Monday, 27 August 2007

The low which is never far away....

Returning to London after the conference was strange. I had hoped to go to the gym and do a good work-out in thanks for me finding a natural end to my search. Instead I ignored the mobile alarm clock and didn't get out of bed until almost 11am which is unheard of for me. Once awake and up I didn't have the energy to do anything. I completed the blog for the conference and then sat on my sofa and read the paper for the entire day. The thoughts of meditating or reading any spiritual literature just left me cold so I didn't do any of it for most of the day.

I could be very hard on myself for this but what I have realised is that the spiritual journey consists of periods of activity and then periods of non-activity whilst the body and mind gears up for the next phase. As I said in my profile I have been on this journey since I was 11. In 1997 I was made redundant from work and decided to use the redundancy money to go to India and track the life of the Buddha. I had recently left the Buddhist sect I had been involved with and thought it was a good way to thank Buddhism and the Buddha for all that the philosophy had given to me. I travelled around India and Nepal for three months. During that time I did a ten days silent meditation retreat in Bodhgaya which is where the Buddha become enlightened.

I returned to London and wondered what spiritual practice I would do. I was in my bedroom one Saturday pondering on this when I heard either a loud thought or an inner voice which said three words 'give it up'. That was it, no more. I knew immediately that what I was being asked to give up was all of the spiritual reading, study, involvement that I had been doing since I was 11. With a sinking heart I agreed to do this. I stopped reading all spiritual literature, attending talks/workshops. It is hard to describe the emptiness and hollowness I felt when I did this. One thing which made it a little easier was that I had met a guy and I felt that this instruction was given to me so I could work on my emotional development.

I gave up everything and worked on this relationship with this guy. But the men guards I spoke about were in full force and it didn't last long. Some months later I had an experience in an ordinary office environment which involved a rapid shaking of the body. I didn't have a clue what had gone on. I know that at that time I was in a state of high emotional tension brought about by this guy who I also worked with. After the episode I had a peace and calm that I had never had before. I noticed that communication with myself and others was more harmonious and that I had a lightness about everything.

I didn't relate this to anything spiritual because I had given up doing anything of that kind. One day I was running to catch a bus and I grabbed one of the books from my bookshelf. My heart sank when I saw it was a spiritual book which I had vowed not to get back into. Slowly I opened the pages and was amazed to discover that I had a new understanding of what was written on the pages. Before I would be intuitively drawn to writing but never really understood the meaning. Now the meanings jumped out at me with a clarity and understanding that was new. I also had a closeness to the literature which was not there before. Amazed, I was so absorbed in my reading that I missed my stop.

When I got home I took out many books from the bookshelf and it didn't matter which one it was the clarity and understanding was there in all of them where it hadn't been before. I realised then that the shaking event in the office was a spiritual event. The shaking cleared energy blockages from my body to enable a deeper level of spiritual undertanding. It was after this that I returned to the spiritual path. I felt that it was an invitation to do so. When I gave up I gave up because I thought I had come to the end of the line that to go further was just for good spiritual people like saints not for ordinary people like me. I didn't feel worthy to be on this path. Understanding the meaning of the experience gave me the confidence to return.

I recount this story to illustrate the importance of periods of study but then the need to leave it for it to deepen and develop without any interference. The decision to listen to my inner voice and give up everything was hard. It was hard because I was attached and didn't know it. Non-attachment is essential for spiritual development. Much has been written and said about the dangers of material attachment, for me attachment to the spiritual is far more dangerous because of its subtle nature. This experience taught me a valuable lesson about spiritual attachment. Yet this is the paradox of the spiritual journey to be attached, yet not-attached. To want a state of consciousness so badly, yet to not want it. Walking this tight-rope is the journey of spiritual tranformation.

When one is aware it is possible to see the spiritual journey unfolding. I see it now in what is unfolding with my brother. He had asked me for money as my share of payment for a new car for my mother. When this request first came via text message I was upset and documented this in an earlier blog entry. Last week I hadn't heard from him about whether or not he had received the cheque. I sent him a text asking him if he had received it. He text back saying that he had received it a couple of days before and saying that there was building work needed to be done on the house which was going to cost roughly 3,500 Euros and he would be in touch when the work started!

In contrast to my reaction to the last text I immediately saw that this was just a text which in itself has no impact. I didn't go through all the self-pity that I went through last time. I watched the heartache go on within me but I didn't feel any of the hurt, anger that I felt the last time. Seeing this I could see my spiritual progression. On this occasion I was like a rock stable in the sea whilst a wave came crashing on top of me and I was not tipped off balance like I had been the time before. I calmly thought about the different ways I could handle this and the level of emotional involvement that was there the last time was absent. This is growth.

This kind of awareness is what the spiritual journey is all about. I can see just how much my awareness and my ability to deal calmly and compassionately with the situation has shifted. What has enabled this shift?....nothing but my own awareness.