A noise startled me awake and a bright light pierced the darkness of the van and a surge of adrenaline shot through me. A cop? A thief? That killer on the loose I read about on the news?
A moment later, the fogginess of sleep cleared and I realized I wasn’t camped out in the desert but at a Walmart and the light was just the street lights shining between my curtains.
There is no way today’s popular spiritual teachers are “blissed out” 24/7. No way anyone could have experienced calm clarity in this situation while the mind is confused from sleep.
I wish today’s teachers weren’t so opaque about their lives. To imply 24/7 bliss is like a lie by omission.
But then as I’ve learned the hard way, transparency—at least for the spiritual—appears too normal. It doesn’t sell.
Looking for coffee in this quiet town, I sat at a red light while a flock of birds, off to my right, gently floated and swirled about, playing in the easterly wind. Just then, a small, soft, white feather drifted across my windshield, hovered a moment, then floated off across the street, reminding me of the opening scene from Forrest Gump. The light turned green and I pulled through the empty intersection feeling as charmed and lucky and grateful as Forrest himself.
I’ve stopped at a picnic area overlooking Palo Duro Canyon, which is interesting in that you travel across all this vast, flat, and open farmland when you suddenly come across it.
My father’s clogged artery seems to have mysteriously unclogged, but his leaky heart valve is still leaky. Thankfully, he’s decided to live with it, as the risks of surgery at his age are too great. Since there’s no hurry to rush back to Florida, I’ve decided to try to avoid the interstates as much as possible and take any scenic routes which call to me as I come across them.
It’s a pleasant feeling to be drifting like Forrest’s feather—with a clear destination but no pre-defined path.
Tired from fighting the relentless wind, I pulled down a dirt road and found a place to park. I sat in my easy chair, pulled away the me-contraction and stared out over the long brown grass waving in the wind. As usual, without boundaries, everything I gaze at feels at once both outside and inside of me. There’s a joining, a merging, a blending that is so hard to describe. The sound of the wind blowing through the hollow tubes of my roof rack, the slight shivering of the van buffeted by the wind, the ache in my neck and shoulders from driving too much… it is all me and Her and Us. Inside and outside.
It’s all AND’s: I, She, We, Other, Me… it’s all made of the same stuff. Separate AND one. Different AND the same. It’s not a mental exercise at all. It’s beyond it. It is an experience of the Divine Herself.
It’s not a permanent state—I have to consciously pull the me-contraction away—but it’s easy enough to slip into.
There’s a storm coming. Maybe I’ll spend the night here.
I just read Michelle’s latest blog post. In it, she confesses one of her deepest fears: Her feelings of anxiety in relationships. I’m so proud of her. She’s walking it. She’s putting her fears out there for the world to see and in doing so, is distancing herself from them. Fading Toward Enlightenment had the same effect on me: Practically unintentionally I ended up writing about myself from both the first and third person perspectives (early duplex personality?). The confessing of my past and fears had the affect of distancing me-the-witness from me-the-story.
And the exact same thing is happening with Michelle. You can see her no longer exclusively identifying with her fears, her thoughts, or her emotions. Michelle-as-the-witness is starting to become more stable.
This “distancing effect” is one of the reasons why I think I’ll require any future students to blog about their lives (though possibly anonymously at first).