Monday, May 14, 2007

[Interview] Dr Susan Shumsky

Dr Susan Shumsky is a healer, counselor, prayer therapist, teacher and an author. For over three decades, she has been teaching meditation, self-development, and intuition to students in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Far East.

She received a doctorate in Divinity from the Teaching of Intuitional Metaphysics in San Diego, and has written several books on meditation, prayer, and spiritual healing.

Her books include Divine Revelation (Fireside, 1996); Exploring Chakras (New Page Books, 2003); Exploring Auras (New Page Books, 2005); Miracle Prayer (Celestial Arts, 2006) and Exploring Meditation (Career Press, 2008).

In email interview which took place between October 9 and November 22, Dr Susan Shumsky spoke about her experiences and the books she has written.

How did it all begin? What motivated you?

I have been practicing spiritual disciplines for 40 years.

I spent 22 years in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation and guru of the Beatles and Deepak Chopra. I was on Maharishi's personal staff for seven years. I was totally immersed in meditation.

When I lived in the ashram, I used to meditate up to 20 hours a day. I would disappear into my room and not appear for up to eight weeks at a time. I observed silence and did not utter a sound for up to four months at a time. I fasted for up to two months at a time. And I observed total celibacy for decades.

After spending 22 years with my eyes closed, I woke up and realized that something was missing from my spiritual experience.

What was missing?

I had been practicing yoga -- the word "yoga" literally means divine union or integration, meaning union of individual Spirit with universal Spirit -- and I was experiencing the end-all be-all experience of yoga, satchitananda, in meditation on a daily basis. This was an amazing experience of what I call the "impersonal God."

But I was longing for the experience of the "personal God."

How did you resolve this conflict?

Happily, I discovered a way to listen to the "still small voice" within -- how to hear the voice of God and how to test and trust whether the message is the real thing.

Also, I learned how to help others to have this profound inner connection.

Once I realized that this was possible, and that I could ask my higher self (God within) any question and receive divine love, healing, wisdom, and inspiration from within myself, I had finally come home to God. Never was I alone again.

What happened next? What did you do next?

I sold my house, bought a trailer, and began travelling and teaching classes to help others have this profound experience. It did not take long before I realized that I would have to write a book in order to have any credibility whatsoever. So I wrote my first book, Divine Revelation, quite late in my life, in 1990, and then in 1996 it was published by Simon & Schuster. This book is about how to listen to the voice of God within, and how to distinguish and discern between the true voice of Spirit and other voices in your mind.

The next 4 books came soon after that: Exploring Meditation, which is a great introduction to meditation, yoga, and East Indian philosophy.

My publisher asked me to write Exploring Chakras, which I researched by studying the ancient scriptures of India and which was reviewed as the "penultimate book about the chakras."

My publisher then asked me to write Exploring Auras, which is about healing and cleansing the human energy field, and which has dozens of powerful healing prayers and affirmations to heal anomalies in the auric field.

What is Miracle Prayer about?

My latest book Miracle Prayer: Nine Steps to Creating Prayers that Get Results teaches Scientific Prayer, otherwise known as affirmative prayer or spiritual mind treatment, the method of prayer taught in Unity and Religious Science and other New Thought churches.

I wrote this book at the same time that I wrote Divine Revelation, way back in the early 1990's, but it was not published until now.

This book can help you understand how you have created your own destiny through your thoughts, words, and deeds, and how you can transform your life. It helps you discover mental laws that you have created and how to overcome those mental laws through the Law of Grace. Also, it includes specific prayers and affirmations that you can use to fulfill your aspirations. One chapter is filled with inspiring stories of people who have used these prayer methods to create miracles in their lives.

How long did it take you to write it?

My books usually take about one year to write. This was no exception.

Miracle Prayer was published by Celestial Arts (Berkeley, California), a division of TenSpeed Press. The book came out in 2006. It was also picked up by the One Spirit book club.

Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult? And which did you enjoy most?

The aspect that I find most difficult is finding a way to promote this book in the marketplace.

I loved writing every book that I have written. I enjoy teaching, so I enjoy writing.

What sets the book apart from the others that you have written?

This is the only book that I have written that gives the secret of how to practice the nine-step prayer method that is the basis of everything else that I do.

It is similar to my other books because it is, like my other books, a spiritual self-help, how-to book that helps people to truly transform their lives.

How did your personal experiences prepare you for your role as a writer?

I was always an artist, and I never wanted to be a writer. As a child I played with crayons and made paper dolls. I designed dream houses and drew pictures of people that I saw in magazines. I went to art college and then ended up in an ashram with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the guru of the Beatles and Deepak Chopra, on his personal staff, where I worked as an illustrator and designer on his publications. My guru always tried to get me to write. But I was stuck on being an artist.

After I left the ashram, I designed jewellery for New York diamond jewellery manufacturers for 20 years. I was also teaching seminars on how to listen to the "still small voice" of God within. I called it "Divine Revelation." Soon after I began teaching, I realized that I needed to write a book about it. So I was guided by Spirit to write the book Divine Revelation.

Now I feel that I have more talent as a writer than an artist.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

My main concerns as a writer are that I write something educational, understandable, life-enhancing, and spiritually uplifting.

What are the biggest challenges that you face? And, how do you deal with them?

I think that any author will tell you that their biggest challenge is to make ends meet while having time to be creative. Another huge challenge is to publicize the books that we write. Although the publishers get the books on the shelf in bookstores, ultimately the author is the one who has to sell the books.

Personally, I have developed a way to get income from sources other than just book sales. I do not know any authors who are supported by book sales alone. Also, I do my best to get publicity, which is very challenging.

Who would you say has influenced you the most?

I have been influenced most by my guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who personally taught me to become a meditation teacher on the banks of the Ganges River in India. I was also very influenced by other mentors in my life -- Rich Bell and Dr. Peter V. Meyer, who taught me to listen to the "still small voice" of God within, to follow my inner guidance, and to help others have that experience. Also they taught me how to teach spiritual healing.

What will your next book be about?

My agent is now pitching a book to publishers that is a spiritual memoir about my years with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Let's pray that he sells it.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Getting my first book Divine Revelation published by Simon & Schuster.

Possibly related books:

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Related article:

Researchers Seek Routes to Happier Life,” Associated Press, KATU Portland, November 26, 2006.

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