An update on my ‘spiritual position.’
If there is a God (and when I say God I am usually referring to a kind of vague yet huge concept that encompasses The Field and The Collective Consciousness; like a kind of golden light or the feeling that you get when looking at a butterfly. It goes beyond my explorations of different religions and Buddhism and beyond being an omnist (someone who acknowledges the truth of all religions).
What I think right now is this: If there is a God and God has a plan for me then it’s this: It’s what I am doing right now. It’s what I did in the recent lead up (Orientation) and it’s what I intend to do next (go back to the UK, live on a boat for a bit, then go off travelling around the USA*).
Whilst of course being aware that it’s only ever right now, plans change, and that although all this sounds so easy, unless we are going to turn into full time spiritual devotees and only meditate, study spiritual texts, discuss spiritual matters, and eat, sleep and use the bathroom, life as it is distracts us. As in Journey the East, it is so, so easy to allow oneself to get knocked off the path and for one’s awareness to slip.
* possibly combining it with a DIY book promotion tour with readings at independent bookshops and vegan cafes
My husband and I have been having a lot of talks about the nature of reality, etc etc. Last Thursday night I couldn’t sleep so I got up and wrote last week’s blog post. In the morning I finished the blog post and then we talked some more and I came up with my new spiritual position as described above. I then typed it up and then went to work on the book (can you see where this is going?) I don’t usually do anything on the book on a Friday, but I thought I had free time as I had got the blog done early (by dint of being awake typing through the night…)
My eyes began to blur and I couldn’t focus. I tried to push on through but in the end I had to give up. I laid on the bed and closed my eyes. All I could see was a bright white, like a blank page on a computer screen, with distorted tool bar icons making a row of triangles across the top. I took off my t-shirt and put it over my eyes. I tried to send myself healing and to relax.
It came to me that by overdoing the spiritual talks, not sleeping and overdoing the writing I had triggered some kind of episode in my brain and that my mind was being somehow cleansed and reset. A feeling of otherworldly peace came over me and for a few moments I thought, I have a choice, mental illness or a higher state of consciousness, I can’t have both.
After a while I got up and felt very strange so I did a load of stuff to ground myself. I went out onto the balcony and ate a banana ball and a banana. I counted five things I can see, hear, feel etc. I stood on one leg. I went on YouTube to listen to a song my friend told me about (the one at the top of this post).
The ad below came on (‘Sometimes to find your way you have to lose your mind’)
My husband came home and gave me a pep talk about how my mind is really strong and I am totally sane, and reminded me of a line from one of the first books I read on this journey (the spiritual one not the travel one) ‘The last vestige of the ego is to tell yourself you are going mad.’ (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
In hindsight it might have been better to just allow myself to stay in a slightly altered state of consciousness; by trying to get out of it I probably made it feel worse, but I suppose I was scared.
Anyway, as Jung says, this stuff isn’t all about butterflies and rainbows, it’s also about making the darkness conscious. Last night I also couldn’t sleep, but this time I let myself go down into the things that I am afraid of, my childhood memories, the meaning I extrapolate from them, the effects I have allowed them to have. And I realised that there was nothing to find… I have explored the worst case scenarios and survived.
At the risk of looking and sounding like cliché, I bought a chunky silver Om pendant. It caught my eye and overcame all resistance to shopping and spending and seemed a fitting souvenir for my altered consciousness last week. I looked up what it actually meant (previously I knew it as the sound of the universe, and the man who sold it said it offers protection but I didn’t really know what each bit meant).
It explained to me what I had instinctively felt; when we are in one state we aren’t in the other. One level of consciousness is the normal level, where we experience the world through the five senses, another is deep sleep, another is dream state, another is a higher state of consciousness which is the aim of spiritual practices. We move between them and they are separate states.
We will be here in Varkala for another month and have been busy planning our trip and getting excited about moving on.
I have been working hard on Goa Part Two (Anjuna, Arambol, Panaji) this week and hope to have a draft completed on Monday. From Monday I will be working on Kerala, bringing it up to date, as well as looking at the proposal for Hay House.
Thank you very much for reading
See you next week