Posts Tagged ‘enlightenment’

The presence of experience

October 9, 2013

You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. Albert Camus

Before humans could write and read we learned through witnessing and listening. As witnesses, we saw what others experienced, and (hopefully) we learned vicariously. When we witnessed someone become ill from eating the strange red berries, we were not likely to eat those berries. We listened (again hopefully) when our parents and elders passed along knowledge and wisdom with the spoken word: don’t poke the sleeping tiger.

The written word expands our worlds. All the red berries have warning labels and the sleeping tigers have awakened. If we want to know about Subject X, the most expedient method is to look it up on the Internet. Sometimes, we can watch a film or talk to a subject expert, but the cheapest and quickest way to learn anything is to read. The written word saved my sanity as a child. Books were my lifeline to the world beyond the one I was confined to then, and I wanted to experience all of it.

The short 90 or so years that I will be on this planet will not satisfy my desire for discovery, and I am nearly two-thirds of the way to my expiration date. As I weed my way through what I am willing to experience, death has become my azimuth. Years ago, some therapists told me that this was a problem so I “worked” on it, but now, I find that it has served me well. Keeping my eye on death causes me to embrace my eternal presence – the part of me that will continue when my body no longer exists. Who I become now I take with me into eternity. What I experience helps me evolve into who I become.

Countless words exist of people’s tales detailing their journeys of how they became who they are. There are hundreds of methods and paths to self-discovery. I’ve read the books and blogs of people who appear to have blazed the trails to enlightenment and ultimate universal connection. I’ve prayed their prayers. I’ve practiced their meditations. I’ve repeated their mantras.

Yes, I’ve grown. I’ve become. I’ve discovered. I’ve experienced. But, I’ve not achieved the measure of conscious embodiment their words have described. I’ve failed to mirror their success and wonder why.

In my efforts to master the experience of Centering Prayer, I read Thomas Keating’s book Manifesting God. If you read his book, you can’t but help but hear Keating’s voice and feel his experience with God. In a moment of clarity, some small still voice inside me said: “these words describe how it is for him, but not necessarily how it is for you.” Keating can only describe his process, not mine. He cannot live my experience any more than I can live his.

Words and books cannot create my experience. Living creates experience.

The experience I seek is to be fully alive as my true self in this life.

Only my presence can create that experience.

©2013 by Barbara L. Kass

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The presence of awakening

January 28, 2013

Enlightenment does not have to come like a bolt of lightning.

Some people are born enlightened (Jesus comes to mind). Others of us have these ongoing momentous occasions where we are suddenly awakened into a higher consciousness of life and our illusionary personality falls away. Fellow blogger Kathy Drue writes about this in her blog, Simply Here. Warning: if you don’t “get” anything she writes about, then you are nowhere near ready to drop the illusion that you are your personality, your job, your clothes, your body, your thoughts, your words, or anything else you might be attached to, and that’s okay. Come back later.

Meanwhile, there are those of us (===>pointing at self) whose enlightenment and awakening are coming along at about the pace of a two-year-old learning quantum physics. The idea that most people are not conscious and definitely NOT concerned about my personal well-being has taken over half a century to light up in my feeble brain. The truth is we are all self-absorbed. Once I accepted that I am not special, that I am totally self-absorbed, then AND ONLY THEN, could I look at my self-absorption and decide how to deal with it. I can choose to remain self-absorbed. A good deal of my time and effort remain devoted to self-absorption. I don’t go to work, earn money, buy food, and live in my illusory secure environment for anyone’s sake except mine. (Okay . . . a little bit for you, too. If I do it, then I don’t become a burden on society so self-absorption is also a part of self-responsibility.)

But the awakened part of me can let go my self-absorption for moments at a time to care for other human beings. Although I am not sure there can possibly be a total altruistic act, when I am sitting with another person in need, my heart talk is not about what I can get out of the situation. I am scurrying around within and reaching for that cosmic connection to bring something to the table for that other person to take in and bring home. Later, my ego personality will surface and get all puffed up about it, feel pleased, and say “didn’t we do great?” And, I will gently remind myself, “this time.” Next time, we might not do so well. Next time, we might not get what we want.

Here’s a scary part about awakening: I no longer really care if I get what I think I want. Even if I get it, whatever I have received is as transitory as my next breath.

Except waking up.

Once you are awakened, there is no more sleeping.

©2013 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of commitment

June 3, 2010

A response to my blog “a little bit of presence” a few days ago caught my attention in a way that makes me think the universal consciousness is tapping on my shoulder, pointing me in a direction. The post was mostly a quote:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back . . . the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I have a problem with commitment. It takes me forever to commit to people, places, ideas, myself. I always want to leave an escape hatch open somewhere in case I don’t like what I find. You see, I committed myself to this path of enlightenment (albeit reluctantly) and now I know once committed, I don’t quit. That is what I know about myself. There is no undoing of what has been done. Life is a one-way motion. Something once known can never be unknown.

So, I select carefully – sometimes too carefully – that which I will commit to. And it takes me a long, long time to decide to commit my direction, my power, my ability, and my willingness. My life is calling for commitment, a devotion of time, energy, and mindset necessary to bring some dreams to reality.

There are so many. I just need to pick one.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of connection

April 24, 2010

Extraordinary connections are finding their way into my life. Over the past several days, friends have been writing on their blogs about similar thoughts and ideas to the point that it has become clear we are all being awakened by a shared energy. A new friend from Gaia (http://anewgaia.ning.com/) introduced me to a book Power vs. Force by David Hawkins. Reading the foreword and preface at Amazon reveals that the author discovered his eternal presence at a very young age and followed a remarkable path of healing. Of course I will buy and read the book, but today what stood out for me was the idea that we are not our personalities.

I refer to personalities as the superficial presence that we all present to the world and believe that is who we really are. The superficial personality is ego driven, inflamed with fear, and desperate for love and acceptance. The eternal presence patiently watches the personality in action and might occasionally nudge (or, in some cases, whack) us, whispering “you are more than this.”

Some people have dramatic enlightenment, brought back from the brink of self-destruction and death by some miraculous realization.

My path to enlightenment has been one of reluctance, even though I pursued it relentlessly. I kept thinking if I just adjusted my personality all of the time to all of the people and situations I would be in, then I would “get it.” Then, I would be accepted, loved, blah blah blah. My path to enlightenment and reconnecting with my eternal presence was found by pursuing the path of working very hard to become like everyone else. It was tedious, painful, and didn’t work very well.

The path where I am connected with my eternal presence is much more peaceful, lighter, less anxious. When I am connected with my eternal presence, I am eternally connected to all of you.

 ©2010 by Barbara L. Kass