By Bernie Fitterer, Guest Contributor
My Spiritual Adventure has been a mixed bag over the years.
A vehicle crash shook my world at the age of 28, and I knew my life was going to be different than what I had planned, which put me on a spiritual quest. After a few years I began a daily practice, discipline, that has evolved over the past 32 years.
The 1975 sacred text “A Course In Miracles” provides a secular spiritual perspective on the situations we encounter in our lives. It is not a religion, but a set of principles that guide us to having peace of mind in any situation. I also spent years reading various other philosophies, from Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Judaism, Islam, Tantra, Stoicism and about 10 years with the works of Joseph Campbell. I have used these as well for daily practices over the years.
At this point in life, a daily practice has become the foundation of my well-being and provides me with the wherewithal to make a difference for others who are dealing with their own life uncertainties.
The journey began at the age of seven. I was growing up in a very religious Christian household, and one of the teachings of the religion was that when a person gets baptized, they will receive a distinct message, a dream or a guidance that will let them know if they are part of the anointed ones who will go to heaven. I struggled with that concept, because I felt that I already had a connection to that infinite wisdom without being baptized in this belief system. I was already listening to my inner guidance and finding some sense of peace there that had nothing to do with the church.
In order to get baptized, a person needed to be at least 12 years old, because that was the age Jesus was supposed to have been baptized. So, before I turned 12, I studied the baptismal book and went to a study group to be able to get the baptism done a few days after my birthday. I passed the program easily. After getting submerged in water, I waited for this divinely inspired message to come to me. That particular message never came to me. Yet, I carried on with the teachings and practices of the religion and was on my way to gaining status in the church. At age 15 I saw a lot of hypocrisy in the practices of the people there and declined my titles and roles.
There was a lot of conflict in my home and a week after I turned 16, I left home. A few weeks later I went back to the church to find some solace. As I was sitting there, a minister’s wife came up to me and said, “You don’t belong here.” I felt very hurt and at the same time I also felt relief. Under my breath I said, “Expletive you,” to the woman, “Expletive church and Expletive God.” My thoughts were, I am physically capable, I am mentally capable, and I don’t need this emotional stuff, nor do I need this religious shit.
A minister’s wife came up to me and said, “You don’t belong here.”
Fast forward 12 years, at the age of 28 my life was going along pretty well. I was working and a first responder, had a new house in a bedroom community, a year-old vehicle, my wife had a great car, we had two kids, I also had a sideline business, and I was living the dream, or so I thought. Then, one day driving into work on the highway, a woman failed to stop at a stop sign and drove directly into my path. My vehicle hit her small SUV directly on the driver’s door. Her vehicle landed 75 feet away. I went to check on her and heard her exhale a final breath. In that moment I knew my life had changed in an instant.
I didn’t know what was coming, but I knew my life would never be the same.
Nine months later, the fellow who was like a big brother to me that I did my sideline work with, died of suicide. At that point I felt that I needed to do something to help his family and four children. Fifteen months after that his wife died of suicide, and three months after she died, my best friend since elementary school also died of suicide. I was a mess and could no longer deny the internal chaos that was going on for me.
I sought out some solace in video games, but still had a desire to work. When an opportunity came up to do some work with a company whose motto was, “God first, family second, work third,” I was intrigued. This company suggested I read Napoleon Hill’s, “Think and Grow Rich.” One thing that stuck out for me was a story of a man who would sit in the dark in silence and wait for answers to come, which reminded me of my childhood years.
A few years later I ended up in a basement fire, with a rookie officer and a rookie. The fire burned through the wall adjacent to the stairwell, trapping us. The officer called for backup, however the tactics that were used blocked the heat from escaping and pushed the fire down on us. In a moment, I simply asked (whomever was out there), “Is this the final lesson that this body is to offer to the world?” I got a resounding, “Hell NO!” We cooled ourselves down, sprayed the crew at the top of the stairs to get them to stop their activities, pushed back the fire and by the time the fire had retreated, the only piece of the stairs left were the stringers, the 2×10 wood supports that hold the steps in place.
