You know how you hear enlightenment stories where John D. Guru wakes up to his own nature from the depths of depression or despair–wa la!–and he sits for a week upon a park bench with the bliss of the Universe pouring through? Or how Anna B. Spirit realizes her Oneness and never-ever returns to identification with the personality?
Ahhh, that’s what I once dreamed, too. God or Buddha or Allah would knock me alongside the head with some grace (preferably it would pour blissfully up the spine and shoot out the top of the head in an amazing light show!) and I would, praise God!, be forevermore enlightened!
I smile now, thinking of that dream. (Part of me still wishes the dream would come true, oh you little dreamer, you.)
For me–in this Kathy-body–it’s been more like an imperceptible daily journey. Sure, there’s been enlightenment “experiences”. You know, those flash-in-the-pan happenings where Grace kisses you on the lips for a day or six, and then disappears like an unfaithful lover making you whine and despair and sniffle into your french toast for months later.
When Grace disappears, your Beloved is only whispering, “I know you can do it, dear one.” But you don’t know that at the time. You don’t know He only took away your veils the better for you to see Who You Are.
You don’t know that Grace still sits beside you–as you–in the depths of your searching, your wanting, your despair. He’s there stroking your damp forehead and assuring, “Lean into your sails, little one. Lean into this grief. This is where I am right now. Don’t compulsively check our email in order to avoid feeling this. OK, check our email. Take as much time as you need.”
It’s taken this Kathy a long while to see through the fabric of thoughts and beliefs. To think I once said after four years of meditation, “Yeah, I don’t have that many beliefs!” (Grace must have fallen to Her knees, laughing hysterically at that one.)
I’m STILL seeing through this tightly woven fabric daily. Hourly. Minutely. Perhaps that’s the work of a lifetime. It doesn’t matter any more. (Or, it may matter in five minutes. And I shall sit with that, too. Grace is teaching me to knit awareness together. We sit and stitch together. I make mistakes and we now laugh about it. The holes in the fabric shine as divine mistakes, don’t we know?)
We’re filled with contractions. OK, that’s a blanket statement. You may not be filled with contractions. I was filled with contractions. The contractions arise to the surface daily. I don’t tell as many la-de-da who-done-me-wrong stories about the contractions.
They arise. They hurt. They are seen through. They are allowed. They exist. And then they disappear. Next moment, please.
Last week I allowed a huge repressed bubble of shame to arise. The energy freed from that unconscious bubble is amazing. I am still shaking my head that it even existed–and I was not even aware of it.
A contraction arose this morning, just upon awakening from sleep. Deep sadness. Last year I would have analyzed–oh, my goodness, Kathy, you’re wrong, you’re bad, you’ve eaten too many cookies, you’ll never get enlightened. Today I sit with the sadness. Ache, ache, ache.
I turn on the Kindle. The first two entries in Facebook from different friends both say the same words: “I am so depressed.”
We are indeed One.
Yesterday, a joy arose so deep and wild and delighted that it beat in my breast like a song. The ability to feel joy this deeply seems equal to the ability to feel sadness or despair.
Lately, I don’t care as much if it’s joy or sadness. (Don’t take this as an absolute! By 10 a.m. I may be crying in my coffee begging the Universe for some sweet creamer of delight.) Both feel simply like sensations moving through the body, the spirit, the ethers.
Who gets enlightened? It’s NOT the person. Your Joan, Jim, Jason, Julianna or Kathy will never be enlightened. That’s yet another myth for you and Grace to laugh about. Enlightenment is our true nature. It’s what you see when you look around your room before the Storyteller creates another myth, another novella.
Start wherever you are. Whatever emotion is arising is your Garden of Eden. Stay tenderly with it. Gently allow it to exist. Feel the pain, delight, sadness or boredom of it with whatever courage you can garner. Or don’t. Be very tender with yourself, my flower.
Be very tender, said Grace, I love you.