I’ve been hesitant to put this into words, but I’m going to try anyway. There’s nothing to lose by trying.
This event occurred on 13 Oct 2014 at around 10:00 PM (PST).
The world is new for me. There is SO MUCH CLARITY in terms of where my path lies. You can call it a peek at nirvana, or the voice of god, or the will of the universe – it does not matter. This is something that I FELT at the very core of my being.
In the back of our house we have a small covered porch. I was out there, thinking quietly to myself. It was sometime around 10pm I believe, but it is really hard to attach an accurate measure of time to this experience.
My day had been pretty wild. With all of the work that I’ve been doing to cultivate mindful awareness, and be in the moment, I’d been pretty wiped out by my anger. An all-consuming rage had engulfed me for a period of 5 to 6+ straight hours earlier that afternoon.
I both fought and watched my rage for most of that entire time. It was an ACTIVE process. The rage was hard to ignore. It was a BODILY sensation that made my entire being vibrate! I’d been working on the house and NOTHING had gone well. At some point a new truth came to me – I am not as handy as I think I am.
Anyway – for me the piece that did it was the broken bathroom door frame (after 2+ hours of screwing around with living room carpet transitions that I couldn’t get in). I’d spent a day installing a new bathroom door months ago. Now we needed to put in the molding, etc.
The door was rubbing at the top though, so I needed to make some adjustments to the frame in order to realign it a bit. This took 2 hours of painstaking work just to get the thing freed up enough to make the adjustments – and we’re now at about 4+ hours of BODILY, MINDFUL RAGE!
I took a couple of breaks, but it did not help. However, I kept coming back to the task. I would NOT give in to my rage. I would NOT act out or throw a tantrum or give up! THESE WERE NOT OPTIONS FOR ME!
Three hours passed – and now I’m trying to actually do the door adjustments (after 2+ hours of steadily, chopping out shims with a knife and some pliers). Anyway – the door frame cracked a little bit at the top. I’d broken off a chunk of framing and split a couple of small parts of the frame in the corner. BOOM! The RAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So here I am – at 5+ hours of MAD ASS MINDFUL RAGE! I decide – this is broken. I must replace it this weekend with a new one. I did not consider this ‘quitting’ in the normal sense of what I would usually do. I stopped because the task could no longer be completed with the materials on hand. Simple.
BUT I WAS SOOOOOOOO CONSUMED WITH RAGE.
I wandered around with that rage for another hour. I did pushups, I took a shower, I YELLED AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS IN THE SHOWER!!! I was TREMBLING with RAGE!!! So I sat down on my computer to see if I could find a class on anger management.
I knew it wasn’t going to stop the current rageathon that was rocking the entire house! It felt like a good step though – since this was the MOST POWERFUL AND MOST INTENSE SENSATION I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. I’d NEVER had rage like that. And to practice mindfulness while doing so? Yikes – It really scared the crap out of me!
So there are lots of on-line anger management ‘programs’, but I was in pretty bad shape and thought an in person class would be a better bet for me. I found some listings and ran down a few options, but the next class I could attend was like in November…
At one point I found the PERFECT option. A level 1 anger management course with a level 2 available the next week. And it was reasonably close. Here’s the catch – and remember, I’m ready to turn into the hulk here. The class started at 4pm – and it was 3:33 pm. I remember that time precisely because there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to get to that class in time.
No need for me to go boom again. I was in hulk mode – but mindfully and not giving in to my impulses.
I decide – I need a book on how to deal with rage. Maybe a drive will do me good. So I get in the car, drive about 10 miles to one of our local Barnes and Nobles, where I mindfully, and filled with rage, do a little browsing.
There was a great book on rage using the same therapy model that my therapist was already using with me. ACT on Life Not on Anger. I took that. I also found a beautiful book on addiction written from a Buddhist perspective.
I had been thinking in the car that a book on addiction might be a good idea as well (framing n-supply as an addiction akin to emotional heroin) – and something to listen to. A book on CD that I could gain some additional insight through.
Off I went into the back room where the book CDs are. There wasn’t much of a selection, but eventually I settled on Byron Katie’s ‘Your Inner Awakening’. She’d been suggested to me by two of my confidants, and the jacket for it was an interesting read – it looked inviting and felt right.
Once in the car again I popped in the first CD. I decided to drive around for a bit and just listen. I was still in mindful hulk mode – so I thought this might be just the thing I needed to finally let my rage subside. I jumped on the freeway and headed North.
I didn’t drive too far past my own exit before I realized that I didn’t want to be on the road ALL night. So I got off the freeway a few exists down and just decided to get lost in a maze of streets as I listened.
Now – this was CD 1. A lot of it is really introductory stuff. She doesn’t even introduce her work until CD 2. On CD 1 she talks about her own story and her own awakening.
It TOUCHED me! Her story before her awakening, as described in her own voice on that CD – IT WAS MY LIFE! Her description of her awakening… it touched the place in me that I’d experienced a few nights before in what I can only describe as meeting myself for the very first time.
