Today’s series of lessons was an emotional rollercoaster ride through DOUBT CANYON. It was a rough ride, but I learned several things:
1. The precepts exist for a reason. My doubt claimed me because I failed to observe the precept of ‘training to abstain from drink and drugs that cause heedlessness’.
I use cannabis for medicinal purposes. I had been quite a heavy user for about eight months, but since the beginning of October I’ve barely touched the stuff. I’ve used my Indicas without issue. They help me sleep and provide a valuable health benefit as a result. When used in this manner it can also allow me to achieve a greater degree of creativity and style with my words.
Today I chose to smoke a very potent Sativa – with an extra dash of a 5 star bubble hash layered in the center. I did this for no other reason than to get high.
We had completed a number of tasks around the house, and I had FINALLY completed getting the bathroom door framing issues addressed. After a long day of hard work I thought ‘screw it – I’m gonna load up and get crazy. I deserve this’.
So my lesson here again is that the precepts exist for a reason. I chose to take the lesser path and I paid for it dearly. I almost lost myself again! By opening up this door, I allowed doubt to swallow me whole and rob me of everything I’d experienced.
It’s not that cannabis is a bad drug or problematic in terms of being Buddhist and focusing on clarity of mind. It really comes down to intentionality. Using it medicinally as a way to be kind to myself, ease some physical pain, and aid my rest is not necessarily an issue – if kept in moderation. However, the act of CHOOSING to imbibe for the soul purpose of reckless abandon? Oops. I have learned my lesson!
2. I doubt my sanity right now. So much has happened to me so quickly. I went from not even knowing who I was to BOOM in less than a month. Yet I came here by way of this thing called narcissistic personality disorder – a mental illness.
Everything is real for me – all of it. Everything I’ve written – every word. Any grandiosity that may exist is more about my wish to be elegant with my words – not about adding anything false to the tale. But can I trust my mind? In this dark corridor that was my doubt, the answer was clearly NO!
Right now I am certain that this is where all of my doubt emanates from. I feel that I need a deep and meaningful discussion with both a spiritual advisor and my therapist – both of which are already scheduled. If I can work through my confusion and doubt with them, it is my hope that I’ll be able to maneuver it into the same range of awareness and ease that I possess with regard to my other emotional states.
3. I do not like to use the terms that I am using. I am embarrassed by them – as if using them to describe my experience is somehow unfit, that my experience is unworthy. I feel as though my former penchant for grandiosity still haunts me in this place – even though I know everything is true!
After I had my moment, I started adding words like ‘awakening’ and ‘enlightenment’ into my blog posts. These were the words that fit my experience, but they embarrass me. I’ve done research in a number of areas that indicate what I’m looking at is ‘entering the stream’.
Everything I read about this state is consistent with my experience in every way. Yet I do not like these words – ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment’. To me they feel hallow and cheap. These words are used by many – yet time and time again frauds and charlatans are exposed and thrown from their spiritual ranks.
And even this thing – this new perception of the world – it really needs nothing to describe it. There really is NO word – other than the labels that I actually find unproductive. I do not know what to call any of this without feeling like a fraud or a charlatan myself – ESPECIALLY as someone who came at this from an original place of NPD.
4. Spontaneous spiritual awakenings are a real thing. I am not alone and there is nothing to fear. I know this to be true, but I have not yet quite internalized that last part – there is still a tendril of doubt.
I was finally able to open up to my SO about my spiritual awakening today. It gushed out of me. All of my joy and confusion and doubt. My eyes filled with tears several times as I shared with her my new way of relating to every aspect of the world around me.
She listed attentively – truly seeing me. She heard me speak of my doubt. She watched me pour out my heart, spell out my confusion, and struggle for understanding. And her words were so kind – and so strong – and so wise. After listening to everything – her words were simple. “it sounds like you’re on the right track to me”.
What a moment of beauty shining through from one human being to another. Even with an awe inspiring view, this moment was like a streaking star across a mid-day sky. A rare thing – beyond wonder.
I mean – I AM REALLY FRIGGIN CONFUSED! At one point I was so consumed by my doubt and confusion that I sent e-mails out begging for guidance. I was so completely lost for over an hour. I took it all away from myself – everything.
But my SO, who has a masters degree in transpersonal psychology, advised me that this sounds very typical of someone in my situation. And that she had heard many tales of people coming in trying to deal with a spiritual crisis only to find that they were blossoming into something new.
So I checked a couple of web sites and started reading. And now I don’t feel so weird about all of this. I mean – I TOOK DOWN MY ENTIRE WEBSITE FOR HALF THE DAY BECAUSE OF MY DOUBT (and a sliver of self-imposed shame I guess). But I KNOW that these things are true – and I have tested them for their truth via my own personal experience.
So everything is back up now – and I am no longer embarrassed. Well – I still am a bit. I guess the reason I’m still embarrassed is that this thing isn’t even really that big of a deal.
I mean sure, it flipped my entire world upside down and has shown me a new path, but there really isn’t anything special or mystical to it. I’m still completely me – with all of the faults and flaws that I was still trying to come to terms with when I shot myself out of the park.
It really is just a shift in orientation to the world.
5. Finding stories you can connect to is an extremely valuable tool. This is how my SO and I finally ended up talking – with me spilling my guts about my awakening.
Here I am, GONE. My doubt had literally robbed me of my light. In an earlier post from a couple of days ago I talked about the thin thread of truth I’d been able to hold onto the first day after. This time my thread snapped.
I was sitting at the kitchen counter drinking coffee and wallowing in self-pity. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I noticed a coil of rope sitting on the counter. My SO is currently decorating for our annual Halloween party. So there’s lots of stuff just lying around at the moment.
The rope brought me back. Again, just having a story to connect to.
I believe that it’s also on Byron Katie’s first CD, but it might be on the second one. Anyway, she talks about encountering a snake in the desert – and allowing it to hold me in fear. And then something shifts and I suddenly realize that what I thought was a snake was actually just a length of rope.
This brought me back. The connection – just this small connection point, brought everything rushing back. It reminded my that my doubt is a rope, not a snake.
Suddenly I was aware of my doubt and my sadness again. I still had to deal with them – but at least I was back and SEEING them again.
I took a small piece of that rope and have stashed it in a cool cigar box I had lying around. It’s just for fun, but I wish to keep some small part of these sign posts and reminders – just to remember them and to thank them from time to time.
So this is another tale of doubt. This time on many levels and with many lessons.