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Back to sleep... an introduction

Last post 10-17-2007, 7:56 AM by tamgoddess. 1 replies.
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  •  10-16-2007, 7:52 PM 30130

    Back to sleep... an introduction

    Hi all.

    I stumbled onto Integral Naked about 3 weeks ago, and it didn't take long for me to realize it was something worth my time.  I've been reading and downloading and listening since then, absorbing and reflecting, and now I'd like to jump in.

    What spurred me to post this was listening to the discussion between KW and Dan Millman, both of whose books I've read in the past, though not for a few years, and reflecting on my own situation in relation to what they called the "highest teaching": the realization, the awakening to the fact, that there is one body and one spirit.

    More than a decade ago, I had a gradual, surprising, and brief awakening.  I knew without having to be told that we all share one spirit, one Love, and that the only difference between awakening and sleep is getting out of the way and letting that Love flow.  I started reading things I had never been even slightly interested in before.  I discovered Taoism first, and then esoteric spirituality in general, and it was grand.  This realization ebbed and flowed for a period of about 3 months, with peaks of deepest enlightenment where I had no more desire, no more need, no more wish to be anywhere but wherever I was, happy, alive, breathing, content.

    Somewhere, somehow, I lost that feeling after just a few months, and I feel like I've shrunk, so to speak, to a size even smaller than before.  For a few years I struggled with deepest depression and despair, knowing exactly what I had lost, and feeling like the proverbial man who sold the world.  I felt locked out, denied.  I still do, to some degree.

    I no longer struggle with that deep depression, mostly because I've adapted and learned to cope by heading off the lines of thought that lead me to despair.  But do still feel locked out, like there is something I'm missing, some key, some grasp, some understanding that will throw the doors back open.  It's something I think about every day, without exception.  And, some days it does still get to me, and at those times I feel utterly lost.

    But don't get me wrong!  I do have a broad sense of humor, and there are things in life I genuinely enjoy.  I just can't help thinking about the futility of things, like the feeling I get whenever I watch TV: it's entertaining and occasionally interesting, but I can never quite escape the sneaking suspicion that I am wasting time.  In short, without awakening, wthout enlightenment, everything seems just a little hollow.

    And now, at the risk of destroying whatever credibility I might have otherwise gained, here's the thorn, the piece of the story I hesitate to tell only because it so often creates so much skepticism and misunderstanding (but I have to include it or any response I get will be no more complete than what I'm telling you now).  Initially, the first time I felt a taste of awakening, it was on lsd.  But, before you raise your guard and cry foul, let me explain.  What I experienced was not solely an effect of a chemical reaction in my brain, of this I have no doubt: I had taken lsd several times before and never had anything even remotely resembling a spiritual experience.  What made the difference on this particular occasion was my friend talking to me about it--about universal love and tearing down walls--and guiding me through a kind of delving into myself that was both painful and revealing.  I experienced feelings of openness and lightness and love, a feeling which faded the next day and didn't return for several weeks, leaving me confused and a little worried that I'd lost my mind.  Eventually, the experience returned--without drugs--and it was, in more ways than I was prepared to handle, life-changing.  Several times I felt it, completely sober, usually preceded by an unpremeditated mantra arising in my head: IamloveIamloveIamloveIamloveIamlove. I would feel a kind of quickening, and know that I had shifted, torn something down, pierced that veil, and stepped through.  I recognized it in the eyes of others, both the sleeping and the awake.  With most people, it was just like that Beatles song: "I look at you all, see the love there that's sleeping..."  But with the ones that were awake, no words were necessary: it communicates itself, and no words could ever convey that meaning anyway.

    That's my story, in a nutshell.  On a more mundane note, after what I've read in these forums and articles, and what I've heard in some of the media I've downloaded, I would say I am a combination of Orange and Green, some healthy, some not, with moments of Red and Blue.  I go through sporadic and irregular periods of meditation, and try generally to be genuine and kind, but otherwise, that aforementioned feeling of futility keeps me from really delving into any long-term, steady spiritual practice.

    I labeled this post an introduction, but in truth I guess it's more of a bundle of questions for anyone that feels inclined to comment: What gives?  Why the sudden awakening if only to be followed by so much depression and despair?  And if I've seen through the veil and I've touched the essential core of who and what I and and all of us are, why is all the practice (meditation, yoga, reiki, whatever) necessary?  What can I do?

