My wife and 2 year to-old son and I were living in the U.S. 10 years ago. My wife’s father, abroad, was diagnosed with precancerous lung tumors. My wife wanted to be with him, so we had to put our lives on hold temporarily and move abroad.
I am not writing this to put any blame of what happened to us on my wife or children or my wife’s parents. I continue to love them unconditionally and know that I have many faults and was probably very difficult to live with. I am grateful for the time we spent together and, God willing, we will see each other again.
We had to live with my wife’s parents but had no intention of staying. I did not know it at the time, but as you will see shortly, this would lead to my discovery of the Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda , his book “Autobiography of a Yogi” and the science of Kriya Yoga which has completely turned my life around and delivered me from the jaws of death.
When we went abroad, we found things were not what we expected. My wife’s parents had told us we could stay with them in their house. We found out after getting there
however, that I was only allowed to sleep there and even this was unwanted. I was not allowed in the house during the day without being mercilessly abused.
We had only a little money because everything we had in the U.S. had been used to pay off debt and I wandered the streets during the day. I could not buy food, obviously, and was not allowed food at the house, except some scraps once in a while that had been left for me. This consisted of fat, gristle and vegetables that were unfit for human consumption.
This went on for about a year. Both of my wife’s parents verbally abused me whenever they saw me and swore at me constantly. I fell down their steep stairs once and my wife’s father came running around the corner thinking it was our young son. He saw it was me at the bottom of the stairs, scowled and said “oh, you”! He turned around and walked away, not even caring if I was hurt. They treated me like an unwanted parasite, yet hatred is not in me and I was unable to return their hatred.
I was saddened because I had never shown them anything but respect and love and had housed and fed them when they came to the U.S. for a couple of months to visit us, with my wife driving them everywhere, spending much of my savings on them while I worked full-time. I always showed them kindness, despite all they were doing to me and this seemed to make them even angrier, though I never felt anything but unconditional love for them.
My wife’s father started treatment for his cancer and was finally free of it after a year. My wife’s mother started drinking heavily and, while I was concerned, there was nothing I could do but pray for them.
The first time I realized that God was working through me was when my wife’s father asked me to help him to go to church again. He had not been to church for decades but saw me getting dressed up every Sunday and going to church, which he always ridiculed. I was leading by example.
He knew that I was serving on the church council and suddenly asked me to teach him how to go to Communion. I was happy to do this, especially after what he had been through with cancer.
Several years went by and my wife’s father continued hating me and trying to alienate our children from me. My son once said to me “you must really hate Grampy” because he saw how inhumanly he treated me. I simply said “no, I don’t hate Grampy, I love him like I love all of God’s children, and so must you”. I just could not find it in my heart to hate him or anyone despite how badly I had been treated most of my life.
A very stressful and difficult struggle with hospital appointments and intense worry that lasted about a year, finally resulted in her father being well enough for my wife not to be needed. At this point, we started making plans to return to the U.S.
My wife’s mother then became ill with cancer that affected her brain. She started drinking even more heavily and became very abusive to us, especially to me. She died a couple of years later. I had flashbacks and nightmares about her cruel treatment for years and they still occasionally occur.
I am a very forgiving person with strong faith, so I have never had any ill feelings toward my wife’s mother. I knew she was not herself anymore. We could no longer live with my wife’s parents, but we had nowhere else to go at the time. I truly felt that I was battling against the dark forces.
I had not invested much time in getting a proper job because we had not planned on staying even as long as we had. We became stuck in a horrible nightmare of a life which lasted more than 10 long and terrible years. We struggled desperately to find a place to live and my wife became pregnant for the second time.
We ended up having to live for a time in a small room above a barber shop. There was no privacy as the stairs led directly to the public area below. My wife was heavily pregnant at this point. She and our 3-year-old son had to sleep on a small, broken single bed while I had to sleep on the floor.
This is how we were living when my wife’s due date was coming up and she had a routine check on the baby. The baby’s heartbeat could not be found. We were again put through a horrible experience and the loss of the baby, after what we had been through, crushed us emotionally.
My wife had to be in the hospital for more than 2 weeks. They made her go through a natural still-birth. We were given no support at all after this and were just expected to carry on as if nothing had happened. My wife refused to have therapy afterwards.
She has had a very hard time. When we were first married, she told me that the doctors had told her that it would be very difficult for her to have children because she had polycystic ovaries. I still used protection however, as we were not ready to have children. Her personality started changing and she became very demanding and overbearing.
She started getting angry if I used protection and said there was no reason to use it as she could not get pregnant. For my own sanity, I stopped using the protection and she became pregnant within a couple of months with our son. The pregnancy was difficult and she developed thyroid disease and gestational diabetes during this time which could explain her personality change.
Our son also had a hard time just after he was born and at one point, when he was only about a week old, an inexperienced nurse gave him iodine directly in the mouth without mixing it with a liquid. It badly burned his mouth and throat and he had to have a tube run from his nose to his stomach for feeding. After the birth, my wife had a thyroidectomy.
We were still living above the barber shop when she became pregnant the second time. The stress the medical system and the local government services put us through, in addition to the abuse from my wife’s parents, probably caused the still-birth. By refusing to help us and forcing us to live in inhuman conditions, they put us under too much pressure. At this point, we had only been abroad for about 2 years.
We had not even been able to open a bank account at this point. We were required to present the bank with a letter from a utility company with our name and address on it. We did not have a proper address yet, so we had no bills to present to the bank.
I had applied for jobs and sent out hundreds of resumes, but had no luck. There was nothing where we were living that suited my qualifications. I had to apply for anything I could find. I was refused for all jobs as a result of over-qualification. I have always loved learning and believed that a good education was very important. I soon found out that I had educated myself out of a job.
