Mystery

There I was sitting in the diner, sipping my coffee, when it happened.

I could come up with a million explanations as to why I may have had this experience. My state of mind after 4 days of being away from home; chemotherapy treatment; blood-building injections for 3 days after treatment; climbing the mountain behind Todd’s house; meditating on a rock above the world; the magnificence of autumn colors …..

Maybe all of the above, maybe none.

I quietly observed one of the servers/waitresses from afar. She was unaware that I was staring. Simply going about her routine, checking her station orders, fully attentive to the job and the moment. I could almost feel her attentiveness to her own inner thoughts.

However, something even deeper was revealed to me while watching her.

There was an aura surrounding her, in fact, it was enveloping the entire space of the diner. Not only could I sense it, I almost could see it.

It felt and appeared as connective tissue, but translucent tissue that morphed and flowed in wavelike patterns. Like being under clear water and seeing the forms floating in it.

In that moment, I was assured that this web of existence is just that. An intricate, unseen Web of Life. A complete mystery that we will never see with these eyes.

Yet I was graced with the experience to glimpse at it.

In only a few short moments of earth “time” the universe revealed its infinite connective eternity to my consciousness.

Pouf. Tah dah! Here I AM, and I AM That!

The miracle. The Mystery. In a diner of all places.

Knowledge?

“knowledge is not the things that are usually associated with it. It is not ideas. It is not a body of information. It is not a system of belief. It is not a process of self-evaluation. It is the great mystery of your life. Its outward manifestations are

profound intuition

great insight

inexplicable knowing

wise perception in the present and in the future

and wise understanding of the past

But despite these great achievements of mind, Knowledge is greater than this.

It is your True Self,

a Self that is not apart from life.”

Marshall Vian Summers

Today’s communion with nature provided some of the outward manifestations of this “knowledge”

The water, its mystery. It’s flowing nature, its sound and vibration over the earth’s rocks. How I’ve taken this magnificent element for granted.

How I don’t even know what water really is.

The trees. The moss. The soaring wings of the turkey buzzards high above the mountain tops. The white puffs of cloud against perfect blue space.

Tears barely expressed my joy. amazement and gratitude for being present as part of the magnificence of Life’s expression.

I thought to myself, I should be screaming and singing and jumping for joy. But no one would have understood. So just tears.

Today, in Nature’s beauty, I saw and felt and heard and embodied inexplicable knowing that is not apart from Life.

the thief in the night

Of the many dreams I’ve recorded in my journals, this one is the most unforgettable, disturbingly real, frightful, and misunderstood.

Why am I compelled to blog about this now, on this day, six years later?

I don’t know …….

But here goes:

It is the evening of March 28, 2013. I am attending a 7-day Silent Retreat at The Garrison Institute, in Garrison, NY. Once a Capuchin monastery, and at one time inhabited solely by Wappinger Nation of Native Americans, it remains a profoundly sacred site.

This retreat was facilitated by my guru, Adyashanti, an American born spiritual teacher of Zen Buddhist lineage; however, he remains unaffiliated with any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, remaining true and open to what is found within all of us.

My week-long lodging is a third floor room which is shared with a lovely young woman named Nicole. We meet and greet on arrival, and remain silent for the remainder of the week.

Our shared room consists of two single beds on opposite walls, a sink, small desk, chair, and a window with very small closet space.

The schedule for the retreat is rigorous. With 6 daily 40-minute meditation hall sessions, meals in the dining hall with 300 attendees (in total silence), and regular evening dharma talks given by Adya.

It’s the time of year around traditional Easter and Passover celebrations, and Adya’s talks for the retreat is titled: “Jesus, The Revolutionary Mystic”.

So it’s day 3 of the retreat. The evening dharma talk ends. Lights out at 10 pm sharp. I’m tossing and turning in the starchy white sheets.

Lying there, I am unexpectedly aware of a HUGE PRESENCE in the room. This presence FILLS THE ENTIRE ROOM.

Immediately, I’m overcome with a sense of PRIMAL FEAR.

I am aware of two GIANT HANDS gathering and pulling on the sheets.

I am PARALYZED in FEAR. I sense the hands are going to take hold of me.

The sheets are quickly being wrapped around me, encasing me like a mummy.

The two GIANT HANDS slide beneath my now mummified body and LIFT my physical body out of the bed. I’m held up at the ceiling in the corner of the room, wrapped up tightly in the sheet, facing down into the room.

From my aerial view, I witness my roommate in her bed sleeping.

I make desperate attempts to SCREAM to my roommate,

HELP ME PLEASE …. HELP ME PLEASE ….. WHY ARE YOU NOT HELPING ME?

But I have NO VOICE, just guttural sounds come out of my mouth.

I am unaware how I’m placed back in my bed. But I fall into a DREAMING sleep. In the sleep dream, I’m alone in the room. I go outside into the hall and ask a woman, “What happened to Domenica?”. I am referring to my roommate who is missing from her bed. The woman responds, “She had to leave the room because she couldn’t sleep with all the noise.”

I awoke at 5 o’clock AM, fully aware and remembering the TERROR I experienced. Of note, my roommate is still in her bed sleeping.

I rise to find my way into the dimly lit silent hallway, into the bathroom stall, and proceed to sob uncontrollably. Deep wailing, like I’d lost a child.

When I was able to compose myself, I was still too terrified to return to my bedroom, so I ventured into the hallway Sitting Room. There I was able to make myself a hot cup of tea to ease my still trembling body. I was accompanied by a lone gentleman, and in silence I felt consoled and safe simply by his tall, gentle presence. A bald, slim, over 6-foot tall gentle giant. I will never forget his calming presence.

I was finally able to compose myself after the 7:30 AM meditation sitting. However, I remained haunted by this experience throughout the entire retreat.

At retreat end, when silence broke, my roommate and I embraced. She explained to me that my cries that night were terrifying to her, and she was tempted to assist me, but she had the intuitive wisdom to know that whatever it was that I was experiencing was necessary, and that she should not intervene.

I have contemplated many interpretations for this lucid dream/astral projection/out of body experience/God-knows-whatever it was ……..

My present understanding rests in the simple fact that our physical existence in this material world is a mere copy of REALITY observing Itself.

But we’ve lost the knowledge of REALITY.

So when we’re about to confront IT (reality), which was the purpose of the retreat, the primal gut reaction is FEAR.

Perhaps, as our human Being spiritually matures, the fear lessens?

Apparently, I was not ready 6 years ago.

Maybe I’m getting closer……….

photo: The Perth Mummy, Takherheb

fierce grace

I am the Way and the Master who watches in silence
Thy friend and thy shelter and thy abode of peace
I am the beginning and the middle and the end of all things;
Their seed of Eternity, their Treasure supreme
Bhagavad Gita 9:18

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think someone slipped a chemo pill into my wine glass at the Lake Region Fitness holiday party.

The next morning I awoke with a sore throat, but I bull-headedly forged ahead to work obligations and appointments, and 24 hours later the effects kicked in; fever, chills, body aches, nausea, diarrhea.

I haven’t felt this way since chemotherapy, was my initial thought.

But I also intuit that it often takes a fierce grace to bring our soul into alignment with our truest journey. This bout with a viral infection afforded me:

• Time to rest.
• Time to contemplate.
• Time to have no responsibilities to others.
• Time to accept discomfort on the deepest level.
• Time to fast.
• Time to be fully present with myself.
• Time to sleep deeply and dream.

So I write this as a Reminder to Self that the innate wisdom of our highest path is so beyond our understanding, so outside our limited perception, ineffable ….

I remain humbled in the Mystery.