There is nothing in this world that I want anymore. Please let me clarify that statement though before your mind starts taking that off in any specific direction with it ok?
In this world, I’ve experienced A LOT. I’ve seen some pretty amazing places. I’ve had some very amazing relationships. I’ve owned lots of cool stuff. And I’ve dabbled in enough alcohol, drugs, sex, and many other temporarily stimulating things for a lifetime to know what they all bring. Except the best moments of my life haven’t ever come from any of those experiences. The best moments of my life have come when I’ve felt the Presence of something Greater guiding me, something that I’ve haven’t felt for almost five years now.
As a kid I was driven for popularity. As a young adult, I was driven for financial success. As a middle-aged man now, I’m driven for only one thing and that’s to feel the Presence and peace of God again, something that instantly seems to turn people off anytime I talk about this, where I’m typically given negative labels, unfriended, blocked, or ghosted, with people believing I’m just some religious nut. Believe me, I’m not and am not here to preach religion, even if your mind thinks that right now. Please keep reading and I hope you’ll understand better by the end.
Up until the age of 23, I had never experienced anything greater than what this world could offer. When my alcohol, drug, and cigarette addiction had finally gotten the best of me, I turned to something I never turned to before in my life, and that was some God that I was brought up with in a family who didn’t practice good Christian values. And when I did turn to that God in that moment, on the side of a bathtub, with hands clasped together, and asked that God to help me, I felt some Presence, a Presence, and a tremendous amount of peace wash over me, something I had never felt in my entire life before that. None of the worldly things I had experienced prior to that moment could even compare to that feeling. Honestly, it was that feeling that would help me through the next 90 days of hell when I detoxed from all three addictions at once. That feeling, that Presence, left me though by the end of that period and I would go on to spend the next five years seeking what the world had to offer all over again, landing myself in another bunch of addictive behaviors, becoming even more miserable in the process.
In the middle of my 27 to 28th year of my life, I had become broken all over again, sick and tired of the world not filling that hole in me, so I went off on a weekend spiritual retreat, where I faced one of the biggest wounds of my life, my father’s suicide, and asked God in the midst of that work for help, and it came. That peace, that glow, that Presence, came over me all over again, and I cried. Oh, did I cry. That Presence lasted once more for a few weeks at best, reminding me there was something Greater out there. I struggled to call it God though due to my abhorrence to religion.
Unfortunately, I’d fall hard back into worldly clamors, looking to the world for answers for another three years or so. When they didn’t come, when enough sex and money and things I bought for myself didn’t satisfy anything, I sought a friend who did spiritual body work, who on a table one day helped me experience an awakening like no other that brought that Presence back, this time for about three months. When it left, I couldn’t figure out why and descended all over again back into the illusion that the world could change that.
When my mother died in 2005, I was so seriously broken that I used the world with her money for all it had. I became a user of everything, until that didn’t work anymore. So, in desperation, I went away on a 10-day silent retreat, looking for answers. At the end of my fourth day on that retreat, that Presence swept upon me again, when I least expected it. It would last for six months, but this time I did as much as I could during that period doing what I thought I needed to do to keep it around. It’s during that period I learned to write and speak more eloquently about all that I had been thorough thus far in life. That Presence still left me though and devastated me. This time the hole it left in its wake was life shattering.
I tried everything to bring it back, even going on another 10-day silent retreat to recreate the experience. I did body work, affirmations, long meditations, changed my food, changed my friends, changed everything, yet nothing worked. Six more years of agony I’d endure of chasing one thing after another that the world offered, from people, to places, to things, none of it brought me any deep fulfillment. I hurt a lot of people during this period, much of which I came to regret and experience sorrow over many years later. In 2012, after a suicide attempt, I asked a Shaman for help. Not too long after, I began to feel that Presence again. It came more subtly yet was still there and I’d feel it more than not over the next three years, until one day that Shaman told me I was going to experience a downward shift for a while before I emerged on the other side. It was all vague and made little sense, but she proved right, as I felt that Presence leave me in 2015 on a return flight home from a vacation.
I wouldn’t feel that Presence again until late August of 2017, when I was on a trip to visit my sister and her family. It washed over and through me immediately in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, as if the sunlight had become brighter in there. I’d experience five days of it after that. It left me as quickly as it came, yet it restored my hope that God was still there, that is until too much time went by after that without feeling that Presence.
It’s been almost 5 years now. That brightness, that glow, that joy, that peace, that Presence, I haven’t felt it since that trip to see my sister in 2017. While I haven’t fallen back into toxic addictions and toxic behaviors this time nor chosen the world for answers and while I have kept my spiritual routines up and fought constant thoughts of taking my life and checking out, I live with sorrow every day knowing there is nothing this world has to offer that will brighten my life. Believe me when I say I most certainly have tried.
While I love my partner, the friends who have stuck by my side, my cats, the people who read my blog, and all those I continue to help in my volunteer efforts, what I love and long for the most is not of this world and is not something I’ve ever been able to obtain by any of my own efforts. I don’t understand why that Presence has left me for so long, as I know now it’s not because of what I’m doing. I only pray for its return, as the thought of it coming back is the only thing that’s kept me going now in a world where everyone else around me seems to seek what the world has for answers, when I know for me it has none…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson