Sunday, 8 March 2009

Today the sea.....mirrored my mood....

Last night I didn't recount something that happened that turned out to be significant this morning. I was in my room last night when I had a strong urge to go downstairs and have something to eat. This is not something that I have done when I have come back after a trip to London. I reasoned that it was because I had some fruit that was on its last day for eating. I went downstairs prepared the fruit and then opened to door to the living room where I sit to have my meals. An umistakeabke smell gripped my senses, it was the very distinctive smell of cannabis. I thought the best way of handling it was to acknowledge that I recognised the smell and not to make anything of it, which I didn't anyway. I thought it was funny how when I smelt it I immediately went to 'of course, they are not English, this is common for them' but of course this is ridiculous but it showed me just how innate is the need to make everything mean something and find an explanation for everything. I finished my fruit, said goodnight and went to bed.

This morning I went down early to make my breakfast and the woman came into the kitchen. We exchanged pleasantries about how well we had slept and then she looked me full in the eye and said 'are you OK about us smoking'. I looked her full in the eye right back and said completely. How could I say any different when I have taken cannabis in the form of a half a hash cookie in the past. We talked about this and I ended up telling her all about the experience I had in Devon. Part of my dilemma about the experience I had is because 2 weeks prior to that retreat I had taken that 1/2 hash cookie at a barbecue party. The effects on me were just awful in terms of the waves of paranoia that washed over me. I have written all about this experience in my book. I had booked the meditation retreat many months before the barbecue party. After the experience in Devon I became quite hermit like as I read every spiritual and mystical book I could get my hands on and I built up this image of myself as the saviour of the world and special and more important than anyone else.

I was heavily into this when I met a guy who had a philosophy degree. I told him all about the experience including what had led up to it. He looked at me and said 'you don't get it do you'. I looked at him blankly and said 'get what'. He continued 'get that what happened to you was drug induced and not spiritual'! This rocked my world because I had never made the connection between the 1/2 hash cookie I had 2 weeks prior to the retreat and there still being remnants of it in my brain which became activated with the change of environment. This burst the egotistic bubble I had built around myself as being some kind new age saint or mystic and I came crashing down to earth. There is much more to the story than I can go into here.

People taking drugs to achieve lofty mystical states is not new. Aldous Huxley wrote 'Doors of Perception' about the altered states of consciousness that are possible through taking drugs particularly hallucinogenic drugs. This view is controversial but from my experience I assert that the shift of consciousness which is necessary for a spiritual awakening that is permanent and not fleeting or a glimpse requires something stronger than meditation. Meditation does alter consciousness but mostly only for the time the person is meditating. Many of the Sutras given by the Buddha were either in or following a meditative state. After the meditation the consciousness slips back to where it was before. Altering the consciousness with a drug shifts it more profoundly. Maintaining it at that level naturally takes work but is possible. It is raising or shifting it in the first place which is hardest thing to do.

My world came crashing down because I had always promised myself that I would not take drugs to achieve a mystical state. Now it turned out that I had done exactly that. After this realization there followed a period of deep depression for me. I felt that I had been kicked out of the spiritual kingdom and I couldn't go back to conventional life, I felt too different.

One Saturday night I was in my flat alone and thinking that I was in hell. Not belonging anywhere really had to be hell. Out of nowhere came either a loud thought or a voice. There were only 3 words said. These were:, 'do Landmark Forum'. This was amazing because 3 years before someone had invited me to an introductory evening. Half-way through it I walked out. I heard the sentence 'anything you want for yourself and your life is possible through this education'. I thought to myself 'yeah right, load of marketing crap' and I found my feet taking me out of the room and out of the door. I had never given the evening another thought and amazingly given all the people who have done the Forum I never met anyone who had done it. So it was unbelievable to be so forcefully reminded of it when I was truly at a crossroads and felt like I was completely bound and stuck.

The rest history. From that weekend I saw that I was only a spiritual path because I was avoiding dealing with pain from my childhood. I dealt with all that, saw that it was all a story I had made up about things that happened and shifted the context I had for my young years of life. After this my spiritual insights and intuitions increased in their frequency and my consciousness expanded and my entire being was filled with peace, calm and bliss. The training provided by Landmark is not spiritual, they are clear about that and so I am. It is training to understand our limitations and how they were put together to prevent us from being the most powerful we can be.

Remembering the experience in Devon by bringing it alive when I was speaking with the woman really unsettled me for the rest of the day. I should have done some shorthand, law, public affairs instead I did nothing except surf the net and feel uncertain and unsettled. I was once again gripped by a frustration of having an experience and not knowing what to do with it or even how to be in life. I so understand where Harry is coming from. Having the experience be once again so alive made everything else in life such a poor second today. I walked up to the coast road and gazed at the sea fully expecting the blueness and calm of the sky to be reflected in the sea. To my amazement it wasn't. The sea was what i would describe as angry, the waves were crashing high up on the rocks and the ebb and swell of the waves was so obvious. Under the calm a storm was brewing and I thought just how like me the sea was today. Calm on the outside but inside....a raging tornado

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