Jan 22, 2006 was a dramatic experience for me. In a way it was freeing, but it also messed me up a bit, and I imagine the problem has to do with my constant thinking. My search for Truth (note the capital) has been largely bound up with concepts… a quest for the RIGHT thing to know. This is an error which my teacher helps me with, but old habits die hard, and perhaps old mental habits die particularly hard for intellectuals—at least that’s what I tell myself.
The "empty holodeck" that I experienced that day plainly showed me that "Truth" is empty, but my attachment to the conceptual search caused me to feel somewhat empty since then… I don’t mean that I’ve been depressed or anything, but things have been, well, different, and rather than being freed by the pure and simple emptiness of the mental answer, it’s been somewhat frustrating for me. My mind wants there to be a "there," there.
And many of my postings have reflected my attempts to make sense of what is beyond sense… While briefly comforting or mentally entertaining, the delusion has persisted… there is the Answer out there… the Experience… Enlightenment.
I may be "coming down" now… finally starting to learn that "This" is what counts, not "That." What’s important is this present moment, and this present place. God is here so we can see him… the most ardent atheist loves God if he or she loves anyone. All the human forms are moving… here, there… As windsocks give visibility to the movements of the air, so bodies give visibility to the movement of God.
5 thoughts on “Coming Down”
I love this.
Three weeks after your experience last year, I wrote up this story (http://inlimine.blogspot.com/2006/02/version-of-favorite-tale.html), which moved me, as I imagined Shiva/God’s joy at the experience of embodiment as a sow.
It was several months ago that the story resonated with me because I was the sow.
I since have realized that that was, of course, one step away from the right answer.
While I agree with your sentiment that this is what’s important, rather than that, I’ve found that seeing the stillness at the base of, behind, and shot through everything provides a helpful backdrop against which to discern more clearly what is this.
That’s one of the paradoxes, Greenfrog. Spiritual practice tunes us into the mystery and the fact that things are much more than what they appear… it allows us to see the Wind in the windsocks.
“As windsocks give visibility to the movements of the air, so bodies give visibility to the movement of God.”
Maybe my new favorite quote. Thanks, Jon. I’m glad your experience is starting to make sense (or make unsense?) to you.
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I can relate to the “empty holodeck” metaphore. I can relate to the habit of wanting to conceptualize something as THE Truth. In my case I feel it more to be like THE meaning of life I’m searching for.
A few weeks ago I finished reading “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello, an Indian Jesuit who blends the spiritual traditions of his own country with Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. This book isn’t going to be popular with anyone who thinks to have found THE truth.
It was a simple question he started with, but it proved to be both devastating and cause for a sense of tremendous freedom. The question was: who or what is this “I” you keep talking about? Chapter by chapter he tore down all illusions I and all the rest of us build around ourselves, either forced upon us by our fellows or created from our own need for security.
Four easy steps to enlightenment (or whatever) he writes about and I tried them. The sense of infinite freedom came when I realized that everything that happened in the past and is going to happen doesn’t matter one bit. Of course, I said to myself, that’s what Jesus, Buddha, every spiritual teacher has been saying. It just didn’t sink in. The devastation (but also with profound hope) was when I realized that all my spiritual and possibly “mystical” ideas are just as illusionary as what everyone else is thinking.
This realization was followed by a fit of laughter, realizing how crazy I and you and all the rest of us really are. But after all that, I went back to being “normally insane”. After that I went back to throwing a temper-tantrum at God, while I haven’t got the foggiest idea who or what God is or whether there is a God in the first place. Isn’t that just silly?
I kinda stopped looking for “answers” after that.
Just some of my rantings….