Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Everything – No Matter What – Is Perfect

I’m reading a book titled “What is Mysticism” by Jon Mundy. Yesterday I read this passage:

Mostly, it’s a profound inner knowing and an awareness of the interconnectedness of all things – a sense that everything is perfect just the way it is.

When I read it, I got chills because I was blessed to experience this perfection once. Some of you know this story, but I haven’t written about it in a while, and reading this book has brought it back to the forefront of my consciousness.

I have a cabin in the mountains, my little forest retreat, with no phone, TV, or internet. It nestles under huge evergreens, on top of a small but steep rise overlooking a creek. One time, years ago, I left my kids with a trusted friend, and went up to the cabin for an overnight respite.

For some reason, I decided that I needed to clean all the little branches and pine needles off the roof. I stood on an extension ladder and raked the debris to the ground. After moving the ladder all around the cabin, I was on the last section. The base of the ladder was on the deck. There was one branch stuck further up on the roof. I leaned forward over the top rungs of the ladder and reached as far as I could with the rake. And then I felt the ladder slip.

My first frantic instinct was to grab for something. But there was only the slanted roof, with no gutters. In the next instant, I knew I was going to fall. And that is when everything changed.

I will try my best to describe what happened, knowing that I can’t. There are no words. So I will try to fail well, using words to do what words can never do.

The moment I understood that I was going to fall, the world changed. I did not leave my body. Indeed, I was very aware of being in my body as it bounced off the falling ladder. I felt my back land on the edge of the deck, and experienced the disorienting tumble as I flipped off the deck and rolled head over heels through the brush down the hill.

But that is not the story. The story is what was going on as all this was happening. At that exact instant when I surrendered to the fall, all fear evaporated. Arms of angels embraced me in peace and light. No, I didn’t see them, and “angel” is not even the right word, but I felt surrounded by unconditional love beyond anything you can imagine. Everything that I knew or thought I knew fell away.

Surprisingly, I did not sense that I was being protected from bodily harm. On the contrary, as I felt my body crash and tumble, I was quite sure something was going to break. The blow of my back on the edge of the deck might leave me paralyzed. I might even die. At the very least there was going to be a broken bone somewhere. And I was there by myself with no way to get help. All of this was floating through my mind, but totally, completely without fear.

Because none of that mattered. It didn’t matter because I was being held in the absolute certainty that whatever happened was perfect. I understood, not with my mind but with my entire being, that everything is perfect. That was the word I “heard” from the angels, or beings, or energy that surrounded me – perfect. Always. No matter what. Perfect. Just let that soak in for a minute.

Everything is perfect. Always. No matter what.

The sublime peace and exquisite joy of that moment was…ah, I can’t even try to express it. All I can say is that I knew it was real. That it was the only thing that is real.

I would like to tell you that this moment of awakening or enlightenment or whatever you want to call it lasted forever. At the time, it did seem like forever because time was suspended while I was falling. But I returned to the “ordinary” world. After my body came to a stop, I lay there on the side of the hill, fearing to move in case some part of me didn’t move! I started with my toes and moved on up, reassured that everything was functioning. Scraped and bleeding, and not yet feeling the bruising and soreness of the days to come, I crawled back up the hill and sat on the deck trying to process what had just happened.

As my thinking mind started to rev back up, all the “what if” thoughts started to dance a frantic, fearful dance, playing out scenarios that never happened, yet seemed real in my imagination. But I stopped them with a quick rebuke. I had been given a priceless treasure and I was loath to toss it aside in favor of worthless mind trinkets.

So I sat there, looking at the ladder lying innocently on the deck, tracing with my eyes the track my body took from the roof to the bottom of the hill, and giving up any effort to make what had happened make “sense.” I breathed in the smell of evergreen and listened to the creek, humbly grateful for this glimpse of…what? Heaven, truth, reality? The word doesn’t matter.

I might not have become an enlightened being that day, but I had an enlightened experience. Since then, especially in challenging times, I have drawn on the memory of what happened, reminding myself of what I learned that day. That things are not what they seem, that I understand very little, and know even less. And that no matter what happens, even if I can’t understand it, everything is perfect.

Nothing real can be threatened
Nothing unreal exists
Herein lies the peace of God
    ~A Course in Miracles

16 thoughts on “Everything – No Matter What – Is Perfect”

  1. Galen, I read this twice. Such an interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  2. You're welcome, Pam. I can understand why you might need to read it twice. I have thought a lot about this experience over the years. I just keep coming back to the reality of my experience, what I felt, and what I heard. I can't explain it. I can't understand it with my rational mind. This was something beyond what my mind can grasp. So I just accepted it as a gift of grace.

