The Man With the Gun

We were now only three. We sat solemnly, silent with downcast eyes. The man with the gun continued to speak in foreign tongue, a language that resembled Portugese, but my ears could not be sure. Or was it my mind? Racing as it were, I was unable to comprehend anything other than the eminent fate that laid ahead. It was clear by now that this man had come to kill. He had already taken two. Now it was our turn.

The man’s friends stood by, cheerfully watching. There was no trace of remorse, guilt, or sympathy. To them, it was a game; a reason to avert boredom. I could see they were having fun. Out of the group a couple eyed the girl next to me, my love of a previous life. The woman spoke in tongues and gestured with her fingers. The man with the gun translated, “She wants you.” The woman crawled over the girl’s body with her filthy eyes, leaving their heavy impression on the soul of my love. She began to cry and although we had separated in another life, she grabbed for my hand, squeezed it and searched for the flame we had once let die.

In our last moments, she reclaimed the forgiveness and love of the universe. She lived in my eyes while confessions of love poured from her heart. “I love you,” she said with uncontrollable despair. She had already given up. I watched as her gaze began to distance, leaving this world in search for the next. With ample ambition, I intervened. The man with the gun was growing annoyed, his dissatisfaction was apparent.

“We will make it. Look at me, ” I called to her eyes, beckoning their return. A glint of recognition followed by a total release of identity. This surrender was ensued by words of the soul which battled for the present. Come back to me. Look into my eyes. If you can stay here it will be over. I watched as the color returned to her skin, the motion danced in her breath and the recognition of the self sparkled in her eyes. She had come to fight. And now it was my turn.

The man with the gun cocked his pistol. I closed my eyes. The person to my left was first, his head laid upon my shoulder. Three shots fired and I couldn’t tell if the universe had stopped. The weight of my eyelids was tremendous, so much so that I thought they would forever remain shut. I heard the air make way for barrel of the gun. I felt its long, blunted nose directed at my soul. I heard a click and I began to purge.

With all the force of the world, I cried; vomiting tears. Emotions born in my stomach were ejected up through my throat and out of my mouth. I was unable to stop the convulsions. I wanted them to continue. With each heave my being was lightened. I was transported into another existence where only I and myself existed. Spring cleaning of the soul. Anger fueled the roar, but by the time it was set free, I noticed there was only fear. As it floated out of my body, my tongue tasted love. Once released into the air, it was only love.

My hand was still grasped by the love of a life passed. I looked up at the man with the gun. He smiled. “Doesn’t it feel better?” I stood up and laughed, “Yes, it does.” I could see the rain had stopped. The pavement was wet with the remains of the evening. The sun had kept such an angle that it felt like breakfast, a beginning to a new day. I thanked him in all sincerity and he approached. We shook hands and he walked past. “Hasta luego,” I blurted in Spanish. He replied with only a warm glance. We would see each other again.

I took the hand of my lover and we walked into the morning.

—-

I awoke from Shavasana healed.

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Forget about Enlightenment

Mooji.  Until just a few days ago, this was a man I had never heard of.  A friend of mine passed on a video where Mooji discussed the binding nature of Sadhana, or daily spiritual practice.  As a kundalini yoga teacher and student, I am well aware of sadhana.  Well aware. Waking up at ungodly hours (although they are in fact known as the most godly) followed by half asleep yoga sets and painful 28-minute arm-melting asanas are the instinctual images that come to mind.  However, what Mooji was referring to was a broader sense of sadhana that takes on many forms, including the entirety of spiritual practice.

Evening practice? Not. Morning Sadhana before sunrise.

In his view, sadhana is beneficial for only so long before it becomes an impediment.  A waning fan of early morning sadhana, this intrigued me.  He said that all spiritual practice and thought is a form of interference, which can withhold liberation.  I defensively asked myself, “How could spiritual thought become an obstruction to spirituality?”  I was starting to ignore his words, but something inside of me kept listening.  He continued his explanation that spirituality is great for those who are without any other means or understanding of the metaphysical.  It brings the newborn into a world of possibility.  However, much like the training wheels on a bicycle, spiritual practice begins to hold one back from experiencing true freedom. Hearing this, I didn’t know what to think. So much of my life is about spiritual practice.  So, for the time being I ignored his reflections, but surely enough, within a few days, I was unable to deny them.

I have always worried about my addiction to meditation and yoga.  Much like any other addiction, when I do not make use of it, I feel its absence.  For me, this translates into a daily practice.  I have always known that all the spiritual things I do have never been the source of my happiness, clarity, or balance.  At the end of the day, I am the one who decides how I experience my life.  Meditation, yoga, and whatever else just grease the wheels.  I am the one who steers.

So for the past few days, Mooji’s message of forgetting enlightenment and all the rules of spirituality have plagued me.  There is comfort to my practice.  I like setting the rules that control, and even dicate, my life.  However, at what point do these rules limit the possibilities of experience?  If I have to meditate 2 hours a day, teach class, listen to mantras, and send countless blessings across the universe just to have a normal day what am I really gaining, besides more practice?  Even the word practice assumes that you are not that which you want to become.  And spiritual practice continually tells us that we are not yet enlightened, that we must spend x amount of time and effort to attain realization, and that this is all a gradual process.  As I start to look at it different, it seems like just another system of control.  I needed it in the beginning, but do I need it now?  Is it holding me back?  What if we can all be enlightened right now, with one true thought?