I have earned 2 college degrees and have other very advanced qualifications. I have the equivalent of a master’s Degree with a firm grasp of mathematics, sciences and English. As a result of growing up in a military family, I also have the experience of traveling and living all over the world. I had become a professional scuba diver and professionally trained model as well.
Even changing my resume to leave out some of my degrees and qualifications did not seem to make any difference. I still could not find work other than temporary work as a bouncer in some seedy local pubs.
We tried to find a place to live, but were heavily penalized because we were married. When we inquired about low-income housing, we were told time and again that all the laws had been re-written and that they were only designed for single-parent families and people living on their own. We were told that there was very little chance of getting any help because we were married. We even tried the local and national charities for help with the same result.
As a result of my not having a job, and all of our savings having been used to go abroad and help my wife’s parents, we had no way of even renting a cheap apartment. This would have required job references and a very sizeable security deposit.
I decided at this point that I would have to try to get yet another university degree so I could work. I was able, after a struggle, to apply for a government scholarship. This was only after living abroad for 3 years and it enabled me to be accepted on a Travel and Tourism degree course.
It was the only way I was able to finally open a bank account. It gave me a letter that the bank finally accepted with my name and address on it and they saw that I had money from the scholarship to deposit.
My wife had to get a friend of hers to write a letter saying she worked for him as this was the only way we could get a privately rented property. The government and local charities refused to help us. We finally managed to get out from over the barber shop, but this was only the start of another nightmare that lasted more than 7 years.
We finally found a place but were in sub-standard accommodation that was basically open to the environment and the winters there were very damp and cold. I became very ill after all that had happened to us, from not being able to find a job and from living in an environment which was not acceptable or even allowed by law. We should not have been forced to live like this.
With the added stress of losing our daughter and the abuse from my wife’s parents, I had a nervous breakdown which led to severe anxiety and depression. I was then told by doctors that I could no longer work due to years of severe and excessive stress and abuse.
They registered me as disabled and said that I should be put on antidepressants which I was very reluctant to do. I finally had to agree as I wanted desperately to help my family and be a productive worker again. This is where I lost all faith in the local medical system and in medication in general.
We found out that the house we rented was not up to environmental and housing safety standards and the landlord refused to do any repairs. I could not get a proper job and there was no way for us to get a better place to live. My wife took on part-time employment and, other than the odd jobs I was able to get at night, that is how we were forced to live.
I went to school for a couple of years, but things got steadily worse and I had to stop going. My wife lost all interest in me early on, when the effects of the antidepressants became obvious. She worked, and the children were in school so after I had to stop my university course, I spent the long days alone, sitting on an old used sofa, which was all we could afford. I did not leave the house for a number of years.
We remained trapped for years, not even able to get out for a picnic in the country. About a year after we lost our second child and before my wife’s mother died, my wife became pregnant again and we were gifted with a lovely daughter in addition to our beautiful son, but I did not want them to have to live like this.
There were at least 2 Christmases where my wife and children went to my wife’s parent’s house and left me alone in the cold and dark with no food because I was not welcome at their house. I did not want to prevent them from enjoying the holiday season.
We could not afford a proper bed and had to rely on one that my wife’s parents gave us as they were getting a new one. We only had 1 bedroom at this property and my wife and 2 children slept on this small bed. I had not slept on a bed for 10 years, since leaving the U.S. Instead, I slept on a cold, hard floor which left me in a great deal of pain.
Life was almost impossible, especially with the constant threats thrown at us for years by the bank who was taking more money than we had in late fees and electric companies who were making gross overcharges which they were being investigated for.
My wife’s parents lived in a proper house, just a 10 minute walk from us. My wife started letting them take the children away from me all the time. Her parents detested me and told me so constantly. This turned into a daily occurrence and sometimes, the children would be gone for weeks at a time and I never saw them.
No matter how much I disagreed with this, my wife refused to listen. I was in a foreign country and had no idea what my rights were there.
I was sent to a total of 2 psychiatrists, 3 psychologists and 2 mental health councilors over a period of about 6 years. They examined me extensively and told me there was nothing wrong with me other than the effects of a lifetime of extreme trauma and abuse and that I urgently needed to get away from the abuse I was currently going through.
They told me I would never be successful but they could make me happy with medication. They made me go through long trials of about 10 different antidepressants that lasted 8 to 10 weeks each. The results were all the same; nothing made me feel any better, they only made me more complacent which I knew was not an answer. While antidepressants are necessary and helpful for some, they did not work for me.
I was finally told that there were no more medications to try and that I should stay on the last one they tried me on. This I did for about 3 years and I became hugely obese while living in this very unhealthy environment. As a result of the effects of the medication, I basically stopped caring about my health and my appearance and life in general, though always with complete devotion to my wife and children, despite the abuse.
I felt extreme guilt about not being able to work and I waited on them hand and foot, not even eating on the rare occasions when we had enough food for me because I was too busy serving them to sit down. I never realized that they had started using me, but perhaps they did not realize either and still don’t. This went on for years.
I am a very hard worker and could be very successful if given a chance. I am tired of being penalized for trying my best to be a good person. It was and is unthinkable for a country which claims to be up to First World standards to force a family to live like this. This treatment prevented me from working and also prevented me from completing my third degree.
I prayed constantly for my family to be saved and that we could live in a place where it was always warm and sunny. As a Divemaster, I had often been to the tropics which I felt would be an ideal location for us as I could work again as a professional scuba diver and expert in the repair and maintenance of underwater life support equipment. It was only a dream now but I had faith that if it was God’s will, it would happen eventually.
My wife had by now alienated me from my parents and family by bad-mouthing them constantly. I gave up everything I owned so she could have what she wanted. I showed her nothing but love and respect and everything I did was for her happiness, but nothing ever seemed good enough for her.
