My life quest, I was sure, was to find what meant the most, the deepest, the highest: the best. Limiting that search to a single long-term romantic partner never occurred to me, quite frankly.
Believe me, I tried everything, everything! Going too far most times, traveling to the ends of the earth, excessively throwing myself into whatever presented itself before me. I hopped onto planes, trains, boats, fast cars, obsessed with this search for something I could believe in wholly, utterly.
Too many times in my earnest searches I’d found a belief system that lit the fire in my belly, only to have it extinguished by an overly curious mind. And in more than a few cases, my line of pursuit met drastic ends in near and actual catastrophes. Getting thrown into jail in a Third World island-country is not most people’s idea of following one’s bliss. Yet, it did happen in one of the daredevil acts that rocked my world, so passionate was my wish to experience the Ultimate.
People like me are called addicts. We come in all shapes and sizes, forms and misfit molds. We have irrational proclivities to extremes. Our comfort zone smacks of selfishness and obsessive need to work, have sex, make money, get out of our heads, imbibe food-drink-mind-altering substances, engage in ego-pelting divination rites, or ego-inflating races for the wildest, most fearsome, ridiculously dangerous task, taking anything, ordinary or bizarre, to the boiling point of unnecessary peril. My feats were insatiable, inconceivable to my horrified, distant family yet admired by edgy friends.
Pursuing something so intangible as a belief one can fully, unequivocally trust, was my obsession. Yes, some people find this great yearning fulfilled by believing in God, however that name translates to one. But I’m talking about something even God would think self-destructive for people to risk everything to find.
Like the ancients say in some obscure yogic text: Walking the razor’s edge is what it’s like pursuing Truth. Because once you find it … you have to walk it. And that in itself, is a dangerous pastime. Especially in a world like ours that teeters on the very brink of insanity with everyone’s perceptions validating their idiosyncratic version of truth.
And so in my own clumsy manner, I balanced precariously on one path after the next, some forged by others, most spawned from my madly driven lust. Sure, I fell a few times. But I always picked myself up and carried on, searching, striving, knowing there must be something, something! I could put complete trust in.
* * *
Then the inevitable day came. When what happens to every person who thinks mainly of themselves happened – I crashed. Lost my mind. I didn’t die, obviously, but nearly so. Finally, reaching my mid-thirties, I realized these relentless escapades were for naught. I had to change the course of my passion-seeking or settle for being an ordinary person. And, oh yeah, try to find another superperson to love, if I could.
Thus … entered … a sweet-faced rock of Truth.
The student was ready, so finally the Teacher appeared. Overnight, I became disillusioned with pursuing this or that path, next cause, better lover, superlative achievement. My desires dissolved one after the next. All except one. Of wanting to go deeply within myself, especially after hearing about the treasure within the sense-making Teacher spoke of. I was told I’d been searching everywhere but inside myself for true love.
In her presence I felt instant recognition. Instant warmth, expansion, joy. Everything was suddenly okay and possible again, with this being-alive business. The birds really did sing beautifully exhilarating songs! They even trusted me enough to land softly upon the top of my head, pattering about up there as I lay in a wildflower-strewn field contemplating what was happening to me; being transformed by merely meeting an apparently enlightened human being, whose sole purpose (she said) was to help others become aware that we really are all One Consciousness.
In a few years I was married to the man who today remains my grit-and-glue, heart-calm. We raised children. Then we had a grandchild. Life is perfect even as our hair turns silver.
* * *
As explained in the East since eons ago, when spiritual teacher and student become aligned, it’s a force unlike any other human union known to exist. This student-teacher spiritual bond is called “a cosmic principle” in scriptural yogic philosophy. Every time I wrote the Teacher another deeply soul-revealing letter, I addressed her as Mother of my Heart, so appreciative was I with her responses. My feelings for her went beyond any kind of love-object I’d ever known. Her teachings became key to my struggle to make sense of earthly life. Her mind-body-spirit presence gave me the emotional freedom I’d always pursued yet never could find on my own. She inspired me. More than that, she ignited something within, an innate ability to experience peace. “Sign me UP!” I screamed. Inside.