Just one thought, like a key to a lock.  Once open, the humor of it shines through.

This is my dilemma.  Venturing into the unknown without my training wheels is a bit scary.  What if everything collapses and I find myself worse off than where I was?  What if I become less conscious and succumb to ignorance?  What if all my fears are just an illusion that keeps me practicing my practices?  What if enlightenment is simply realizing that we are perfect; have always been, always will be, and can never not be perfect.  Even when we are imperfect, we are perfect, for we are not our sentient bodies, which includes the mind.  All judgment arises from thought and all thought is not our true Self.  Our identity as universal is that which exists behind our thought.  This identity is already complete, enlightened and perfect. Understanding this is the only true spirituality that can exist.  It is not a practice, but a law.  

I mean how wrong could he be?  Look how happy he is! =)

We are already enlightened, we only choose to believe we are not.  And we create the boundaries, pace, and limits of our growth through our spiritual practice and intentions.  At what point must we move past these barriers and experience true liberation, the freedom from our own suppression?

This is where I am. What will come next, I do not know, but one thing I have come to understand in my life is that once the seeds of awareness are planted, there is no turning back.  And truthfully, I wouldn’t mind freeing up 3 hours of my day.

Enlightened is all we can ever be.

The Night I Left My Body

As an avid Kundalini Yoga practitioner and teacher in training, part of our preparation consists of long weekends dedicated to nothing else but yoga.  From 4am sadhana to closing meditations, we as students participate in communal spiritual education.  Along with this learning comes deep exploration.  And so it was that tonight I explored the depths of the universe and left my body.

The first sensation was that of a vacuum.  My entire existence was swiftly sucked out of my body.  A deep pressure was instantaneously released and I could feel the the soul-less cavity of my body, right under the sternum, give way to the deliverance of me.  Suddenly I found myself floating at unconceivable heights, an elevation indescribable by any modern system of mensuration. I had risen to the ethereal realm.

A few breathless moments passed before I realized there was no need to breathe.  I was able to choose whether I wanted to feel the sensation of breath or not.  I found it much more pleasant experiencing the existence up above.  I say up above because literally my vantage point came from great heights.  Although I could not visibly see my body, I understood where it was in relation to my existence.  I was simultaneously aware of both my body and myself.

There was no fear.  Only a great sensation of liberation and freedom.  I was soaring through endless space, yet I was also the space being soared through.  With this freedom came not one instant of apprehension of not coming back, not making the return flight home.  I felt an undeniable chord-like connection joining me to my body.  It was obvious that I was not leaving my body for the last time.

I was a kite effortlessly exploring the airs of the ethers.  And I was not alone.  The penetrating vibrations of the meditational gong – being played by one of our teachers – synchronically danced across the infinite horizon.  Cascading tiles of gold curved around me in endless helixes as they formed in accordance to the birthing sound currents.  The sound of the gong changed from exterior to inclusive.  There was no distinction between the gong and myself.  We were merged into completion and existed as one, yet were experiencing each other in a very tangible way.  As I watched the forming ripples physically manifest the sounds of the gong, I was also watching myself.

Unlike a drug-induced high, this feeling was solid.  It could not be ruined in any way.   There were moments of fleeting mental chatter that in any other transcendent situation – drug induced or otherwise – would have completely grounded my ascension.  Yet during this experience, the expressions of the ego were accepted and surpassed, as if carelessly blown in and out by the wind.  It was only after the disappearance of the deep vibrations of the gong that I felt the return to my body.

Slowly and without struggle, I came back to my body.  I entered somewhere between the heart center and the crown of my head.  I am still unsure of the details.  Frankly, I was too consumed by the experience of divinity.  I was not the least bit concerned with the details of returning to earth.

Once completely in my body, a previous intuitional feeling was concretely confirmed: something had changed.  Still the details escape me, but it was beyond any measure of doubt that during my vacuum-like extraction to the ethers, something aside from myself had left my body.   Inside my chest an immense feeling of weightlessness was observed.  My breath was much fuller and cleaner.  The clarity of this space was very apparent and is still even now.  Something else was extracted, something heavy and dense.  Something I am glad to be rid of.

When I finally came back to an existence resembling full consciousness, I was unsure of a lot.  My legs seemed to lag behind my intentions.  I had trouble collecting my belongings.  After I took a few frightful steps, I was in utter confusion as to where I was stepping.  Any attempt at conversation was baffled and I am positive the look on my face was priceless.  Picture space cadet meets modern day ’69 hippie.  It took me a glass of cold water, a walk around the block and a good 45 minutes to feel grounded enough to drive home.

Once I got my earth legs back and driving, I was in an awesome state of satisfaction.  Whatever happened to me felt amazing and left me with a lasting and exceptional calmness.  I am very excited for I still have much to experience.  I am hardly halfway through my teacher’s training and only at the beginning of my lifelong spiritual journey.   I am very thankful that tonight I could experience such profundity and bliss and I am very glad to write that tonight was the first night I left my body.