I was just sitting here, this sense of quiet excitement, awe, wonder pulsing through me. At what's happening inside this process I call my life. At what's occurring.
I've spent the better part of twenty five years on the spiritual path, pursuing enlightenment. I've lived in an ashram, studied yoga and meditation. Worked with masters, learning powerful techniques to transmute energy, for myself and others. Been a healer for the better part of a decade. Always searching to transform the wounds of abuse, both genetic and environmental, into something of truth, of use, of clarity.
Again and again I've opened into the place inside where there is no place, only love. I've felt god singing in my cells, raining into me as the geese flew overhead, the thunder flashed around me, the flowers burst into a gorgeous northeast spring. I've felt the power of god flowing into me using the gentle fierce gaze of the beloved.
But none of it meant anything, except as preparation for what I'm doing now: turning and staring down into hell, the hell inside of me, the hell of thoughts and feelings and beliefs, evasions and sidesteps and defenses and various ploys that were never anything more than ego placing its hands over its ears and saying lalalalalalalalalalalalala.
All these years, I believed with all my heart that it was about purifying myself somehow through all of the practices and rituals, cleansing diets and uplifting scented oils, sage advice from sainted lips and revered loved ones. I thought that I was heading towards Enlightenment, a place populated with soulmates, bathed in prosperity, bliss for breakfast, no-more-pain for lunch, and a delightful organic dinner spent with people who are never, ever mean. But it's not about any of these things, about these passing states of good times with friends, ecstatic hours with lovers, free flowing cash to spread around, endorphin highs from vigorous exercise, and the joys of a really healthy colon.
It's about turning, slowly, slowly, and facing the thing you fear the most, being with the people you hate most to share air with, the life situation you dread being in the middle of, of standing in the undeniable proof of your pointlessness, your ordinariness, the fact that one day, sooner than later, you'll be dead, oh so very dead, that what you thought was so Very, Fabulously You, will in fact be nothing but some bones and memories that live on for a while in the brains of folks who knew you, until they too die and become the molecular building blocks for a hermit crab, a ham sandwich, a roll of toilet paper.
It's about standing in the path of whatever is awful and all up in my face - someone yelling, judging, powertripping, the anger, pathos, negativity, and all the rest of it - and finding that if I don't turn away, or flinch, or try to push it away, or change the other person - what I find is that the awful feeling is in me and nowhere else. The awful is inside of me, born of a thought I'm having, a belief I hold, a desire to be liked so that I can feel okay, a judgment about what is okay or not okay in terms of behavior, energy, word and volume choice. And if I let go of the awful clench inside of me, all that's left is a person outside of me, wiggling around with their own stuff. But it isn't mine. It's only mine if I activate inside of me.
It's about how we want the spiritual path to be about positivity and love and forgiveness and feeling good, but how these are only the side effects of having faced our mental-emotional-shit-hybrid and set it down for the slop it is. Because if we *try* to have these expansives in our living, it's really only faking it, and some part of us knows this. So instead of attempting to feel full and satiated, we need to go ahead and set out to find the buffet.
The past couple of days, I've been thinking a lot about jesus, as in the very real guy who got strung up on a couple of pieces of wood by a bunch of guys who were appalled at what he said to people, at the cultural fabric he tore up and let fly on the breeze, him laughing all the while, showing folks that they were surrounded by food, healing, love, there for the saying of Yes. And about how he had to turn and face his own hell, and how he felt god abandon him, and how he surrendered anyway, on nothing but faith, in the process, in what was happening to him, because he had no other choice except for the choice between hell and Something Else.
It's so easy to forget how far I've come, when I'm so consumed with watching my ego fight, kick, bite for survival, wreak havoc on feelings and thoughts and bodily functions. In the past few years, I've faced the myth that is romantic love as a permanence, seen that it's simply another of Life's hilarious, majestic flame-throwing tools, designed to help a person become the Human Torch that is his/her destiny. In my world, there will be no more Soulmate.
I saw that 'spiritual work' is a sham, a time waster, a money pit, and actually a very, very stoopid way to spend a life. It actually keeps a person so busy, so caught up with making the Special Hand Gestures, mouthing the Correct Terms, and keeping up with the Chopras in what to wear, buy, and consume that there is no energy left over to genuinely wake up to what is Really Going On.
I stopped taking on teachers, finally understanding that the only real advice can come from inside. It wouldn't even occur to me anymore to call someone to get help with a "problem". The only thing that can assist me now is someone who has been through this territory I navigate, who can give possible tips as to my probable orientation on the map. Note the use of the words 'possible' and 'probable', because really, at this point, it's a solo journey, with only the company of a couple of fuzzy guys for companionship.
I became first accepting, then comfortable, then hilariously happy at this solitariness. There are so many disparaging words for the folks that set off by themselves, who cut away from the herd. Loner, recluse, hermit - none of them are meant as compliments. (Although to me they sound wonderful, and lone wolf has a nice shamanic ring to it.) And I don't know where I'll end up, just that after all these years, I'm finally walking strong, and with real purpose, even as I've no clue except what to do in this moment, and then this one.
There is a reason it's called The Dark Night of the Senses, because what you sense, with all that a human has to sense with, is oh so very dark. But what's awesome about finally surrendering to the hell you've been running away from all of your life, trying so very very hard to keep from happening, is that things become very clear. If you don't want to be in hell, you have to choose the other thing, the thing you don't understand, not what it really is, or what it really means, or even how to surrender to it. Which is where the whole Faith thing comes in. Because you get that when you are in that place where the choice is between Hell and That Other Thing, you have faith that you can choose the other thing and it's all going to be okay, whether that means death, either metaphorically, spiritually, or literally.
Because in the end, we're all going to die. The real thing is whether we have really lived. And I'm really really sick of a half-lived life. I'd rather die today than live another month of pretending we're all not f*cked, flustered, and far from home.
As I drive home from my cubicleland job each day, I keep the radio off and do not stop for snacks or wine. As I drive, I roll the windows down so that I can feel the cold wind on my face. In the silence and the cold, I move my awareness around my body, mind, heart, to witness, acknowledge the damage my ego has wreaked upon me during the day. I feel like a warrior, staggering home after battle, bloody, beaten, exhausted. But the people who yell at me, push me, demand and cry and manipulate aren't the enemy. My ego is the enemy, and until I let it slay "me", the war will go on.
And so I choose The Other. A moment here, then there, in the flow of hell in front of my eyes, experience, living. Instead of fighting back, denying, crying, defending, I stop. Go silent, and watch. And I see that there is no wrong, no bad, only Life. And it is All Good. Then I'm back into hell. Then silence again. Then the flames go higher. Then Wallace licks my cheek. Then I'm sobbing at how much pain my body is in. Then the moon is so bright it must be medicine. Then I sense my death coming for me. Then I watch the ants patiently break down the crumb of bread and take it inside their home.
Spiritual autolysis, gone digital. What else does a human do with eternity other than make art?