Eleven years ago today, our book THE SPIRIT FACTOR was born. Well, at least it started Michael and me on the road to writing a book about spirit.
At the time, we had no idea that it would take us almost 9 years to write and edit the book. We also never could have imagined the many challenges we would face over those years that would almost derail us and this project, or the amazing journey we would go on because we asked one question: What is spirit?
THE SPIRIT FACTOR could never have been written on a deadline nor could I have prepared an outline for the book when I started writing.
The bits and pieces of the book came to me slowly, over the years I wrote it. I would have to digest the information then try to explain it in writing in a easy-to-understand way.
I included a quote from Joseph Campbell at the beginning of the book that describes perfectly how THE SPIRIT FACTOR was written:
“Anyone writing a creative work knows that you open, you yield yourself, and the book talks to you and builds itself.”
This is truly what happened with THE SPIRIT FACTOR, and it was one of the most magical things I have ever experienced!
THE SPIRIT FACTOR became the book I needed but had not been able to find in my decades-long search for something that would help me understand every aspect of life and live it to its fullest potential.
Below is the Introduction to the book that explains what happened on this day 11 years ago, and how, in an instant, the trajectory of our lives was changed.
INTRODUCTION: A BOOK IS BORN
On the evening of February 20, 2008, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., as a total lunar eclipse was taking place, Michael and I experienced a moment we had not planned on or that either one of us had ever imagined.
It was a moment of absolute clarity: clarity as to why the two of us were in pain, why so many others were in pain, and why the planet was suffering.
This moment started out as a conversation between Michael and me that began from a place of pain—deep pain—that we were both feeling but that neither one of us could explain or un-derstand.
Looking at our lives, we had so much to be grateful for. We had a loving relationship; we lived on one of the most beautiful pieces of property on the planet, surrounded by nature and peace; we had ideas and dreams that we were working on together; and we had three amazing dogs that brought complete joy to our lives.
Life was pretty darn good!
Over the years, Michael and I had worked hard to improve our lives on our own, and continued to do so after we met. Because of this, we were, at the time, in a place we had once dreamed of.
So, according to the numerous self-help books we had read over the years, the self-help speeches we had listened to, and the current onslaught of self-help movies we had watched, there was absolutely no good reason why we weren’t in “bliss” every moment of every day.
Since we weren’t, we felt there was something wrong with us that needed to “fixed” by affirming, acting as if, doing steps, being grateful, not watching the news, not getting involved or speaking out, or whatever else the latest self-helper was preaching as the way to this ever-elusive bliss.
If they were right, the pain Michael and I were feeling was all in our heads and could easily be “fixed” for the price of their latest book, CD, or seminar.
Unfortunately, we had believed this for years and tried to “fix” ourselves with these types of products, but we always ended up feeling like failures for not experiencing the results and sustaining change that had been promised.
On the night of February 20, it became clear to us why we— and so many others—were suffering.
You see, the pain Michael and I were feeling was not just in our heads; it was in our hearts and in every fiber of our beings.
Even though we had improved our lives, we could still feel the pain and suffering of so many others on the planet—and the suffering of the planet, too.
And even though our home was filled with love, peace, and respect, the moment we walked out our door, turned on the television, talked to a friend, neighbor, or family member, or basically did anything that involved being in the world, we could feel the pain and suffering that existed.
This pain no longer lives beneath the surface where it can be denied; it has reached the point where it is in clear view for all of us to see—and feel.
It can be seen in our addictions, illnesses, and disorders; in our broken homes and neglected children, elderly, and animals; in our prejudices and lack of compassion; in our apathy and pursuit of money and “things” at all costs; in our greed and separation and segregation; and in our words and in our wars.
On this night, Michael and I felt the collective pain of the people and our planet at a level that was beyond what we thought was humanly possible; we felt it at the level of spirit.
Feeling pain at this level is much different than feeling pain on an individual level—it is a depth of pain that can swallow you up and leave you in such despair that you could disappear in it forever.
When most of us feel pain, any pain, we try to avoid it or do something to stop it.
But on this night, Michael and I bravely sat together with this unbearable pain and looked it straight in the eyes.
When we did, we understood the pain, and realized it was telling us something very important—something we would have missed had we tried to avoid or stop the pain we were feeling.
Because we sat with this pain and listened to it, information, answers, and our purpose flowed freely from a place of spirit that was so present it was palpable.
This information was not separate from us; we simply knew it with every fiber of our beings, even though we had never been taught or told it.
There was no thought of doing anything other than completely surrendering to the moment with no judgment or distractions.
Actually, there was no thought involved in anything that happened that night—we transcended from thought to knowingness.
It wasn’t just an experience of being connected to spirit—we were spirit!
Every answer we had been searching for, we knew. All the pain the world was feeling, we felt.
This moment brought us to the purpose we had been searching for our entire lives.
But, to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t the warm, fuzzy place we’d expected or that we had been promised in those aforementioned self-help books.
Actually, it was quite the opposite.
It’s not what we would have chosen had our decision been based on riches, relaxation, or a comfortable life.
But it is something we know we must do.
This purpose runs so deep, we feel that our survival depends on it.
It’s a purpose born out of the suffering and pain we are all feeling, yet have not been able to understand or express.
Even though there is no road map to follow, we know with absolute certainty, if we allow spirit to guide us, it will take us in the direction of healing—not just for the two of us, but for all of us.
Marie Kukula -Tyner & Michael Tyner