by Austin Repath

I went on a retreat this spring.  I guess that’s what you’d call it.  It came about by a series of “accidents,” if there are such things.  My wife, wanting to learn Spanish, went off to Cuba on a six-week study program. Being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, I opted to stay home.
       Right after Marilyn left, several odd things happened.  Our TV set, only a year old, broke down, and the telephone went dead the following day.  So there I was, alone in a silent house.  Feeling lonely and cut off from the world and wanting to amuse myself, I went out to an afternoon screening of The Golden Compass, a film starring Nicole Kidman, one of my favourite actresses.
      The movie turned out to be an adaptation of the first in a trilogy of fantasy novels for young adults,called His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.  Arriving home after seeing the film, I picked up a newspaper and an article caught my eye about how a local Catholic school board had banned Pullman’s books from school libraries, claiming they were anti-religious.
       Book censorship has always been a hot-button issue with me.  So off I went to buy the trilogy, which turned out to be a simple read, somewhat like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I promptly set to devouring all three Pullman novels. 
      The aspect that kept me engrossed in the books was a mysterious substance the author called "dust" - a kind of cosmic energy that creates its own special atmosphere. I imagined it like stardust.  Not only were the protagonists in the novels continuously searching for it and struggling to obtain it, but "The Authority" was trying to squash it.
      Another idea that I took from the book was that love could be generated by the heart - also intrigued me.  I was familiar with the concept of opening your heart as a vessel for love - cosmic love, divine love, whatever - but to imply that a human heart could manufacture love the same way a dynamo generates electricity was a new and tantalizing possibility. 
      I started to spend my evenings seeing if I could generate this kind of love.  I’d begin by doing some simple tai chi, moving my arms in upward and then downward gestures, imagining that I was drawing up the energies of the earth, then pulling down light energy from the sun and the stars.  I had images of water flowing up from a deep well in the earth, and light streaming down from the sun.   I expanded my vision, picturing the elements of land and sky, heaven and earth, matter and spirit - all the raw energies of life and the universe swirling and gathering together, held within a crucible of human intent.  I pictured them flowing into my heart, being transformed into a veritable fountain of love energy, a glittering golden “dust.” that streamed out from me into the world.
       I found myself doing this exercise for ten or fifteen minutes at a time. It helped that I had the whole house to myself and absolutely no distractions.  I began to repeat the process several times a day, becoming fascinated by the results.  My chest cavity would warm and a pleasurable sensation would move out from my heart area, until my whole body was humming, my fingertips tingling. It felt good. 
       Soon I was sending out this love energy, this emission of "love-dust,” to all my friends. I envisioned it filling the living room, the house, the neighbourhood.  I imagined it as a gift, with no strings attached. Anyone open to it was free to use it according to his/her own wisdom. 
       So that was how I spent my time, like a solitary monk in his cell - reading, for his own enlightenment, a children's novel.  Then getting up and sending out heart energy like a golden light to all who wanted it.
        Meanwhile, with mounting frustration, I battled with the telephone company, trying to get reconnected to the world.  After three weeks of running up the street to the public phone at the corner drugstore, making call after call, I finally got a serviceman to come fix the line. 
        Shortly after that I found a surprising message (See below to listen to actual message) left on my answering machine.  A former student, one whom I’d mentored from time to time over the years, had driven by my home - not something he ever does, he reported in an excited voice.  But for some reason he’d found himself compelled to do so, and he couldn’t believe his eyes. 
        As he drove down the street, he’d seen a golden, radiant light pouring out the windows, out of every crack and cranny of the house.  He was amazed and wanted to know what was going on, and ended by saying that he’d felt a “hit” of love like he had never experienced before as he drove by.
        I knew Jeff was extremely intuitive, perhaps one of the few people I’ve ever met who could have picked up on such a phenomenon.  That he’d seen my house awash in brilliant light, standing out from all others on the street, was amazing to me, and a powerful confirmation that something was happening in my meditations - something extremely unusual.  I was galvanized by his response.
          In the weeks and months since my “retreat,”  I have come to believe it is possible for the heart to create kind of love.  Just as humans evolved into thinking beings, with a brain able to generate ideas, it seems we might be evolving a heart that can generate love energy.  Or maybe we always had it, and just didn’t know how to use it.
         Not romantic, parental or brotherly love per se, but a cosmic kind. The classic icon of the "sacred heart of Jesus" comes to mind - Christ standing with his arms wide, his heart open, pouring out love to the world. He is often quoted as saying “What I can do, you can do likewise.” This seemed as close as I can come to finding an image that fits what I was experiencing.
        In most religious traditions, this love has been seen as coming from God, a divine being, some external source. Some might say that this source is the indwelling of the divine within.  Because of my recent experiences I’m beginning to think it is produced within the human heart - not necessarily the physical organ that pumps blood through the body, but the etheric one. 
       A generator gives off an energy field called electricity - invisible, but we all know it has tremendous power.From my recent experience, I sense that the heart generates a similar field.  Though it is invisible, its manifestation can be felt.  I found, in fact, that people were relating to me differently, and the neighbourhood seemed much friendlier and more at peace. 
       Maybe I was just more open and accepting; I don’t know.  However, I felt that things were definitely better.  I couldn’t prove that love energy released into a community would change it, but the suspicion that it might was intriguing. 
      I think of how people describe a place or a gathering as having "good vibes," as opposed to, say, the recent phenomenon of “road rage” on our highways which in some ways is but a manifestation of a negative field force..  No question, force fields  positive or negative can be generated, 
      And I often find myself wondering if, at this moment in time, this particular evolutionary development has become imperative for the very survival of our species.  Never before in history have we humans seemed to need such a crucial ability - to generate love. I continue to experiment with the process., 
      And as for a happy ending, while spring segued into summer, eventually the television got fixed, my wife came home,  and we enjoyed a second honeymoon, most of it in Spanish. 

Click here for audio of Jeff's phone message

Love update

It’s been seven months, since the six week “retreat”.  Often I have simply dismissed what happened during that time as an imaginary phenomena without any reality to it.  However, I have gradually come back into a daily practice twice a day of going though the process of stirring my heart and calling up the energies of earth and matter and calling down the energies of light and spirit and using these as the raw elements of life to generate in my heart, the human heart, love energy. 
       During the fifteen minutes or so that it takes to complete the exercise, I can feel my chest area  warm and my hands start to go glow and radiate.  It is a fill good subjective experience.
      I image that I send out this love energy to my friends and to the neighbourhood.  I imagine that I join with others who who are open hearted around the world.  I see us creating a grid of transformers that spread around the globe, distributing this love energy..  At the same time I align myself with the sacred heart of Jesus, a personal icon for me that is very dynamic.  I align myself with Christ love, Divine love, Cosmic love.  At such time I can sense that a large love energy is pouring out of my chest.  Where it goes or how it is used is a mystery to me.
       In fact everything about love and this process is a mystery.  I have no evidence or sense that this “love energy”is real or that is goes out to people or the community, or that is has any effect whatever on people or the world. Although I sense that it appears that nothing has changed, there is a way that everything is different.  This is the best way that I can describe what I believe happens. 
       The effect it has on me is more evident.  I feel good with myself and sense that people I meet and people in my life are more open and affectionate towards me.  I am content to accept this whole process as a subjective and illusionary experience; however, one that is extremely important for me to continue doing.. 

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