The Awakening of Edee Lyons

Edee at Age Four

Edee Lyons remembers as clearly as if it were yesterday the morning she woke up to the crushing realization that Jesus hadn’t slept next to her, even though she had asked him to.  She had clung to the far side of the bed to make room and had left her pillow for him, but saw there was no indentation where his head would have lain. She was about six years old at the time, and that was more than 60 years ago.

Edee has no idea where her first ideas about Jesus came from—just that she’s always known him. The pain of that first disappointment was heartbreakingly deep. Yet she somehow knew that her Jesus would not let her down and she quickly forgave him.

Her concept of Jesus as a “fun fellow” didn’t jibe with what Edee was taught later. Her parents, though Catholic, were not religious and rarely took her to church when she was very young. They did, however, make sure she went through her Catholic rites of passage—baptism, first communion, confirmation—and to Catholic schools whenever they could send her.

This first memory—the only clear one she has of her childhood—seems to be an early precursor to a quest for understanding that began with her miraculous recovery from a near-fatal illness while a young mother.  Her ongoing journey has taken her down a fascinating path, winding through a series of metaphysical experiences that have led her toward spiritual fulfillment through her studies of A Course in Miracles and The Way of Mastery.

A Rough Beginning

Born to a cold, domineering father and submissive mother, Edee emigrated with her parents to the United States from France following World War II.  Her father was a French chef who worked for diplomats and high level executives.  They moved so frequently—ping-ponging between France and the States—that she was never in one school long enough to establish friendships. In her loneliness she turned to Jesus as an invisible playmate.

But her experiences with the Catholic church—particularly the actions of unkind nuns—left her conflicted about the nature of the church and the God she knew within herself.  She left the church when she was 16; the emotional abuse she suffered in a strict French Catholic boarding school destroyed any remaining desire she had to be associated with it.

St. Patrick’s Day in 1981 proved to be a turning point in Edee’s life.  She became deathly ill from a toxic reaction to medication and her pulmonary capillaries exploded.  The doctors didn’t expect her to live through the night.

“They had no idea what it was, what I had, but I was slipping away and I remember screaming in my mind, ‘my children are only two and four, please I cannot die, they are only two and four.’”  Edee survived the night, though her eyesight was severely affected. Two days later she left the hospital in perfect health, except for some lingering double vision. The doctors had no explanation for her miraculous recovery.

“I felt within myself that something powerful had occurred, even though it took a while for my eyesight to come back to normal.  I felt I needed to thank God.  I needed to make an effort to go to his church and get on my knees and say thank you,” she said.

And thus her spiritual search began.

The Catholic Charismatics

It started when she entered a church to say thank you and encountered a service unlike any she had ever experienced—not a traditional mass and no priests, but a hands-on healing service.

“People standing in small circles were dropping onto the floor, and I thought to myself, ‘What in the hell have I walked into!  Is this Catholic?”  When an open invitation was extended to anyone who wanted a healing to come to the front of the church, Edee’s curiosity compelled her to leave the safety of her pew and stand in line.

When her turn came, she requested a healing for her mother-in-law, who was suffering from arthritis.  Many hands were placed upon her.  And Edee had her first spiritual experience.

“When I closed my eyes, I saw everything was beautiful white on white, and I could see infinity.  I could see out the sides of my eyes, and I felt I could see a huge expanse of what was white on white and in a distance was a pure white cross on a white background.  I remember feeling like it was a powerful image that hit me.  I opened my eyes, stunned,” she said.  “I was totally befuddled as to what had just occurred.”

On fire to understand what had happened to her, Edee went to a social hour following the healing, and began to pepper one of the deacons with questions.  All the people there had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and had gifts of healing, she was told.  A six-week class to prepare for this baptism was about to begin.  Intrigued, Edee enrolled herself and a friend.

