For us to be connected with each other
we must have first become divided.
Neither is true.
Beyond wisdom is Love, Love, Love
- Ramana Maharshi
So, what exactly is Kundalini? First of all, it is a Sanskrit term, meaning serpent and defines the energy that begins at the root of the spine, the sacrum/coccyx, and then moves up the central column of the body, the spinal column to be exact. The medical Caduceus, the winged staff in the center with two snakes coiling up on either side of it, is a representation of the Kundalini moving up the two energetic arteries of the left and right of the spinal column, called the Ida and the Pingala, respectively. It is said that once it rises to the top, or the crown of the head, one purportedly has an experience of unification with the Source, God, All That Is.
I am writing myself away, not the real Self, but the history of the personal, separate, illusory self. Each revelation dissolves the story that seems to be held as identity, making room for what is. It is my hope that this story will release you from your own.
One of the most hilarious beginnings of a personal story or narrative that I’ve ever heard came from Steve Martin, the comedian, who said, in a movie and I quote, “I was born a poor black child….” in telling his story. I believe that I am the only one laughing at this point. But it is always funny to me because he is neither black nor poor. His beginnings are as ordinary as are mine.
Maybe not ‘All-American’ ordinary, but pretty close, my parents were immigrants from Poland and Russia, hard working with old fashioned values and outlooks, especially my father. I was raised to fear authority, but it was my inborn rebellious and curious nature to be outspoken. The first twelve years were spent in a Los Angeles suburb called Pacific Palisades, in the 60’s it was just a bedroom community, nothing special. The home environment included Russian, we spoke it at home and I didn’t speak English until I was five and had to because of my enrollment in kindergarten. When I was twelve my father was transferred to a job in Ogden, Utah, a move which I vehemently protested, but in the end sold out for, for a horse. That was the deal my parents and I made. I would move on condition that they would buy me a horse. In Utah, a land where in the 70’s you were an alien if you weren’t Mormon, we were alien with two strikes against us, not only were we not Mormon, we were Russian, from California. Really, it was almost if we had arrived directly from another galaxy. I finished high school in Ogden, and even attended two years of college at the University of Utah before my parents were comfortable with me leaving the state at the age of 19 by myself, when I moved back to California and freedom.
I remember when I first individuated. It is the earliest memory I have of realizing I was having the experience of being a separate being and occurred was when I was very young. At the age of three, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom and had a line of toys in front of me. I recall how I noticed, that instead of them and I all being One Thing, suddenly I was observing them from a separate point of view. It was as though the focus suddenly was coming from me and became clear, and objects or forms became separated, rather than images depicted on a single fabric, a unified field.
After that experience the story continued as completely ordinary and commonplace. So as to not bore the reader with too many details, I will condense. It was all pretty conventional until age 20 when I had an intense, life changing experience which I did not understand at the time.
My family and I were on a vacation in Northern California, we were staying at some log cabin type of resort in Trinidad, up near the Oregon border. Everything was quite uneventful. After dinner and a walk, we went to bed. I remember I was sharing a room with my mother (who was a light sleeper) sleep came quickly and then a dream began. I dreamt that I sat on the floor in a small audience of people, in front of us stood a Native American woman; she was wearing a velvet blouse and silk pleated type skirt. Around her neck was a smooth, tear drop shaped stone on a cord, I assumed to be a talisman. She was telling us the secrets of the Universe, she had illustrations on a black board behind her, and then I woke up. Still drowsy and not quite aware I felt It. There was a presence that took over the whole room, it was so vast that I began to shake and broke out in a cold sweat. The Presence stayed, expanding swallowing me up with It. I was terrified and could only think to myself, to It, “I’m not ready! I’m not ready,” over and over. Finally, it abated, and then left entirely. I lay for a few minutes in a sweat and then staggered to the bathroom to pee for a sense of normalcy. For four days I was left with a sense of wonder and a feeling that something monumental had happened. But what had occurred I had absolutely no idea.
My life has not been ‘normal’ since. And yet, it is completely ordinary.
