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Struck by enLightening

 
 

enlightening

Nothing in my life, my education or my social conditioning had prepared me for the transformation which was to occur within me. I can see now how this was to be instrumental in the way that I have come to understand the state of enlightenment, and to see myself in it. There was little to guide me, as without preparation I received the full internal impact of a spiritual awakening. I can anticipate many readers engaging with their desires to receive this ‘grace’. So before you develop the wow factor, I would like you to get a taste of what it really was like and not that much of the experiential side of the aftermath occurred in the yummy basket.

Looking back, the first indication that something was shifting in me was in early 1969 when my girlfriend at that time, spontaneously read to me both acts of Samuel Beckett's ‘Happy Days’. As I listened I saw that I was becoming deeply afraid, I could not speak. At the same time I was seeing that this was happening to me and realising that the play was strongly related to my own experience. In fact it seemed to be about me. My normal self was unable to communicate from within its experience, yet I had a new lucid perspective as it happened. I was in the grip of something unidentifiable. I was forced to act out a predetermined scene, I was at once the actor and the audience.

One difficulty I have in talking about my awakening is that the reader could make an idealised picture for them selves of what it is like to be enlightened then feel that they will have to live up to that belief. It sounds incredible but living with the aftermath of an awakening is a major adjustment to your reality which is closer to a life or death struggle than a blissful foreverness. Imagine the scene, a warm summer evening, summer solstice in fact, a lush green hillside with great views over the city and skyscape, a group of friends who were beginning an exploration of themselves. At the time I did not know that summer solstice, enlightenment or self realisation existed. I was 26 years old working as a design consultant handling corporate design projects. I had an idea about finding yourself but I did not know what it meant or what it could involve. So there we were a group of friends hanging out, someone was probably playing the guitar as the night moved on.

The first sign of what was to come was a strong state of anxiety within me giving me a picture of discovering something that I really did not want to know. The most significant difference that occurred was the intensity and majesty of my direct feelings. I was struck by enlightening, an expanding bolt of energy from within me burst out filling my senses. At the time this experience did not appear as crazy as it could look today. As my attention followed the starburst within me the clouds opened and angels appeared, chariots carrying wise men rode the clouds, several figures were communicating to me an ancient wisdom. At the same time I knew that I was on the hill and that the sky was not opening and that I was not dreaming. The external icons were of small significance, it was the energetic effect within me that was my main focus. I was receiving a direct transmission of the power or force that created the universe and along with this gift came an accountability to an unknown eminence.

The most significant change that occurred in me was that I was seeing what was happening within me as it happened from a perspective where I was independent from giving it meaning. As the intensity of transmission cooled, my thinking process started to try to work out what had happened. Using the images of the external visions it began to fit the occurrence up with my christian conditioning. The first truth, that I am, triggered from my conditioning the meaning that I must be the chosen one, the messiah, and the appearance of the ancient figures was interpreted by my thinking process that God was talking directly to me. From my new perspective I could see that it was my conditioning that was fitting up my experience with an inappropriate meaning, but there was a very strong temptation to believe this inappropriate picture of myself. Fortunately my new seeing could not allow this belief to take hold. But what did this awakening mean? I was driven to find some answers.

My new way of seeing was able to distinguish the reality of what had happened from the meaning that my conditioned selves had given to the past events in my life. And so began the relentless examination of my past experiences. As I recalled and re-examined an event from my past I was able to see what part I had really played in it, as opposed to the strategy that I had created which distorted my interpretation of what had happened. I am able to be clear now in the way that I am describing the process ignited by my awakening but at the time it was highly traumatic, and if viewed from the outside would have seemed quite mad. Reality as I had believed it to be was no longer valid. I saw that the beliefs that I had used to give meaning to my life were not based on truth, so everything in my life was called into question and this had a disturbing effect on my place in society. Powerful emotions were released in me and as I saw the truth about the way that I had lived my life I was overwhelmingly ashamed. Most people with whom I shared my new way of seeing were not able to relate to what was happening to me and effectively invalidated my direct experience, adding to my shame. Over time I stopped talking of my awakening as doing so seemed to disturb the person who was hearing my words.

My inner reality continued to expand creating a way of life which was guided by my inner integrity, not an external social morality. This often created conflict for me as I wanted to be part of the world in which I found myself and I needed friends to share my life with. So a strong effort was often needed to take a place in the life that presented itself to me. The self examination continued without me choosing it, as it is today.

Consciousness is the receptor within which the truth of any experience reveals itself.