Spiritual enlightenment is not about getting high. It’s not about leaving and how often you leave. It’s about coming back. —— Krishna Das
***image2***I had the pleasure of meeting musician Krishna Das at one of his concerts–a delightful soul who lives his earthly mission with humor and grace. What he said that evening about leaving and coming back was the exact right message for me at the exact right time, as I had been experiencing many peak states that year. Like a moth to a flame, I was becoming seduced by the intensity of the light–to the possible exclusion of other things.
Eventually, we reach this step in our spiritual process: Integration.
As it turns out, being out of your mind is a glorious place to be. There is great peace, harmony and sweetness in this outer space (beyond the mind). It’s magical to live in a world where all things, no matter how trivial, have meaning, and the universe seems to be scheming on my behalf, only for me. Its intelligent design mesmerizes and incites me. I float on Cloud 10, sublimely contented. Come down? Don’t think so.
Yet as KD said, the true splendor of consciousness expansion is not in getting hooked on these peaks but in bringing the brilliance of higher realms into everyday life. This is the second coming of Christ that revered yogi Paramahansa Yogananda spoke about in his teachings. He wasn’t referring to a literal return of Jesus to earth but rather our reward for purifying and expanding our inner being through meditation, to prepare the way for an inflow of Christ consciousness. “The real second coming of Christ,” he said, “will take place right in the devotee’s own consciousness.” In other words, heaven-on-earth is us, baby.
Yes, it’s tricky to integrate this without being overcome by it at times. I’m reminded of a scene in American Beauty (Best Picture of 2000). The introspective voyeur teen-ager, Ricky Fitts, is transfixed by an image he caught on video: an ordinary plastic bag dancing on the wind in a parking lot. “It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air,” Ricky emotes to his girlfriend, Jane. “You can almost hear it, right? This bag was, like, dancing with me. That’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things. Sometimes, I see so much beauty in the world, I can barely stand it.”
Bliss states bring with them a poignant sense of joy, of being in love with everyone, everything (plastic bags included) and with life. We Intend, Practice, Pay Attention and Witness divine perfection all around. Everything oozes beauty and sanctity, even the seemingly mundane, ugly or obscene. Childlike delight seeps from our pores and we randomly gush at flowers, kitties, trash cans, the sidewalk, this sign, that symbol, these words being spoken by those people. It all converges and spreads like a delectable soup into and through every crack and seam of our existence. How else can I describe the ecstasy of it? Feel with your heart these words from the 16th century Indian poet-saint Mirabai:
One sip from the cup of that sweetness, the world starts to spin.
Now I’m a drunk for life. Unsoberable.
Tell them it’s useless to try.
To speak frankly, I’ve had moments when the rapture gave me pause, caused me to consider renouncing everything in my life in utter surrender, become a devotee of sorts, or get on with ascension to the nth-degree–leaving entirely. In those moments, I’ve wondered, “How can I return to the people and things that constitute my ‘normal’ life?” I’ve questioned, is this real? Or am I like an actor immersed so voraciously in a role so she can BE that character and play her well? (It’s the existential quandary I refer to in the Introduction–which reality is really real?) When I’m on fire with a yearning for meta-phenomenal experiences, a desire to go deep, I want to live in that intensity, that deepness. I want to run towards God with my whole life. It’s a quest that can never be sated because there is always more to investigate, more to master.
Even in such moments, however, I’ve always known it wasn’t my course to take. I realized that, like most of us, I have to be amphibious–able to breathe in the vast ocean of emotional waves of divine love but also stay grounded and “live on land.” And so, after fervid periods (a week or less) of spiritual work, I go back to my regularly scheduled programming: family, housekeeping, writing. Early on, the energy work was so transformational that returning to ordinary life was like the Microsoft Word prompt that you get when attempting to overwrite a file: “Normal already exists, do you want to create a new normal?”
My re-entries have gradually become more seamless but it hasn’t always been pleasant returning to the denser energies of the 3-D world. Part of that return is the inevitability that we’ll be faced with the next round of lessons necessary to our growth–unless, of course, we decide to stop the bullet train and get off for a while. I actually said to a friend after a recent crazy ride of challenges that hit one after the other, “I could use a little mediocrity right now, a little status quo.” Then I reminded myself of a few truths: I intended this ride, I invented this train, I’ve set the destination and, come what may, I’m the conductor on this trip. So after a few days of idling, it was back to here we grow again.
Bestselling author Dr. David Hawkins has an interesting term for why facing the initial set of challenges of our next higher level is no picnic. He calls it “being above your karma” and explained it to me this way: “When you’re above your karma——meaning, when you’ve successfully resolved or reframed the events that have happened in your prior life up to that moment——you’re feeling beatific until the next thing comes up; then you feel like you’ve crashed. Well, you haven’t really crashed, it’s just that you’re not above your karma anymore. You’ve brought up the next layer to be worked on. It actually means you’re making progress, that’s why it’s coming up.
“When you’re working on deep issues and feeling the pain of them, you’re far from blissful,” he continued. “You have definitely moved ahead, although psychologically and emotionally you’re not feeling high. You’re still better than before when you were in denial. So you come out of denial, you go through the pain of facing what you’re facing and work out the guilt about it, the self-recrimination, and forgive yourself, then life gets beautiful again until the next thing comes up. This is characteristic of the entire spiritual pathway.”
So, given the choice (which we all have) between coasting and accelerated personal growth, I will probably always ask God to bring it on–because even when the going gets really tough, the only way out is through. Excerpted from: Everything Matters, Nothing Matters: For Women Who Dare to Live with Exquisite Calm, Euphoric Creativity and Divine Clarity by Gina Mazza Hillier >
$17.95, ISBN: 978-0-9767631-8-5, St. Lynn’s Press (www.stlynnspress.com). Copyright Â© 2008 by Gina Mazza Hillier. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes. St. Lynn’s Press, POB 18680, Pittsburgh, PA 15236, 412.466.0790.
Bio Continued: Gina’s first nonfiction book on health intuition, The Highest and The Best, was released in December 2000. It received favorable reviews from New Age Journal, Midwest Book Review and others. She is also by-lined as Editor of a textbook used in the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University graduate schools of business. Her writing is included in the 2005 anthology Spirit Stories, by publishing maven Angela Hoy. For more information, please visit www.Ginawriter.com