That experience spurred me, inspired and fired me up to begin to search for the answers to some very intense questions that were born that night for me. This was something that was on the outside of everything I had ever experienced, been taught or read. I needed to know, I needed to make sense of what had happened. There was this sense of urgency. At this same time, I had just graduated from college and moved to L.A to find a job, and an apartment and start some kind of life. But after that experience which was more real and bigger than any kind of life I had previously known, regular life was very flat and dull. I basically just went through the motions. There seemed to be little drive to create a particular lifestyle. I was just floating, going from one type of job I didn’t particularly enjoy or find fulfillment in. The career appeared to advance ever so slightly. But it was never my focus. I was a mass of inner contradictions. I had low self esteem and yet was very vain, I was introverted (preferring my own company to that of others) and yet could be extremely extroverted (at parties for example), I was detached yet self involved (narcissistic). One day at my rather dull job, I sat at my desk and asked for “The Truth”. Little did I know that my question would not only be answered but that it would literally take me years to understand the impact of the question. For a few weeks I continued to be carried by life and then came upon Shirley MacLaine’s book “Out on a Limb”. Finally, here was someone in the so called mainstream that I could relate to. She was a mystic and not afraid to admit it. Perhaps that was what I was too? Her book was a wealth of resources and information. Through it I found an amazing bookstore, The Bodhi Tree. Today the Bodhi Tree is still there, in L.A., providing refreshment to dehydrated spiritual seekers and students. That bookstore allowed me to hang out and absorb all this new and fascinating information I had never even known existed in such quantity. The New Age movement in L.A. was in full swing; after all, it was the 80’s. I sifted through masses of books, thumbing through them, but only bought a few. I bought A Course in Miracles.
I had heard about it from a few people, a man who worked in the produce department at same food co-op where I volunteered. It was mentioned in Ms. MacLaine’s book as recommended reading. Someone in the aerobics classes I taught knew of the book. When I brought the book home it was bound in hardcover, in three volumes. Now you can buy it in paperback, all bound in one single convenient book. I placed it on the kitchen table and that night a balloon came through the window, it was a silver Mylar balloon and on it was written “Congratulations”. I got chills and a nervous fluttering in my stomach, there were so many coincidences. The Course sat on the kitchen table for about four days. I was getting up the nerve to open it. I sensed that when I began to read it, my life would change. That intuitive hit, proved dead on. The year was 1985; I was twenty-five years old.
A Course in Miracles, explained so much. I learned why I was so fearful, so contradicted,
So secretive, so…so…so weird. But most importantly I learned that I wasn’t the only one who was like this. I learned that 99.99999999% of us human beings are this way. Why, because we think we are separate from Love. That was the beginning of what I can only call a life process. Some people call it a journey, or they say “You are on the path”
But I didn’t know anything about that; I just knew that I was getting clarity on some obvious mysteries within myself. I was learning that life was not what I thought it was on the surface. I took the Course very seriously and read it three times, doing the Lessons in the workbook three times as well. While the mundane day to day living seemed quite ordinary, underneath subtle and significant changes were unfolding. It became clear to me, that my mind did not work in the way I thought it should. I was very self critical and it took years before I began to understand the entire self imposed mental structure that we all suffer from. The very thing that Buddha meant, that the very foundation of what it was to be a separate identity, a separate human being with this life-story was the cause of all my problems, in fact, the whole world’s problems.
Anyhow, life went on, I got married, got divorced, searched more, re-read the Course, read more books on ‘spirituality’, dieted, got married again and when I had my daughter one of the first major walls of the constructed persona, fell down. When she was born, I had her at home with a midwife attending the birth. It was a beautiful, empowering experience for me. That night I did not sleep, I was in awe but mostly I was in love. As she flew out of me with that last push, I caught her, held her and saw in the dim November twilight that her tiny body was surrounded by a halo of the most beautiful, brilliant, neon blue light I had ever ‘seen’. It was amazing, breathtaking and there she was - perfection. She slept like a log the whole night but I couldn’t, the adrenaline was rushing through me. Finally, something, more specifically, someone had arrived in my life who needed me 24/7/365. I could not continue to perpetuate a secret inner life. This realization was sobering, thrilling and drove me mad. Yes, I was a very selfish and self absorbed being. But I loved her so much. She was and is everything to me. Yet, I made mistakes, small ones and big ones. Forgiveness has been essential in releasing all the mental programming that we not only are born into but bring with us.
The whole unfolding of ‘waking up’ continued. My husband reported that I was having jerking movements at night while sleeping (kriyas) and I was ‘learning’ during my meditation sessions. These sessions were very informal, I could be sitting or lying down, nursing my baby or just resting while she napped and the information would pour in. It was similar to what had occurred to me in college, information from somewhere beyond me and my brain, would arrive. One thing was becoming certain to me, that the body was not a dense object separate from the mind. They were more than intimately connected. I knew this because of food and how it affects our health and moods. I had studied Macrobiotics and cooked in a style loosely based on those concepts. Organic food, preferably locally grown, mostly vegetables, grains, fish, beans, sea vegetables, some seeds, fruit and occasionally chicken.
