Awakening Together‘s founder, Regina Dawn Akers. grew up in middle-America as a Christian. Her religious training came from more than one Christian faith, and she was aware of differences in Biblical interpretation within the Christian community. She was also aware of the similarities that crossed all denominational boundaries, the most important of which was the statement, “God is love.” Regina knew in her heart that this must be true, and she yearned to know God’s love perfectly.
Although Regina was fascinated by all religions, she never felt to settle with any particular religion. She was driven by an inner desire she was not yet fully aware of, and Regina needed time to discover the calling within her heart.
In April of 2004, Regina spontaneously awakened to her own desire while praying. She describes that prayer this way:
“As I was praying, I felt overcome by a desire to be useful. I wanted nothing more than to be completely useful to God for the rest of my life. I told Him that I would learn anything He wanted me to learn and do anything He wanted me to do. I just asked Him to please make me useful.”
Regina began studying A Course in Miracles. She also began to receive guidance, visions and dreams that educated her about spiritual principles introduced in the Course. With the help of this guidance, Regina learned quickly and with clarity, and she willingly practiced everything that she learned.
In November of 2004, Regina experienced a vision during meditation. “But this vision was different,” she explains. “It didn’t seem to come to educate me like the others did. This one seemed to have a message for me.
“I saw myself in a dark cavern. There were several dark passageways leading out of the cavern, and there were people in the cavern who wanted to find their way out. I stood at the bottom of the cavern near the entrances to the passageways. I held an armful of lit candles. As people passed by me, I handed them a candle. They used the candle to guide them as they selected a passageway and started their journey out of the cavern.”
Regina didn’t want to guess the meaning of her vision, so she went to the keyboard and said a prayer. She asked the Holy Spirit to be very clear with her so she wouldn’t misunderstand His message. Then she began to type without thinking. This is the message that she typed:
“Teacher of God. That is my Name. I have other names, but they are all the same. They mean Teacher of God. That is what is needed now, and that is what I need you for. You can write for me. You are doing it now. Write, teacher of God, and help me share the Light. There are many who need us. Teach, teacher. That is what you are for. That is why you are here. That is how you will learn. You are the teacher. Don’t be afraid. I am with you always.”
At first, Regina was frightened by her experience. With the help of calming thoughts that came into her mind, Regina let go of her fear. She began to write with the Holy Spirit the following day. At first, several days would pass between writings. In the spring of 2005, short writings began to come daily. Then in June 2005, Regina received this message from the Holy Spirit:
“The New Testament is a symbol, just as you are a symbol and the words I share through you are a symbol. What they point to is Truth.
“In order to understand the symbol, one must accept the Love of Christ. One prepares himself to accept that Love by recognizing he does not understand the symbol, and then he asks for understanding. By opening up to receive understanding without judgment, he opens up to accept the Love of Christ. With that Love comes Christ’s knowledge, for they are the same and inseparable. Then the meaning that is beyond the words is understood as a Light that shines for all who look to see.
“Those who have ears now will listen. For others, salvation will wait. There is no loss in God. Ask and you will receive because it will be given you. It is a gift of Love given to one who recognizes he has forgotten Love, and so he asks that its remembrance be given him in Grace and Love. Love cannot say no to a request for Love.
“Go now and ask. It will be given you.”
Regina left her career and home in Massachusetts and moved with her young daughter to North Carolina. After the move was complete, she began the work of listening to the inner dictation that resulted in The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament (NTI).
In March of 2006, Regina received guidance to start The Foundation for the Holy Spirit with two friends, David Fishman and Phil Frisk. The purpose of the foundation was to provide resources, teaching and counseling to help individuals become Self-Reliant with their own inner guide, the Holy Spirit.
Regina finished writing NTI, including completing a validation process, in May 2007. When she sent NTI to its publisher, O-Books of London, she said another heart-felt prayer. Regina prayed, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me write NTI. But I don’t want this process of awakening to stop now. Please send me something to take me higher into Love.”
