love that all lovers seek, that all lovers yearn to offer, and that few of us ever experience. Being human, we cannot expect such love of those we love. We cannot promise to give such love to those we love.
But our hearts wouldn’t yearn for it if it didn’t exist. The Divine has planted the yearning in our souls, and the roots go to bedrock.
Only a little searching will reveal to you that there are those who have found the Lover. Only a little receptivity will draw to you the poems, the ecstatic writings, and (if your yearning is very strong) the living testimony of one who lives in the daily Reality of this love that seems so impossible.
And the true lovers of the Lover will warn you – this path is not easy. One lover I knew of said this upon finding the Lover:
"The sublime splendor and joy of this discovery were so vast that…centuries, millenniums, countless eons of suffering were as nothing, as less than nothing, if by such means this bliss could be obtained."
-- Tara Mata ("Forerunner of the New Race," Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles)
I believe you are closer to finding the Lover than millenniums! If you hadn’t already endured countless eons of suffering, your desire for the Lover would not be awake, and you would not be reading this page.
However, the lovers of the Lover will also warn you of this: those who would walk this path will have enemies. That will need a chapter of its own.
For some, the very concept may offend: to be in love with God? To take the romanticism of love between man and woman, the draw of the sexes, the power of the erotic, and to apply this language, this imagery, this passion, to that God whom our Western heritage has for centuries seen only as the Father? To imagine a passionate lover’s relationship, a direct, intimate, profoundly sweet and tender exchange, unmediated by any church or teacher or priest, that is yours and yours alone – to take your Lover’s hand and hold it to your heart, to kiss the divine Hand in the night, and whisper as to your dearest love in the midst of your pain or your delight<some will say that this is sacrilege.
And if you are a man, to think of God as "Her" may even prompt you to hastily put this book down.
Or perhaps not. Perhaps the possibility that an intimate relationship to the Divine, direct and pure, is possible – perhaps this might lead you to linger here a little longer.
To those who may long for such intimacy, but feel qualms and a certain sheepishness, who yearn for and yet draw back from the sheer unabashed romanticism of it all, who may listen for the small still voice of intuition, and hear instead the small shrill voice of cynicism <to those seekers, I would say this: look in the mirror.
Look into your own eyes and be present to the wonder of your soul looking back at you. Now close your eyes and imagine for a moment the face of your dearest friend, or of a great man or woman you love and admire, or the face of your child, or your lover, or the face of your beloved father or mother (if you were blessed to love them as I love mine), and imagine the most irresistibly gorgeous music washing over you as you gaze upon these beloved faces.
Then open your eyes and let yourself remember this: those loving and deeply loved faces, that soul-stirring beauty, all those images, music, and memories that move your heart most deeply: they all sprang into this world in the moment when a man and woman came together in love to create a new human being. In our human lives, there is nothing more sacred than that union.
To take that sacred moment, the experience of that love and to turn it toward God is the most natural motion the soul can conceive. For that union is but a paler reflection of the higher union of the soul with Spirit itself. And all one’s life – whether we know it or not – is but the story of Spirit’s loving pursuit of the soul, in the hope that someday we will turn and look back over our shoulder to behold the face of the One who has been yearning for our love.
It is my experience that if you follow the lover’s path with heart, if you seek out the method of inner communion that works for you and the guide who is meant for you, if you do not let your flaws and stumbles deter you (even grave flaws, even disastrous stumbles), if you find that Image of the Divine that stirs your heart, if you whisper to that Lover ceaselessly and go within each day to commune with your Beloved in the silence, and carry that joy on into the battles of your day, then this sweetest of lovers will touch you, will guide you, will become unmistakably Real to you, will become Reality Itself to you.
And all you need say to your inner cynic – and to those who might lightly mock the sight of this book in your hands – is this:
"I believe in Love. What do you believe in?"
(Stay tuned for more chapters - or purchase the entire book, "Romancing The Divine" at this link.)