Eating this way ensured health. No dairy meant no colds or ear infections, no meat meant no clogged arteries and no sugar meant no metabolic disturbances or insulin problems. Eating this way helped with mood and energy, keeping both stable. However, I loved sugar, a habit from my own childhood, and this would plague me for a long, long time. Sugar is a drug and we easily become addicted to it. It comes in many different forms and is added to practically all foods you can find out in the world that aren’t in their raw, original state. So avoiding it requires vigilance.
Back to the body not being what is normally considered ‘real’ here in the world. That is what I began to see. I also began to ‘see’ light emanating from my hands, from the fingertips to be precise. We all have this ability, it is innate and present in all of us.
We are all capable of this kind of seeing, but our minds are full of the past and future and we have forgotten What we Are. I ‘knew’ that all healing began in the mind, that what we believed was what we would experience. All experience pleasant or otherwise reflects belief firmly planted in our subconscious and we are “playing our role” to the hilt to confirm the ‘truth’ of our belief. Therefore, if we were to become aware, awake, or realize what we were bringing to ourselves and we wanted to change it, we could. But the real problems came about when we could not see or admit that we held certain beliefs to be the ultimate reality. I’ll call these core beliefs as they form the center of an identity we as humans would literally kill for to preserve. The core identity is a construct of beliefs laid down by programming we receive from the environment we are raised in, like a blueprint, no matter how much a rebel we think we are. Some time or another we find when we face ourselves that we hold certain ideas to be ‘The truth’. Some of these ideas are from our individual viewpoints, some are regional, some are national, cultural and some are even global. Yes, there is a global belief system.
So, in its’ own way, in perfect divine time, I ‘saw’ that all that went on in the body/mind vehicle, came formed from these constructs.
When I was 33 I met a woman in the dressing room area of the local GAP clothing store. She admired my two year old daughter’s shoes. They were like Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz. We struck up a conversation and soon after became friends. She claimed to be psychic and after being challenged she proved to be the real thing. One thing she said to me was that I ‘needed to come out of the closet’. I feigned innocence saying “I don’t know what you mean by that remark”, she immediately retorted, “You know exactly what I mean.” And I did, too. I knew I could place my hands on people and they could feel the energy in them, and they would get better. I knew that if I let go of my own egoic projections and desires and surrendered myself to Spirit, people would heal.
My first guinea pig was my daughter, who to this day asks me to put my hands on her when she feels “tweaked”. She was two and hit her head, rather severely. I put my hands on her little head and relaxed into the vortex of healing energy. Afterwards she was fine, not even a bruise. My husband, a computer software architect, also could feel the energy when I worked on him. And finally the aforementioned dear woman arrived to “bring me out”. One day, she asked me to put my hands on her because her menstruation was late, I did and her period started immediately. Just recently I did this for a young client of mine. Once I admitted, out loud to myself, with a witness present that I had a gift, a talent, people began to arrive. It was all quite remarkable. I entertained for a moment the idea that I was somehow doing this, but that lasted for about a nanosecond. This healing gift, this light was coming through me; I was just the messenger, the vehicle, so to speak. People would come to the house and I would put my hands on them, wherever they had body pain or if they were in emotional pain, psychic pain. I didn’t have to think about it, there was nothing to study, the instructions came directly into my body, bypassing any verbal reasoning or ‘thinking’ process.
Basically there I was walking around them as they lay on the massage table, putting my hands on their energy centers or Chakras, cleansing the energy field around their bodies, feeling the disturbance or “static” that I sense when the energy centers or entire field is blocked or out of sync.
Meanwhile, on the home front my life was careening along, I finally weaned my daughter after two and a half years of nursing her. Went back to teaching aerobic exercise, became the aerobics director at a local gym and had an affair that broke up my marriage and best friend, and I lost other friendships too. I lost my job at the gym for not handling a staff issue intelligently and lost a dear friend who was also an aerobics instructor. My life changed drastically. I was no longer taken care of financially, in my disgust with myself I gave up everything to my husband. He didn’t want our possessions either, so I ended up selling most of the stuff at several garage sales. He agreed to give me a little money to live on until I landed back on my feet. I was free in certain ways but lost and bound in others. I looked to A Course in Miracles for help. Once again my inner guidance told me that I needed to trust, trust God, the Universe, All That Is and not try to control anything.