Shortly after praying this prayer, Regina experienced two-three weeks of high mystical experiences followed by her inner agreement for a period of spiritual purification. Over the next 18 months, Regina came to recognize and release many false beliefs and unwholesome thinking patterns. As her mind became increasingly free of selfish interpretations, there was less thinking that led to suffering and more peace. However, whenever ego-based thinking did arise, the suffering caused by that thinking was more acute than before. In January of 2009, Regina sought help to move her beyond this stage. This is when the next period of spiritual growth began. She tells the story in this way:
“First of all, I had never been a student of [Ramana Maharshi] and I never imagined that I would be. I knew next to nothing about Ramana Maharshi. But around January 25th, I was feeling that I had hit some kind of plateau and I was not progressing on the spiritual path like I had in the past. In fact, I felt I was losing the connection with Holy Spirit and ego was growing stronger in my mind. So I said a prayer and asked Holy Spirit to send me something that would take me to the next step.
“On January 30th I felt spontaneously guided to buy a book by Ramana Maharshi. The book came within a few days but I did not feel guided to read it. I glanced at it, but found it very difficult to understand. I had no real attraction to his teaching.
“Ramana’s book sat on the coffee table near where I meditate for a week or so, then on February 12th the picture of Ramana that is on the cover of the book seemed to come alive. It seemed to breathe. I ignored this for a bit, but the feeling of aliveness kept growing. So finally I asked, “What do you want to tell me?” And the “Commentary on Mind,” the first message given on February 12th, 2009 came. He seems to have come in answer to my prayer that I be taken to the next step.”
Messages came to Regina from Ramana Maharshi over the next several months, and those messages were eventually published by Diamond Clear Vision as The Teachings of Inner Ramana.
Also during this time, Regina received guidance through a dream to “Go to Pueblo.” She and her daughter moved from North Carolina to the vicinity of Pueblo, Colorado in September 2009. As Regina taught from NTI and The Teachings of Inner Ramana, students of both books increased in numbers.
In December of 2011, Regina felt guidance to make 2012 “a year of increasing silence.” In obedience to this inner feeling, she let go of many tasks she was performing in her daily life, reduced her travel and teaching schedule significantly and spent several hours per day throughout 2012 in contemplation of The Seven Steps to Awakening, a book of quotes published by The Freedom Religion Press. The year of contemplation resulted in another spiritual growth spurt.
At the end of this year of increased silence, in December 2012, Regina once again received guidance. She felt guided to convert Foundation for the Holy Spirit into a church (an assembly of people with a common spiritual purpose) called Awakening Together. Awakening Together’s purpose and five core values were given to her right away from within, so Awakening Togethers’s vision was clear from the beginning. Regina took them to the foundation’s Board of Directors and requested permission to create a church. Permission was granted.
In early 2013, Regina put together a team of volunteers and began learning how to create a church. One point that Regina realized right away was that Awakening Together would not be situated in a building in Pueblo where only those who lived nearby had the opportunity to attend. Awakening Together needed to be a universal, online church, so that anyone who felt to be a part of it could be without restriction. This created a problem: How does one create an online church?
In February, the phone rang. David Fishman, one of the founders of Foundation for the Holy Spirit, was also the founder of an online gathering room called ACIM Gather. He was feeling to retire after 10 years of managing the online room. He asked Regina if Awakening Together would like to take it over. Regina realized she had found a platform that would work in furtherance of the vision for a universal, online church. She told David, “Yes.”
Awakening Together’s founding Board of Directors and Member Board of Trustees paved the way through diligent work, and on July 21, 2013, Awakening Together “opened its doors” with ACIM Gather serving as its church platform. In addition to a weekly worship service each Sunday morning, Awakening Together initiated a weekly prayer circle, a daily spiritual contemplation circle, and regular member meetings. On September 21, 2013 the founders adopted Awakening Together’s church constitution. On January 1, 2014, David Fishman formally signed the online church platform over to Awakening Together, and the online platform became known as Awakening Together Sanctuary.