At age 6, I became a spiritual seeker. One of my dearest friends lived down the street from me. Michelle was Jewish. I was the daughter of a Baptist minister. My religion taught me that the only way to eternal life was through believing in Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. It made no sense to me that my sweet, dear friend Michelle was doomed to hell. My father and minister had no answers that satisfied me.
I continued in the church of my family until I went away to college. There I was fascinated by philosophy classes. I learned about reincarnation. Being a practical person, it made good sense to me that we have many opportunities to evolve as people, and not just one shot at getting it right and going to heaven or hell.
In my sophomore year of college, I met a kindred spirit, “Alice.” Our life paths ran parallel for decades, in good ways and bad. We temporarily left school and hitchhiked along the coast of California together. We abused alcohol and eventually gave it up completely. We aspired to find true love and get married, yet our only relationships were with men who treated us poorly. Eventually we both went to graduate school, obtained our Masters in Social Work, and became psychotherapists. Unbeknownst to either of us for many years, we were both lacking in self-love.
Our paths diverged when I found the spiritual teachings of Eckankar just after graduate school. It was clearly my saving grace. Years of being in psychotherapy hadn’t done what Eckankar did for my self-esteem. A foundational teaching is that each of us is Soul, a divine spark of God, and that we exist simply because God loves us. We’re not loved because we’re attractive, or smart, or successful, or funny, or because we do good things.
“God loves, but not because we deserve it or have earned it. The reason is simply that God is love, therefore God loves.”
– We Come As Eagles, by Harold Klemp, spiritual leader of Eckankar
As a result of the constant inner and outer messages I received through the Eck teachings that I am lovable and loved beyond my wildest comprehension, I have grown in greater self-love and in my capacity to give love to others. This enabled me to finally open my heart to a wonderful man who cherishes me like a precious treasure.
Alice and I both got married for the first time in our late 40s, just three months a part. Our husbands shared similar professions and past experiences.
Unfortunately, Alice’s husband does not treat her like a treasure, and she doesn’t yet love herself enough to let him go. I look at her and I see myself and what my life could have been; my gratitude for Eckankar is huge.
The 6-year-old seeker I once was now knows that I have eternal life because that’s who I am as Soul. I now know that I get many opportunities to learn and grow and get it “right.” And I know that we are all loved equally and immensely – Eckists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, people of all faiths and no faith. My questions have been answered. It makes sense to me now.