I experienced the Presence of God when I was 12 years old but didn’t know it until some fifty years later when I meditated and realized how much the Divine had filled me when I was praying for a girl I had just met on that glorious pre-teenage weekend.
I was smitten by Geraldine McFadden, a 12-year-old who lived at Second Street and Allegheny in North Philadelphia. We kissed ever so gently at first and before I knew it, she showed me what it was like to kiss as an adult. In other words, she taught me how to “French Kiss.”
I wanted nothing more in life than for her to like me, I mean “really like me.” And so early Sunday morning I went to Church. St. Ludwig’s Roman Catholic Church in a section called Brewerytown and I dressed up as an altar boy with a black cassock and a white surplus. I went to the kneeler in the Sacristy and I knelt and closed my eyes, envisioning what it was like on the night I had met this heart throb. I began to pray that she would feel the same way toward me as I did toward her.
I prayed and I prayed and then something that has never happened to me occurred.
I went into some sort of a trance. Looking back, I believe it was a meditative state of mind where all thoughts are diminished and you obtain a clear sight into the place of “Nothing” that I read years later that mystics often tap into.
I experienced a joy I had never felt before. Peace and calm descended on me and I had no worries, no thoughts of any past sins and I enjoyed myself being alive in the here and the now. I felt unconditional love from the Universe and winning over Geraldine McFadden didn’t seem to matter to me as much anymore.
What I experienced was the Presence of God, but I didn’t realize it until some eight years ago when I began to write a Blog and I started to remember some of the events of my life. In A Course Of Love, we’re “taught” to remember who we were in the past. To remember who our true self was and to see life in a way we might have never looked because of the “busy-ness,” the stress of work, and the mundane trials and tribulations of daily life.
I was fearful of sharing this with those I grew up with in the working class neighborhood I was raised. I felt vulnerable and I thought they’d ridicule or make fun of me as someone “different” and too weird to be accepted by them. I still feel that way sometimes. At least the kid in me feels that, the little “Mikie Contos” inside who is a still sensitive despite his bluster and creds from street fighting and later as an infantry platoon leader in the war of his generation.
I am grateful that I can share my mystical experience without worrying what my old friends and school mates would think of me. They might have had similar experiences and are only now feeling comfortable to share it with others. I want them to know that I am listening and will enjoy their story no matter how crazy they think it might sound. Being present for the Presence of the Higher Self is all that matters.