My Enlightenment was both everything I wanted it to be, and nothing like it. Even though I got the answers to what I was seeking, for awhile I resented the answer, I resented the way it was delivered, and so I denied it was anything more than a glitch in a broken mind.
My entire life I was trained to be humble (modeling the bible), so maybe it was harder for me to see my ego behind the humility I knew I should display. I had some time off from work due to a pinched nerve in my shoulder and started meditating in what I thought was earnestness. To some degree it was- I really did want to know why my shoulder was hurting so much and to heal it. But beneath that layer, the layer I knew I was supposed to display, there were deeper yearnings. To heal my aunt, to save her from dying. To heal my entire family. To save the world. Make everyone wake up with me. There was so much pain. I wanted so many things.
Even though I wanted so much, I tried to push it down. ‘Focus,’ I would say. I’d read enough to know that the only way to heal the world was to heal myself. I’d read that quote a million times. So I would refocus myself. ‘Why does my shoulder hurt? How can I heal this?’ I didn’t know it was both physical and psychosomatic. I wouldn’t look at my desire for magical healing powers, (Jesus and Buddha had them, why couldn’t I achieve such?) and I kept turning away from how much I wanted to be Enlightened.
I wanted to be Avalokiteshvara – The Bodhisattva of Compassion, the one with countless hands and an eye on each, so that no suffering would ever go unseen. My heart longed to be the healer, the one that saw and understood, and in seeing brought recognition and salvation even. There is something about bearing witness to someone’s pain that brings deep connection and healing. I wanted to be the witness.
I remember a day in early August 2014, only a month before the big event, I was tuning into the waters of the Earth, I’d been reading a lot about the pollution in our oceans and rivers, refreshing myself on the work of Masaru Emoto, and a wave swept over me as I was meditating. I prayed for the waters to be cleansed. I understood the rivers as Earth’s veins and the water as Her blood. I imagined a bright light sweeping through and healing all of the waters on Earth. I felt it so intensely I was in tears at some points, feeling the emotions and energy flow through me and back into the Earth. . .
I was also contemplating infinity and consciousness around that time. I visualized the infinite conscious bodies of the Earth, layer upon layer, starting with myself. My mind was expanding outward. I understood what so many before me have understood- I am a conscious being living within a conscious being. I was just a cell, a tiny spec of dust, yet I contained so much. And I saw in my mind even more expansion, the Sun’s consciousness within our solar system, from there our entire galaxy as its own conscious body, and eventually the Universe as its own conscious entity, full of conscious beings on every level. Prayers in Buddhism have a similar motif: “….With bodies as numerous as atoms of the world / I bow down to the Buddhas pervading space. / On every atom is found a Buddha…” I’d also seen different images that sparked inspiration, and read many other sources. What I want to bring home here is that this understanding didn’t arise from nothing during meditation, but the deep knowing, the vividness of understanding what consciousness was and how pervasive it is, was finally integrated for the first time that August. And once I began to understand what was outside of me I knew it was time to turn inward.
I suppose turning inward is when things started to get messy. No longer was I seeking to understand reality outside of myself, but I was seeking to understand the consciousness within my own mind. I was reading a book, Phi: A voyage from brain to soul, that explores the idea of consciousness as integrated information. If you look up the definition of ‘integrate’ you’ll find something like “To combine (one thing) with another so that they become a whole.” But if you study Math you spend a long time learning how to integrate, breaking it down from understandable to more and more complex. You learn to combine Everything under the area of a curve by slicing it into sections, smaller and smaller, until eventually you approach infinitely small, and then you add up all of those infinite sections to obtain the total sum. Calculus.
As I was reading the book with this understanding it become another meditation. I saw my brain as the curve, and I wanted to understand the sum of it parts. So I visualized slicing the knowledge of everything I’d ever learned into smaller and smaller pieces. Then came the integrating, the infinite summation to determine the collective consciousness of my mind. I was praying for it- to access the full capacity of my mind. I wanted Enlightenment, but I wouldn’t call it by that name. I thought it was egotistical to want something so special… kind of funny now that I have a deeper understanding- I only wanted what we’re all destined for. But I wanted it in this life, not the next one.
So when I walked outside naked in September and ran around trying to see if I could stop time, I wasn’t just some crazy girl, even if that’s what I looked like. I had set an intention to put aside all of the constructs of society, to see with fresh eyes and remove assumptions that had been ingrained in me by being born in this time. When I walked outside with clothes on I still felt resistance. I still felt like I wasn’t trusting the universe to guide me, clothes were all a part of the system we lived in. No, to really explore and understand the nature of reality I needed to be in my natural state.
I set my car keys on my desk, this would be my anchor, when I picked up my keys again I would return to my normal level of consciousness.
I was in a dream state. If my thoughts controlled reality, as I knew they did, what did this entail? What could I create if I truly believed? Could I stop time, even if just for a millisecond? I took off my clothes, took a deep breath and walked outside. Someone must have called the police shortly there after. I was at the apartment complex swimming pool when I noticed him. I tried to stop time, but it wasn’t working fast enough. He chased me in a circle and so I dove in. I pulled myself out, dripping wet and naked and approached the policeman.
“You are beautiful and I love you,” I said, the only thing that made sense at that time. He asked me some questions and had me sit in the police car. My cousin had been spending the night (she was in the shower when I decided to go outside naked) so she gave them clothes for me. I put them on and told her to take my car, I’d get it back later. I had picked her up so she didn’t have a way home. The keys were on my desk.
The police took me to the hospital where my parents would later pick me up. My cousin drove away, scared and scarred. She had my anchor. I wouldn’t get my keys back for weeks.
Thus began my Enlightenment.