This post is part of a series of posts that was initiated by Barbara of Me My Magnificent Self. In this challenge each blogger writes of their own experience and then highlights the blogger that will be posting the next in the series. For all the original detail please see the January Challenge on Barabra’s own blog and for the next in this series please go to DottaRaphels. I am posting after the insightful, stupendous, marvelous, magnificent madam M. A very tough act to follow. For a full schedule of contributors scroll down to the bottom of this post.
So, what is awakening? I will skip looking up the Webster’s dictionary definition of the word and go to the heart of how I define awakening. To me, being awake is being aware and mindful that reality is deeper than what we perceive on the surface. I keep wanting to assign additional attributes to this that are more feelings than realization of the true nature of things.
“That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is but a dimensionless point of consciousness, a conscious nothing; all you can say about yourself is: ‘I am’. You are pure being-awareness-bliss. To realize that is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as a mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness of the transient as transient, imaginary as imaginary, unreal as unreal.”
Looking back to childhood, as Barbara suggests, I remember lying on my bedroom floor with a stuffed tiger, similar to Hobbes, and then feeling myself rise out of my body. Whether this was a lucid dream or a transmigration of my conscious, I don’t know. This happened a couple of times in my early childhood, but not since. I remember being interested in the book of Revelation growing up. The end of times. I was raised Christian and I never really understood the getting “saved” concept. When I turned 16 I was in church with my mom and I did feel something. Something ushering me to make some sort of commitment. I went up front and cried. My family was happy and it was sort of a congratulatory type of thing. I wondered afterward if I didn’t do it just because it was expected. I do remember that it was a very strong feeling that made me want to stand up in front of the church and lay myself out. However, I don’t know that it really changed who I was or what I did.
I never stood in the prayer circle at high school where the other Christian students professed their faith and devotion every morning. I just didn’t get it. I did pray and I still do, but the focus of my prayers has changed from an anthropomorphic deity to my self. When I got to college, I pretty much was separated from my mom urging me to go to school every Sunday to just dropping it all together. I am not sure how that has felt to her, but she has never said anything or pushed me to go in my adult life. I never remember my dad going to church other than for weddings or funerals, and she never pushed him to go or made him feel bad about not going either. My mother is a very strong woman in many ways and her faith is really at the top of that list. I really admire her and as I have evolved my philosophies, I never disdain her for her beliefs.
During college I smoked weed and took philosophy classes. I majored in computer science with a minor in math. I have always been interested in physics and science through I never pursued expanding my education in those areas. College exposed me to ideas beyond my Christian background. It allowed me to see that the world and its inhabitants are very diverse. Many different viewpoints. Many different beliefs. And we are all here trying to understand something. Trying to better ourselves. The other thing that college brought out in retrospect was that things could be explained. Our understanding of the inner workings of the universe could be broken down into bits and pieces. A seemingly simple formula could describe complex motion. Things that humans developed could grow and learn on their own.
Between my junior and senior year, I decided that I did not want to go back home for the summer. I wanted to get an internship and start preparing myself for the “real” world. Mostly, I wanted to free myself more of who I was and what I identified with by living with my parents. I opened up the phone book under software development and I started calling. Rejection after rejection and I got down to O and I struck gold. I spoke with the owner of this small software development company and I sent them my resume. They didn’t ask me any technical questions. It was an informal discussion more focused around my personality and how I learn. I got the job. I still work for the company 14 years later.
After I got the job, I realized that I actually knew nothing about the programming languages that were being used. I went to Borders and bought a thousand plus page book on Visual Basic and I also picked up “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat Zinn. I still have that book, but not the book on Visual Basic. Programming languages come and go. Techniques change and things are modernized. The awareness and awaking described in “WYGTYA” will still apply many years from now. I never really had what I would call an awakening experience. I have heard Tolle say that with his experience he just walked around and sat in the park for 3 days blissed out. One time lying on my couch letting things go, I did feel sort of the roller coaster sensation that he described, but I pulled myself out of it and only one other time have come close to something akin to the death of ego that he describes.