She constantly accused me of not loving her which left me in a state of complete confusion as I never thought of myself – only her and the children and everything I thought and did was for them.
Her parents completely alienated the children from me. I pleaded with my wife to let me take care of the children but she refused. We were forced to live in Third World conditions, in a very cold climate and I could not force the children to stay with me under those conditions when I knew their grandparent’s house was warm and dry, with plenty of food and a real bed to sleep in.
My daughter used to come back after being with my wife’s parents for several weeks and say ‘grampy says daddy is a stupid, fat, lazy old man’. This deeply hurt me and is untrue – I have done everything for them, but they don’t realize this. Even when I became unable to go out and work, I was a “House Dad”. I did all the cooking, cleaning, finances, etc.
We finally managed to move into another rented property, after the kitchen ceiling collapsed on top of my son and me. The new place was still not suitable for a family our size. With a 12-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter and only 2 very small bedrooms and 1 tiny front room, this was unacceptable. There was again, insufficient heating for the very cold and wet winters. They used a heating system in our property which is known to be very inefficient and unreliable. It is also very expensive.
Basically, the heating system consists of special, heat absorbing bricks that are placed inside a radiator. These bricks are heated late at night for a couple of hours and the heat is supplied by the bricks giving off the heat during the day. The bricks can only be heated once at night and this has to be relied on for the next 22 hours.
Needless to say, it does not provide enough heat especially during the very cold months. The heat was gone by 11:00 am and there was no way to control the output. As a result, several thick blankets and extra, unaffordable electric heaters were required for the rest of the day.
I took the children to the park or to the shops for sweets or to other places to do fun things on the very rare occasions when they were with me long enough as my wife was always too tired from her job to do it. It was a huge job that I was not paid for and nobody appreciated, they only complained.
Even though my wife and children and my wife’s parents did not understand my love for God or what I was doing for them, I knew that I was helping them and that I was protecting them from a harsh world that they did not understand.
They only knew the immediate world around them, where I had detached from that a long time ago and have a far different perspective of the world. Instead of feeling that my entire being is in one place and looking out at a strange world from one place as most people do, my being is everywhere because God is in my heart and in everyone else’s heart. This understanding allows me to view the universe and the world around me as if I am looking down on everything and can see God everywhere and in everyone.
I knew that I was their guardian and was serving a far higher purpose. Even though it has required me to give up everything to save them from the harsh world they are presently stuck in, I have God, which is all I need.
Our children went to different schools which were not within walking distance and we didn’t have a car and could not afford one. My wife’s father, however, did have a car and for years he took the children to school and brought them back every day at my wife’s insistence, instead of using public transport.
Her father showed up every day and shouted verbal abuse at me in front of the children and often at my wife and children as well. He would say something really horrible about me as he was going out the door. He then got in his car and quickly drove away because he was afraid to face me. I felt sorry for him and forgave him.
I didn’t abuse him in front of the children as he did to me, but this started getting increasingly difficult for me. I have never known the kind of hatred I experienced from my wife’s parents as I have felt nothing but love for others. It was affecting my mental health.
I desperately wanted to get the children away from my wife’s father and the only way I could do this was by moving back to the U.S. alone and with severe, though at the time undiagnosed, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a very high level of confusion in the hopes that I could bring them over later. I told my wife many times that her father was seriously damaging our marriage and the children’s mental health, but she ignored me and refused to do anything about it.
We had many disagreements about how our children were being raised, but she would not listen to my side of the argument and refused to discuss anything. She refused to let me be a father and she didn’t want me as a husband, only someone who waited on them hand and foot.
I told my wife the children would have problems later if she raised them the way she did, but she would get very violent and angry and said I didn’t know what I was talking about. She would get angry and violent with the children as well, would call them horrible names and sometimes approach them as if she were going to hurt them. At these times, I would actually have to hold them to protect them from her because I was afraid of what she would do to them.
I have now been proven right about the children having problems, but there is nothing I could do while I was trapped abroad. My wife had very serious anger issues that she brought into our marriage and I had to give in to her for the children’s sake.
She refused to use any discipline with them and met their every demand, even so far as using the little money we had to let them go online and buy something nearly every day – every day was like Christmas for them! If I tried to use even a little discipline with them, said told them I was mean for being concerned about their behavior. I became very quiet and basically stopped talking early on after my wife’s mother asked me a perfectly normal question and I gave her an honest answer, not thinking anything of it.
Later, my wife violently screamed at me for my answer because her mother had asked her the same question and she had told her something completely untrue, which turned out to be a regular occurrence with her parents and in our private life as well. I couldn’t trust her anymore or believe anything she said.
My wife started changing even more and became very violent and negative at the slightest provocation from me or the children or anyone else. She started letting our 8-year-old son watch horror films, including those that were so violent, they were rated for adults only.
I completely disagreed with this and told my wife there was a reason they had an adult rating. She again refused to listen and said I didn’t know what I was talking about.
We already didn’t have enough money for all of us to eat, but my wife would buy our son anything he wanted. His favorite toy was a life-sized doll of a character from his favorite adult horror film. It came with a rubber knife that it killed people with in the films. My wife spent over $100 to order it and have it shipped from the U.S. This was a significant part of our monthly income, which I had little access to.
I would throw away the horror films, but she told our son this was because I was mean, not that I loved and cared about him and thought he shouldn’t be watching them. Every time I threw them away, she would only buy him more. This is another reason I stopped eating regularly. The only control I had was to get rid of the horror films, even at the cost of my health.
