<continued from Part II – A Radical Shift in Perspective>
Emptying Myself of Myself
That night, the night of my initial awakening experience, I broke down to my girlfriend and told her everything. I was in a state of rapture that demanded complete honesty – and so I poured my whole heart out to her. I told her about all of my brokenness, my lies, my deceit; all of my inner torment, everything that had led me to this point; and everything that had just happened. Our relationship ended that night, but she understood. Having a master’s degree in transpersonal psychology, she was well versed in such things. There was nothing that could be done to keep us together, but it became the start of a completely open and honest friendship with beautiful mutual support as things began to shift, in a very big way, for both of us.
A couple of days later, on about my third visit to the psychologist, I told him what had happened. With tears in his eyes, he was so happy to hear what I had experienced. He recommended that I begin listening to the spiritual teacher Adyashanti. Hungry to understand my experience, I purchased an audio version of ‘The End of Your World’. I also purchased a number of books on a broad range of spiritual and other related topics. I couldn’t get enough. But as this chapter of my journey was unfolding, there was something else happening in my experience as well – two things really. First, I began to notice the synchronistic nature of my life – not just things happening in the moment, but how my entire life had always been in perfect harmony with itself, even in my misery. And second, I became Jesus.
At this point, it’s worth stating that I am not Jesus. Nor do I think of myself as Jesus any longer. But at the time, so wrapped up in my, still unconscious, sense of separation and consumed by a lack-driven egoic apparatus, I had to have something to maintain my specialness. And what could be more special than being the savior of the world. It took several months for this particular delusion to resolve itself. Originally it wasn’t even that I was Jesus. It’s that I was the next Buddha, the Maitreya. Buddhism was my only active spiritual frame of reference, and as I went through all of the different categories of awakening, I was beyond the Arahant – and so of course, I must be the Buddha. Being the Maitreya Buddha led to being the World Teacher, which led to being Jesus – to being the long awaited one.
I moved out of my girlfriend’s house in November and into a two-bedroom apartment right in the heart of Seattle’s University district. At the time, I was following all of these amazing synchronicities that were arising in my life and learning to trust in my experience. In my studies, I immediately gravitated towards the new age philosophy of ‘manifesting my desired reality’. I was all for it. I let synchronicity guide me – and for the first two weeks in my new apartment the world belonged entirely to me. I spent thousands of dollars creating the perfect home for myself – a spiritual refuge – and a place of seduction. My goal was to be on top of the world and to savor my every desire. And nothing mattered more to me than finding a woman – or many women.
It was an interesting dichotomy that actually became the most terrifying chapter of my entire life. Here I was, thinking that I was the savior, but I was completely consumed by sense desire – which opened up another very real possibility. What if I wasn’t Jesus? What if I was the other guy. What if I was the anti-christ? Confronted with the depths of my own darkness and greed, I was thrown into an inner tug of war that forced me to confront myself in a whole new way, which is about the same time when the synchronicities in my life went from being wonderfully curious happenings to a complete and total breakdown of my reality. I entered into a stream of synchronistic experiences that became my entire world for the next several months.
To most people, what happened next will sound like madness, but since I already admitted that I thought I was either the Christ or the anti-christ, how much deeper down the rabbit hole can we go? How much was delusion and how much was real? Well, the thoughts and the experiences were all very real. My interpretation of them was a mottled and confused one at the time, but as I can see clearly now, everything that I went though, even this period of deep confusion, was completely necessary. It started with the music. I had a TV in my apartment, but I didn’t have any services – and instead would listen to music from my Ipad. It was connected to the TV and then to the stereo – and I would play ambient music from different stations while reading my spiritual books.
I cannot pinpoint when I first experienced it, but a couple of weeks into building my new life, I became aware that the music was singing directly to me. This realization was welcomed with curiosity at first, and I welcomed it in, as my teacher – as the Tao. That is where my readings had carried me, into the Tao Te Ching, and so to hear this music and recognize it as my teacher, I referred to it as the Tao. It felt safe and comfortable and absent from all of the religious confusion that was plaguing me. The songs that played would have lyrics that would speak directly to my current mental state, or to a question I had, or to an issue that I was experiencing. In some cases the music would even be instructional in nature; guiding an action that needed to be taken.
The undeniability of it all was being reinforced in every part of my life. I would spend my days listening to my teacher; studying, contemplating and meditating, and then I would go out onto the streets at night. As I would make my rounds, people would come up to me and have unsolicited conversations with me about the very things that I had been shown throughout the day. It was happening with friends and strangers alike; as if the entire world had suddenly been enlisted to aid in my instruction. It became clear to me, as a result of these direct experiences, that absolutely everything is expressed as consciousness – meaning that consciousness itself is the ultimate arbiter of every experience and can reclaim itself and use itself however it desired to break me of my misconceptions.
Things remained quite beautiful, inspirational, and awe inspiring until the day that things shifted again. The Tao demanded to be recognized as Jehovah, and I was thrust right back into an entanglement of religiosity and immense inner confusion. My childhood had been steeped in the Catholic faith and during my teen years I had a fascination with Christ and with the end times pronounced in the book of revelation. I’d read the entire ‘Left Behind’ series and a number of other religious, scholarly, and fictional accounts of what was to come. All of it flooded right back to the forefront of my experience. In much the same way that I had once been consumed by mindful bodily rage, I became consumed by mindful bodily fear. Who was I? What was I? What was happening? Was I going mad?
<Read Part IV – The Journey Into Homelessness>