  3. What you've shared here, Galen, is so overwhelmingly powerful. To simply know within that everything is perfect at the very moment all seems to be falling apart was a grand gift bestowed upon you. Thank you for sharing it here, my friend.

  4. I had a moment of surrender 14 yrs ago when I witnessed a sporting accident involving my son. I didn't know what the outcome would be when the ambulance attendants picked him up off the track. I didn't go to any what-ifs at the moment; I remember thinking – we'll have to see how this turns out – at the same time experiencing an overwhelming sense of peace. I read this mantra daily – trust that you are right where you are supposed to be. Surrender. Surrender. Surrender.

  5. As Adyashanti says, surrender is the name of the spiritual game. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed with all the catastrophic what-ifs, it all just stops and we enter a space of calm, focused waiting. Thanks for sharing your story, Mona.

  6. That book sounds very interesting, Galen. I'll look it up. When we're falling or just realising that it's going to happen no matter what we think we can do to prevent it, time slows down and stretches out – without sounding too fanciful, it's like we go somewhere else like through a portal then come back to earth with a bump! I've never experienced any transcendence of the kind you describe, but I can see how it might happen during that time standing still. I have had moments in nature when i feel moved by perfection of some kind. The other day I was jogging through a field of barley (in one of the tractor tracks) and even though I was thinking heavily of 'stuff' – i suddenly noticed the light, colouring and movement of the barley all around me. I stopped my thinking and let myself absorb it fully. It was wonderful! There was another time when I was on a walk in Kings Canyon on my 2008 tour of some of the national parks over your way. Frogs were croaking en mass in the distance, sunlight dappled the path and I sat on the path under a sequoia tree and thought – I could quite happily die here – that it would be the perfect place to 'move on'from. It was a moment of lovely peace. That word 'surrender' mentioned – I can do that in nature. Nature is where I want to do my surrendering. Lovely post!

  7. I love your thought about "I could quite happily die here" — the perfect place to move on from.

    I've been thinking a lot about death recently, not in a morbid way, but thinking of death as our companion, as our guide, as our teacher, as our friend. I wrote a poem once about each of us being born with death as our twin, accompanying us through life and taking us back home at the appropriate time.

    Seeing a beautiful place as a place where we could "happily die" is tremendously powerful. Thank you for sharing that, Lynne.

  8. This was a scary and at the same time heartfelt experience. I do believe you have a guardian angel that saved you that day. I have stories of ancestors that could mimic almost the same kind of experience. Our Heavenly Father is aware of us and we are watched over. God had and has a plan for you. I do know you have touched many lives. I loved the stories you shared in your book and I know it has had a profound impact on many.
    Sending loving thoughts and hugs your way!
    I also enjoyed your last post of poetry and the photo is a cute one. Hugs~

  9. Thanks, LeAnn. Lately that "divine plan" has been much on my mind as I see things shifting in my life, moving and stretching, and getting ready for a change. Let's see what happens!

  10. 'Mostly, it’s a profound inner knowing and an awareness of the interconnectedness of all things – a sense that everything is perfect just the way it is.'

    When we embrace uncertainty and mystery as our daily practice, and relinquish the entrenched need to be in control, we enter a freedom of spirit that seems to drive away all fear. To let go and enter into that mystery of daily life experience opens up a way where we can then see the perfection all around us. A natural forest may seem like out of control growth to us, until we see the perfection behind the harmony and cooperation of all these wild forces. The loving intelligence so evident in nature seems like a cooperation of opposing forces interacting in harmony, rather than a survival of the fittest as Darwin claimed.
    When we look at nature we see the oneness of spirit, but, when we look at the modern human we see dysfunction and separation from that oneness. To live in freedom with this oneness of nature would be the ultimate human experience.

  11. What an interesting contrast you made to Darwin. I never thought about it like that. A friend of mine who has studied old growth forest described it much the way you have. So beautiful. Thanks, Brian.

  12. This cooperation of opposing forces, interacting in harmony, for the good of the whole, makes sense. It is Yin and Yang. Male and female. Love on a universal level is probably this cooperation of forces for the good of the one.

    'I felt surrounded by unconditional love beyond anything you can imagine'

    That love that you felt has been expressed by many who have near death experiences. It must be amazing when we are released into that.

  13. It did strike me as the most "real" thing I've ever experienced. Which makes me think that what we normally think of as real is, as A Course in Miracles teaches, illusion.

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