I sacrificed my share of the food so they would have enough to eat. Over the years, I watched my son go from a lovely, happy little boy to angry, morbid and unhappy, with a constant need for material gratification. This was re-enforced by my wife letting our son have her debit card almost every day and buying things like collector condition dolls on the internet, which he would then play with until he quickly destroyed them.
Not having her way only resulted in abuse which involved her shouting at me and the children. I was very patient with her and the children and never got angry or fought with her, especially in front of the children, My wife and children fought constantly with each other for years, however, while I remained calm and detached for the sake of them and my rapidly deteriorating mental and physical health.
There was never any peace or quiet and I was exposed to this constant abuse on my senses and nervous system for twelve years. Someone had to remain in control. I was no longer a husband or father, but a guardian and referee.
After 12 years I ended up sleeping on park benches because our son, who was now about 14, insisted on sleeping with my wife in our bed which we could not all fit in. He would just stand there until my wife let him in and I had to leave. Her excuse was that she had to go to work in the morning and I didn’t, so it didn’t matter that I did not get any sleep. We had a small, used sofa downstairs which I would sleep on at first but it was very uncomfortable and caused a great deal of pain.
My anxiety started getting so high from being ejected from our bed every night that I had to leave the house in the middle of the night and walk to the park where I would sleep on a bench. I pleaded with my wife to discipline our son so he would stay in his own bed like other children, but she always refused to do anything.
I did start questioning myself and thinking that I was doing something wrong. I saw several psychologists over a ten-year period, desperately trying to find out what was wrong with me.
Time after time, they came to the conclusion that it was not me, but the people in my life that were the problem and they were the ones that needed to change. They kept telling me I was being domestically abused and needed to get away from it, which was hard for me to understand as I loved them and didn’t want to leave them.
I have always felt extremely disassociated from this world, since I was a very young child. I felt I didn’t belong in this world. I have been told that some very vivid dreams I have had could show that I feel this way because I have not incarnated for a very long time.
I don’t have to conform to other people’s view of the world and what they think of me is completely irrelevant. If everyone were the same, it would be a very dull place. Those of us who dare to be different are the ones who enable the planet to evolve.
I believe God placed me here for a very important reason yet to be revealed to me, if I survive. I have made it this far on nothing but pure faith and unconditional love, so I believe God will allow me to endure somehow.
My wife eventually started claiming our son had autism as an excuse for letting him get away with everything, after she found out she could get a significant amount of money from the government if she did this. The child psychologist examined him extensively and came to the conclusion that he definitely did not have autism. She said he might have a learning disability, but I am a keen observer and a scientist and I think it was more the way he was being raised, against my advice, than a learning disability.
He was highly intelligent and knew how to fool people and play the system. My wife would also coach him about what to do and say and he admitted that, when tested, he deliberately chose the wrong answer and even wrote letters backward to make it look like he had dyslexia and/or autism.
I never claimed there was nothing wrong with him, but the mis-information my wife kept giving the experts prevented them from making a proper diagnosis. I already knew he did not have autism and was backed up by several child psychologists and his teachers in school who had worked with him for years. They claimed that he did very well on the tests when he did not know he was being tested.
This only made my wife angry and hateful as, just like my mother had done to me when I was a child, she thought she knew better than anyone else. She also screamed at me that she didn’t care that I had 2 university degrees, I didn’t know anything. She had no higher level degrees and totally rejected anyone who had studied for years and had the experience and knowledge to help our son.
My wife finally managed to get autism money for our son, despite my very strong objection and the psychologist’s diagnosis that he was not autistic. Whenever he misbehaved, my wife would just say “he can’t help it, he has autism” so she didn’t have to correct his behavior. Just after I returned to the U.S., her income more than doubled so God had intervened to provide for them and sent me back to the U.S.
All of this involved mostly our son as my wife let our daughter go to and stay at her grandfather’s house where she was most of the time, even to sleep. I loved her and missed her so much, but even though we lived together, I was rarely allowed to see her and her grandfather had her so brainwashed about me, she didn’t even seem to know I existed.
My wife seemed fine with this as, just like my parents with me, she didn’t seem able to deal with children. She rarely brought anything for our daughter, but she saw toys and other things coming in the mail for our son all the time. I finally got very stern with my wife for the first time and told her she was showing extreme favoritism to our son which our daughter would notice and would eventually rebel against.
My wife didn’t say anything, but I noticed she started buying things for our daughter as well after this, so if nothing else, I had at least got our daughter some attention as well.
Eventually, this all got too much for me. I loved them all so much but could not bear to watch my wife destroy herself and the children any longer or watch my son be used in exchange for money when I knew he was capable of so much more. This was exactly what my narcissistic parents had done to me, which destroyed my life.
I tried to save them for almost twenty years, but with the involvement of my wife’s parents, I felt I was fighting a losing battle and any disagreement only caused further violence, derision and abuse from my wife and her father. I had to be true to myself.
For all these years, we had only enough money for food for my wife and children and me, if I fasted several times each month, and rent and nothing else, though the rent was often late because of lack of funds, which we were heavily penalized for. We could not afford much furniture or other things. We were not able to have a holiday or time away from the house.
Our monthly income only lasted about 2 and a half to 3 weeks and we had to scrape for food the last week of every month for years, while always making sure that the children had enough. We were unable to have a car or anything that would have made our life a little more bearable.
The constant threats from not being able to pay bills on time, in addition to everything else, was very destructive to our mental health especially when we were treated like criminals for no reason. We simply didn’t have money, through no fault of our own. The bank we had been using was, unfortunately, very corrupt.
It is now well-known to have been acting illegally and immorally for the past few years, with illegal operations even in the United States. They made it impossible for us to switch to another bank due to extortionate late fees which they double-charged. The start of each month, our entire income went into paying the overdraft and the rest of the month, we lived on the overdraft, at the banks whim.
