The Words of the Schanker Family

STF Reflections from the 1st FR Condition - 14. Oct to 20. Nov 2004

B. Schanker
October 14, 2004

The past 40 days have been an experience I will never forget. Jam packed with struggles, victories, ups and downs, intellectual and heartistic breakthroughs, and personal growth. My first FR condition has significantly changed my life.

I think a major "breakthrough" I had this condition was realizing that God does exist. Having little to no faith in God when I came to STF, I had no premonition of discovering God when I arrived. Simply observing how amazing nature is one day in the park through the intricate structure of trees, the beautiful swans and ducks, the bright sunlight shining, shimmering off the lakes ripples, I serenely realized that all of this, all of creation could not have come from nothing. I realized you must be crazy to believe that everything that exists today, human intellect, electricity, all of nature, etc. started from nothing and evolved by itself over time. I am a really logical, analytical person, and I discovered that logically God must exist.

After realizing the existence of God, I began to see God and love in the people I would FR to. I began to recognize how people would receive joy through living fro the sake of others. I had multiple experiences where the people wanted to help me and serve me, really giving as much love as they could. One Irish/Dutch couple I FR to wanted to give me dinner. While talking to his wife, the father of the family mentioned that there was only enough meat for the two children and two adults. He then offered to sacrifice his meat and give it to me saying, "You four can share the meat and I will eat something else." Although I couldnt stay and accept the offered meal, his extremely sacrificial heart of LOVE really impressed me.

Another experience I had was with a Christian woman that offered me hot tea, then hot soup, then bread, then cheese for my bread, then butter for my bread, etc. At first I felt guilty, because I didnt know why I should deserve so much and I told the lady that she was offering too much and being too nice to me, but she responded in her broken English saying, "I like caring for and giving to people." Through my experiences with the overwhelming love of people, I realized that true joy comes from living a life style of "living for the sake of others." These people barely knew me, but it brought them so much joy to love, care for and serve someone else.

Though I have had countless internal and external experiences, I still have a long way to go in my spiritual life. I have basically accepted the existence of God, but I still have a long way to go to connect with his heart and purpose. Having much difficulty connecting with spiritual world so far, I think I need to develop my faith in the influential power of spirit world. My prayer life, along with my faith in TP, has significantly increased from the first condition, but still both need much growth and development.

The internal highlight and most memorable experience of the first condition was an experience I had with an elderly woman in the first week of the condition. After the door was opened and a disgruntled, upset lady appeared, I proceeded to say my FR line. After telling her the price she was astonished, taken back, and her expression became even more upset. As she responded saying it was way too expensive, I decided to ask for a small donation. She responded in an aggravated tone saying, "If I wanted to support you I would have bought a card, wouldnt I have?" Taken back by her tone, I dejectedly took a step back. Noticing my reaction, she continued saying, "This is a really difficult time for me, but I know it must be a difficult time for you too." After that comment we stood in silence for about one or two minutes, as she seemed to be struggling to make a decision and I seemed to be confused not knowing whether to wait or leave. The woman told me to hold on and went into her home, coming back with a small tin case full of 20 cent coins adding up to about 3 Euros. The woman handed it to me hesitantly, saying, "This is all I have, but I hope it is enough for you." The woman was obviously very poor and experiencing extreme financial difficulties, yet she was willing to sacrifice all she had to support me. Her ability to sacrifice something small, yet so valuable to her amazed me, and I determined to pray for her ever since. I kept the small tin can the money was given to me in for sentimental purposes.

On the contrary, the low point of my condition was simply one day where I experienced the most rejections and cruelty from the people. I realized how difficult it is to absorb the anger of not only other people, but many many other people. It was definitely a good humbling and character building experience though.

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