I eventually got married (maybe a story for another time, I feel I am getting off track) and had kids. I truly look at being a parent as the ultimate learning experience. Not just in how to raise another human being, but I have two little mirrors running around my house. I see their reaction to things and I see myself either now or in the past. I see them picking up on things that I do. They are an expression of my self, but they are their own unique individual self. They are a combination of my wife, me, and everything before us. Then they sprinkle in their own unique flavor. The biggest thing for me is allowing them to be themselves. Since they seem seem so much like me, I have to hold back from projecting myself on them. I want to jump to how I would react in a situation. I need to give them the freedom to respond and react on their own. This is the true teaching. See yourself in others, but don’t assume that they are you.
My friends grew up, got married, had kids, got divorced…. We philosophized and decided to try marijuana again. This was a very opening experience on a few levels. The experiences initially were a slingshot into a different way of thinking. The layers of reality started to peel away and I felt myself being more open. At one point I was lying on the floor listening to music and I saw different scenes from my life. I zoomed out and saw those scenes floating around like TV screens. I could zoom in where I wanted, but I zoomed out further. The pieces fit together and I could see things outside of my life. I zoomed out further and it was as if the scenes were forming an interlocking pattern of birds like an MC Escher drawing. I went further and the patterns were forming an undulating purple tube. I woke up. I felt like I had really experienced something beyond myself. Something happened that caused me to really doubt the experience. I realized that while marijuana may help open my eyes, it won’t keep them open because of that doubt. But I guess that is really true of anything if it is viewed as the only way to do or experience something.
While trying to come up with the next “big idea”, I find tumblr. I am drawn in by the images and beauty on many levels. I reblog stuff and write out some of my own ideas. I find quotes and images and blogs dedicated to awakening. I start dip my toes into the ocean of information. The main thing I pull from this is a theory of mindfulness and a real push to start a meditation practice. I keep my eyes and mind open and what I read starts to make more and more sense. I am exposed to the Buddha, Lao Tzu, the Dalai Lama, Shunryu Suzuki, Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Sadhguru, and many other modern day “regular” people like The Wanderling, Samsaran Musing and Lazy Yogi. Inspired by the last two, I decide that I want to go further in and share my thoughts and experiences.
“You don’t have to let go of anything. You have to realize that everything has let go of you. You are not attached to anything in reality. Everything will die and change regardless of your love and attachment.”
It is all a mess at first, but my main goal is to just be honest. This site provides somewhat of a layer of anonymity, and the people that follow me here, I do not know outside of the site. This allows a bit of freedom that I would feel uncomfortable with if I were to shout it out in public. So just like this post, I am trying to bare my soul for both your benefit and mine. One thing that I have learned through this blogging adventure is that with each post I make I learn more about myself. I project out into the world and a reflection comes back that I can analyze and adjust. There is the anxiety sometimes of “what will they think of me after they read this” or “will this post get any likes”, but I try to drop that more and more.
I slowly grow the blog and I will let it speak for itself. You can read about my journey over the past year. One of the highlights is my trip to Inner Engineering. Just like my spiritual practice, I dip in my toes, but remain skeptical. This is probably the thing that I am learning the most about myself. I need to find a way to make myself more committed and drop the doubt and expectations.
Sometimes I feel out of my depth when writing, like I am writing about something that I really have no authority to write about, but I do it anyway. When I read my posts again months later, I feel pretty good about what I wrote. My post on “Mirror Image” was something I wrote a year ago and posted on Tumblr. I recycle. But yeah, probably half of what I write, I am just winging it. However, I try to never write bullshit. I try to keep it true to what my thoughts are at the moment. I really enjoy the community of friends that I have here on WordPress and other sites. I am not as interactive as I should be, but I try to stop by and read as I have time or feel guilty. I am very thankful for the loyal readers here and those that just stop by for whatever reason. You are part of my journey. I grow and learn for you.
