Mary Reed, seen here standing next to the Dalai Lama in India, has authored the book “Unwitting Mystic: Evolution of The Message of Love.” Reed will speak Sunday, Feb. 9, 2 p.m., at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Mysticism (www.contemporarymysticism).—-Photo courtesy of Mary Reed

by Barbara Sherf

After a decade of hearing a mysterious voice, encountering spiritual realms and thinking she was going nuts, Mary Reed, author of “Unwitting Mystic: Evolution of The Message of Love,” took 97 pills with three glasses of wine, left provisions for her dog and tried to end her confusion but failed. Two days after the suicide attempt, she woke up and soon found the right mental health professionals to help her understand that she was not deranged but was actually a mystic. 

Reed, whose book has been turned into a screenplay, will share the journey of her life after the suicide attempt in a talk sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Mysticism Sunday, Feb. 9, 2 p.m., at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. 

In an interview from her D.C. home, Reed expanded on some of the many insights she shares in her book, which was a finalist in the Indie Spiritual Book Awards. In the opening chapter, the reader is drawn into Reed’s meticulous plans to end her life —leaving food out for her dog, Tilda, for example — and with her beloved pet by her side, she went into a deep sleep in order to quell the voices.

“When the voices started, I thought ‘that’s weird.’ At first you write it off a little, but it became clear that there was a vibration, and when the mystical experiences came I thought I was crazy,” said Reed. The closing sentences at the end of Chapter 1 further draw the reader in.

“Looking down at the end of the bed, I say, ‘I love you with all my heart, Tilda.’ These are the last words I will ever speak out loud, and as I hear them drift momentarily in the air, I am aware that in the last moments of my life I feel blessed to know there is genuine love present,” she writes. 

After recovering from the failed suicide attempt, Reed is urged to see the Dalai Lama, who was on tour in DC. “The first time I saw him, it was wildly intense, and I had this sense of being on fire at the core,” said Reed, who then went to live in a nunnery in India to process, study and meet with the Dalai Lama nine more times.

She describes how a majestic god-like being of bright white-gold light arrives with these words. “We can see conflict throughout this world — throughout. This world was created through the conflicts of the people. We did not begin with conflicts as are seen in the Bible. We started with absolute love and peace. This is the point to which we must return,” the voice behind the light shared. 

During a meditation, Reed said she had a vision of the young Jesus and a young Dalai Lama touching heads: “Jesus and His Holiness the Dalai Lama are standing very close in front of me. In unison they both lean their heads in toward mine. I touch my forehead against each of their foreheads and feel overwhelming peace. We remain like this, the three of us touching heads and letting our light hold all of the planet Earth in a state of peace,” she writes. 

She is told they are both there to work with her and guide her. “As I take this in, I feel the three of us begin to hum like an electric current in unison. I understand that Buddha will help me untangle and clear the jumbled mess of my mind, and Jesus will help me open and purify my heart… 

“I wake up to a vision of Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Buddha and Jesus all walking past me one by one in a straight line. As each one passes in front of me, they say, “We only did what we knew,” she writes.  

Reed talked about fear and how it plays into our current political climate. “Fear is so visible now and is why we have all of this fracturing. The bottom line is that Trump and people who incite fear have a role for all of us to deal with. It’s a very intense process. Most of us have an inkling of understanding that we can’t deal with it in the same way we used to.”

Reed spent over seven years in India at the nunnery, traveling on book tours during monsoon season. Today she offers workshops, retreats and online courses. Her website is

St. Paul’s is located at 22 E. Chestnut Hill.  Sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Mysticism, the program is free; however, good will donations will be accepted. For more information, visit

Barbara Sherf wears many hats; storyteller, laughter yoga leader, author and human being. She can be reached at