    K

     

     

  •  10-17-2007, 7:56 AM 30168 in reply to 30130

    Re: Back to sleep... an introduction

    Arthur says:
    Hi K

    I don't participate a lot in these forums anymore, but read your intro and wanted to respond a bit.  First of all, no need to feel awkward that your first glimpse came from an entheogenic experience - many people have started out that way, and occasionally people admit it.  It's one of many possible catalysts.

    What gives?  Why the sudden awakening if only to be followed by so much depression and despair?  And if I've seen through the veil and I've touched the essential core of who and what I and and all of us are, why is all the practice (meditation, yoga, reiki, whatever) necessary?  What can I do?


    It sounds like you had access to an altered state for a while, then lost contact with it.  Practices help you develop a more permanent acquisition to those kinds of feelings or perceptions, so that's why you might practice meditation or whatever to try to turn that altered state into an altered trait.

    Have you heard the recent revelations about Mother Theresa's extreme Dark Night of the Soul experience?  Dark Nights of various kinds happen on the spiritual path.  (Somewhere Ken has spoken of this...it's in dialogs somewhere on the site, but I'm not sure where offhand.)  On the other hand, there's the inspiring story of Michael Hutchison's awakening, which has helped me keep things in perspective when I am feeling despairing or cut off from spirit.

    You might find Adyashanti worth checking out (or talking with).  He has several Integral Naked dialogs, the third of which is one of my favorites of all time.  Adya gives frequent satsangs and has some free downloads on his site.  I highly recommend seeing him in person if you can, but if not, he has a call-in podcast periodically (the next one is November 15; details here).

    I hope some of this helps...I'll leave you with an extended quote from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Robert Augustus Masters
    When Spiritual Life Really Begins

    When your honeymoon with spirituality ends--and it will end, marked by the arrival of STDs (spiritually-transmitted disappointments) -- and when your affair with being spiritually correct and spiritually in-style runs dry, you may say so long to spirituality, but it is a premature goodbye.

    Disillusionment with spirituality is not only inevitable but also necessary, so that spirituality might be thoroughly deglamorized.  When that disillusionment has had its say--cynicism's couch now being no more than a pain in the butt--and when your fear of re-entering the spiritual no longer frightens or disturbs you, your spiritual life really begins.

    Most of the books will be gone; the ones that remain will feel like old friends you don't tire of revisiting, even if only for a page or two every couple of months.  Most of the practices will also be gone; the ones that remain will feel as natural to slip into as your favorite jeans or T-shirt, at ease with both being worn and being worn out. Most of your aspirations to be spiritual will also be gone; the few that remain will feel less like aspirations and more like unforced inhalations...

    Whatever disciplines we take on will result not from one aspect of us dominating the rest, but rather from a core recognition of what is needed...Instead of being at war with our weaknesses, we bring them into our heart.  Instead of trying to get rid of what we don't like about ourselves, we develop a better relationship to it. Intimacy thus becomes more our path than transcendence.

    Seeking will become supplanted by living a deeper life. Questions will still arise, but will ask for something more real than answers.  Alignment with the Real will become the ground rather than the goal. Details will cease being just details.  Focusing on might be will yield to focusing on what's here now; that is, hope (nostalgia for the future) will be replaced by faith (radical trust in the now)....

    Your longing to be fully awakened will still be present, minus the desperation and ambition that once characterized it. Where once you were in a hurry to get it, now you are not rushing or pushing, having accepted the fact that you are in it for the long haul.  Then, even when you are off track, you are on track.

    Life after spirituality is the beginning of authentic spirituality.  No fireworks, no applause, no pats on the back from the Important, no need to present oneself as someone spiritual. This is the beginning of true nobody-ness.  It is not annihilation, but revelation.  It is at once bare yet sentient openness, and also the beginning of true individuality.

    For every question that arises here, Silence is the answer. Put another way, everything supplies the answer.  Nothing is explained, everything is revealed.  Beyond knowledge, Wisdom; beyond paradox, Truth; beyond self, Being; beyond everything, everything....

    Life after Spirituality is committed apprenticeship to What-Really-Matters.  All that happens is the practicum. Every situation offers the same fundamental opportunity.  The teacher is everywhere. There is no freedom from our Freedom.  No escape. The implications of this froth then still the mind, awaken and release the body, ground and expose the soul, unraveling all our dreams, breaking us open to what we were born to do and be....

    Life after spirituality is a constant dying. Emerging from our own ashes becomes no big deal, but just the way things are....

    (Excerpted from Robert Augustus Masters' May 2006 newsletter)


    Good luck...and remember, it's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I" - then things really get interesting! 

    spiral out,
    arthur

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