Grace, Jokes, and Shower Confessions

This is a story of a humble religious experience, of how the Almighty graced and saved me in a stormy day.

The other day I had a pretty rough morning at the university, the burden of projects and things not working, and especially the spiritual turbulence of the week.  While driving back home the mini-storm of thoughts in the mind underwent a butterfly effect and created a tornado of negative thoughts about the rough year, made it into a rough life, and then into a rough existence. The spiritual imbalance was the most unbearable part of these days. I started intensely praying to God, begging him to calm this mind down, to tell me that everything is ok.

Back to my tornado: So as I was driving I was intensely praying for some spiritual guidance, some sign. I must add that I am a proudly religious person; but my relationship with God is mostly a purely intellectual/metaphysical relationship with the impersonal Godhead, the absolute truth or the transcendent principle. I chose this kind of relationship because it chose me; I have the essential temperament of what Hindus call a Jnani, a practitioner of the path of knowledge. The personal God of religion with its symbolic narratives of creation and destruction doesn’t interest me; in general the outward form of religion doesn’t speak to me. This being the said, I am still a human and like everyone else I am blessed with the three faculties of will, intelligent, and sentiment. Deep down I have a very strong sentimental aspect that I have been systematically suppressing by the force of mathematics and philosophy. Why? Because when I was 9 I had a small chicken (I love love love animals) that got sick and died only a week after I’d bought it. I was devastated since I was emotionally very attached to it. I couldn’t stop crying but I stopped eating and couldn’t sleep. I buried it in the yard and put a cross on the burial site (lol, we weren’t Christian and I didn’t even know what a cross meant but I had seen it done in western movies and just assumed that’s what modern people do, put a cross on the grave, so I thought it was cool.) Due to devoted mourning I couldn’t go to school and instead spent day and night next to the burial crying. The gross part was that many time during each day I would dig the soil, take out its body and kiss it while crying; the ants were crawling over it but I couldn’t part ways. I suffered a deep, wounding suffering. That mourning drama lasted for a few weeks until the corpse was almost gone. My soul was tormented for weeks and I still remember the pain vividly. After that incident, which was partly responsible for driving me into philosophy, I learned the lesson, that attachment is the last thing I want in this world. As a result I decided to do physics, mathematics, and philosophy and exclude myself from attention and attachment to all things organic and their conditions. But even now seeing an animal hurt or seeing the pain of others makes me suffer deeply as if it were my own suffering. So I am in a way very sentimental but I have managed to keep the volcano under some control most of the times. Please excuse the digressions.

So under the pressure of my sentimental aspect I sometimes wish I could also have a personal relationship with God, to love him, to adore him, to be just like a little child in His presence. I had heard stories from mystics and even normal religious people who loved God; yet I never understood what it means to love God, what it’s like to love God! To love a woman I get, to love an animal I get; but to love God I never got. But that day I begged for it.

That day when things became unbearable I begged God to be the good old God of Old Testament, to actually speak, to perform a miracle right then and there so I would know He is with me and I with Him. I just needed an assurance of His presence, an assurance without the need of intellectual intuition which can only perceive ontological necessity; I didn’t need to be assured of his existence of which I am absolutely certain; I didn’t need Brahman or Principle; I needed an intimate relationship with a loving and caring agency whose presence I can feel rather than think.

Anyways, the mind was going crazy and I was tearing my throat repeating the name of God. I got home and jumped in the shower with the hope of cooling down. My shower is a pretty tiny stall kind of shower; you cannot fit two people in it (not that I have tied.) As I was showering I kept repeating His name; I had read and heard from spiritual masters that repeating the name of God has a tremendous spiritual power. Though I could never understand how, I kept saying the name as I was too desperate, too human instead of metaphysician, for feeling His presence. As I was repeating the name and longing to feel God’s presence the idea of a funny but childish scenario interrupted the mental storm: The thought came to me that I cannot ask God to appear before me here; we cannot both fit in this small shower! Besides, I always perceive God as a He; being in the shower with Him would be too gay. At this point you may bite your lower lip but I mean no profanity against God; I do these small gigs in my mind which often involves God with the religious intention of making him laugh, and he doesn’t mind them if they’re a little dirty. He and I have an understanding, and he likes me as His court’s joker and personal stand-up comedian than anything else. Anyhow, this idea just put a smile on my face and distracted me from the mental tornado, but it was just the beginning; it was meant only as an opening toward a memorable grace which unfolded as following:

