Our lives can sometimes feel like a contract we signed one night in a dimly lit bar, having had too many drinks…without checking the small print. Once signed into it, we can feel as though we spend all of our time trying to wiggle out of its constrictions, escaping through every bit of our guile and our many fixations (or addictions), trying to play the system, to soften the bonds that hold us to something that, often, feels “not quite right” like we landed in the wrong life. For more people than not, it can be a struggle.
I have this wonderful friend Mary who, ten years ago on Wednesday (24 March 2011) did her very utmost to get out of the contract of her life (in her own words, due to the “murky irreconcilability of the earthly and heavenly realms”, having yelled, in vain, for help reconciling metaphysical experiences she had been having for over 10 years) such that she sat down and, in the most premeditated of ways, swallowed 97 pain and sleeping pills with 3 glasses of wine over the course of 22 minutes.
The next morning, by some miracle, she woke up, in terrible pain…and one could argue (I’m sure she would argue) that the ten years since have been her best yet, through a process of wholesale expansion and exploration that has seen her give talks to hundreds of people and impact the life of even more through her work. I’m sharing nothing private here; you can read her incredible story in her book, soon to become a screenplay, The Unwitting Mystic and on her website and blog, also hear her unique brand of inspiration in countless interviews and videos. Yesterday, she celebrated her rebirth day with friends all over the world (and shared an inspirational post about what she has learned these few last years on Facebook; recommended reading).
So, we can wiggle out of our contract whenever we want…or can we? Not if its part of the contract that we live through all those doubts and stay away.
My own big breakthrough, or rebirth, moment also happened in March 2011, the 11th to be precise (and its interesting to me how both of our stories line up with quantum physicist Carl Calleman’s assertion that the Ninth Wave of Creation, a unity consciousness wave here to reconcile our polarities, started to activate that very month; look up my previous posts on “ninth wave” for more on this). At the time, I was really struggling to see the point at all, my body was in so much pain and dysfunction and had been for years, I had met nothing but hardships, abuse and trouble fitting into “normal” expectations, one after another, and above all my energy and morale, my very spark, was seriously waning.
In my case what then happened out of the blue, and I have described the experience many times before, was more like suddenly breaking out of an egg. One moment I was in the dark, feeling my way through it all from some deeply subjective experience. Suddenly, I had broken out of that “egg” in a golden glow of new perception and could see it all, even my part in it.
I guess you could say, I saw the contract laid out on the table and, from then, it made it all so much easier to be alive; in fact, I no longer questioned it but took on every challenge with a new curiosity. I no longer felt as though “something else” was holding me captive against my will in a dysfunctional plot line of a life because I could see, so clearly, that the “signature” on it was mine. I had underwritten it, every word.
In other words, I had agreed, wholeheartedly, to have this particular human experience, with all that entails including the ups and downs. It changed everything for me, on a pin head.
Over the intervening ten years, while Mary was becoming a nun in India, meeting the Dalai Lama, setting up her charity, writing a book, talking to crowds of people, all over America and beyond, about love and fearlessness and embracing life, you could say mixing the metaphysical with a wonderfully grounded route to bringing that into the everyday lives of other people, I was conducting my own unique method of standing with one foot in each of the two camps that I now regarded as part of the human experience.
Or, it often looked like, I was vascillating (wildly) between expansive metaphysical enquiry, which is really a case of “just knowing” all we needed to know and reminding ourselves…and the continued direction of my human parts, where life can still feel so limited, confusing and very hard to swallow. If unity was the aim of this newly awoken awareness of my diversity then I was struggling to hold it all in without feeling torn assunder.
In the part that was still in the thick of the experience and which liked to analyse and disect (or which saw no other option if I was to “get to the bottom” of my experiences), much like in the short story “Exhalation” (Ted Chiang) mentioned in a previous post, it was as though I set about constructing an elaborate periscope with which to view the back of my own head and take my brain apart, bit by bit, looking for signs of consciousness “in action” within the human construct. At the other end of my scale, I already felt what consciousness was…was riding on its metaphysical currents which, in those first few years, I became quite addicted to, spending more time out there than perhaps was balanced for someone with family responsibilities…but in this other, uber analytical, place, I wanted to get down into the nitty gritty of myself, to look under every stone and to figure out why so much struggle, such pain and conflict in the human situation.
At times, I became so abstract in my spiritual seeking it was hard to ground myself but then, by focusing on all the details, fixating on the process of scrutiny, I could bring myself back down to earth with an incentive…into a body that fascinated as well as bewildered me with its range of capacity for such magnificence and joy, yet so much pain. In fact, the source of my pain only ever seemed to get more diverse, more intense and perplexing, as though the enquiry (meant to fill the hole) had only been digging it wider…the very same soil I was using to fill one hole of enquiry creating yet another hole for me to peer into.
So, over the exact decade now since my wake-up, life for me has been a constant see-saw with one player onboard, having to run from one end of the see-saw to the other to keep it moving. Times when I’ve found balance have been few and far between…more so, even, than before I “woke up”, I suspect, because the polarities I incorporate only seemed to become more and more diverse, thus spaced-out, from each other the more I explored myself. The only way I could ever meet myself, in balance, was to sit in the exact centre of the see-saw but that, of course, ceased its momentum and, as per my earlier post, I suspect there is a kind of existential dread around that moment, as though to aim for it is to hasten one’s own death. Because, of course, once everything harmonises, equilibrium achieved, we know the “show” is over.
