I went to a catholic school for a short time during middle school. One day, I got in trouble for bringing Harry Potter, and was told not to bring it back because it was “evil”. That was the last day I had any faith that the catholic religion was reality. I had always held great value in the truth but after that day a new fire ignited in my soul to find answers. I went straight to the public library once school was out and checked out every book I could find on the world’s major religions. I naturally gravitated towards the pagan and wiccan religions and practiced wicca throughout my high school years. Lingering in the new age spirituality sections of Barnes & Noble, I happened across Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”, and heard the words ring true in my heart like I had never heard before. Something in me knew I was reading words of true power, true understanding. I knew his words to be truth.
While knowing what I now knew to be the truth was an amazing revelation, I was still eons away from having an experiential knowing. Knowing these teachings conceptually is one thing. I honestly had no idea there was a completely different level of knowing available to me. I had always assumed that my ego was just undisciplined and well, since resistance is the recurring common denominator in egoic mental-emotional patterns, I offered up no resistance to… my resistance. Lol.
And I was just satisfied with that. However, this was before I experienced intense trauma and pain, before my resulting addictions. As I was going through that, I would at times remember what beautiful words I had read and the feelings of peace they gave me. Even though these moments were few and far between, it was as if I could see the dim shimmer of a light house miles away through a hurricane. The storm raged on around me and I often returned to the hopeless pit of agonizing despair, over and over and over again. Once the worst of the storm had passed, I was left in a dinghy barely able to float, just bumping along with the tide, aimless.
This is when awakening came to me. I had to be the absolute lowest of the low before enough of my ego, assumptions and expectations had dissipated, letting the light shine through. Like a thick fog suddenly pierced with a beautiful, vibrant ray of sun. I now know the difference between knowing something about yourself, and knowing yourself as the knowing. A fundamental shift in my awareness was needed.
Knowing that there is an ability to shift to this place, even if you haven’t experienced it yet, is already getting half way there. While it pales in comparison to actually experiencing it first hand, holding that possibility in your awareness begins to open the door for your awareness to investigate. The curiosity or suggestion that a possibility to have a new perspective even exists brings your focus and attention to it. The next step comes when that focus on the conceptual has had it’s fill of obsessing over the details, and it (you) begins to drift to the physical sensations and feeling place of these ideas. Ideas of being, unencumbered by our demands on life and life’s demands on us, flowing to and from each moment with deep peace and precise clarity. You could fill 1000 books with 1000 pages each about enlightenment and it still wouldn’t get you any closer to experiencing it for yourself.
It also helps to understand that nothing additional is needed to gain this new perspective. Keep repeating to yourself that you’re already there. You already have everything you need to be at peace within yourself. It’s there, know it’s there. Even when the storm rages on around you, know you don’t have to move an inch to escape the crushing waves of shame, blame and anxiety. You’re already there.