Later, after I had stopped taking the antidepressants, my wife and children accused me of not loving or caring about them because I did not just drop everything to attend to their every desire. I started thinking of some of my own needs for the first time in my life as I was finally free of the effects of some very undesirable prescription drugs that had affected me since early childhood. I was waking up from a nightmare that had lasted for over forty years.
Imagine living for 12 years with people screaming abuse, hatred and obscenities at you day in and day out with no way to escape. My mind shut down for 10 years. I was left with very severe and, at the time, undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with extreme confusion and massive memory loss, barely able to function.
This abuse, which was also directed at the children, went on for over a decade, and when I left to return to the U.S., our daughter was still going to her grandfather’s house to sleep every night, if she was not there already, and had absolutely no interest in being with me due to her grandfather’s daily brainwashing about how horrible I was.
Finally, after many mistakes made by doctors and other so-called health professionals, I told my doctor I wanted to stop taking the antidepressants. He helped me to slowly stop and come off. Things started changing after about a month when the antidepressants starting being flushed from my body. I became interested in life again and I started going out and walking everywhere on a daily basis.
When we moved to the second property, we were within walking distance of a church, so I was able to attend Mass again after a number of years. I quickly lost all the weight I had put on from the medication and was in good shape again.
It was just after Easter, the third week of April 2013. I had started taking action to turn my life around. I knew I had to do something to change our situation as just sitting there did nothing. I was more than afraid however, because I knew I had to go back to the U.S. alone, while leaving my wife and children struggling on their own. I had done nothing but think of all the things that could go wrong for 2 years, which led nowhere.
This is when I started strongly suspecting that I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with significant memory loss and confusion which was not treatable where we were. I had no idea what I would do when I got to the U.S. with no income and no job or place to live.
By this time, I had gone to church every day and had joined several volunteer church groups. I had started staying in church every day for 3 hours, meditating with the Rosary in front of statues of Jesus, Mary, St Joseph and St Francis of Assisi. We lived next to a cemetery, so I would go there every day as well and sit praying and singing hymns and saying the Rosary, because I felt closer to God there.
It was just after a very memorable and inspiring Easter and I had gone into deep states of consciousness while saying the Rosary, and after coming out of this state on April 21st (plus or minus a couple of days – I don’t remember the exact date), I suddenly realized that all the fear and deep anxiety I had felt about returning to the U.S. had disappeared. It was as if a warm and comfortable blanket had been thrown over my cold mind and God was telling me not to be afraid. To go and He would provide.
My family had been trapped in the welfare system abroad for 12 years. I don’t blame anyone for this, we just got caught up in some very unusual and unfortunate circumstances involving death of family members and some very bad feelings from other people directed at me. Perhaps God was using me to help them work out the bitterness they had acquired from bad experiences, I don’t know. I was working out my karmic mistakes as well from past lives.
I seemed to absorb all these negative feelings directed at me, with God working through me. I continued to love these people however and prayed for them constantly. I had no energy and could barely leave the house to walk anywhere. I was like a vegetable, sitting all day watching television and hardly ever moving.
I found a statue of Ganesha, the Hindu elephant headed god and the remover of obstacles in a charity shop. It was hand-carved wood and had come from India. I love ancient history and world cultures and, for some reason, have always felt a special place in my heart for India. I was compelled to buy it and set it in a prominent place in our house, asking Ganesha to help me and my family.
During Epiphany 2012, my priest gave me a piece of chalk that he had blessed. He gave me a ritual to take home and perform with my family. Part of the ritual involved writing the names of The Three Kings from the Nativity – Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior, saints in the Catholic tradition, with Caspar and perhaps all of them said to be great kings or scholars from India – over our front door. It protects the family and friendly strangers who come through the door. I don’t remember all the words I recited, but part of it was “Thou didst send Thine only son to lead all men to the light”.
It is strange how, only after I had given everything up to God and started on this journey and returned to the U.S., did I eventually read the book “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda, a guru who came to the U.S. from India in the 1920’s, and find out about Kriya Yoga as revealed by Babaji and the fact that Yogananda said The Three Kings were believed to be incarnations of 3 great avatars from India who were Yogananda’s line of gurus – Swami Sri Yukteswar, Lahiri Mahasaya and Mahavater Babaji. They went to Bethlehem to welcome Jesus as the one who would bring the light of Christ to mankind.
I think I have known all along that God was the doer, but I had to go through what I did from childhood so that God could “forge” my mind and body in preparation for this important mission. When I was initiated into Kriya Yoga in October 2014, my memory started returning and I could see how all of this has led to this point.
When we lost our daughter and my wife’s mother a couple of years later, both were cremated and my wife eventually asked if they could be buried together in the memorial gardens at the crematorium to which I consented.
A year before I returned to the U.S., I went to the memorial gardens every day, stood at the grave of my daughter and mother-in-law and talked to them, telling them that I loved them and telling my mother-in-law that I understood what she had been through and that I did not hold any bad feelings about the way she treated me. I only loved her and our daughter and I continued to pray for their souls. I often wept for them and everything that had happened to my family and me and my wife’s parents as well.
I returned from abroad in June of 2013 and flew to Orlando, Florida, taking a bus then to Miami Beach. I stayed in a cheap and dirty hostel and began looking for a church. I had trouble finding one, but eventually stumbled upon a church, just down the street from the hostel, dedicated to St. Francis de Sales. I moved to Hollywood Beach, Florida a couple of months later.
Again, I had difficulty finding a church, but soon found one near the hostel dedicated to St Theresa of Lisieux, also known as “Little Flower”. Those who have read Autobiography of a Yogi will recognize the saints these churches were named after.
