I will be 58 in a few days. I heard of enlightenment when I was about 27. As soon as I heard the word and description of it, I knew that was for me. I felt somehow that is was the truth. Ever since then, I have been a seeker. I jokingly say that being a seeker is a curse. It's as if everything that satisfies others, doesn't interest me. I am not a ball of fun, although I am gentle, usually kind, and do care.
I have experienced intense bliss, unity, non duality etc., but it didn't last. Making love one time, I was no longer my personal self, but all men who had ever made love to a woman, and all men who ever would. The experience was the sum total of man making love to woman, from the beginning of time till the end of time. Now that was intense! I could not put this experience into words that would convince anyone else that I had that experience, but I knew that I had. I didn't need to convince anyone else.
It is this type of experience of the Universal that we call mystical. It is a oneness, a loss of self, and typically blissful.
Another experience came while I was rubbing my six year old daughter's back. I was doing that while listening to a J. Krishnamurti tape. Suddenly, I was in a state of mystical unity. It was an ecstatic oneness. It felt like eternity, and I could just stay there and be completely satisfied. The only problem was, there was no "me" there. I began to think, "I can't stay here. I have two kids to raise. How could I need to do anything if I stay in this state? Nothing mattered! Everything was already OK. So, as the me came back, the ecstasy started to wain. But as it left, I had the knowing come to me, "You have always been surrounded by absolute beauty, you are now, and you always will be, even though you may not be aware of it." One of the reasons it didn't last was that there was no "me" there Also, the ecstasy was too great--there was no way I could survive in that state.
After that there were some weeks of intense bliss. Easting a can of smoked oysters was orgasmic. Riding my bike was a trip in oneness. I saw my neighbor across the street. I wanted to just go hug her because of the love I felt. It was nothing sexual, but just such love coming from the experience of oneness. I didn't do it because I knew she wouldn't understand.
I would watch TV shows, and just the face of a jazz singer, performing, would make me cry.
Or a movie, even some TV advertisements would make me cry. Over time the bliss went away. Was the experience the experience described as mystical union? Yes, it was. Was it enlightenment. Probably not. Did it change me? Yes. The residue of the experience was that I knew there was a kind of knowing that was not questionable. I know that no matter what anybody said, no matter how much time passed, there was nothing that could ever dissuade me from knowing that what I experienced was absolute truth, at least a sample of it, a glimpse.
So, what does it mean that it goes away? Was a taste necessary to keep me on the spiritual path? Is enlightenment bliss, or is it something else? One of the issues that arises after such a taste is that everything else, after that, feels less than, not the truth. It's almost as if one feels condemned. It's like seeing the promised land, but having to die before you can return.
I had been observing myself for some time. I was aware of this search, and how it worked. It went something like this. Whatever mental position I was attached to was where I was. But I was not allowed to stay there. I would go to the book stores and search for a book that was close enough to where I was that I would read it, but just enough further out from where I was, that I would be stretched in the reading of it. Seeing this, a part of me said, well, it you look at this with a big picture view, why not just drop all attachments? Alas, I could not stop. I do enjoy reading, especially anything on spirituality, consciousness, or enlightenment.
Well, a taste is a taste. The question still remains, is this just an experience that was top of the chart, and nothing more? Was it a glimpse so I would keep looking for a deeper truth? Or did I now have to live the truth to experience the ecstasy again? Did it mean I had a lot of work to do to get passed this experience and into something greater, more permanent, such as enlightenment? Wish I knew.
So, what are my questions after many years of this pursuit of enlightenment?
1. If I am awareness, and not this limited body-mind, why is 99% of my consciousness limited to this body?
- If I stick myself with a pin, this body feels it, not anyone else.
- If someone else sticks themselves with a pin, I may have sympathy, but I don't feel it.
- I realize that I can only have these experiences and observations in awareness. But why is my experience limited to this body? If I am awareness, why not feel everything, everywhere? One answer would be that as a body-mind, I couldn't handle that much information and experience.
2. So, when I let go of the bliss, was I just weak? Was I being responsible, or was I being a coward. If I had stayed there, could I have somehow managed to still go to work? Care for my kids? I don't think so.