My world is tilting, my perspective is changing, the ground is shifting and heaving under my feet. I feel uprooted, unstable, off balance, disoriented. It is terrifying. I am having a hard time speaking. I feel easily confused. But even still, my desire to know more pulls me forward, down.
I am sitting in a dimly lit theater. There is a man up on the stage in a black robe. There are several children on stage too. The man throws something off the stage with a sweeping motion of his hand. I feel a jolt of fear. I don’t see the children any more. Then I realize there is another level to the stage that I didn’t see before and that there is a set of stairs that is hidden behind a bamboo fence that curves down from the top level to the lower level. The children are creeping down the stairs towards the lower level.My perspective changes. I see another whole world. The shift is terrifying. It is like a sudden drop in altitude on the peaceful flight at thirty thousand feet where I have been sitting lulled by the drone of the engines of my life. I am one of the children creeping down the stairs. I can’t see around the curve of the bamboo fence, but I see a faint orange glow, the glow of mystery. My mates and I jostle and creep, not scared but curious. We are in it together, we are not afraid because something in us knows these depths. It is a relational feeling, the comfort of comrades, the exuberance of youthful adventure, the knowing of the child. My work is to feel the desire of wanting more and to bring it to this place with the children descending the stairs.
In my outer world, all hell breaks loose. I am in reaction. I fight with my partner. I leave for the night. I say I won’t come back. I am disoriented, confused, scared. I don’t know what is happening to me. I realize my tolerance for the old world is rapidly diminishing. Our old patterns, agreements, contracts must be re-negotiated, re-configured or dropped completely if we are to survive this storm. It is deeply painful to witness the ones we love as they thrash about in their own suffering, nihilism, and separation, knowing what I have learned in my work: that there is possibility, a solution, a way through. But my faith is mine and cannot be passed along to an unwilling recipient. True spiritual awakening can only be experienced. It cannot be gifted, promoted or even explained. It is a felt thing. It is only through attraction, not promotion, that someone might follow. I just have to keep doing my work, standing in my truth; staying with the feelings the dreams lead me to.
It is also a true gift to witness someone else’s moment of spiritual awakening. That moment when the dots connect, the light of hope goes on, an opening appears, the world shifts and the grace of God enters into a situation.
It is humbling and healing to feel the presence of spirit in my life. It does not come without great pain. Pain, it is said, is the touchstone to all spiritual growth. I always understood this to mean that pain was unavoidable. This is true, but the real rub is that when I feel pain, I need to let myself feel it fully, not avoid it, jump away from it, obliterate it, or distract myself from it, but stay with it and know that it is a way through, a portal back to the love.