To all of those who responded so eloquently, so abundantly, and so warm-heartedly to my last post - thank you, thank you, thank you.
There's been a shift in me in the past 48 hours, and it has everything to do with sharing the truth of what I was feeling and feeling all you other differentiated bits of source embodied respond. I'll try to describe the shift.
A narrative many would be familiar with: an internal knowing, early on, that the vast majority of 'life' as us humans experience it was artificial, illusory, and surface-level. A knowing that the macro-level systems
- of government-run mandatory public 'education,' a legal system favorable only to those in power, an economy pushing band-aids, addictions, and distractions and a mainstream media informing us all that there's nothing we can do about it and better lock your doors and pay your taxes or else your fucked -
Fast forward to my mid-20's, and the years of silence have stacked up heavy. Not speaking out because deep down I believed what I was told about myself (that I was powerless) even though it contradicted what I KNEW about myself. (That in fact I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with creation itself.) Not speaking out because it's so massive and interconnected - how do you call bullshit on everything, not just government but the media, not just the banks but the schools, the prisons, and the military?
At 26 I took a leap of faith, and gambled everything on the bet that in fact there was something under the surface of both my and this world I live in. Without any money and not knowing how any of it would unfold, but feeling a call, I left a beautiful community, family, home, and security in Chicago and pursued a dream of coming to Australia to complete a 3-year TaKeTiNa teacher-training course.
This work is shamanic, and groundbreaking. Although there are as many ways to understand this work as there are individuals, a way of defining it that makes sense in the context of this blog post might be:
TaKeTiNa utilizes the archetypal rhythms found in nature to create (when done properly) an energetic field wherein individuals can connect to the integral energy of themselves which is always present, but too often obscured, within them.
Along the way I simultaneously questioned everything about myself, diving headfirst into the sensation I'd always felt but often suppressed: the sensation of a clear split, of a schism, between what I knew to be true about both myself and our world and what all of the people and institutions who seemed to be 'running the show' were telling us all on a daily basis.
Diving into this was a shattering experience. It left me feeling utterly insane, quite often. Especially as I was traveling alone and penniless through Australia, my internal sense of certainty didn't seem to be reflected anywhere outside of me. I was praying on a daily basis, and throughout all of 2012 my prayers became more and more intense. Almost daily I felt the presence of an unimaginably forceful energy, roaring up and through me. Often it felt as if my bones were melting. Intuitively, as this happened, I responded by energetically affirming my faith and my commitment to my path - as my body was trembling and strangely heating up and tears were pouring out of me, I held on meeting this energy with the fires of my own heart, emblazoning the truths of creation I'd always known across my consciousness for all beings to see.
This was all happening as I was moving from city to city in a foreign country, trying to survive, trying to find a spiritual teacher who could explain what was happening to me, and trying to figure out if, in fact, I was just fucking insane. Also trying to practice TaKeTiNa with some consistency because (thanks to grace herself, and all of the amazing people in my life who embody her) I'd been invited into the training.
This all kind of culminated around Dec. 21st, 2012, when for me the dividing lines between our shared external space/time, my innate knowing of absolute truth, and my wild imagination blurred and disappeared completely. After living so long with such an extreme schism in my consciousness, I finally lost a sense of balance, and ended up standing on top of a peak at the moment of the solstice on Dec. 21st, 2012, fully expecting to be magically teleported back home to my family in Chicago and endowed with a full gamut of magic powers which would allow me to manipulate reality as I saw fit and never struggle again.
... ... ...
Needless to say, no such luck. I did, however, witness the sun turn completely white, and in the moments of it's return to it's normal appearance I was in a dreamy, trance-like state. Also, despite being stranded in a remote place with no food for the night (I hadn't made a contingency plan if the teleportation thing didn't work out) as I was hiking back down I felt inexplicably light-hearted.
A few hours later I had lost my phone in a river and was desperately sticking my thumb out to every passing motorist... none of whom wanted to pick up a lone man in the middle of the night.
In the months following this experience, I gained some perspective. My prayer-life continued with unabated intensity, but I began to consciously channel the energy, feeling that if God was going to rip me apart on a regular basis I had the right use those experiences for something other than trembling and weeping. I became determined to reconcile what I innately knew to be truth with my everyday life - I knew I couldn't live with such a schism in my consciousness anymore. At the same time I became determined to distinguish innately-known-truths from fanciful-imaginings, intuitively understanding that the former emerged from my timeless, sufi/source/god self and the latter emerged from my transitory, surface/personality/ego self.