I and my daughter moved to lovely apartment with two bedrooms and began to settle into our new life. She lived with me one week and then went to her father’s the next, this arrangement was her decision and it stayed that way until she was thirteen. Soon after, I made a comment to a very dear friend of mine, announcing with great intensity, “I am now totally committed to God.” I meant I was totally committed to knowing God, being available, surrendered. At that very moment of speaking, my friend vanished for a second from my sight. His body simply evaporated. Something serious was going on indeed. I was having a new experience of ‘seeing’. I began to receive specific inner instructions. Crystal clear thoughts arrived stating ‘you need to buy food for a week’ and ‘make sure the child goes to her Dad’s’. It was an amazing feeling, this knowing, this certainty. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t afraid of whatever was coming; I felt I was being prepared. Yes, I was ready! Then about a day before things really took off, I became rather clumsy in my body which was unusual for me having danced since I was four and having taught aerobics in all its various forms for the past 13 years. I remember hitting my shin on the door of my car and hearing the very clear instruction that ‘it is time for you to go back home now’. I did as I as told and went home and went directly to bed. I lay on the bed and it began. My chest area began to jerk spontaneously, it was happening. I was not frightened or concerned, I was in fact delighted. I was so grateful. I knew that I was having a Kundalini movement in the heart energy center. The Anahatma or heart chakra was the beginning. I had read about it briefly in one of the spiritual books of my past but had not really studied Kundalini rising, nor knew much about other people’s experiences. I called my mother, my inner guidance told me I might be out of commission for a while and I didn’t want her to worry. I told her to go to the library and research “Kundalini rising”. Understandably, my mother was a bit concerned. But she did know about the healing abilities, she knew I was ‘mystical’ by nature. My ex-husband was very helpful, he went on the internet (in its infancy in those days - 1996) and printed out pages of information on the Kundalini energy and supported my process.
At that time there were a few books out on the subject. Now there is much more information, especially on the Internet. However, everybody’s experience is different and despite the desire many people have to experience Kundalini, I don’t recommend trying to make it start by yourself. It is an entirely spontaneous energetic movement that begins when the consciousness is ready. Mostly in the early days, in Western culture, there was no model for this other than the mystics, or ravings from certain saints, and it wasn’t widely published. If you were having an intensely personal mystical experience you went to a monastery or a nunnery. This was the stuff they sent people to asylums for. Yes, this was definitely out of the norm, the body spontaneously jerking, uncontrollably. It was like having a seizure, but not. I was completely aware and coherent except that I was laughing a lot. To me this experience came with great joy, it was ecstatic. It did not stop for a whole week, day and night and it took all my concentration and focus just to pay attention to what was going on. Strange things were going on in the body, the energy moved from one area to another, the body jerking rhythmically, until It was ready to move on to another area. After intense jerking there would be this delicious feeling of peace and warmth, extraordinary. Once the movement started in the heart area, it moved down to the first energy center, the root chakra, located at the connection between the legs and the torso, it began to circle in a clockwise direction, I felt the same circling energy move up my entire body. It was hypnotic, not at all frightening yet I was awestruck. I was not in control of my body at all; I was not doing this voluntarily. It was happening magically, independently of my volition. The energy was not subtle it was stronger than anything I have ever experienced in the body. Gradually, it moved on to the second energy center located between the hip bones, the Energy moved round and round, forceful yet gentle, then it went up to my solar plexus and the middle jerked, like I was being pulled directly up by a very strong string. I felt like a marionette, and God/ Shakti was the controlling force. I felt that somehow, I was privy to a secret, a secret that was available to everyone and anyone, but something people didn’t ask for. My feet were cramping from the enormous energy moving upwards and I learned I could get relief from the cramps by sticking my big toes into the sore spots and massaging the arches of my feet. The energy continued to move up, it was slow, it was taking its time. I knew that the Energy was moving towards the head, but how long this process would last, I had no idea. In the end it turned out to be very efficient.
The entire process took a week to reach to crown chakra. For seven days I did not go out of my apartment. Mainly I stayed in bed; although I was allowed to carefully walk to the bathroom. I ate one meal a day while the energy maintained some sort of suspended animation. Once I finished the meal, and got back to bed it resumed moving immediately.
