Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Intuition That Something Is Missing

I never wanted to be saintly. I never wanted to be good. I didn't want to be perfect. I just wanted to know the truth. From early childhood I felt out of place, in the wrong place, not able to accept what other people accepted. I was introverted and highly intuitive. I was aware that something was missing. There was a drive to know what was missing. To know what was missing I needed to find the truth.

I was in a boarding school in the DRC. I recall a period of time when I was about 9 or 10, that I would wake up in the middle of the night and go to my hostel mother and tell her I was cold and dying. It was an overwhelming feeling of death, of emptiness. She would come to me and stay with me till I was able to go back to sleep.

The feelings of emptiness, of something missing, of oblivion,  were constantly with me. Nothing I heard in school helped. No adult could dissuade the emptiness. I was acutely aware that what satisfied the other children and adults in my environment could not satisfy me.

In high school, I was introduced to the existentialists. I took to this area of literature with recognition and a deep connection. The sense of isolation, of a boundless emptiness without comfort, I recognized. That others had seen this, had felt this, was at least a ray of hope. But this did not give an answer.

In my first year of college, with complete loss of my faith, with no ground to stand on, I aped the the other students, as there was no other basis for appearing normal. There was no security, no sense of ease or trust, just the void of unanswered questions. If not for the intuition that something was missing, and the drive to find it, I would have died.

There followed years of anger, of atheism. Over time the search in books was an anchor, a possibility of finding the answer. Years of therapy produced a return to a personal base of feeling, a connection to embodiment. This moved me to a more open minded agnosticism, which at least considered the return of spirit. The first time I heard the term enlightenment, there was an excitement to know that.

I had been through the loss of hope and oblivion. Those who have experienced this level of hopelessness know that it feels eternal. This eternal aspect of despair makes it unbearable, and to survive it seems impossible. Yet, the tiniest bit of intuition that feebly whispers "There is an answer," allows one to continue.

When the search turned up mysticism and references to the "dark night of the soul," I knew there must be a way out. In time, hope returned, and mystical experiences followed. States of bliss came and went. These convinced me that a final experience would be so complete that I would obtain enlightenment. But that was a mistake.

It took a good many years of reading and contemplation to realize that enlightenment was not just an experience. It also required knowledge, and understanding, and the removal of doubts. For me, all these aspects were required to arrive at the knowing that I understood, and I knew that I understood. There was a final knowing that I was That which was everything, that I couldn't be anything but that, and there was no doubt. That knowing stopped the search, and the intuition I had carried for thirty years was satisfied.

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