Without hesitation, I surrendered to being her student. Which didn’t mean giving up my will, nothing like that. Before surrendering, of course, I tested her and her teachings. But never once did I hear or feel any resistance, intellectually or viscerally, to what was offered. Every teaching in the next decade, and then the next, rang true for me. My surrender was complete, without a hitch.
In the course of time I found myself. From having been lost and broken, I discovered the self-healing of love within my own being. Gratitude for this overflowed my bursting heart. My personal life, my marriage, my family, as well as my creative output benefited from the re-alignment of my life pursuits from amygdala-pumped fight or flight fiascos of yesteryear, to the deep and profoundly satisfied feelings of at-One-ment that remains my everyday reality, with no mind-altering assistance of pills, potions, or poker-hot politics.
I was fully, blindly in love with Love. The Teacher’s guidance kept me from needing to pursue anything other than what arrived, moment by moment. Day by day, unpredictable life became the adventure, the ultimate challenge, the biggest and best bang of all. The simplest event of family, work, friends or community replaced the overpowering need I’d had before, always wanting something else, preferably high-voltage and exotic.
Even on bad days, the combination of being newly aware and cultivating a closeness with Nature, became my every day experience. I was in bliss, no longer pursuing it.
* * *
Until suddenly — like a deadly earthquake cuts down steel and concrete, crushing us puny humans in the unforgiving collapse of buildings — my world turned upside down. The trust I’d built this student-Teacher relationship upon came to a crashing halt. My blinded eyes became opened with impugned clarity.
The cause: a sex scandal. Then another. Long covered up, long ignored. I discovered them because my opened eyes could finally see. Suddenly the impeccable but equally human Teacher was revealed to be two-faced. Blindingly sacred to her students, in denial and vindictive to her public accusers. Could this be, I wondered? It took me twenty years to discover, and more to process, then to grieve. The truth, neatly dismissed by naysayers. Tight security surrounds her inner sanctum; only blinded-by-love believers have access.
My detective mode kicked in. Disbelief melted blind trust. Sadly, I saw I’d turned a deaf ear and blind senses to what was readily available, thanks to internet searches and well-documented reportages in major news sources.
The scandals were the usual fare seen in churches and/or governments, show biz, you name it: male authority figure sexually abusing female followers. Letter upon letter I wrote her begging for guidance: no answer. My sure-footed spirituality was unmercifully tested, realizing all this, yet throughout my spirit remains undampened.
Her silence, her lacks — of offering students and the many victims themselves, opportunities to heal — did what’s expected. Pandora’s box of lies, mistrust and misrepresentation flung wide open, when no answers came in response to everyone’s confusion. Lawsuits, I cursed under my breath.
We all know: lies kill love. Especially those never spoken aloud.
* * *
And so I continue to ask myself some serious questions. Like how, for some reason I could never access the whys and hows of loving and respecting my own self, without the Teacher’s powerful spiritual charge? She literally was the spark plug of invisible electricity that jump started my cold engine, my damaged heart. Had I forgotten, or had I simply failed to get these lessons from my flawed upbringing? Or maybe I just resisted wholesomeness because it interfered with serious thrill-seeking. All I know is I had trouble loving myself before the Teacher revealed how sensible, and right this is, in order to make for oneself a reasonably content life. Mysteriously, she alone ignited the fire of recognition within me so I could begin loving who and what I am.
Today I am no longer angry or shocked, or feel duped. I’m grateful I got what I needed. More than the love of an adoring husband of over thirty years, an extended family of friends and relatives; more than all that, I know that this Biggest Kind of Love, self-love, represents, what I now identify as awakened consciousness. It is most definitely an across-the-spectrum, human commonality. We are One Love. Science is catching up with spirituality on this, all agree.
My truth today is accepting there are virtually no absolutes that escape being what life itself is: chaotic, unfathomable, unpredictable. Yet life is filled with mind-blowing, serene wonderment too. Learning to see that all in existence is part of this balanced wholeness we are equally a part of, I somehow, unintentionally, uncovered the immenseness and awe of just be-ing I’d always craved.