What comes first: faith or spiritual experience?
One of life’s oldest riddles is “What comes first: the chicken or the egg?” It might be easier to answer “What comes first: faith or spiritual experience?”
To the latter of these questions I would have to say neither faith nor spiritual experience take precedent over the other but rather a suspension of disbelief. In other words, one needs to be open and receptive to something from outside of oneself for either one to step forward. But even that is not quite enough. One must also have a compelling spiritual hunger, almost like a vacuum that needs to be filled.
Such was the case when I encountered The Aetherius Society. It’s not that I believed its cosmic philosophy merely because I was being told it was so or that it rang true, nor that I needed proof of extraterrestrials by seeing a UFO; but I did need spiritual answers and I was open to whatever form that might take.
My first such experience was one evening in what is now called the George King Chapel in London, a basement beneath the shop floor of the European Headquarters where The Twelve Blessings were given by Jesus in 1958 through Dr George King. At the time I was a practicing Christian. I had already detected an inherent purity within the Blessings but it was not until I experienced them through prayer that I felt their tremendous power. I remember feeling my arms like rods of steel with a great shaft of light rushing through them such that it was physically difficult to lower them. This came about simply because I allowed it to happen through my genuine and open desire for the revelation of truth.
This wonderful experience certainly enhanced my faith in this spiritual practice. A few months later, in March 1986, I recall lying in bed one Sunday morning. I was having a lucid dream in which a great enlightened figure hovered to one side. I expressed my desire to travel to the place from which he had come that was clearly another world, radiant in a golden light. He telepathed his response over and over until I had received the message: “You serve to leave. You serve to leave.” Suddenly, I understood what was being conveyed. In order to leave Earth it was necessary to have fully served this world. There was no other way. I took it as a wonderful metaphor for any situation in life, and I had the words inscribed in gold lettering on a picture of Christ that was mounted at the head of my bed.
This experience similarly enhanced my faith in what I was learning about more enlightened beings from beyond this Earth. A short time after this, I was invited to help paint the outside of a property owned by The Aetherius Society in Devonshire, near Holdstone Down. It was the first time I would be staying on Aetherius Society property and where, I had been told, the Ascended Master the Lord Maitreya had visited Dr King on Christmas Day in 1983. I remember feeling a heightened spiritual excitement though I did not expect anything to transpire. However, in the middle of the night, I was awakened by a hand upon my shoulder. My natural reaction was one of alarm and to see who it was but I found myself to be paralyzed. I could neither speak nor move. The hand felt gentle and strong as if to keep me in place but also to reassure me that all was well. In the morning I asked if either of the other two people who were staying in the house had experienced anything but neither had.
The next time I stayed on Aetherius Society property was three years later in May 1989. I was visiting the American Headquarters and due to one of the residents needing to travel abroad, I was asked if I would sleep in her small apartment and take care of her dogs. I willingly agreed to do this, and the very first night I again found myself being paralyzed, unable to move.
Never before had I experienced anything like these two incidents, both of which occurred on Aetherius Society premises. The next time anything similar happened was two years later after I had moved to the American Headquarters.
The first incident took place in 1991. Dr King had called me over to his office to inform me that he and several of his Staff would be going to Lake Powell in Utah, site of a Psychic Center of Earth. He asked me if I would stay in his home while he was away, on security. I naturally agreed to do this. As I turned to leave he added, “You can use the bedroom.” I looked back and acknowledged his words, not thinking too much about the significance of his kind gesture.
A couple of days later he and his team left Los Angeles and I moved the few things I would need into his home. I didn’t recall ever having been in his bedroom before and it felt intensely personal, as indeed it does to enter anyone’s bedroom for the first time. That evening, after we had “knocked off” for the night, instead of going across the street to my own apartment I went into the Master’s home. I felt almost like an intruder to be doing so.
I watched television for a short time before deciding to retire for the night. It seemed very strange to be sleeping in the Master’s bedroom but he had specifically said that I could do so, almost as an instruction. I remember reading for a while before turning out the light. As I settled my head on the pillow and closed my eyes, the next thing I knew was that I felt as if my mind was, literally, in outer space! I remained conscious momentarily, long enough to be cognizant of what was happening but equally, I knew that my mind could not handle this experience and I completely shut down. It demonstrated to me where our Master’s mind would go at night and I believe he wanted me to have that experience, hence his instruction.
Much later, another Staff Member was telling me how the Adepts would be given training exercises at night to keep them sharp. I have joked if that first night I was there was one of those occasions, and have laughed at which party would have received the greater shock when they contacted the ordinary human “intelligence” in our Master’s bedroom.
I slept in his room on that occasion for almost three weeks. Nothing else happened until the very last morning when he was due to return. Curiously, I was having another lucid dream in which the Master was imparting to me “the most important thing”, repeating this vital quality like a mantra. Again, as before in March 1986, I had difficulty grasping the message that was being conveyed until it became very clear. The most important thing one can have is a positive attitude. The collective image was that although I was the least experienced person on his Staff, the fact that I was willing to help him – and undertake any task that might be required – was a most essential attribute in life.
A few years later when I was living with Dr King in his private home in Santa Barbara as a personal aide, another interesting incident occurred when, again, I became completely paralyzed only this time I was fully awake while it happened. It was shortly after midnight when I heard him adjusting his mechanical bed to get up. Under all normal circumstances he would have called for assistance only this time he did not do so. Being both concerned and curious, I cracked open the door of my bedroom to see what was up. To my surprise he had arisen and was appearing to go to the bathroom unaided. I knew that if he had needed me he would not have hesitated to sound his buzzer. So I closed the door and lay on my bed wondering what was happening. Within moments I could sense him walking down the passage adjacent to where I was lying. As he approached I felt my body becoming completely paralyzed as he passed by, the sensation diminishing as he walked away. Then he turned to come back down the passage and again I became completely paralyzed as he did so. This happened for a total of three times back and forth. I have no idea as to why this should have happened save to presume that he was in contact with a great interplanetary Master and he did not want me to interfere in any way. An alternative to this possibility was that he had let down his own guard and the radiance of his aura was so strong that it rendered me immobile.
In conclusion, I believe these unusual experiences occurred not so much because of my personal faith nor, even, that I needed the experience to provide me with faith, but rather because I had suspended all disbelief. I had simply laid myself open for their possibility to manifest as greater realities of the truth inherent within The Aetherius Society, and as a demonstration of the profundity of Dr George King as a Spiritual Master of genuine power and ability.
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About the author
Rev. Paul Nugent is an International Director of The Aetherius Society having joined the Society in England in 1986. He was a personal assistant to Dr George King during the latter years of his life. Active in interfaith, Paul is also an Emeriti Board Member of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
All the blogposts written for aetherius.org are written by experienced Aetherius Society personnel and approach themes relating to the teachings, practices and ideals of the Society. However, they also contain personal opinions, insights and interpretations that are not necessarily representative of the Society as a whole, or all of its Members as individuals.