In 2010, after having searched for several years and reading “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers, I had an experience that I refer to as my Awakening, in which I felt as if my existing world of black and white saw its first glimpse of light and color and my soul became alive and free. I began to meditate daily, handed over my life to a higher power, and started creating the life of my dreams including all the ups and downs with which it inevitably came.
In 2016, after my first time reading the works of Eckhart Tolle and other spiritual teachers, something greater began to emerge- a deeper level of peace and understanding than I ever imagined possible- I didn’t understand it at all. As I continued to study the teachings of Tolle and explore this new change in my daily meditation practice, I became more intrigued and excited about what was happening, and I finally realized I was catching short glimpses of what some may call enlightenment.
And then life became simple and everything fell into place, at least internally. I am always the presence, the observer, the being which comes from and returns to the great power which also resides in every living creature during our time on Earth. That never changes because that is not a thought or emotion or tangibly understandable concept; it is merely a state of being which only those who have experienced it can understand. Beyond that, there is mind and there is the present moment.
It is unbelievable how much time I spend inside my mind, so much so that sometimes it seems as if my mind was actually inside of my heart where I felt the deepest emotions and pain. But, my mind is not there, in my heart at the core of my being- that is Ego and my external identity. My mind is simply in my head, existing of thoughts which create emotions and lead to actions. I suppose I felt that if I stop thinking, I would lose control of outside events, which is obviously not true; rather, incessant thinking does no good and actually pulls you in even deeper.
As I continued to observe my thoughts, and continuously practice bringing myself back to the present each time I found it wandering (which happens to be about one million times per day), I finally understood:
“The mind, to ensure that it remains in control, seeks continuously to cover up the present moment with past and future. Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.”. -Eckhart Tolle
Life challenges began to arise stronger than ever before- leaving my life to start over in a new city and feeling isolated from loved ones, the trauma of an emotionally abusive relationship, the unexpected passing of my sister, sudden unemployment, and losing my home and the one relationship I thought I would have forever, all within the same year- It didn’t seem exciting like my experience in 2010 at all. It felt painful and sad and incredibly lonely. But it was what I needed, as the Universe always brings in its perfect timing. I couldn’t possibly have arrived to my current state of being without such intensity of solitude and suffering, and that seems obvious to me now.
It took approximately a decade in between my transition from childhood to adulthood to be able to say that today, despite everything that life has thrown my way in twenty-nine years, I have never experienced a deeper peace and contentment as I do right at this very moment. With all of the pain and suffering came the most beautiful blessing, and I would not change a single thing.