Updated: Nov 19
My most profound spiritual realization to date did not take place on top of a sacred mountain or under auspicious circumstances. No, it occurred after an exhausting day of work and while I was ugly crying in my parents' guest bathroom. I had never felt more alone.
For the months leading up to this confrontation with reality, I had not been preoccupied with myself on the level of my character or my achievements but rather on the level of my ultimate existence. Previously, I had cared a lot about the project of myself, but now I was no longer concerned about my personality flaws and relationship failures and their respective implications for my future. What was the point?
Metaphorically speaking, it didn't make sense to bother with redecoration efforts if my house was about to get wiped off the face of the Earth. I knew that for my life to have meaning and for there to be any point to any of it, I first had to EXIST. A long spiraling descent into an existential crisis had boiled down to one terrifyingly simple question.
Do I Exist?
I deeply feared that I did not. I had come to suspect that the person that I took myself to be was nothing more than a construct, a convincing holographic illusion, a beguiling trick of the mind.
And yet I did not have definitive proof that my suspicions were correct because I had been too scared to look. Like a scene in a horror movie that you cannot bear to take in, I was in a constant state of flinch, blocking my ears and shielding my eyes from what was right there before me.
In extreme sport athletes you can observe a certain poise in their beingness before they go for it and tip their skis over the precipice or catch the mega wave. An almost preternatural stillness comes over them as they gather their focus and drop the baggage they, like all of us, have been carrying around. In essence, they are facing off with physical death and they know it, so they are not messing around. It's not that they do not want to live. They do. In fact they value aliveness more than most. They're certainly not driven by recklessness.
They are in touch with courage.
Why my process came to a crescendo on this particular day at the most ordinary of moments, I will never know, but something in the juxtaposition of the mundane and the sublime still speaks to me.
As I was standing there in front of the mirror, I came into contact with a powerful inner imperative. This force had a commanding presence and it was crystal clear.
ASK THE QUESTION.
I was trembling and in tears as an abyss opened up in my consciousness. I found myself at the literal sheer edge of a cool, vast, undefiled, blacker-than-black space. I understood intuitively that asking the question meant stepping off the ledge and into this void.
I didn't know how I got here, but like those daredevil athletes, out of necessity, I shoved everything superfluous aside in order to ground down and do my best to meet the moment. A surge of courage came throbbing into my heart. This endless void was what I had been avoiding so strenuously afraid it would swallow me whole.
Now suddenly I was facing into it. I was still shaking in my boots, but the courage was out in front and in the lead.
ASK THE QUESTION.
I actually wanted to know the answer!
Do I exist? Let's find out.
Without hesitation and like the fool of the Tarot, I stepped right off of the ledge and into the abyss, having no clue what was about to happen.
In an instant, the answer came. Not to me, but as me.
The blackness subsumed me, I became the void. And also a singular, brilliant, glistening, glittering, shiny, bouncy, fresh, dancing, limpid POINT.
What is the point? I am the point. Do I exist? I am existence.
THE POINT OF EXISTENCE.
In that moment of experiential understanding, I was born anew. The tears streaming down my face were liquid joy. My consciousness was turned right-side up, inside-out and forwards to back. Everything that had been wrong was put utterly right. Suffering ceased.
I walked out of that bathroom and into my real life.
Twenty-plus years later, I am still integrating that out-of-time realization into my lived life and imagine that I will continue to do so until I take my final breath.
About three years after that fateful day, after I had found my spiritual teacher and was firmly on the path, I fell down on my knees and cried warm salty tears of gratitude to Sean, the man who had broken my heart. Had he not had the determination and courage to follow his truth and ultimately set me free, I knew in my bones that I would have likely missed my opportunity to live the life of a mystical seeker. Back then, I was headed down a completely different road, with different pitfalls and different rewards and I was not planning on changing course.
At the time that Sean and I initially got together, I was barely twenty and my heart was so very young and innocent. Since I had been fortunate to have received a deep and wholesome love from my father growing up, I did not have reservations when it came to loving a man who resonated with the same basic goodness as my father.
Falling in love with Sean had been total. Every little bit of me was in that love, nothing was left out. He was my beloved and I was devoted to him to the end of time and back. And that is why the break was so devastating at the surface and penetrating at the depths. It took all of me.
From a place of greater spiritual maturity, it became quite obvious that I had simply misplaced my love for God, Source, The Beloved, The Mystery, The Maker, True Nature-however one names it to oneself-onto another human being, and a beautiful one at that.
Such a glorious mistake on my part and such a radically deft response from The Beyond!