Nothing pisses me off like platitudes. Like “things could be worse” “look on the bright side” “there’s always a silver lining” “this too shall pass” – any number of nasty little phrases that demean what you are dealing with presently.
New Age – which is a term I totally dislike – has weird buzzwords too. Like ethereal, spirit body, guides and others I can’t remember because I thought they were stupid.
And then there are those who make money by giving out printed advice on how to achieve spiritual enlightenment in their way. Although I have adored Paramahansa Yogananda‘s work and have read Autobiography of a Yogi four times, the fact that he hides in it the Kriya Yoga method of enlightenment and alludes to its perfection – galls me. If it is so secret why mention it at all? The Kryon books also cloak enlightenment in mystery and make you feel enlightenment is something you will never attain.
My goal is to let everyone on this planet know that there is no mystery to enlightenment. It does not hide itself from you. It is here. You have it already. There is a grape skin between you and enlightenment. It isn’t a flash of light or a hazy glow around everything. There isn’t a moment when you say oh boy I am enlightened. One day you just get it.
I have struggled in my search for enlightenment seriously since the 1980s. Longer if you count the fact that I gave up on Christianity at the age of 11. I couldn’t get it. I went to church every Sunday and everyone at our church was from the University and was stuck on themselves. There were lots of pretty new clothes and hats and the sermons were always super boring. I went to Sunday School and I think we colored pictures. I tried to envision Christ and all I got was someone dead on the cross. I just didn’t get it.
I left religion and all that stuff and went off to college at the age of 17. Religion wasn’t at all a part of my life – nor did I have a spiritual life. I had fun. I had friends at college – things to do – classes to take – boys to go out with and a whole new way of life to explore.
I did not cover myself with laurels from 1969 until I dropped out in 1972. But dropping out – although Mother would have said it was my “fault” – was because I was ill. I was seriously depressed from the age of 19 – at 21 I had a manic episode. So I get a nice little diagnosis and I’m told to take pills forever and my mother says taking pills all the time is a weakness. She wouldn’t take hers.
After my sanity was restored and I got out of the house – I spent a lot of time looking for what I was missing. I started studying astrology, tarot and other “esoteric” means to enlightenment. I found that I instinctively understood astrology. I found also that I could see someone’s future and counsel them on how to avoid pitfalls and how to not avoid pitfalls if they were needed for growth.
It was in PEI that I first found Vasishta’s Yoga and started “getting it” – I have read that 4 times. No notions – have no notions – nothing has ever been created – there is only Cosmic Consciousness –
I still wasn’t enlightened – not after reading people for five years – not after moving to another country – not after anything. I meditated with my eyes screwed shut and tried. I had a Jyotish reading (Vedic Astrology) given to me by a dear friend when my son was once again in the hospital. I was told I was on the razor’s edge of enlightenment. It still didn’t happen.
We moved back into the country in 2007 and my days of chanting with Krishna Das and meditating ended for a time. I had much to do. After years of depressing isolation I was in a town in the United States of America and one in which people welcomed you. To give you a clue – we were bowled over by how nice the pizza delivery guy was when he came the first few times. Not to mention bowled over because we could actually get a pizza.
Life went on – I had to go to work because the energy bills are so high. I found work in a place that I like to say raped insurance companies. A nice little personal injury law firm that “negotiated” settlements. It was awful and there was nothing but women running the firm. The one attorney was a disinterested soul who just wanted to be left alone. I was “laid off for lack of work” because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. So then I was back job hunting during the economic crisis. Got one – did it a year and a half – hated it – back to working only part-time seasonal.
It was during my first unemployed season in 2010 that I started listening to Dr. Shankardev’s Meditation and Yoga Nidra. Funnily enough I had bought this in December right before I was let go.
The guided meditation teaches you how to relax. The first few times I did it I had an out-of-body experience and I was amazed. Now I have that all the time – with or without guidance. I’ve listened to more guided meditations from Dr. Shankardev Saraswati since then and each time the out-of-body experience is marvelous.
I started reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s work. Your True Home and Peace is Every Breath I keep re-reading as I do with Vashishta‘s Yoga.
One day – and this is just recently – within the last year – I started being in the moment more. I started being in the moment always and when I wasn’t I would recognize it and go back to the moment. I started living from my Soul not my mind. I started shutting my mind up so the constantly playing radio would shut the f##ck up. I started not giving too much of a shit about problems – particularly money problems which have plagued me my whole life. I started noticing that I was happy – not bouncing off the walls manic – just happy. The episodes of deep depression diminished. They do come back occasionally but don’t last as long. I started noticing that I pray in pictures now not words. I “see” what I need and the asking for it is automatic and I don’t have to actually ask. I quit blaming the lack of money for my horrible life and found out my life isn’t horrible. It is laughable – I laugh. I laugh because I am delighted that happiness and peace are here and I don’t have to struggle anymore. I’m not fighting the world – as my friend David would counsel me not to do – I’m content with whatever happens. I don’t try to control the future nor change my past – even in my darkest moments I don’t blame this or that for my life. I just live.
I put one foot out of bed in the morning and I’m grateful. I have two or three hours of peace before my day of caregiving begins.
I did ignore the fact that DH needs more help until DS went bonkers on me one Saturday night. He asked me to take him to a psych ward because he needed to get away from his Dad and the illness and the fact that nothing was going to change this. He scared me. I thought oh no don’t give me this too – I can’t take him in the hospital again – those times are so bad. There are mental health workers and when I tell them I have the disease too they quit listening to me. Even though I’m not in the throes of an episode – I might as well be. I can’t take more hospital time with junior. When he’s on a toot I am his worst enemy. When he’s not on a toot he treats me as if I am his best friend. The difference is startling and hard to take.
Something gave that night. I took his Dad to the ER instead of him to the psych ward. He went to bed early. I had the ER check out Dad for reasons why he had gotten so much worse over the last few weeks. No reason found. I told junior that the next time he threw a temper tantrum (like his Grandma) he would have to drive Dad to the ER and stay with him.
I then made an appointment with our family doctor and explained to her that things were getting bad. DH had to be wheeled in in a wheelchair and wasn’t coherent except to say he didn’t want to go to a nursing home. The doctor told him he needed to and she told me we needed home healthcare and she would set it up. And she did.
So now, as guilty as I feel for maybe pushing Dad into the nursing home – I still know that what I’m doing is best for the family. DH will be happier when he is taken care of properly and when he can interact with other people who aren’t always stressed.
So even the tantrum had a good outcome. We have a path to peace for all of us. And I can live in the moment and feel happiness and love and compassion and understanding all at the same time. Just by being here. Enlightenment pushed me off the razor’s edge.