In that moment, I knew that there was something greater than me guiding my life.
At about the same time in my life, I was getting divorced, and coincidentally met my deceased best friend’s younger brother who was suicidal at the time. We bumped into each other at a gas station in a small city. With all of the self-help reading in my mind, I shared what I was learning with this younger brother, and he was able to get over his suicide ideation.
A few years later, a friend of mine asked if I would be interested in meeting and perhaps dating her friend. I agreed. After a few weeks of dating this woman, we were sitting on her couch at her house and the conversation led to some of the traumatic events that had shaped our lives. I started to share the events of the crash I had been in and this woman backhanded me in the chest and said, “I can’t be mad at you anymore.” I asked her what that was all about and she responded, “The woman that was killed in that crash was my best friend and colleague.” I noticed that this woman’s facial expression and demeanor had softened immensely.
I was dumbfounded in that moment. I was dating and sitting on a couch with the best friend of the woman who was killed in the crash. The experience was surreal.
A few months later, I was on a dating site and met a woman who was a psych nurse. At that time communication was through MSN Messenger, and every time I found out more about this nurse, she would avoid communicating with me for up to a week at a time. We eventually got to a point of talking on the telephone, and one day in the early evening she called and she began to tell me that she had a young woman in her care. She told me that she felt very bad for this young patient who after six weeks would revert back to the same condition as when she was admitted into the hospital six weeks earlier. This nurse told me that any time anyone from the church or the patient’s grandma came to visit, this young patient’s condition would worsen. The nurse then told me that years prior, the patient’s dad died of suicide followed by her mom dying of suicide just over a year later. I mentioned the young patient’s name to the nurse.
The nurse was in shock and responded, “How did you know this patient’s name?”
This nurse and I talked for over eight hours as I explained the background of the family and the teachings of the church. The nurse then had the background information to be able to provide treatment and help to this patient. About six weeks later, I got a call from the nurse saying the young woman patient was discharged from the hospital, and about six months after that I received another call from the nurse who told me that the patient came back into the hospital to find the nurse. The patient said to the nurse that she had never felt better and freer in her entire life. I had a knowing that I was do to something for the children of the man who was like my big brother and his wife. And in that moment, I came to realize that this was what I was to do for them, not just be a means of making money.
With these disastrous and corresponding redeeming events, it became very clear to me that there was something greater going on that was guiding my life than I could have imagined.
These events were more than mere coincidences. Although I understood in my mind that I could not have prevented the suicides, I still carried a tremendous amount of guilt for not preventing their deaths. It took me moving to a different city in a different province and a subsequent engagement to find some relief. As the relationship with my fiancé was deteriorating, we decided to attend a Science of Mind Center for its Sunday services.
After one of the services, I met a man who was a “Seer.” He was able to see visions of people’s past experiences. I was a bit skeptical at hearing what he had to say to people as we sat around a table after the service, but remained curious. When I departed, out of the blue I said to him, “I know there is something for me to learn from you.” Months later this “Seer” and I were chatting and he asked me if I ever thought of myself as a teacher. I confirmed his message. He then said, “I see two people behind you, one behind each of your shoulders.” I responded with my first thought of two of my sisters. He responded that the people who were behind me are no longer in form. At which time, I mentioned the names of the man who was like my big brother and my best friend.
As I responded, my body shook and vibrated for a couple of minutes. It felt like all the cells in my body were being realigned.
I sat there and the feelings of guilt that I had been holding onto for close to 20 years just vanished as I came to being at a place of total peace with their passing. The “Seer” told me that I am here to teach them how to deal with adversities and good times, so they can learn that suicide does not need to be an option.
From that time on I have been more active in sharing spiritual messaging in the presentations and workshops that I deliver as well as in the coaching work I offer.
I live with more peace than I ever could have imagined knowing that I am here as Spirit, having a human experience with a purpose of reminding others that they too are Spirit … Divine Love.
Peace and blessings to all who have read this to the end.