But I had had an experience of what I called "God" while meditating in SRF when using a mantra technique. My mind had expanded, and I was enveloped in Love. This Love was not conditional; It just Loved. It seemed like a much larger extension of what I had experienced when chanting along with the Siddha Yoga tape years prior. But it was not just a mild altered state of consciousness like it was back then; instead it was one in which my consciousness kept expanding in waves of Consciousness, going higher with each wave. I can explain it no other way. And then when it stopped expanding, I was enveloped in Love; no judgment; just Love. After all the years of not knowing whether there was a God or not, I felt I knew that there was a God, and that I was not "dead in God's eyes." I don’t know what to call this Love now. It is Consciousness; that I know. It certainly was not the Christian God. And yet I still do not believe that prayers are answered, except to say that this one was. Whether it came from within as the Buddhist's say, or from without as the Hindu's believe, or as Ramana would say, "You are That," I don't know. What matters is that it was healing to me.
After those few years at the monastery we moved from California to Oklahoma, where the people are basically Christian. I had decided before moving that that was okay to go because on the day that I left the Vedanta Society, I had awaken with the feeling of a numbness inside and knew in that moment I would never return to the Vedanta Society. (The day before I woke up feeling numb my own guru had shunned me. Perhaps he did this in an attempt to control me or maybe he wanted me to leave; I don't know. But basically he said that he did not wish to teach me, nor did he wish to hear any of my own problems and after making those two comments, he laughed and hung up. He was at least supposed to have taught me. Vedanta.) That numbness that I felt was actually felt towards all religion, and to this day it has never left, but it is not as strong. At first the numbness gave me a certain type of peacefulness that stayed with me for six months before fading. I had hoped that by being at that monastery my feelings would return; they didn't, but the people there gave me so much more in so many ways. But even so, I don't know if I could ever fully connect to Buddhism, nor could I accept all of the teachings--not that I would have to do so completely. And I am not saying that Buddhism isn't without problems, because I have investigated Buddhism in general; they have problems. Perhaps I want perfection, but it is not to be found, not even at that monastery. Still, to me they were perfect; it was a wonderful experience.
I have not joined any religion since leaving the Buddhist group, not until 4 years later. I miss them and would still be going there if we still lived there. My core beliefs now are to just love others and help them whenever you can. I also believe in enjoying life in a simple way: I enjoy my husband, my dog, our home, and I visit with my friends, garden, and do volunteer work in the small town in which we now live.
I also remembered reading Siddhartha while in college and always remembered how he went down many paths and at the end of his life he just sat down by the river. I sit by that same river, but for him it meant one thing; for me it just means resting and enjoying life, and realizing that there are no real answers out there, so basically, just being.