The idea of that scenario was replaced by a strong feeling of presence; the thought downed on me, with the intensity of a divine inspiration, that “He is the doer and the enjoyer of all things. Who do you think is moving your hands? Who do you think is moving your head? Who do you think is washing you and making your tongue repeat the holy name?!” The inspiration continued, “It is all Me: You are desperately looking for me while I am here with you; without me you can’t lift a finer; I am the one washing your body. You’re crying to feel me; I am the one bathing you.” These words touched me so deeply and made me feel something I had never felt. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I was filled with infinite joy. I leaned against the shower wall and cried like a baby as I listened again to the inspired words “I am the one bathing you.” I stroked my body and felt his strokes. I was intoxicated; the tornado was totally gone and replaced with a deep sense of serenity. I felt so light, so carefree as I had never been. I had become like a child and out of impulse started to make the noises a newborn child makes when the mother spoils him.

As I was drying myself with the towel I felt, and knew again, that it was still Him, drying me this time, that it has always been Him, and that it will never be anything But him. How could I feel so infinitely joyful, infinitely great and yet infinitely light, exactly the moment I denied my own existence and saw Him as all that there is, as the doer and enjoyer of all things, but this time not as a thought but as an intimately felt reality with the highest degree of certainty; I knew that he was the one making the jokes, gay or otherwise. After drying myself I danced naked around the room and then threw myself on the bed and rolled around like a child. For the first time I loved God as God, not as principle or nondual ground of all things. Yes I need the latter form of communication, the intellection, but this new feeling of intimacy with God spoke to an essential part of me that had been silenced till that day. Oh, such a great day I had and that message is still with me. Thanks God for that storm, and for all the others to come; we see the storm but in Reality it is Him trying to tell us something. That day’s experience may appear to the outsider as nothing special but for me it was a deeply felt reality, and considering the depth to which it penetrated and transformed my rigid idea of the divine it was one of the most profound religious experiences I’ve ever had.

God is good; God bless Him.

17 thoughts on “Grace, Jokes, and Shower Confessions

  1. I am so blissfully happy for you, dearheart!! I too have been a seeker all my life and a religious person but recently ( last summer) I realized that I didn’t feel He loved me. I had an experience similar to yours and suddenly 56 years of worship of Him and seeking Him became a deeply personal connection. Like you said, as a child. ❤ God is Most Great.

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  2. dear you might know the following story. Let me narrate it again. There walked a man on the banks of a river. He suddenly saw a pair of foot prints parallel to his. He could not see any being around. So he shouted loud “who is that accompanying me, i command an answer”. There came a reply . Hey son it is me your savior God who stays with you 24X7 and protecting you from all sides. By that time the man reached a gorge and jumped and crossed to continue walking but failed to notice the second pair of foot. So he shouted ” hey God where are you in my need of hour” “you are coward and kept away for fear of falling in the gorge”. There came reply ” Hey son you are on my shoulder and i took you on my shoulder before you thought of jumping” it is my pair of foot you see now.
    Thanks and regards. there are some truth which are better not said – ” I am the one having sex with people’s wives.”

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  3. Ultimately, there is ONLY God “doing it all” Wonderful to FEEL God and know that you are NOT “other” but a living, feeling expression of HIM, in your case; HER, in mine. Gay, transgender, on and on. It’s ALL the “LIMITLESS ONE” ONLY GOD is in the shower! Nice to meet you God in the form of Toomajj!

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  4. Ahh, that is just the sweetest story. Poor little guy and his chicken. I’m so sorry.

    You’ve described what I call a close encounter of the God kind. That’s it precisely, you’ve found Him.