(Or, perhaps, something completely new is birthed by the same unfathamoable impulse that birthed our present universe out of “nothing”.)
So, I guess you could even say, my resistance of balance (perhaps all of our resistance of balance) is proof of life. We clearly want to be here or we would not tip ourselves off-balance so vehemently, giving it all we’ve got!
Meanwhile, those two “ends” of me, in equal proportion to each other, still feel irritated and challenged by their opposite part, if not quite so irreconcilable as they once were. They are like incompatible classmates forced to work together on a project, teeth gnashing, arguing over the protocol though, at some other level, they don’t really mind each other either. Yet, when they work together, even fleetingly, they somehow manage to collaborate on demarking the edges of a kind of vastness that is universal….a mirror to the very universe they strive to come to terms with, each in their own way. One says “I’m way out here, walking the perimeter, looking out for new territory over the edges” and the other one, not to be out done, hollers “and I’m way over here, way off the centre, exploring something mindblowing”. Together, they are both aspects of me, and I love them both equally.
By the way, I once spent some time trying to shut down my hyper analytical, left-brained, “egoic” part, (as though it was “wrong”), as we are often told to do in spiritual circles, but it didn’t feel right to turn on myself so vehemently and, besides, the more I tried to do that, the more abstract I became which only took me way off balance!
So I have come to accept myself as a mirror of universal vastness (as we all are) and it is in the accepting of this that I have finally unleashed just so many of the hints and clues to it that I had, for so long, suppressed as the “socially inappropriate traits” of my neurodiversity. Ironic, really, since the acronym VAST (variable attention stimulus trait ) is my latest, acquired, label in the attempt to better understand myself, and no other label ever fit me more exactly. If I seem fidgety and inconsistent, you could say “all over the place”, it’s because I am. Its because I swallowed a universe before I came here…and I know it. Aham Brahmasmi (Sashkrit) = “I Am the universe”.
In fact, we all swallowed that same universe, but not all of us realise it yet…though more and more people are getting there. I suspect neurodiverse individuals are just one step ahead of the game in realising this, mapping out the all-inclusive diversity of the universe in action and, the more diversity we allow in the world, the more everyone gets to notice it in plain sight. As above, so below.
More and more of us are having metaphysical experiences than ever; and, thankfully, the support systems are starting to appear so we can have those and still not loose our footing in a more grounded life (unlike ten years ago). Dare I say, it is becoming more commonplace to experience the exceptional, a dichotomy if I ever heard one, which is how we get to bring more and more of our universal aspects into life, in order to dig our dominantly logical wheel out of the muck and get this two-sided cart rolling again. We need both sides to get ourselves to the next way stop.
We each swallowed the entire universe, a souvenir from our origins, right before we signed the contract to come here to see what it feels like to make that universe compact enough to contain within a human body, an experience and a micro world. So, if we don’t always seem to fit into ourselves, if we spew over its edges, is there any wonder? We are all the more courageous and determined and awesome than we give ourselves credit for, even for trying. When we get out of bed (again), shake ourselves down and s-q-u-e-e-z-e ourselves into that tight fitting body-suit to give it another go (as in, being the vastness of a universe in a localised, limited circumstance) we are little miracles in action, every single day of the week.
It takes a magnificent contract, fuelled by a cosmic impulse (underwritten by ourselves), to attach us to all this so we don’t disappear off at the first hurdle…really, a contract-ion, as in, we have to pull ourselves into our smallest part, an unfeasible-sounding experiment, the eye of a needle. So when we feel excruciating pain, feel limited and small, feel hopelessness, unable to see a way out, when it feels as agonising as trying to ram something vast into a small, rigid box and slamming the lid on before it can escape then, yes, this is it, this is what contraction feels like…and is an experience we contracted to have, in order to get to know ourselves better.
So, recognising that and bringing the knowing of it into the very situations where it is most needed is a breakthrough; such as, “today I am in unfathomable pain…so I allow that it is just a contraction taking place, without having to know exactly why it occurred”, then doing what we can to minimise the discomfort, staying watchful for ways that we might be feeding the contraction with certain thoughts and attitudes. Doing all this really helps us to not to get so invested in the inevitable contractions of life as much as we used to be. It’s all just pain, a hurdle, just a passing moment; and this too shall pass.
Yet it is also a valuable reminder that, in order to hurt so very much, we must be the very vastness we have temporarily forgotten or denied. Because, if we were really as small and helpless as we often dread we are, there would be no struggle or pain whenever life seemed to limit us. We would just suck it up…instead of feeling so very much discomfort and resistence at the attempted limitation, which is because we feel our vastness shouting back at us that this is not who we are; it does not define us.
And what contracts must, by the laws of the universe, also expand…which is what awaits us the very moment we glimpse the potential for expansion, even for a second, like the inevitable out breath for the in breath…of life.