I feel that I still have this big Kensho, satori moment looming nearby where the dam will break and the valley will be flooded and washed clean. I think it is because I look for it, that I cannot find it. In the moments where I have not been looking, I have come the closest to finding.
Everyone and everything is a reflection of the self. There is an underlying reality that the senses perceive and the mind interprets. It forms this additional layer of reality that we reside in now. This is useful. It allows us to interact, communicate and share. However, it is not reality, it is only a perception bent by past experiences and identification producing a false projection into the future. The past and future are nothing but machinations of the mind. We only have what is in front of us.
Since everyone and everything is a reflection of the self, how we treat other people is really how we are treating our self. Karma. Karma is not just debt carried to the next life. It is that, but it is also current moment evaluation and guilt over decisions made. In a moment, we have the capacity for unlimited response. With what we have available at that moment we can choose how we respond to a situation. If we respond with something less than we know we should, then that generates bad karma. A seed is sown immediately. This seed grows into plant that continues to dominate our life until we decide that we can change and either chop it down or nurture it.
Manifest your destiny. Live an extraordinary life. Be you independent of the thoughts that you think other people think of you. I write this for me as much as (if not more than) for you.
I want to revisit the topic, describing my awakening experience. One word. Now.
And I have changed my mind, I am none of these things.
So that’s it. I am done. I left out a lot, but this is the gist of it. Just a note on the number of day, since a few people are writing about the significance of that. I originally picked the 26th, but that was unavailable so I was given the 25th. That is the day of my birthday in October, so that is a nice synchronicity.
A big thanks to Barbara for including me in this. Please check out the other blogs and posts. Next up is Dotta Raphaels at Where Art Imitates Life. At the end of this challenge, Barbara will assemble an eBook. Please let her or me know if you are interested in receiving this. I hope I haven’t scared too many of you away with this post. My hope is that you have a better understanding of where I am coming from with my posts. I also hope that some of this will resonate with you and help you on your journey. Thanks again!!
January Challenge Schedule…
1st Barbara – http://memymagnificentself.wordpress.com
2nd Paddy – http://paddypicasso.wordpress.com
3rd Emanuel- http://emantable.com/musings-of-a-table/
6th Julianne – http://juliannevictoria.com
7th Sarah – http://theskycladwriter.wordpress.com
8th Shree – http://heartsongsblog.wordpress.com
9th Dace – http://mywaytotruth.wordpress.com
10th Korinn – http://www.korinn.com
11th Sindy – http://bluebutterfliesandme.wordpress.com
12th Stefenie – http://dancingwithstefanie.com
13th Mick – http://meticulousmick.wordpress.com
14th Joss – Postphoned
15th Megan – http://mychroniclifejourney.wordpress.com
16th Pat – http://patinspire.org
17th Marga – http://lifeasimprov.com
18th Kimberley – http://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com
19th Becki – http://isurvivedamurderattackmyfamilydidnt.com
20th Serena – http://beingmefromatoz.com
21st Heather – http://wildflowerwomen.wordpress.com
22nd PurpleRay – http://purplerays.wordpress.com
23rd Sue – http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com
24th M… – http://seeingm.wordpress.com
25th Brian G – http://middlepane.com
26th Dotta – http://dottaraphels.wordpress.com
27th CW – http://sunflowerrosecw.wordpress.com
28th Laurie – http://lauriesnotes.wordpress.com
29th Debra – http://ptero9.com
30th Linda – http://lindalitebeing.wordpress.com
31st Michael – http://navigator1965.wordpress.com
1st Leigh – http://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com
2nd Shaman – http://shamanictracking.com
3rd Joss – http://crowingcrone.com
4th Jenna – http://jennadee222.wordpress.com
5th Shelley – http://livingwithshadows.wordpress.com
6th Elisabeth – http://almostspring.com