Both tasks, both the reconciliation and the distinguishing, soon became difficult. Faced with the ongoing challenge of being abroad with no financial support system left me feeling, more often than not, that speaking my truth would have to wait - finding work and paying bills should come first. Compounding the struggle was the fact that throughout my life I have never prioritized making money: I have no degree, have never had a full-time job, and have never made more than $15,000 per year... which was more than enough to support my life in Chicago, where I was living in a big shared-arts community. In other words, I found I wasn't very good at making money, and because it was only through the generosity of others that I was able to participate in the teacher-training, I began to feel worthless.
Feeling like it was only those who had money who were able to help others and make a difference led me to try to find ways to make more money, which led me to try to play by the rules of a system which I knew was fundamentally false, primarily because it defines our worth in economic terms. Meanwhile the prayer life continued, the resume became more and more exaggerated with every new job-hunt, and the schism was still present.
For whatever reason, I didn't know how to reach out, not about this anyway. I knew how to reach out when faced with smaller challenges, but this, the biggest challenge, the thing I most needed help with - affirming what I knew to be true in the face of a system that is screaming something else at me on a daily basis - ...this was too big, I didn't even know where to begin asking for help.
Eventually I turned, as always, to the only constant, infallible source of spiritual consolation and inspiration I have ever found: Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. As before, through his poetry I began to remember that what I was surrounded by, immersed in, swimming in and moving through every single moment was not some system that seems hell-bent on destroying itself, it was the radiant truth of creation.
It was, is, and always will be, source itself. Call it God, Goddess, source, Allah, or whatever you like - the form is not the essence. We are born into, live our lives as an extension of, and in fact are not other than, the energy of creation itself.
The appearance of the 'system' of our society is just that: appearance. It's not what's going on, it just seems to be, but as I said in the last blog post: nothing trumps creation. Life does not simply flow through us, we are life, and this truth can never be removed, only obscured.
As I began to remember this and reaffirm it to myself, the need to speak about it grew exponentially. Let all doubts be consumed by this truth: we are god. Say it simply, say it laughingly, say it tearfully, proudly, graciously and wholeheartedly, but motherfucking say it, and keep on saying it till the breath passes from your lungs and soul sheds body to rise joyfully up into another level of truth.
The need to speak was growing, but I still didn't know how. And so instead of an affirmation what came out was a supplication:
"Please, someone, anyone, tell me that what I feel inside is indeed so. I need something else besides the words of a 13th-century Sufi poet to reassure me, to keep my feet firmly planted in the soil of what I know to be true."
In addition to all of the people I'm connected to directly, I was flooded with encouragement and affirmation from a massive community that my mother is very much a part of. This was huge for me, and the fading away of any lingering resistance to being a part of the 'New Age' community... resistance which I now recognize a lot to do with an egoic desire to be uniquely enlightened. New age, game on. It's not a misnomer, it is a new age, although our governments, banks, schools, armies, corporations, and prisons are slow to realize it.
As we move more and more consciously into the collective creation of this new age, everyone will understand it differently. Personally, even as I do the hands-on work of creating sustainable food-production, raising awareness about human rights abuses, embodying and modeling the possibility of living with a joyful faith, and whatever else it is I will do in linear space/time, I need to a shared sense of community which revolves around the absolute truths underlying the vision we're co-creating. I need to speak about what I experience in my prayer life, because for far too long I allowed it to be hidden away... as if a certainty that all life had innate and equal value was my guilty secret.
I know it's not as easy as rhetoric, which is why I avoided the so-called 'new age' community for so long. It's not as simple as talking about and hanging out in your own home and meditating everyday, it takes more. But what I didn't understand until I got to the end of my rope was that it also takes talking about it. When our struggles in linear space/time feel more present than the truth of our absolute and unquestionable connection to source, it takes the acknowledgment of peers and a shared understanding to remind us why we're here, why we chose to be here, and what's really going on underneath the surface.
I have been reminded, and reminded so powerfully that I am utterly rejuvenated. This post is my 'coming-out,' for what I feel now is qualitatively different than what I felt before I wrote that last post. What I felt the was a wavering faith, a big but fragile bonfire, too large to control and to disparate to burn steadily.
What I feel now is a quite candle of faith unconquerable. There will be plenty more moments of hardship, for that's part of the game - what we signed on for, and how we learn. But I have spoken my truth, out loud, something I have never dared to do before. The truths I have referenced obliquely in my poetry for years have been said explicitly, and far from the rebuttal I feared what I received in response was an enthusiastic chorus of affirmation.
From one little shiny bit of source to another, I cannot thank you enough. From this perspective on the other side I'm not sure what took me so long, but everything has it's own timing. ;-)
With a heart full of gratitude for the truth of what is and with a will ready to work diligently towards the inevitable collective unveiling of our true nature - thank you, thank you, thank you.