a story of recovery and reality

The non-dual understanding can be the dawning of a new kind of health. It is a health that might not look the way we expect, or think, nor might it look the way our society projects that it should. It is, first and foremost, the health of true happiness – that is, a happiness that is not dependent upon the state of the body or of the mind. This health is a release from the habitual patterns that block our natural and harmonious relationship with our environment, freeing us from attachment to the ups and downs of the objective realm.

Any perspective on the past is relative – what we can say about it is never absolutely true nor entirely accurate. Stories are for the individual, and our experiences are always subject to the uniqueness of our body/minds. Nonetheless, a story can help us reframe our experiences, and it is in a simple effort to find a new relationship to the past that I write a little bit about my own here:

“It hit me like the flu – I can remember the exact moment I realized something was off. I was at a patio party in Montreal, I was 19, and all of a sudden, I was struck by some kind of psychic lightning bolt, and everything went dark. It’s hard to describe that…at the same time, I was dealing with the emotional intensity and the demands of an acting degree, and that shadow that I had been hit with at some point exploded into something of a whirlwind of aggressive energy. Soon, I believed I had to run barefoot to the airport to fly to South Africa and be reborn as a lion. I was put on some meds and I soon started to function better, and somehow I even managed to finish the degree. That was the first of several trials of that same kind over the next handful of years. I was being doggedly followed by a spectre of some kind, until, finally, I befriended the one who needed to be heard.”

That was my story – at least, part of it. Perhaps it doesn’t need to be a big deal anymore. Some people seem to find the resolution of their story in the world, or in their art, or in something else, somehow – to each their own. For me, it seems, ‘recovery’ was really in the dispelling of spiritual ignorance – and absolution was always going to be in the real knowing and being of infinite consciousness.

~

There is a primary element of experience, one that is independent from all illness and all health and all the rest. The spiritual possibility, as suggested by sages of all eras, is that what we are all really looking for – Happiness – belongs to another order, another dimension of reality than all the phenomena we perceive. That dimension is always present, for it is the dimension of the real Self. It is consciousness, and it is the guiding force of our lives…and we are in good hands…

what never comes and goes

one crucial question that came to me as I first ventured into what we could call the spiritual realm, a question that I knew I had to answer no matter what, was just: what is it that never comes and never goes?

there had to be something.

everything fades, falls away, nothing that arises seems to last. what of our perceptions remain when the day is done and we lay ourselves down, stripped of all our past?

all the thoughts, the emotions, the feelings, the relationships – friends, lovers and everyone else, all the things I had that I thought I could count on, would disappear eventually. all the grand plans, the projects, the promises of the future, everything I thought I was becoming, was not, in fact, to be my destiny, that much I could see. 

life was up or it was down.

what is it that I can hold on to, that never comes and never goes?

I had to see, finally, that there was something I could never lose. this something, in fact, I had no recollection of ever having gained – and so it was easy for it to slip under the radar, unnoticed. it was closer than all those things I thought mattered, closer than close. in fact, you can’t get any closer.

it was me.

I am whatever is left when everything leaves.

these thoughts can’t be me – they come and go like the wind.
these feelings can’t be me – evolving, changing, disappearing into the next.
these perceptions can’t be me – because anything I perceive with my senses falls through my grip,
and even the image I see in the mirror – I intuit, as we all do I think, that there’s much more to the picture than that.

I am not my thoughts, my feelings, my perceptions or my image.

…but I Am, still. I know that I am.

I am, and I am aware of all these things.

I am aware.

I am whatever is aware of this changing movement of experience.
I am whatever is aware of this life.

where could this life arise, but in my awareness itself,
and what of my life has ever affected the fact that I am aware of it?

the space my life arises in is my Awareness,
detached from all these events, but openly welcoming them, like the sky to the clouds.

this Awareness that I am never comes and never goes,
because I never come and go, and I am aware.

I can hold on to this Awareness, in a matter of speaking, because it’s always here:
never letting me down, never moving somewhere else,
never judging, never blaming, never believing…

this Awareness is real.

within the knowing space of this Awareness, my life began to come to a greater ease…
I was recognizing my identity with this open, empty space, perceiving everything within it.

it’s not a cold space, empty of heart,
it’s friendly somehow, benevolently allowing everything to arise in its loving freedom.

I would see too, that what arises in this space is not separate from it,
this real space and its content are one.
that’s non-duality, in my book…

the initial openness to this question – what is it that never comes and goes – was a grace, received through Life’s persistence. it was through her constant leading me away from all that could ever let me down, towards that which is real, that which is truly natural, that which is the source and the destiny of all that Is.

towards that which never comes and goes.