At this point, I met a girl from India who was staying in the same hostel as me. She took me to the Sunday Service at a large Hindu temple in Southern Florida.
There were many statues of Hindu gods on the alters and, at the end of the service, we all walked past the alters and paid our respects to the gods. At the end of the procession, there were two priests who gave everyone a handful of blessed nuts and seeds and a handful of holy water. I ate the seeds and drank the holy water. This was followed by a delicious lunch on the temple grounds.
At this point, I still knew nothing about Yogananda or Autobiography of a Yogi, but I have always been drawn to California and drinking the holy water and eating the seeds immediately awakened an uncontrollable urge in me to go to Los Angeles. I spent the last of the little money my wife had managed to send me on a bus ticket from Hollywood Beach, Florida to Los Angeles, California. It took three days to cross the country but I made it to Los Angeles.
I am Catholic and went to church every day when I was abroad. I joined the Knights of St Columba and was inspired by this important group of men who did so much charity work not just for the Catholic Church, but for everyone, regardless of race or religion.
When I returned to the US, the Knights very kindly gave me a generous donation which helped me significantly in the beginning and allowed me to survive. I started thinking of their counterparts in the U.S., the Knights of Columbus as I was in dire need of assistance.
I tried contacting the Knights of Columbus several times while abroad, but they never responded to me. I tried again when I got to the U.S. with the same result. When I first returned to the U.S. and finally located a Catholic Church, in the first city I was in after arriving, it was a huge relief to me to be able to go to church every day again. The PTSD was still undiagnosed at this point and it was nearly impossible for me to approach anyone and even harder to talk to them.
I was in a state of very high anxiety and extreme confusion, yet after a couple of months I forced myself to approach one of the priests with the intention of explaining my situation and asking for help. He was an older priest, though not the main one and, after listening to him, I felt a humbleness about him which made it much easier, though still terrifying, for me to approach him. I was not at all comfortable with the main priest, who had a feeling of extreme arrogance around him and showed no humility whatsoever.
When I approached the older priest and explained things, I was dismayed when he said he was not the main priest and that I should talk to him. He led me to the Sacristy and told me to wait there. He then went down a long and narrow dark corridor to a room at the end. The church was in a wealthy area and was adorned with gold and marble and was very opulent.
He came back with the main priest, who did not look very happy at being disturbed in his inner sanctum. I was introduced to him and tried desperately to explain things, barely able to form my thoughts into words with the amount of fear I was feeling in the state of extreme confusion I was in.
I explained that I needed assistance and that I had tried contacting the Catholic Church several times while abroad and had no response from anyone. The priest just stared at me with a scowl and said, like it was forced, “I’m sorry”. He then turned his back on me and walked back down the long, dark corridor to his inner sanctum. When he did this, the priest who introduced me too him actually apologized to the main priest for disturbing him and tried to protect me as well by telling him it was him that told me to come to the Sacristy.
I said to myself, not for the first time in my life’s journey and certainly not for the last time, quoting Jesus and, as recorded by St Luke (whom I chose at Confirmation to be my personal saint and guide), “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). I left the city the next day.
My parish priest abroad had even written me a letter of introduction as a sort of character reference, but I had already sent copies to churches in the U.S. while abroad and even after returning, explaining my situation and that I was returning to the U.S. and needed assistance because I was disabled. They all ignored me and I didn’t think it would be any different if I gave the letter to this priest.
This state of the Catholic Church in the U.S. saddened me. After living abroad for more than a decade and seeing how strong the Catholic Church is there, the Church in the U.S. seems to have lost its way. Some things that I noticed right away were that, in every church I went to in the U.S., everyone seemed to have a cold and disinterested and unreverential attitude towards each other and the Mass in general, like they were either forced to be there and didn’t want to have anything to do with each other or they felt they were too holy and important to interact with anyone but the priests.
Many of the churches don’t even use candles anymore. You can’t light a candle and offer up a prayer, you have to push a button which turns on a lightbulb on top of a fake candle because everything has been modernized with gadgets and electricity.
During the greeting after saying the “Our Father” prayer, people don’t shake hands anymore, not even with people right next to them. Instead they try to sit as far apart as possible, so they are not near anyone else and look around the church at people, giving a little wave, as if to say “I’m too important to sit next to you or shake your hand, but I acknowledge your presence”. The Church abroad is not like this at all and is far more humble and Christ like and much more like a real family.
The way I was treated by the Catholic Church in the U.S. reminded me of Matthew 10:
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the laborer deserves his keep. ‘Whatever town or village you go into, seek out someone worthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, may your peace come upon it; if it does not, may your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet.
Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as snakes and yet innocent as doves. ‘Be prepared for people to hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as evidence to them and to the gentiles. But when you are handed over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes, because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will come forward against their parents and have them put to death. You will be universally hated on account of my name; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. In truth I tell you, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes. ‘Disciple is not superior to teacher, nor slave to master. It is enough for disciple to grow to be like teacher, and slave like master. If they have called the master of the house “Beelzebul”, how much more the members of his household? ‘So do not be afraid of them. Everything now covered up will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.
For I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person’s enemies will be the members of his own household. ‘No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
These passages are very similar to my life and the current journey I am on and are a close reflection of my entire life in a condensed form. As I said, I left this city the next day to continue the journey God had inspired me to begin. I finally got in contact with the Knights of Columbus who had the same attitude as the arrogant priest who rejected me. Even after telling them I was a brother Knight from a sister organization abroad, they were rude and arrogant and only wanted me to stop bothering them and they never contacted me again.
When I got to my current location a few years later, I was sitting in a church one day, before the Mass which I was only occasionally able to get to as I live in a remote jungle location and have no transport. I was sitting in the very back, alone, when a man approached me.