Edee spent three years with the Catholic Charismatics.  Strange abilities surfaced with her immersion in the practice, from being able to tell before a meeting what would happen during the meeting, to speaking in tongues, even to discerning illness in another simply through touch.

“When you pray intensely and meditate for long periods of time and your total attention is on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, things manifest,” she said.  “Your spirit expands, clairvoyance occurs; you hear and feel more.  Though I didn’t know it at the time, I now know it was my sixth sense opening up to me.”

But she began to feel uneasy with all of it.  She wanted answers that were not forthcoming.

“I wanted to know why I could hear messages in my head.  I wanted to know why I could touch someone and see illness.  Nobody was giving me satisfactory answers except that the Holy Spirit was doing it,” she said.  “But was it really the Holy Spirit?”

Part of her discomfort was created when she shared her experiences openly with others who had been “reborn” in the Holy Spirit for many years.  They were suspicious of her, the newcomer; some even frightened her by suggesting the devil might be behind her “gifts.” So she renounced those gifts and moved away from the Charismatics.

But still she searched for those elusive answers. And one day she and her friend stumbled across some metaphysical classes being taught in the basement of a little Mormon church.  They immediately signed up.

The next leg of Edee’s journey had begun.

On to Metaphysics

Edee’s first odd experience in the world of metaphysics occurred when she entered the church to pay for the class; a strange coincidence that played out years later.  The woman taking payment asked if she was a nurse or in the medical field.  When Edee said no, she was told there was a nurse standing behind her. But when Edee looked, there was no one there. “It must be your spirit guide, because she travels with you,” the woman said.  Several years later, Edee recalled, she began working in a large nursing home as a clerk. Because of a unique skill, she quickly worked her way up to director of admissions, where she worked in tandem with the director of nursing. “I had an uncanny ability to read medical histories and retain in memory medications a prospective patient was taking. So I knew right away whether or not we wanted that person to come to the facility.”

In the first metaphysical class Edee attended, participants were asked to put an item of jewelry in a basket.  Each took a piece, held it tightly to bring in impressions about its owner, and then shared what he or she “saw.”  Then the owner of the jewelry would comment on the accuracy of the observations.  When Edee’s turn came, she said she was sorry, but couldn’t see anything relevant.  All she saw was seawater completely surrounding her, but couldn’t draw any meaning from it.  She held up the necklace she was holding, and a woman began to laugh. “It’s a pendant of Neptune,” she told the group. “And I didn’t have a clue,” Edee said.

Edee attended weekly meetings at the metaphysical center for about eight years, learning about everything from angels and spirit guides to numerology, psychometry, astrology, flowers, tarot, tea reading, crystals, automatic writing, channeling, and more.  “You name it, we did it,” she said.  “It was a wonderful world full of discovery, learning, and experiencing without judgment.”

While on a spiritual trip to Egypt with other center members, Edee had an intense, inexplicable experience.

The group had decided to pay homage to Ra, the Egyptian sun god, in the footsteps of the ancient priests, but as Edee walked up the rocky path to the ruins in Sakkara, her Catholic upbringing began to stir uncomfortably at the idea of paying homage to an idol.  She began to pray ‘let there be no false gods before me.’”  She put her hands on the rock and simply thanked Ra for the opportunity to be in Egypt. She turned around and began to descend. “Witnessed by my 17 friends, as I was about to grab an assisting hand, it felt like I was pushed back against the rock out of nowhere.  I crumbled into heaving sobs, feeling like my brain had split in two. I had different thoughts going on at the exact same time … or so it felt.

“I knew I wasn’t crying only for myself.  I was crying about humanity being trapped in the physical body.  I felt the actual entrapment of my body, and I wanted to fly free.  It is nearly impossible to explain, for it was not a death wish but rather the experience of a ‘knowing,’ a deep feeling of truthfulness.  Meanwhile, the other side of my brain was screaming that ‘you are making a huge fool of yourself!  People are going to think you’re a fruitcake!’”