It would always begin the same way, starting at the feet and moving upwards. Every day it went a little further. It worked on the energy centers in sequence, staying at a particular energy center until all the blocks were clear. When It was satisfied, it moved on, always up. My friends called me, I told them what was going on, they were supportive but a little in disbelief. Who could blame them? I had never actually met anyone who was going through an experience like this or anywhere near this. This was exquisite, this was above and beyond personal power or will, it was within me, but ‘I’ wasn’t doing it. It, the Kundalini was doing it by itself. The days went by; on the fourth day it began to move in the heart chakra again. By now I was familiar with the process and lay feeling the incredible feeling of this snakelike, delicious energy moving through the body, stopping at each chakra and swirling around and around, moving on when the blocks were clear. The whole process was going a little faster. My head began to jerk rhythmically on the pillow. I was grateful I wasn’t lying on the floor. I had many thoughts go by during this process about my life and the story of it and how all of that didn’t mean much in the light of this experience. I didn’t belong to myself in the way I thought I did. I wasn’t a person in the sense that most people thought of themselves as people, in bodies, living a life that was based in survival, completely involved in the personal drama of their lives. Something else was in charge, something else was moving and living through me, and I was humbled, and in deep, profound gratitude. Sometimes I would shift to my side and then the energy would jerk through my body rapidly, so rapidly I could not help but dissolve in a fit of giggles. I was jerking like a fish out of water This was so crazy, so good and so wild. I felt euphoric, like I was in love for the first time. It was and is Love, in the most real and profound sense of the word. This is want we are, we are this Presence and this Presence is Love, and I was having a personal experience of it in my body. I was getting a taste.
One morning I got up and went to my living room and sat on the floor. The thought of Yoga came into my awareness. I attempted to do some yoga asanas (poses). But that was laughable. It occurred to me that hatha yoga was trying to emulate the Kundalini rising on a miniscule scale. The yoga postures attempted to activate the various energy centers through the bending and twisting of the spine, holding and manipulating the breath, inspired by this sacred and spontaneous Energy that was moving through my body like a freight train. Doing yoga postures at this point was completely unnecessary. The Yoga Sutras convey a description of the eight limbs of Yoga, or rather, the eight branches of yoga which discusses the various disciplines that a devoted yogi must master to become enlightened. The postures are actually the least important; service, prayer, devotion, meditation are considered more important in the Yogi’s development.
Finally the Energy reached the crown and I experienced a burst of light that was pure white and red and orange and then black. I felt like I had been shot out into outer space, there was no body to even speak of. Was I in unity with the Divine? Well, Awareness was no longer there as a separate being, I did feel amazing and everything I looked at had light around it and sparkled. Once things had calmed down internally and I felt that I might venture outside my apartment. I cautiously took a little walk; running was out of the question, as I was feeling rather wobbly. Everything seemed to glow; the grass, the flowers and the trees were living beings and spoke. I walked up to a small tree and embraced it and was immediately moved to tears at the amount of love that was pouring from this tree. The rest of the short walk was the same all of the growing things were speaking, singing in a unified chorus of joy.
The following week began to unfold with more than a little humor. When my friend arrived to take me out to dinner at a restaurant, which I agreed to a bit reluctantly, my head began to bang on the wall behind me and we had to take our meal ‘to go’. The first time I got behind the wheel of a car, I began to laugh hysterically; the whole driving thing was so ludicrous. Who as driving? Certainly not me. On the side of the road I saw the body of a deer that had just been hit and watched as its’ energy body leaped out of the lifeless form and gracefully jumped across the highway. There was no death. Everything was eternal Life. While driving I stopped at a stop sign and before my eyes a ’slideshow’ of all of my past lives flashed by. I saw who I had been, ordinary, aristocratic, good, bad, man, woman, different ethnicities; the whole gamut. Life had played all the imaginable roles, cleverly disguising itself as a person.
It took many weeks before I integrated back into the ‘regular’ world and got a job. The Energy still moved through me and does. While I was in what I call the “reintegration” period, the Energy/Life Force would be ‘asleep’ during the day and work hours. But in the evening when my daughter was in bed asleep and once I lay down to rest myself it would begin to move up through the body, but now it took only a few minutes for the movement from bottom to top to complete. The energy never started from the top and moved down, always beginning at the bottom. It is taking many years for the purification of inner knots and old patterns of being and relating. It is still an ongoing process. But there are things that are ‘known’ and these things are what I am sharing with you.