He said he was in the Knights of Columbus and they needed new members. I told him I was already a Knight of St Columba but that I was currently homeless. He got a terrified look on his face, started stammering and quickly started backing away from me as if I was unclean. I am very careful about hygiene and my appearance and looked perfectly normal or he wouldn’t have approached me.
Just mentioning that I was homeless terrified him and he actually turned around and walked quickly away from me, back to the front of the church. I see him every time I am able to get to church, but he has never acknowledged me again or comes anywhere near me. I again found myself quoting the words of Jesus.
I have been homeless for more than four years now and have found no help from the Catholic Church or any charities. Only after I discovered Yogananda did I find anyone who cared about me enough to help.
I have never rejected the Catholic Church as it was my origin and the religion I grew up with and I greatly honor my spiritual beginnings. I owe much of my spirituality to being in Catholic schools and serving as an alter boy for many years in addition to the church groups I have belonged to. I greatly respect what Pope Francis is doing and hope it changes the Church.
I have gone beyond the need to be led by the Church hierarchy and have enough wisdom and knowledge to listen to what God is telling me. All major religions are just different expressions of God and are one and the same family.
Charities and government organizations have treated me like a criminal even though I have done nothing wrong – only love and respect everyone. Western doctors, therapists and psychologists have scorned me and tried to convince me that I am insane because of my strong faith and love of God. Only after I found spiritually minded people did I begin to heal.
The only place I have been welcomed in the U.S. is where I have found spiritually minded people and those familiar with Hinduism and the Hindu philosophy of Sanatana Dharma. Everyone else has totally rejected me. Around people like this, for the first time in my life, I have found that I am respected and am able to use the gifts God gave me.
I am also managing to begin the healing process and am actually being told that there is something extraordinary and right about me and my beliefs. I started losing my fear of speaking to people and found that I no longer had to worry about approaching people or what to say. God is actually bringing people to me now for advice and comfort and I find that the words I need always come to me.
I speak very little and people tell me that any time I do speak, it is always very profound. God seems to have given me wisdom, like King Solomon and I merely act as a humble channel for Him. Nothing I do or say is from me as I am nothing but I can feel the Divine in me and working through me.
Most people in the West don’t understand me and think there is just something wrong with me because I don’t speak unless I am Divinely inspired to do so, then God speaks for me. Their attitude doesn’t offend me at all as I see others as my children and have infinite patience with them.
When I got to Los Angeles, I did my usual search for a church and also looked for a spiritual group to meet like-minded people. One month later, I found a spiritual community and went to the Sunday Service. There, I met Yogananda. It felt like everything had suddenly fallen into place and there were answers there.
This is the point where I started reading Autobiography of a Yogi and starting seeing synchronicities between my life, Yogananda and what had and was happening to me. This included such things as intuition directing me to Los Angeles, running across churches dedicated to saints mentioned in Autobiography, including St. Therese of Lisieux, Little Flower, whom Therese Neumann, from Autobiography, prayed to as a girl, to heal her of blindness, paralysis and bedsores. The Three Wise Men as well, with whose names I blessed our house abroad, and who Yogananda claims were incarnations of his line of gurus.
Several months passed in Los Angeles and I eventually got to the point where I could no longer afford to stay even in a cheap hostel. I started spending my days and nights wandering with the homeless on Skid Row to acclimate myself to living that way.
I shared the little money I had with people I met and prepared to live like that, returning to the hostel a few times each week, early in the morning, to get a couple of hours of sleep. I enrolled in a homeless program that would put me in a shelter and prepare me for eventual work.
I would be required to be locked up with a lot of other homeless people every night. The thought of this, in the condition I was in, terrified me but I put my trust in God. Sometimes, anxiety had taken over in me and got so bad at one point, that I truly believed that I was going to die.
I went to sleep one night and the anxiety was so high that I started feeling like I was literally “phasing out” of this world. Suddenly, I was enveloped in a warm, white light and I could hear a female voice singing Yogananda’s chant “I Am the Bubble, Make Me the Sea”.
All fear completely disappeared, or more accurately, everything but the voice and the light that enveloped me ceased to exist. I woke up the next morning and the anxiety was gone. I know it was Divine Mother /The Virgin Mary who had sung to me.
There is an unavoidable outcome to being homeless. Despite one’s best efforts, having no place to live, little or no money and the inability to control diet causes one to become offensive to other people. This is due to the inability to buy or wash clothes properly and hygiene becomes very difficult. Inevitable when one’s own past karma catches up with them.
The day I was meant to go into the shelter program, something held me back and told me not to let myself get locked up in a shelter. I had started smelling bad, but my friends at the spiritual community, who will always have my gratitude, kindly put up with my presence until it became too much.
A week later, I was invited to go to their retreat, to take part in a service program. I ended up having a more stable living environment there, though not ideal for my conditions, serving for a year and becoming a Kriyaban (one who practices Kriya Yoga).
I later found out that the city of Los Angeles was thinking of building a compound outside of the city to lock homeless people in, letting them out only under armed guard, as a way of addressing Los Angeles’ homeless problem. I have often wondered if the shelter program I almost went into was a part of that.
I became completely engrossed in service to others at the retreat, working in the kitchen and dining room, cleaning toilets and eventually doing other service projects for the community at large. I found that, for the first time in my life, I felt completely connected to God and needed much less sleep with the amount of meditation I was doing. I started feeling calmness and joy that I had not felt since early childhood – before my parents shut down my mind and body with medication.
At this point, a woman showed up from Hawaii and said she was interested in starting a similar program on Maui and wanted me to help her. She suggested that I apply to a service program at a spiritual community on the Big Island, also dedicated to Yogananda’s teachings, until she was ready for me.
