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Part IV

My interview with Tina appears in four parts, to be followed by a piece on a painting of hers that hangs in my living room. In Part IV she talks about a transformative past life regression, about her training as an art therapist, and her current spiritual practices.

“You’ve said that you still believe in God. How do you perceive God now?” I asked.

“I want to tell you about this because I was really confused about this priest, and about when people say something that I think is BS. Usually I don’t speak a lot about my faith. But a long time ago a woman offered me a regression. My question was, ‘Why do I feel I belong in the Church, but in my own way?’

“So I came to this past life. I don’t know if it’s true, but I remembered a life in Brindisi, working as a shepherd. I didn’t live in the town, but my family did. I didn’t have a wife. I was a man. I lived out with the sheep. The way we were having our praxis, (this is very important), everyone had their own song.”

As Tina began telling me this, my arms and neck prickled. I remembered sitting outside Café Månefiskeren in Christiania with her and sharing how hard I’d been searching for spiritual community, faith community. It was then that Tina told me this story. Now I reminded her that she’d told me.

“Did I?”

“Yes, but go on. Tell it again.”

She went on. “I thought yes! This is the answer to my question. In the regression, people went to this sacred place where there were piles of stones in an open landscapes. We did not necessarily meet; rather it was a personal action to go there and leave a stone—I really love that imagery because of the simplicity and the low-tech connection with nature being the church. When we went there, everyone laid a stone on one of the piles and sang their song.

“So now I have no problem with the Church. There’s something here that’s very strong for me—that makes me feel so connected. I go to church and bring a stone—not literally—but I feel free to leave the things I don’t need there. And I sing. I always sing.”

“Do you go to church now?” I asked.

“Yes. Just when I feel for it and on special occasions. Now I feel welcome. No problem about whether or not I belong. It’s over.” We looked at each other and smiled.

Then I asked, “Is there anything you want to add?”

Tina thought for a moment. “For me spirituality is more like the common belonging. It’s not how you translate it in churches. That’s part of it, but it’s not really that. I’m not into religions really. It’s more about the things we have in common, more about sharing than dividing.

“Also,” she said, “You might want to know that for three years I practiced Sahaj Marg meditation. It was more like meditation without bodywork. We meditated on light in the heart. It’s called The Householder’s Meditation. It helped me with my attitude when difficult things were happening. There was more sharing than I was used to. That removed some of my need for privacy. I was more open to talking about my spirituality after that. It’s about people meditating with others to channel energy or light.

I realized there was an important aspect of Tina’s life I’d neglected to ask about, so I asked then, “How did your art therapy training affect your spirituality?”

“Art therapy is like a river beside my own sacred place where I share more of my experience in imagery, music, and theater. Part of spirituality is connecting to different states of mind and positions from which to experience the world, have different sensations of the world through art and art expression. It gave me some words for the images I’ve worked with. But also enabled me to share in words in community and with friends. That gives me the sense that I’m not alone. After all, being here is about belonging. It’s part of our DNA, more or less.”

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