White Eagle urges us to always be prepared in our hearts for the call to service, for we never know when we will be needed to help another. Currently, it is one of my most important prayers to ask that I be used to help others. But it wasn’t always my prayer.
In 1977, Joyce and I spent the summer close to Mt. Shasta with one-year-old daughter Rami. At the time, we were enamored with mystical teachings and paranormal phenomena. Our plan was to take turns each day, one of us seeking enlightenment on the slopes of the fabled mountain, while the other took on the “worldly, non-spiritual task” of caring for our toddler. Of course now we realize our folly, and relish any opportunity to spend time with a baby or child as one of the highest paths to the divine.
Go Forth Upon the Sacred Mountain?
It was my turn this particular day to go forth seeking enlightenment upon the sacred mountain. Kissing my family goodbye, I ventured high up the alpine terrain and finally found my “power spot” on a ledge with a magnificent view of the mountains on the western side of the valley. There I sat seeking other-worldly experiences for several hours to no avail. I did become more peaceful, something today I would consider a huge success. I finally gave in to fatigue and took a nap in the warm sunshine.
By late afternoon it was time to leave my ledge. I sadly considered my time on the mountain a failure. I picked my way down the steep slope to Panther Meadow, with its little stream gurgling down the center. As I descended along the trail, I noticed a man lying on the grass close to the stream. I was passing him perhaps thirty feet to the side, and had a peculiar feeling something was wrong. I paused for a moment to make sure he was breathing, which he was, then continued walking but was stopped again by a strange impulse to go over to him. Immediately my mind judged this as foolish. The man was probably taking a nap, probably seeking solitude, maybe even on the mountain for the same reason I was there, seeking spiritual growth.
I started to pass him when again I felt stopped by a stronger prompting to sit next to him. Again my mind kicked in with all the reasons I shouldn’t do this. He’ll probably think you’re some weirdo, and ask you to leave him alone. I wouldn’t blame him. If I was meditating or relaxing beside a stream in the wilderness and someone sat down right next to me, I probably would be upset too.
The sensible thing to do was to leave him alone, but I just couldn’t ignore the urge I was feeling. Perhaps it was all the meditation on the mountain that enhanced my sensitivity to this seemingly inappropriate prompting, but I hesitated no longer. I turned, walked up to this man, and sat one foot away from his head. I felt like a complete idiot.
If There Is A God...
The man opened his eyes and looked at me with an expression that registered no surprise whatsoever. I had the eerie sensation that he seemed to be expecting me. He sat up and, without small talk or any form of greeting, proceeded to tell me he was lying there planning his suicide, but prayed one last time in desperation: “If there is a God, please send someone to help me.” A few minutes later I sat down beside him.
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I spent perhaps thirty minutes speaking with this man. In that time it became crystal clear to both of us that there indeed was a higher power in the universe, and this power sent me to him in his time of deepest need. He looked directly into my eyes and proclaimed, “Now I don’t need to kill myself. I have proof of God’s existence. How can I ever thank you?”
I said, “You’ve already thanked me. I needed the same divine proof you did. You’ve probably helped me just as much as I’ve helped you.”
We stood up together and hugged, then he gave his farewell and started walking down the path. He stopped after about fifty feet, turned and waved, and I saw a radiant smile light up his face. Then he turned away and was gone.
Use Me As An Instrument of Thy Love
I continued to sit in that holy spot, mesmerized by what had just happened. I didn’t even know his name, but I did know that I was used as an instrument of love. I also knew without a doubt that this fellow would never kill himself. And it wasn’t my psychiatric training and experience that convinced me of this. It was a deeper knowing that comes from true spiritual realization.
That afternoon on Mt. Shasta changed the course of my spiritual quest. Previously, spirituality was something to acquire, something just for me. Now spirituality was becoming more than just for me. I realized that the highest mystical experience was the joy and fulfillment of truly helping another. I realized that immature spirituality is selfish. It’s about acquiring more power or fame. Mature spirituality is not selfish. It’s about helping and sharing, creating a larger good than self.
Since that day on the mountain, I try to listen more carefully to that sometimes irrational intuition. I really want to be of service here on earth, and I can’t do the highest job by just listening to my mind. I need to listen to that deeper prompting, the voice of my heart, and then I know I am really helping.
So, yes, do all you can to help others. But, above all else, listen to those often subtle promptings to do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Your mind may rebel, like mine did on the mountain, but your heart and soul will guide you best. You may make mistakes, thinking you are following intuition. I have made many. But this is how we all learn. Sometimes you just have to take the risk. Learn the joy of divine service.
The Heart's Wisdom: A Practical Guide to Growing Through Love
by Joyce Vissell and Barry Vissell.
For many couples, the romantic bliss of a relationship's early stages is followed by a bumpy road. This scenario can be avoided with a different approach: living from the heart. Joyce and Barry Vissell have spent 35 years of marriage learning from their relationship. They show in this guide how to eliminate fear, how to heal blocked sexuality, how to say no to the one you love, and how every couple can learn from jealousy.
About the Author(s)
Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA. They are widely regarded as among the world's top experts on conscious relationship and personal growth. They are the authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk To Be Healed, The Heart’s Wisdom, Meant To Be, and A Mother’s Final Gift.
Here are a few opportunities to bring more love and growth into your life, at the following events led by Barry and Joyce Vissell: Jul 21-26, 2019 — Shared Heart Summer Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, OR; Sep 24-30, 2019 — Assisi Retreat, Italy; and Jun 7-14, 2020 — Shared Heart Alaska Cruise For further information on counseling sessions by phone or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at SharedHeart.org.
Two Recent Books (2018) by the Vissells:
To Really Love a Woman
by Barry and Joyce Vissell.
How does a woman really need to be loved? How can her partner help to bring out her deepest passion, her sensuality, her creativity, her dreams, her joy, and at the same time allow her to feel safe, accepted and appreciated? This book gives tools to the readers to more deeply honor their partners. Although these writings refer mostly to heterosexual women and men, there is a wealth of information for LGBTQ. Our focus, after all, is how to deeply love another person, whether it be a man or a woman.
To Really Love a Man
by Joyce and Barry Vissell.
How does a man really need to be loved? How can his partner help to bring out his sensitivity, his emotions, his strength, his fire, and at the same time allow him to feel respected, secure, and acknowledged? This book gives tools to the readers to more deeply honor their partners. Although these writings refer mostly to heterosexual women and men, there is a wealth of information for LGBTQ. Our focus, after all, is how to deeply love another person, whether it be a man or a woman.