The experience of the Kundalini rising was incredible, joyous, profound and yet there I was, still thinking I was a personality, with this life story. This was just the beginning of about 14 years of releasing personal grief, therapy and a deep looking into my own dysfunctional personality. However, many of these problems continued to follow me, I ‘the healer’ hid myself from myself very well. I carried the secret story of my own family troubles and my own impressions of childhood deep under the rugs of my psyche. On the outside I looked like I had my sh*t together. I had a job; I had a great apartment in a delightful village by the sea. I had a boyfriend; my daughter and I had a wonderful relationship. I was having ‘fun’. I also had a healing practice in a Mind/Body therapy center where I rented a room with a friend of mine. We shared the rent and worked out a schedule of seeing clients, she did massage and I did my ‘healing work’.
I did the ‘spiritual’ retreat thing and went for a day, a week, a month to various places to do yoga, see gurus, spiritual teachers, holy men and women. Life continued to live itself through me.
Where are you right now? What do you see, smell, hear or perhaps taste, besides reading this book? That is the divine Presence experiencing Itself. The individual that we try so hard to keep perpetuating is never a separate insulated object apart from the tapestry that is Life. That is an idea in the mind. That is the illusion; that a body identified as ‘insert your name here’, could be a separate form from the One. A very beginning understanding is that form and formlessness are the same thing. In other words, there is no separation from what we know as ourselves and what we think of as space. Ask any physicist; and they will tell you that on the subatomic level everything is basically the same thing ~ energy. There is even a word for this in Sanskrit, Advaita, meaning literally not two.
Something that is said in the Yoga Sutras and what I also believe to be true is that the mind makes the body, the mind/body apparatus or vehicle is a construct of the part of ourselves we know and recognize as being separate or the ego. Why does this happen? The explanation from the Yogi sages of India and the Himalayas is that it is the play of Consciousness, the game of Consciousness hiding and then revealing itself, over and over until the play is finished and the Consciousness that once experienced itself as separate is no more, then there is ‘no one’ who is enlightened. There is just Consciousness.
Meanwhile, life goes on, and there is only One. Your neighbor, your enemy, the other nation is still the same thing. You.
But in the little world of moi a drama continues/d. After this experience of the Kundalini I felt quite amazing, quite tingly and although I had a casual dating relationship one of my clients from my healing practice said I must meet this man; an amazing and extraordinary man, a healer, a teacher and a man of true spiritual grace. She had known him for a long time, rented a room in his house and thought that he and I would hit it off. Well, I was on board for that and after a few weeks, I met him. Mr. D.C.F. was having a party at his house, which I found out later was the hub for community, parties and events and celebrations for sacred holidays and equinoxes and solstices and the like. I went there with the boyfriend of the moment and when we arrived said host was not there. So I went about making myself busy and was assigned to make a loaf of garlic bread. When he came into the kitchen, I was struck by his wildness and friendliness. He was so charming and enjoyable I understood at once why my client wanted us to meet. That night I literally fell in love at first sight and so did he. After a few days he called me and asked me out. We went to dinner and at the restaurant he put his head on my shoulder, I told him about the Kundalini rising. Afterwards we sat on a bench in the warm August night and felt the silence together. Then we went to my apartment and lay on my bed, in the darkness we could both see the sparks coming off of our bodies. To say the least our affair and relationship was extraordinary, I loved him beyond how I had loved any other man. I was completely besotted with this man. But I was still learning about my own internal division and inequities. All at once, I portrayed the part of the enlightened goddess very well. Underneath, I struggled with jealousy, insecurity, my terrible denial about my finances, the bills and credit card debt I was racking up, but still I was this Goddess in that little world. I went to spiritual retreats and sat at the feet of famous gurus.
He traveled to India and other places around the world. I stayed at home and well, lived my life. After a few years with this fabulous man, I felt it was time to go. Some other man was vying for my attention and what’s a girl to do? Obviously to those still reading this train wreck realize I was looking for something, seeking. I wanted security, the fab man traveled, a lot. He went to India for months and months, I was alone, available and men came along who wanted. I wanted to be wanted all the time. I didn’t want someone going off without me. A man did come along, and he had other qualities that appealed to me, he was a business man, who knew how to find and sell a beautiful object. I turned to this other life of objects.
