Some years ago I underwent certain spiritual happpenings that shifted my whole perception of life, the universe and everything.
They were brought on by an almost tangible nothingess sensation settling in my belly for some weeks, and which simultaneously brought on a sense of an absence of the person I had known myself to be till then.
The individual I had been (values, culture, definitions, personality) suddenly had no meaning and no merit and was experienced as bogus. A figment of my imagination. At the time I had no idea about spiritual awakening, or non-duality, a term I only later came to know.
Here’s some more detail about this.
At this point I had been a long-time seeker but what I had known were various religions, personal development and new age stuff. None of this explained anything of what was occurring now in a very real way. I had been seeking since my teens but somehow I had never looked at ‘spiritual awakening’ or ‘loss of self or ego’ per se. I loosely interpreted what was happening as some kind of existential crisis or catharsis, and it freaked me out massively.
Truth – Oneness – has a way of making Itself apparent when we least expect it, and when seeking has halted. And at this point in time I had stopped seeking, having gotten fed up with all the paths through which I had tried to find some answers, to find some respite and peace.
It was during a time when I had much time to myself. There was also much suffering at this juncture. Since I had been brought up in a culture and family dynamic that did not encourage displays of emotion or suffering, I had learnt to keep the lid on it all. Until now. Spending time alone, and experiencing a particular loss that acted as the catalyst for the lid to be flown open, I explored and gave way to an emotional world. It was like I was almost being ‘forced’ to surrender to what was (emotions) for the first time in my life, and at the same time this loss of identity / personality was going on alongside.
During this time an almost tangible ‘nothingness’ settled in the pit of the stomach for some weeks. It wasn’t just a feeling of emptiness. It was a veritable void. It was in my belly and it would not leave. In actual fact I did think I must be going crazy, I thought this is the onslaught of madness! For the thoughts I was having were so new, so alien, so illogical, that this was the only conclusion I could come to, in my emotional and confused state. The things that had somehow given me meaning before (the roles I played in life) were now meaningless. The Reena I had known myself to be and portrayed to the outside world was now phoney and unreal. And this was the most real thing of all – the unrealness of the identity I had thought I had been. This sense of phoneyness was huge. I felt like a fraud. I did not know who I was anymore.
How could I tell people this sort of stuff? So I didn’t – for some weeks. I just carried on experiencing, there was no choice in this anyway. There were many emotions. One day someone close to me said I should go seek some kind of support. That was when I started searching online for others whom I could relate to, and who might be feeling something similar.
I reached out to many different kinds of people, and I started to meditate, for the first time in earnest. I learnt to quiet and silence became alive. Silence became a friend, music to my ears. I no longer needed – or even wanted – to listen to music. Silence was enough.
I adjusted to the loss and absence of personal definitions that I had lived my life by. This was most weird at first, but what I knew through all the initial confusion was that the Space out of which the Reena (the use of the impersonal sounds strange but is more accurate) had been created that had been the driving force of this life, was more real than any definition, image, projection, belief, thought or value-system that Reena had tried to live by. It was only after experiencing these sorts of things that I learnt about the terms dual and non-dual. Now there was a sense of Spaciousness from which, and only from which, dualities like good/bad, right/wrong etc could arise in the first place. I was graced by that which is non-dual, by truth. I felt an expansiveness and connectedness with others and everything. Realization after realization was occurring at a rapid pace. I read and watched many spiritual teachings, non-dual, spiritual, living, and not living teachers. I saw that with the dropping away of the self called Reena and the releasing of much suppressed emotion from my body and thought processes, whilst I could not say any more what or who I actually was, I was nevertheless left in a space of more inner peace and lack of internal conflict than ever before.
Some months after these initial weeks, some further direct spiritual events / experiences occurred that transformed and healed and showed me directly that there was more than the body, that I was not, in actual fact, the body, and that there was this amazing Vastness which is everything and also nothing. By that I mean it is everything we see with our senses, yet it is also nothing – just stillness, and being. That whilst we wish to see life as a linear, understood clarity in our thoughts and beliefs (mind), that in fact life is a paradox of immense proportions. It is dual and non-dual at once. It is not just one thing. It is the coin that provides two sides to the story. There is no way for us to understand life and ourselves with our mind (thoughts, intellect), and that in truth what we can say with honesty is what we are not. Hence the paradox of thinking. There was a surrendering to not knowing.
There was one pivotal experience which at the time blew my mind, as they say. And probably literally. Blew it even more out of the sphere of seeming utterly real and into it’s rightful place of illusion.
One night, I was feeling elated with all that had occurred yet there was still suffering – loneliness, longing, still needing to know something else. I asked – pleaded – for Truth to be shown to me in my dream that night. I needed to know, not just intellectually understand, Truth. I knew that had I achieved every single thing that one might seek to attain on Earth eg fame, wealth, beauty, relationships, power, etc etc, I still would not be satisfied and would need to know Truth. That night I awoke in the middle of the night. I had been having a profound dream – I was floating in vast space, just me, floating. There was a rhythmical droning sound with an orderly beat to it. As I awoke, the dream continued as I lay there. The third eye area was literally pulsating with the same rhythm as in my dream. And most noticeably there was a sense of an active, involved, interested Presence. I felt looked after. I was being shown something. I was being shown that this was reality – the vastness, the sense of the nothing space I found myself experiencing and there was also order to it. There was intelligence. I went back to sleep. I awoke remembering everything and things just seemed different, fresher. I saw my kids when they awoke as if they had been away for weeks. I noticed the birds in the garden for the first time fully. I felt awe and bliss. I felt gratitude. I felt Love. I had been touched by Reality and had been shown, simply because I had asked. How amazing! After a few weeks, I realized that I also felt emotionally lighter. The neediness and loneliness I had known had dissipated to the extent that I had not even noticed.
Since these experiences, life has carried on, marked at times by life’s challenges, and always, with the release of stuff carried within, an ever deepening of existing in the now, or the silence. Simple peace. I also qualified as a Spiritual Counsellor and Soul Plan Reader.
Soul Plan Readings are amazingly accurate experiences of your story. They help to unveil the barriers.
The story of me likes to show up and show up – and the onion has many layers. Ramana Maharshi said that the greatest service you can render the world is your own self-realization. But this does not imply (though it seems to) that you can actually do this from your own efforts. You can’t in fact because the you that would be doing it is a you borne of your thoughts. And this you is fictional, and no fictional thing can achieve anything real. (Ask yourself: do ‘you’ exist without the thought of you?) However, what we can do is to clear the decks of our hidden charges (ie emotional suppressions, deep beliefs etc).
I have seen some wonderfully brave people during the time I was working actively as a Spiritual Counsellor (happy to see clients still but on a lesser basis now) who were willing to go beyond such things and were committed to courageously becoming present to their emotional pains. This is what I feel I can offer – an assistance with unveiling the barriers. And then, as that work is done, there is a chance for the story to fall away. And when that occurs, there is space for Truth to be seen. But don’t seek it, just do the inner work of removing the barriers. Rumi said: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
You are not who you think you are. For you exist only in the thought of you. We are simply playing the game of being a separate individual with a whole history and pack of beliefs and conditioning, but all this illusion cannot arise without the background of wholeness. Can the wave surge without the ocean? We are Wholeness. It is the wholeness that makes the sense of separation possible.
I like to blog about a variety of topics within this blog, not just spiritual awakening, including natural health, world events and other spiritual topics. I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for reading.