I pulled into the parking lot of some random building and decided to stop and rest. I was tired now. And – my rage was gone. I was exhausted! I laid back and continued to listen to Katie describing my exact experience. I think I may have fallen asleep a little bit. Dozing for a few seconds or minutes.
I was maybe half way to two third of the way through the 1st CD. I started the car and headed home, continuing to listen very very closely to every word, rewinding if I missed anything at all! I remember rounding the corner of our main street and hearing her talk about everyone running for the socks.
That moment is magical for me now. I just had this amazingly powerful emotion come across me when I wrote that.
I remember the socks.
So now I’m home. I’m still exhausted. The house is a mess from all of my project tragedies. I’m ready for a break – just a chance to sit and rest and think.
I head outside to sit with my thoughts for a bit. And so here I am – after this crazy rollercoaster ride of a day, sitting out back under the covered patio area. I closed my eyes and began a bit of contemplative meditation.
At some point, EVERYTHING SHIFTED WITHIN ME!
It was immediate, and it was miraculous.
So many things became suddenly clear to me that I was awash in sheer amazement!
Moment after moment new truths would reveal themselves and I would find this incredible burst of joy within myself.
I was deeply in meditation by this point. I remember sitting there and thinking to myself – huh… My mind is clear. Ohhh look…
I stopped everything – focused on my breath and examined my mind to find only two things.
Absolute emptiness and awareness of that emptiness.
Those are the only two things that existed in my mind.
I even took that awareness and literally shined it around within my mind. I’d remembered a flashlight story like this from one of the early SIMS classes I’d taken years ago. I was so filled with this sense of amazement, curiosity, joy, and gratitude as I saw how clear my mind truly was.
So there was me, my clear mind, and my awareness. Sitting there in total stillness and silence, and I was smiling – and crying. It felt like it lasted for two hours. But it was probably only minutes… I really couldn’t have been out there that long.
When I finally guided my awareness back into the world, I noticed the Buddha statue sitting in the garden just a few feet away. It was dark but I could still see him easily enough.
And he was watching me. Or rather – I was seeing him and seeing the truth all at once.
I actually had a quiet conversation with him – the statue in the yard.
Those words I’ll keep for myself.
After a few minutes of that, I had this overwhelming urge to write!
First I went to the bathroom. I’d already done this once before a few days ago – saying hello to myself in the mirror. This time I had a short conversation with myself – just about loving myself and loving this new life I am stepping into.
I ran in, grabbed my notebook and started writing down things that came to me. There’s not a whole lot, but it was all very powerful and TRULY life changing for me.
In that writing I discovered my one true purpose and the answer to all of my problems.
“The only real answer is love. Love for myself and love for the world”.
This is my truth
This is now at the core of who I am – this is what I aspire to be beyond all things… LOVE. Pure and simple love for all the world.
There’s another post here with most of the actual writings, so I won’t add those.
The other thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the sense of there being two of me. Now – this is really tough with words, but it was more a sense of me and myself – or me as my best friend, or me and my awareness. That last one is probably the closest.
It was like I was consulting myself and giving myself council on the things passing through my mind. I used ‘we’ a lot during this internal dialogue – which was also incredibly interesting.
I was just – in amazement at what was occurring – and so in love with the whole beautiful unfolding that had already occurred.
Another interesting sense was of my connection with the world. I cannot describe the exact sense of it, but I have since read a book that has helped be understand that the Buddhist term metta is actually more akin to unconditional parental love for the world. This description fits the nature of the sensation perfectly.
In fact, one of my writings from this period included:
My life forward …to be of service and just help them find some degree of comfort.
Again – the concept of metta so accurately reflects this, I just did not know it at the time I wrote the above statement. In fact, I am so in love with the fact that I now know this. It is incredible to make these small connections and see their simple beauty.
At some point I saw my cushion – and at some point I say my bookcase with my collection of Buddhist texts. I grabbed the giant ‘Connected Discourses of the Buddha’, flipped to the actual words of the Buddha – and began to read.
His works sunk so deeply into me. Everything made absolute sense. I even began making notes in the margins to identify aspects of things that I had opinions on. It was so delightful. I just kept nodding and I had such wonder and joy in me.
You could NOT have wiped that smile off my face! My joy filled the entire room.
It was like this for some time. Perhaps a total of 2 to 3 hours maybe (probably a lot less) before doubt tried to rip it all away.
There’s another story that I’ll write about the immense doubt that struck me later that night – the doubt equivalent of the rage I had felt earlier. It washed over me and began to drown me. By my truth saved me – and I awoke to a new world the next morning.
I’ll tell those stories at some other point. But just sharing this has been so joyous for me. The fact that I’ve made it through this – and captured so purely the essence of my experience (to the extent possible in words)… I’m just so thankful for these gifts.
I am already so grateful for all of the teachers – all of mankind really, who will guide me on the path now. This was just my first step.
The journey is long – but with love as my companion and all of life as my teacher, I hope to find even deeper meaning in these experiences… Not as a destination or a goal, but because of a boundless curiosity to discover and to see that exists within me now…
Thank you all for sharing in my story.