    Don’t worry about those pronouns and sexism. I’m a girl and I perceive God as a He. I realize there is something there that transcends gender and also probably our concept of a Divine Being in the singular, but I don’t worry about such things. God is like a father and the personal and familiar makes Him easier for me to process. Besides, what’s wrong with a “He?” Women are very lucky, we are “of men” with our fathers, we love husbands, and we give birth to sons. So men are woven throughout our very being. There is no slight there, no injustice.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your supportive comment. Yes, exactly as you said I found him for the first time and it was great and still is. For the whole year I prayed day and night, though it was at first alien to me, to show me how to love him, and that day I felt it for the first time. I love the Christian’s advice “ceaselessly pray.” It works 🙂

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  5. Thanks T-Rex for such a personal post and for these tears on my face. The Teacher is faithful; and it is a painful ridiculous precious privilege to be en-rolled in school. I, too, feel like His jester, Jonah and champion. S’good to meet you here in wordpressland, on planet earth, amidst the mystery. Peace!

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  6. It is good not to be attached. But compassion is good also. You had compassion for your chicken and you still have compassion for hurt animals and that is good to. As you found out the good is the God in you. Showers are wonderful places for inspiration and spiritual experiences. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  7. Tomaj, I absolutely loved this post and was able to connect with it on many levels..

    I had a similar experience, wherein once, I sat down to meditate with a turmoil going on inside me. I kept a picture of deity Bala Thirupurasundari in front of me, did some minimal lighting around the picture, and could not meditate. Instead I went into a deep contemplative mode and kept chanting Her name. My thoughts kept drifting away to my troubles and the things I did to invite them and eventually turned harsh onto myself. Then something happened, I started thinking who am I to criticise myself? God is the eternal supreme Everpresence who knows everything about my past, present and future, cannot judge me and hence cannot/will not reject me ever. I then realised that current state of mind (thinking about the past doings , future worries/anxieties and as a result my present hostile state of mind) was the only thing that was blocking my meditation at that moment. This softened me, I forgave myself, I became more calm, my potential identity and potential my actions/ thoughts associated with my past and future dissolved for a moment and I got into a state , becoming aware of the ever present divinity alone. I felt absolutely light, pure, though it lasted only few minutes and ended up crying for long.
    I have not been able to reproduce the same experience again with the same intensity, but this made me realise few things:

    1. I understood the meaning of surrender.
    2. I understood the meaning of being in the present, starkly realising it is not God who blocks you from nearing Him (or Her), it is you alone, with your bonding to your identity, self-ego, your past and your future and when you peel them off one by one (and is is easier said than done – it took me hours that day), you have completely unblocked yourself from experiencing the Everpresence.

    I would also like to add one more thing here and I think you will corroborate my statement here.
    It is generally said that to be in the present, you need to let yourself loose devoid of actions, remain an observer and as the thoughts and perceptions trickle down and disappear, the end realisation happens that all that is left is only pure awareness.
    I would say that to bring about the ‘being in the present’, all you have to do is to start thinking about God. You instantly become ‘aware’ of the presence, you surrender and with delving more in that presence, where you have the awareness of the divine presence alone devoid of any other thoughts, it will enable a same state of realisation where only pure awareness exists. Just a intuitive guess..

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    1. RamG this is absolutely beautiful. Reading it made me tingly as if my heart knows what you are talking about though we are apart. It is at the same time something I needed to hear because there comes periods where I find it very difficult to connect to the present. Your statement that God is always near us and it is we who are absent from him, reminds me of a saying (don’t remember from who) “God is infinitely close to us while we are infinitely far from him” meaning it is our own endless preoccupations that blocks our awareness of Him. Surrender is the key as you mentioned. And my goal, or our goal, is to make it a more permanent state.
      I thank you a lot for sharing this as I was in need to hearing it.
      Love & Peace my brother

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    2. Acharya Ramanuja emerged this way from the philosophy of Acharya Sankara. It is the reason we could find Advaita teachers to be not living up to their teachings. Surrender is Vaishnavism (not insisting or converting)and to know the truth is Wisdom. All religious practices evolved the way you and Acharya Tomajji felt necessary for divinity’s presence. I conclude by saying that this happens in billions of people’s life but an understanding of truth happen to very few. Those who impart it like Tomajji and srkji are rare indeed.

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  8. One night I dreamed a dream.
    As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
    Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
    For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
    One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

    After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
    I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
    I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
    especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
    there was only one set of footprints.

    This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
    “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
    You’d walk with me all the way.
    But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
    there was only one set of footprints.
    I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

    He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
    Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
    When you saw only one set of footprints,
    It was then that I carried you.”
    It is copy-paste but widely narrated in villages and households in India.

    Liked by 1 person

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