I applied and, with the kind assistance of others, was accepted into the program. The woman never contacted me again about helping her, but Hawaii worked out and I was allowed to live in a small structure on the grounds of a spiritual community that follows Yogananda. In exchange for shelter, I volunteer as the cook and gardener, acting as a channel for directing the energy of the Divine into the food and plants I work with.
After 15 years of faithful and continuous praying to get back to the tropics to live, my prayer had finally been granted. My prayers had included my family as well, but I had also prayed that the terrible and severe abuse and total lack of care and interest in me from my wife and children and my wife’s parents would also end. Perhaps this was God’s answer as I always tell Him that I want His will to be done above all else. Perhaps He will change my wife and children so we can be together again, but that is up to God and I continue to pray for them.
After moving to Hawaii, I immediately started looking for a therapist to help me begin healing from all the trauma I had been through. I had no idea how to find the right therapist or where to look, except on the internet. I prayed for God’s help and guidance.
I had no idea how to find the right therapist who could help me. I did an internet search for therapists near me and two names came up. One was an old navy psychologist who, when I met him, said to me “after all you’ve been through, you should have vaporized by now”. That was all he had to say.
When I went to see the other therapist, I was a bit worried because her office was a small, bare room with only 2 chairs and a desk. There wasn’t even any carpet. The therapist came in, wearing Indian style clothes and Indian prayer beads, sat down and immediately went into a relaxed crossed legged posture.
Something felt right about her and after talking to her, I found out she had also been initiated into Kriya Yoga, years ago, and was a direct disciple of Anandamayi Ma. She had lived with Ma in her ashram in India for years until her passing. She had even lived at the retreat I had just come from in the early years. Yet another synchronicity with Autobiography of a Yogi! She had just opened her office and wasn’t even looking for new patients yet.
She was a psychiatric APRN and an excellent therapist and told me I couldn’t work for now, because I need to heal and should apply for Disability because, after four years of homelessness as well as the extremely traumatic life I had come from and my exposure to the deadly neurotoxin Agent Orange on a Pacific Island for two years as a child during the Vietnam War, I also have had untreated neurotoxicity for fifty years.
My physical and mental health were already badly compromised and were rapidly deteriorating to a dangerous level. I had been registered Disabled abroad several years before I left, after stress nearly killed me. She verified my conditions and helped me to apply for Disability.
I couldn’t be around people and could barely talk because all my senses had been so overstimulated for so many years, I had detached from them. I had completely disassociated from the world and had lost all grounding.
The Disability process is not easy, even if the disability is obvious. It takes at least three years, constantly being threatened by the government until they are finally convinced you are disabled. I have to be constantly monitored by a therapist to make sure the depression doesn’t get worse under the extreme and heightened stress the Disability process causes.
The community I live in is 8 miles from the nearest town and I have no transport so no way of getting food. On the rare occasions when I can find someone with a car, who will drive me to the small village, I have to get as many cans of food as I can carry. I have lived off of unhealthy cold cans of food for almost 2 years now while I wait for the Disability process. They provide food at the community and I cook it for them, but much of it is unfamiliar to me and my digestive system has been damaged, so I am unable to eat most of it.
Physically, the Disability process has also caused blood pressure problems and I am suffering from the effects of malnutrition, including chronic pain that never goes away and is often extremely severe, but I have learned to endure using what I have gained from meditation and following the principles of Indian philosophy, including Ayurveda.
Several people have told me there is an interest in me in the astral world, though I have no idea why they would be interested in someone like me, with all the difficulties I have had.
Only God, Yogananda and his gurus and faith could have led me to this therapist, on a small island in the Pacific Ocean – all the way from the other side of the world before I knew anything about Yogananda.
I am particularly interested in reading a book written by a Jesuit priest comparing the Immaculate Virgin Mary to Divine Mother, seemingly saying they are one and the same, thus, the close similarities between Catholicism and the Hindu religion.
It seems that Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph and St. Francis of Assisi, in whose presence I did the Rosary, and even Ganesha, handed me over to The Three Magi and maybe even Babaji himself (who assigned Yogananda’s guru’s guru, Lahiri Mahasaya the task of spreading the secrets of Kriya Yoga.) to show me the way!
I have seen a much respected Hawaiian Kahuna working as a shaman who told me, before I had told him anything about myself, that my problem was that I had spent many past incarnations meditating in caves in the East. This is the first time I have incarnated in the West for many lifetimes, if indeed I have ever incarnated in the West, and I am totally confused and overwhelmed with the greed and materialism of the West, so void of the focus on spirituality that I am used to.
I have been on Hawaii for 22 months now and God is telling me it will be time to move on soon, though to remain on Hawaii for now, but to eventually move to India. He has led me now to 2 therapists, both of whom are very familiar with spirituality and who totally support me.
One of them is Indian and Hindu and I was even led to an Indian psychiatrist. When looking for therapy, one of the first people I saw was a typical western psychologist, who, after hearing about my intense and unlimited love of God, told me I should take anti-psychotic medication. I smiled and left, ignoring his very limited spiritual understanding.
When I finally chose my Indian psychiatrist, I told him about the psychologist who thought I was psychotic. He laughed and told me there was nothing wrong with me; I was just a yogi that the psychologist had no understanding of whatsoever. He then shook my hand and thanked me for choosing God and meditation over drugs.
For the last two years, I have read at least one chapter from Autobiography of a Yogi every night before going to bed. I still see synchronicities and the book never loses its appeal. It is a constant reminder to me that the incredible difficulties I have had in life were chosen before this incarnation as a way of accelerating my spiritual growth, working out past negative karma and allowing me to more fully understand God and His dream in as far as it is humanly possible. I am extremely grateful to all the people who have helped me along the way.