During a morning walk earlier this month while sorting out all that I'm up to & where to focus my attention that day, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I've come right back to where I started five years ago in my professional life. I wasn't sure if I wanted to celebrate because I was back on track or fall out into the street and have a tantrum over the perceived time lost. I know I needed to walk this path to really get the lesson, but sometimes I ask, did it have to take that long?
About seven years ago, I shifted into sixth gear for some serious soul searching. I had just emerged after almost a decade of loitering in what is probably similar to purgatory - that intermediate state after death where one undergoes purification before moving on to a more desired existence.
It was about that time that Charles Tart's book, Waking Up, came out of nowhere & served as THE book, my brick wall. It was time for me to wake up, do some exploring, make some personal discoveries, etc. and Charles stepped up to plate to assist. Thanks Charles!
A dense read, Waking Up thrust me into this passionate search for more meaning. I say more because, even though I'd drifted here & there from time to time, I've always experienced this depth & connection to a stronger force that just wouldn't allow me to drive over the cliff, so to speak.
I drudged through the first nine chapters of scientific groundwork & finally arrived at chapter ten, Consensus Trance: The Sleep of Everyday Life and WOW, it was as if someone had doused me with big ol', cold bucket of clarity.
The phrase on the back of the book referencing the work of G. I. Gurdjieff summarized the contents well, "we are not really awake, but are entranced automatons, controlled by mechanical habits of thought, perception & behavior." It made so much sense to me so I voraciously read similar works from a host of other authors on the subjects of self-awareness, self-discovery, etc..
I was also about five years out of college & especially ripe for this kind of exploration. I'd examined social things in more depth on the bachelor and master levels & the social forces at play in this game of entrancement were crystal clear. I was now emboldened to circumvent them all.
So, I was moving out of this purgatory-like state and getting back to my essence. It felt amazing, liberating & I was SO eager to explore purpose, my purpose & what I was here to do. I wanted to slowly blossom & do so at my pace. However, I was in a space where I experienced some unwanted pressure & after fighting it for awhile, because I was so intertwined & basically a slave to my need to belong, I gave in, stepped back on the treadmill & lost something I shouldn't have so easily forked over.
I have no doubt that my realization that morning was an aftershock from my meditation retreat experience. I'll probably experience major and minor shifts for some time. I certainly hope so, it is definitely my intention.
I'm no longer interested or willing to drift away from my essence so easily. The need to belong no longer has the grip it once had, whether I can credit this to the number, depth or breath of experiences I've had, how long I've lived or introspective opportunities like this retreat, it's clear that I don't want to waste any more time. I ask the following about who I am and what I want:
I'm sure the expansion of this list is ongoing. Yeah, we all take some detours here & there, now & then; but that's no reason to become discouraged. We can come to terms with who we really are & what we really want starting right now. We have to be willing to go inside, be introspective & be patient with ourselves as the process unfolds. We arrive when we arrive. Small steps are key & recognizing that we're not alone helps. Support comes in all forms, shapes & sizes, we just have to be willing to be vulnerable & ask for it.
Point to ponder: What does the process of coming to terms with who you really are & what you really want look like, & if you haven't started, what are you waiting for?
Aspiring Sage, Creative Maven, Fancier of Books, Guardian of Student Experiences, Inner Explorer, Lover of Living & Learning, Partisan of Play, Princess of Joy, Purveyor of Possibility, Vibrational Recalibrator.