Edee said that when she finally got back down to earth, there was not a dry eye in her group.  Whatever had occurred to her had touched them as well.  Not a word was spoken, but each hugged the others, one by one.

“It was the strangest and the most holy of experiences,” Edee said.  Little did she know that the experience would presage the next phase of her journey that would change her life forever.

The Book with the Keys

Shortly before her trip to Egypt, Edee had had a vivid dream in which a voice clearly said, “Go find the book with the keys.”  What did this dream mean?  Her friends sent her books with the word “key” in the title—anything that might be what she was to “find.”  But nothing fit; nothing made sense to her.  And then one day a friend told her she believed she had found the book Edee was looking for.  She took her to a meeting about A Course in Miracles.

Her hunt was over, for this book was indeed Edee’s answer.  Her answer, she stressed, noting that the book is called “A” Course, not “The” Course, as “we all have our own path to God.”

A Course in Miracles, or ACIM, is a channeled self-study ecumenical course in spiritual principles, published in 1976. It applies to all humanity, not just Christians, although many believe it was channeled from Jesus.  The course states that “a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary.”

It was in ACIM that Edee finally found her internal spiritual center.

“Although I was very involved in the metaphysics, there was something missing,” she said. “Metaphysical ‘toys’ can be wonderful but they aren’t very helpful when the going is difficult with personal relationships, sickness, and general unhappiness.  It was ACIM that finally answered my questions,” she said. “The workbook totally turned my life around.”

It took Edee two years to complete the ACIM workbook.  As she did the lessons, everything false that had been put upon her—all the opinions and beliefs of others that she had adopted as her own—began to slowly peel away.   She found that her biggest challenge was to love herself as much as the words in the course told her she was loved.

But she overcame it one day at a time.  “ACIM slowly wiped away my lack of self esteem, my insecurities, and a lot of my fears.  And it gave me the sustained belief that there is something grander that wants us to be the best that we can be,” she said.

Edee strongly believes that this discipline has helped her discover who she really is—that although it is a process that will continue through the rest of her life, it has transformed her from the very frightened woman who walked into that church so many years ago into the person she is today.  She understands now that everything that has happened in her life has had its purpose. “All of life is learning who we are,” she said.

Advice for the Journey Ahead

Edee’s spiritual search has been underway for more than 35 years.  For those of us just getting started on our own journeys, she advised that we start with reading, and then take on a spiritual discipline to see if we enjoy it and if it resonates inside of us. It can be anything from writing a journal, to studying a particular religion or discourse, to meditating, to engaging in some form of metaphysics.  Practice, practice, practice your chosen discipline, she said.

“When you don’t like something, question why.  Where is the fear coming from?  Why is it making you angry?  But most important, believe in something greater than yourself—whatever form that takes for you.  Ask for help and expect to see it.  Expect the unexpected.

“Spirit doesn’t deal with only the high spiritual woo woos, it deals with our everyday lives,” she said.  “There is nothing wrong with asking for a parking space close by.  There is nothing wrong in asking for material things.  You just have to stay in a state of gratitude and you have to give back for what you get. God does not want us to be miserable!

“Spirit is not just in church on Sundays.  It’s everywhere, in the little things.  It’s seeing birds outside in your little feeder.  It’s being happy you have the money to buy the birdseed.  It’s finding gratitude in everything.  It’s blessing everything.  And it’s being able to forgive, for forgiveness gives us the peace we seek. That is spirituality.”

 

Recommended Reading

For an excellent overview of ACIM, visit http://www.miraclecenter.org/about/miracles.html.

Edee recommends the following books, which are aligned with the principles of ACIM.

Dialogue on Awakening, by Tom Carpenter

The Disappearance of the Universe, by Gary R. Renard

Journey Beyond Words: A Companion to the ACIM Workbook, by Brent Haskell

The Way of Mastery, by the Shanti Christo Foundation