It was interesting but not fulfilling, I still loved and missed the fab man. What I didn’t realize was that I was missing me. But that will be expanded upon later in the book. The objects man wanted to marry me and in an impetuous moment on a Hawaiian vacation, how tempting and stupid was that of me, I caved and married him. All my friends and my nine year old daughter begged me not to do it. But I did it. How stupid am I? Well its pretty amazing how stupid. For I just seem to go on in life sticking my foot into my mouth and tripping over my own feet over and over and over and…Well I met a man who would point that out to me over and over and over and…well, you get the picture.
Basically, I was just horribly confused. I was a person who seemed to lack basic human characteristics of caring for others, of finding satisfaction in having a life that was filled with great human interaction. I had never had real, deep human interaction so I had no model and did not know where to start. Basically the marriage with the object man ended, he left and I was…free again. I sought and got back together with the fab man. It was glorious, I thought I could do it this time. I had changed, I had grown, etc. blah, blah, blah. Life seemed to be great, there I was careening along…where have I seen that before?
Then, uncannily, I got myself into another hopeless situation. One night I had had too much to drink and called fab man and he had a friend over, a woman, a lovely older woman, a rabbi and I lost it, the jealousy came back and we had a fight. Of course it was my fault but I could not admit it. I was upset; I broke off the relationship and went to the beach to be miserable (but pretending not to care) and contemplative. There, in a matter of a few moments I received an inner direction, quite strong, that I could not argue with. You know when you need to go to the bathroom? Right. There is no confusion. It was that kind of clarity. The message was “Go to the bookstore where your brochures are and check on your brochure”. Well, that’s exactly what I did, and looking at my brochures I found one next to mine. It was by a man who, according to the description in the brochure, did similar healing work. I immediately thought, neat, perhaps we have something in common, I’ll go right home and email him. I had no idea that not only would this little decision be a new beginning for me but that it would radically challenge me to the ultimate concept of myself and force me to face myself and what I thought and who I thought I was on a level that I never thought was possible.
The process unfolded predictably. The man, who I am with now, after six years, emailed me right back and we agreed to meet at the beach for a walk. I was in full egoic form and thought of myself as being together yet insecure, wonderful yet a loser, upbeat yet hiding, highly evolved spiritually yet lost, etc. and all that crap. He had an air about him that I couldn’t put my finger on or define easily, he was kind of sad and elusive, distant, or so I thought. We talked for hours, went to lunch and that was the beginning of the downfall of “me”. He turned out to be the mirror of myself who would show and point out all the darkness of my ego/personality which at first I denied then was furious, but I couldn’t get away. I tried to leave three times but kept returning. The whole thing was like some bad gossip column, a real human condition play. The whole catastrophe.
There were huge blow ups, arguments, threats, and crying. Lots and lots of crying. I cried so much I though I had permanently damaged the skin around my eyes. I hated him and loved him. He was right about so many things; I was bad to the bone. Or so I thought. After the first few tumultuous weeks, he suggested that I see a therapist. So I went. I thought she was very good; she sided with me about many things and encouraged me to break off the relationship. I tried, I caved. I was not the happy go-lucky, flirtatious party girl anymore; I was becoming serious, responsible. Finally, I left. But after a couple of weeks changed my mind, he was suffering terribly, and we got back together on the condition that we would seek couples therapy, for our huge battling egos. We found or rather I found a great therapist in her seventies who had been a holocaust survivor and could probably handle us and our issues. I stayed in therapy with her for several years and several thousand dollars and found the seeds of all the dysfunction in myself that would attract a man and relationship like the one I have described. Finally I calmed down in myself, I was no longer jealous, I was no longer blaming him or myself for every little thing, my anger or more accurately rage had all but been extinguished. Was it possible that I could become a peaceful, steady, stable and clear individual? It seemed that that what was occurring within me was permanent. Therapy helped illuminate those aspects and areas in my mind that I had heretofore been unaware of or unconsciously hid. Once they were illuminated, they vanished. The man said I was changing, blossoming. Perhaps. But what was really becoming apparent was that the personality didn’t seem to need to assert itself as aggressively as before. It is still there but it operates in the background and is much easier to control. It’s funny, looking back I did not realize I was being ruled by my personality or the idea I had of myself. If I can elucidate here; the personal idea of the self is not a set of definitions that we consciously address when we want to call up what we think of as ‘me’, _insert name here_. It is entirely unconscious and when we become more aware of ourselves as contriving this personality or set of qualities that’s when we begin to really observe how we react to certain situations and triggers. How we believe that the whole universe centers around that little persona we call ‘me’. What the little me wants and needs, its thoughts, feelings all are of paramount importance. No amount of therapy, self improvement books or methods will help quell the tyranny of the little me. It is only the cessation of all of the above that springboards into a new understanding of Self.
