Matthew VanFossan with his dog Achilles at Asilomar in 2014.
You cannot be responsible to your creations and become a co-creator with God unless you know both despair and joy, depression and upliftment, oneness and separation, poverty and wealth. When you know all levels of experience, you demonstrate your oneness with all. – John-Roger, DSS
I remember vividly my first experience leading up to Living in Grace. I had heard John Morton refer to it as a reward, and with its closeness to Christmas time and the high energy I felt pouring in on the drive up to Asilomar State Beach, the site of the event, I just knew it was going to be something absolutely amazing. The anticipation kept building.
I wondered what it would be like. What would we do? Would there be presents every day? Were we going to have teams play fun games like ‘who can build the best sandcastle?’ or ‘who can drink the most mimosas?’ My imagination ran wild.
After the training began, I realized with some chagrin that the kind of reward John had been talking about was not on the level of my basic self. It was a different kind of reward.
I spent the first few processes of the training getting over the fact that I would not be frolicking indiscriminately at the beach or topping off my cocktails at the bar. It wasn’t pretty. I pity the partners who had to listen to me carry on wondering why people who had been doing these retreats for forty years still couldn’t succinctly answer a simple question and then get on with the party.
By the third or fourth day, I was so blissed out and high on the energy of the Traveler that I didn’t care if I never had another cocktail in my last life on Earth. I didn’t care if I never saw another beach. If fact, I was quite ready to sell all my personal belongings and go traipsing after John Morton. I eventually did, but that’s another story.
Flash forward nine years, and I continue to sign up for PAT trainings, PTS classes, John Morton seminars, and just about everything else, even with them being on Zoom in the pandemic. I’ve become one of those people I made fun of at my first Living In Grace. I‘ve become one of those people that the younger me despaired of ever succinctly answering a simple question.
In my weaker moments I see this as a defect: “Enough already! Can’t I just be done with this constant clearing? Why am I doing another class?”
But in my more lucid moments I go willingly and gratefully into the next class or seminar. I see it as another opportunity to come face to face with my dark side and bring the Light into it, to have a deeper experience of God through my willingness to love what I resist. And I bring to mind what J-R and John have said about endurance:
Those of you who are climbing the inner path need only one blessing — endurance — for those who keep the spiritual law to the end and endure all things receive the most precious gift of Soul awareness, which is eternal life through eternal awareness on any level in any existence. This means that no matter what happens, no matter how you feel, no matter how anybody else feels, no matter what you think, no matter what anyone else thinks, you go on. No matter what is or is not, you go on. You really have no other choice. So regardless of what is said, regardless of what happens, you always keep going on to the next thing. If you’re right, you keep going. If you’re wrong, you keep going. Right or wrong is not even a point of contention. Keep going. If you’re in an illusion, go through it. If you’re in truth, go on to greater truths.
– John-Roger, DSS
It’s important to remember that you win because you endure. Keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t take things for granted, like, “Okay, I’ve arrived, and I don’t need to be vigilant. I can mess around.” I think that’s one of the big fallacies of those who get into high and powerful places: they can think, “I’m so powerful and high here, I can mess around. I’ve got it made now. I can fool around. I can tempt myself. I can go do these things. I can go save the day.” Was that assigned to you? You’d better save yourself because this is a level where the direction is to keep going, save yourself, stay in line, stay on purpose, and don’t look back. Don’t be tempted by the gnashing, the screaming, the crying out, and the negativity in the world. Don’t focus on that. Focus on where you’re going in the Light. You’re going to a better place already prepared for you. You’re going to the Light, you’re going to the love. And it’s right here, in this place, before you.
– John Morton, DSS
Matt here again. I’m not saying that a person has to go to Living in Grace forty times to stay on the straight and narrow. I’m not saying that the number of seminars a person goes through is in any way an indication of their spiritual promise. But I do see that no matter what is in front of us to do, it’s for us to do. Mine happens to be classes at the moment. Yours might be raising a child, running a business, taking care of your health, or sharing your Light in any wonderfully simple way that you do that. And if that voice of doubt ever creeps in for you as it does with me and asks, “Aren’t you done with that yet?” “Why are you still wasting your time with that?” You can turn to the Travelers, those masters of endurance, and like them, respond that you’re going to do it until it’s done. And you’ll know when it’s done. And it will be worth every last shred of effort you put into it.
I don’t believe you, me, or any one of us chose back into the Traveler Consciousness because we are weak. I believe we chose back because we are incredibly strong. And the longer I study with the Traveler, the more I know this to be true. It reveals to me an inner strength I didn’t know I had. It’s not based on the opinions of others or the measurements of the world. It comes from a deep and fervent commitment to the highest Light and the greatest good that our lives can manifest at this time. And so we keep going, we keep lighting up the next shadow, we keep loving the next thing that is ours to do. And when there’s despair, pain, hardship, resistance, we love that, too. Because in that deep place of inner knowing we realize that, as John Morton has said, the best is yet to come.