I feel like ranting and being flip about serious stuff. This is a protest to the Great Joker who set up the cosmos and created a particularly weird outpost for these peculiar little creatures we call humans, us.
Oh yes, I know that we are all supposed to have some level of choice about who and where we are, but I don’t remember ever being asked whether I wanted to exist in the first place. I don’t remember ever being presented with a simple tick-box question. Yes or No. Would you like to enter the time/space dimension? Would you like to become a conscious being? Would you like to be caught in the long suck of time, perpetually drawing you forward into change? Would you like to be a soul that can make choices?
That last question is of course very tricky, because at some point presumably I could not make choices so I could never have chosen to be able to make choices, could I!
But here, for me, is the biggest paradox. It is totally bizarre that as a human being (who was given no choice in having choice) I am able simultaneously to be both a primal self-interested reptilian creature and a soul with cosmic consciousness. Arghhh.
Now I know full well that some of my readers may be squeaky clean and only focus on the Light, always wear freshly ironed clothes and never fart, but sometimes, you know, you just have to let rip! Don’t you? Don’t you ever just go mad and need to scream and rant? (Whats that, missus? You’re nicely controlled and never do that kind of thing? Well, loosen up, sister, loosen up.)
ONE GOOD MEDITATION
Why all this explosive communication? Because over the last six months I have had the greatest expansions of consciousness and sensations of Love that I have ever experienced and it has shaken me up! They have happened mainly in meditation.
Since my early twenties I have had a daily meditation practice which I love. Most importantly, it gives me the space and time to relax and centre into myself and then let my heart, mind and body, my full consciousness and psyche, be aware of what exists be aware of the rain cloud of knowable things. There is no greater pleasure than to sit like a great radar disk, open, receptive, allowing impressions, sensing the wave fields, beings and dimensions that permeate this wondrous, multidimensional cosmos. As Sogyal Rinpoche once said about meditation, If you don’t come out of it feeling better than when you went in, you’re doing something wrong.
In a good meditation, I can pass through dozens of different states. First, there are all the changes to my feelings and energy field, as I slow down, centre and breathe through my various levels of agitation. Second, there are all the impressions and sensations that belong to my relationships, social life and work. Then I just breathe and witness the flow of the infinite field. No wonder Yogananda in his classic biography stated, One good meditation is worth a years living.
And sometimes what happens in meditation is startling and dramatic. On my website journal in August last year I began to describe a new consciousness I was experiencing, but then I couldn’t write anymore about it. It was too complex, challenging and intense.
On one side, I was ecstatic. I was finally passing through a threshold that I had first felt some twenty-five years ago. I knew this new state of consciousness was there, but I had not been able to expand into it. Trying to achieve it only made it more distant. At last I was calm, soft and open enough that my psyche was able to melt and stretch into a new form of awareness, witnessing the witness, and connecting with new fields of benevolent bliss in dimensions I hardly understand.
This was and is a huge and profound blessing that I am still integrating. But I don’t want to sound as if Im boasting: Look at how expanded my consciousness is! Admire my shiny new awareness and deeper connection!
THE CHALLENGES OF THE CYCLES
I cant boast about it because there is another rougher side to all this, which all of us experience in the cycles of spiritual growth.
When we open, sense and receive new impressions and fields, there are wonderful sensations, expansions, enlightenments and illuminations. But, at the same time, our nervous systems and psyches are more vulnerable. As we open, we also become more raw. New energy floods into us. It is benevolent but it is also powerful and we can become over-stimulated. At the same time too, our usual everyday sense of self may be shaken up, transformed and fragmented and our reptilian survival psychology may become agitated, anxious and taut.
Already vulnerable, the new energy fuels and vitalises every aspect of ourselves. Everything we are is amplified. Not only are love, wisdom and goodwill greater than before, but so too are all our negative patterns of insecurity, defensiveness and aggression. Our soul consciousness is expanded but so also is our primal unconscious. Stuff lurking in our psyches underworld slithers out of the dark recesses of our shadow self to experience light and transformation.
This is the normal rhythm of spiritual growth, initiation and expansion. More energy, more connection, more consciousness will all stimulate challenges.
So here I am, folks. In a new state of connection and awareness and also in a new state of challenge. Luckily, gracefully, I am almost through the turbulence of that piece of growth and I can feel the solid base of integration. Thankfully I have been here before many times and I know this cycle of expansion and challenge. It is normal and healthy. I even teach about it and try to help others with it.
So here’s the gist, brothers and sisters. Be prepared. When spiritual growth surges, new energy flows in and it will vitalise and shake up everything within you. And right now it would be completely inauthentic of me to write about all that in a sweet, poetic prose style. Mystics are also intrepid explorers, aren’t we?
I look forward to the next test on the journey, because it is always worth it. I’ll meet you there, on the next swerve.
THESE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS WERE ADDED A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER
In the above article I wrote about a new dimension of consciousness that I had been trying to enter for over two decades – and how sublime and wonderful I found it. What I do not want to do is set up a hierarchy of consciousness in which my new consciousness is particularly special. It is special – but only to me. It is happening only and 100% in my private, internal reality. It may be, for example, that this new mind-heart zone I have finally entered is one that other meditators comfortably inhabit all the time and take for granted.
I write this partly because one person wrote to me and asked whether she too was about to achieve that level of consciousness as if there were something elevated about it. I did not feel comfortable about that. A long time ago I jokingly commented that meditation was for remedial students. We meditators were just trying to catch up with people who were already naturally nice and had good karma. Sometimes I think that what I said is true. But elsewhere Ken Wilber quotes one of his colleagues as having done some research which showed that if people between the age of 25 and 50 did not meditate, they experienced no spiritual development at all! Ta Ra! Ta Ra! One of the gifts of human beings is to be opinionated and entertaining.