“My coat warms the body but not the soul
And I’ll die a thousand deaths before I ever know
The meaning of my life lies deep within my soul.
O Lord how many tears to shed before I finally know?”
Without the gift of a relationship with Spirit, without an understanding of the purpose of life and the tools to know my Self, I doubt that I would be alive today. Life has no value unless it has meaning. When we do not understand the purpose of life, we are bound to disrespect it.
The idea of the Spiritual Crisis Hot Line came to me just a short time ago. I was in the Emergency Room being wheeled off for a CAT scan and was reflecting on the fact that I had no idea what would come from that test. Would I be told “All’s well, you can go home.”? Or would I hear them say, “Sorry Mr. Ernst, but we need to tell you that you have just a few days to live.” I just didn’t know.
Some years back I took my father to the Emergency Room and he was told just that and died a few days later of undiagnosed cancer. I had also heard of my father-in-law’s visit to an Emergency Room, where he was informed that he had a life threatening brain tumor. He died about a year later.
As I was thinking of these things, I asked myself, “What would I want to do with my life if I had only 6 more months to live?” The foremost thought was the need to greatly increase my sense of oneness with Spirit. I wasn’t feeling Spirit’s presence too much on that day of illness and was uniquely cognizant of that fact. Was I just too busy trying to deal with a health crisis? For myself, that is a shallow reason, for the crisis we need to concern ourselves with foremost, is our spiritual health.
To make our relationship with Spirit foremost in our life, at all times, makes immediate sense. Yogananda tells us that all illness, of any sort – physical, mental, spiritual – always begins on the level of consciousness and then manifests itself mentally and physically as well. Thus, going to the source of the problem is really the logical thing to do.
Feeling bereft of Spirit’s presence at that time, concerned me and made me sensitive to the great pain others must feel who lack spiritual understanding and awareness. Thus, the Spiritual Crisis Hot Line, is my effort to ease their pain.
That’s not an uncommon problem, even among the spiritually advanced. Think of St. John’s Dark Night of the Soul, and the experience of Jesus on the cross when he said, “Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?” But God is ever gracious. Tests are made to strengthen us, not destroy us.