Is this cessation possible to bring about on one’s own? Can you just think ‘Cease and desist ego!” and it will stop? No, because it is still the ego playing the game of ego trying to become enlightened and that is a paradox and is impossible. Then do we go on suffering and repeating old patterns until we want to shoot ourselves? Yes, presumably that is what is happening here. I desperately want a happier experience, yet I constantly find things wrong with the experience I am creating. And around and around it goes. Help Holy Spirit!!!!
When all feels and experienced as ‘hopeless’ surrender is the only option. You have exhausted all the negotiations for another view of the illusion, all the old methods and escapes do not work and there are no more options. Surrender to Love.
Surrendering to Love has no ideas or images that we may be familiar with. Surrendering to Love means to go into the Unconditional Bliss of Being. And that bliss may not feel like bliss at the time. It may feel like you are dropping down the rabbit hole of the unknown. And you are. Don’t stop there, keep dropping even if there is fear, it is merely a mask, a distraction to prevent you from paying attention to the Presence that is calling to Itself.
Three words that can set you free: I don’t know.
I don’t know what anything is for. I am not happy and so I must have made a decision by myself. Dear Holy Spirit of Love, I want to be happy, please make the decision for Love for me.
Try it for yourself, now.
How do you feel? Empty, better, more irritated? If irritated, try again. And again, and again, and again.
One of the greatest works on a personal account of non-duality, if there could even be such a thing, because the previous statement would be a contradiction in terms, is Perfect, Brilliant, Stillness by David Carse. He presents with the greatest honesty and raw clarity his version of the non-dual state. It is a possibility that a seeker would find as intoxicating as a 14 year old boy might find Playboy magazine. I am one of those, because Life as we know it is almost unacceptable unless it is seen from the viewpoint that there is no separation and that all that is occurring and experienced is Oneness. That the personal self does not exist. This truth is a bone of contention between me and the man I love with. He believes that the ego should be included and not vilified in the spiritual quest/journey. And I believe that the ego is to be annihilated. Why? Well, because the ego determines the world and interprets it as it sees it from the standpoint of itself, the ego as the center of the world, nay even universe. It is, after all, the human condition and many people reading this would claim that I was out of my mind. Well, on the one hand that is true, I am out-of-mind when I observe this, but I am not crazy. The mind creates the world, if you doubt that, ask yourself if you exist, ask any well revered guru or wise-man, the world arises upon the nanosecond that we apperceive ourselves. Most people may not even know what the hell I am talking about, there have been accounts of holy men, cave meditators who left society, culture and the ‘world’ to remove themselves from the chaos of the hypnosis of the collective consensus to ‘realize’. Realize what? The end of personal self. But, baby, you can’t force it, it happens naturally without any effort on your part. So in the meantime, live your life, have your story and drama and it all works out because “what is” is the only reality. And, get this, you are the Absolute Reality.
*So, what now? Living goes on. The body/mind vehicle is the way the Divine cloaks Itself and experiences Itself in this vast Universe of possibilities. What to do? What if you had many talents but no direction. There’s even a movie, a documentary to be exact, about the great Bob Dylan, made by Oliver Stone called “No Direction”. However, to me it just seems that Bob Dylan has no direction to the casual observer. Because in the human mind it appears that there must be some kind of linear progression towards a distinguishable goal for there to be a recognizable direction. Actually, Life is wonderfully, random and disorderly yet this remains inaccessible to the perceiver who can only accept a narrow view of reality. When I wrote that you are the Absolute Reality, I quote from the great sage, guru and being, Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. The book about him that is most famous, recounts numerous satsangs where his conversations with his students were transcribed, is titled I AM THAT. When I read it, it was as though I had come home. Although I have read the classics in literature, studied philosophy, history, and had the basics of education, earning a degree, nothing ever touched me as deeply as talk of Liberation. Whether in written form, satsang or intimate discussion, it did not matter. Why it captivated and arrested my attention is hard to describe. The beckoning of the invitation to awaken from the role was absolutely compelling. That the individual identity was constructed and perpetuated constantly is a fact, but so few recognize this.
Most of us are completely consumed by the ‘me’, me included. We walk through the experience as Life and do not even know it. The personal story of what I am doing, desiring, doing, feeling, thinking has us so hypnotized that we cannot see Life living us, being us and it is All One Thing going on and on.