This post is a continuation of a series on what occurred during my personal awakening process.
I am light.
I mean this as a physical sensation: It is as if a flock of iron birds has flown from my being. I didn’t even know I was carrying this weight until now, in the contrast of letting it go.
There is little else to report about the click itself except to say that it feels like a clear “eureka!” kind of moment, except that this “eureka!” is about something I cannot define. It’s not like I know the solution to a complex mathematical problem. It is not like I’ve been hit with the right ending to a novel I’ve been writing. I know something, but I don’t know what I know. It cannot be put into words. Something has changed; I have been made aware of something. However, if asked to explain it, I couldn’t.
In some regard, it is like I’m looking down at the self-recriminating, self-loathing, self-abusing one from all those years and smiling. She feels far away, but not in a bad way. It is almost like she is my own child. All this time she had made a big deal about life and felt so awful for everything she’d ever done. She believed her badness into existence and held onto that badness for dear life because she believed that’s who she was. It is clear that she (I) just didn’t know any better. All the pain I’ve ever felt has simply been a mistake in my perception of life and who I am in relationship to it.
I laugh and cry simultaneously for nearly an hour, feeling relieved, unburdened: Oh, of course! Oh, of course! This is what it feels like. It is something very obvious I cannot articulate. It is laughable, how serious I have been taking everything.
How is it possible that I have been missing what was right here all along?
I even try to bring in thoughts that once caused crippling emotional pain. I want to see what their effect is. I am remembering the one I refer to as “my Big Ex,” a guy I fell in love with at age 19. He was a musician (oh how they used to all be musicians), and when we met, I felt very happy and childlike in his presence. Even still I think of our first meeting and that summer fondly; I recall the sweetness we were both capable of.
In our immaturity, we clung to one another, which is generally a recipe for disaster in a relationship. I mistreated him and we broke up more than once. I had never really forgiven myself, even though I dated others. I held onto him psychologically for entirely too long, mistaking “him” and “our relationship” for a state of innocence I desperately wanted back.
Throughout my early 20s I thought of this guy, and a deep sense of loss accompanied the thought. Sometimes while drunk I’d contact him, and always I’d wake up with a black-pit-of-shame in my stomach. I did not want him knowing how intensely I “carried a torch” for him. A deep nostalgia for the way our relationship felt remained within my mind for a very long time.
In short, I mistook that relationship for the joy of my own Self, as many of us do when we have not recognized the Self.
Now this feels important to say: No lover you ever have will be The Reason for your happiness. If you believe this, you are on wobbly ground. In such a state, they can leave anytime—even if by death—and take your happiness with them. To believe this is an error in perception, though I know it is extremely compelling. By the time you read these words, I’d guess you’ve suffered a great deal over what you imagined to be “love.”
But the truth is that whatever we feel in the presence of another was first present within ourselves. The energy of some others may be refreshing, or (even better) help pull you deeper in towards your true self. The right teacher will do this naturally. When we find another human being who resonates with us on many levels, it is natural to want to be with them. But it is very important to remember that the happiness you feel in these cases actually pre-exists the person you love.
In an amorous new relationship, you are each falling in love with your own selves, remembering what it is like to just be pure and alive. If we don’t keep this in mind and learn to abide in our knowing of it, codependency can arise. When we are in the true mind, we enjoy one another in the play, but we do not become emotionally dependent. All of these pop-culture tropes—“I cannot live without you;” “I need you” and so forth—reflect a collective insecurity it is time we grew out of.
Crediting your happiness to another person is to renounce your own power. It is rare to see two people “in love” who understand this deeply and truly.
Meanwhile, back on the couch: The mind, as if to test me, presents the thought of the “Big Ex.”
Something miraculous occurs: There is no sting accompanying the thought of him. It is obvious that the one who mistreated him at age 20 was doing so unconsciously; she didn’t know who she was or why she even did anything at all.
When you see your true face, you will also forgive yourself of your wrongs. The things that haunt you from your past you will not have sharp teeth. Your mind will not cut you up, because you will see that what you are simply cannot be cut up. When you are no longer identified as this person with these sordid memories about what “you” have done, there is no one inside to be harmed. There is such peace in this space.
I wish that for you so much: That you will see all of your mistakes as the simple result of ignorance, thereby ceasing to beat yourself up over them. “Beating yourself up” is not only unhelpful, but delusional as well. We in the West seem to be very good at beating ourselves up, perhaps because we receive (and internalize) the message from a very young age that we are not enough, not enough, not enough.
There is a real and true sensation that accompanies self-forgiveness. It occurs when you see that who you are is not that little person. That little person, if it has been “behaving badly” was doing so because of unconsciousness—we are born wired with latent darkness, and the wider culture can add to this.
Yes, we can tap into our higher minds and rewire ourselves, but that is not what I am getting at here. Even the best person in the world is still nothing in the end. Truer to my point: We can dissolve the psychological wiring altogether, and let go of this striving to be “better people” with what we imagine are “better lives.” We can let go of all these little ideas—which are almost always rooted in the egoic view and smack of the illusion of control—and allow awakening to do its work.
We can see who we are and end all this silliness now, today.
I’d like to say that this moment on the couch marks the end of my preoccupations and “bad” behavior, but that would be a lie. If that were the case, it would be a very short awakening story indeed.
But, for as beautiful as the click is, its blissfulness does not last. Bliss is not permanent, but Truth is. This click pushes me into myself to find that which is everlasting. It marks the beginning of a new life that is ever-unfolding.
What we discover is that there actually is no end to Me or to You.