I have been having some odd experiences and I think I may know what is going on. I am being taken to a place where I experience the basic spiritual principles, but in an accelerated, intense, and quite visceral way. And I believe this is happening to me so that I can then share these experiences with you.
It’s not that the ideas, the principles, are anything new to most of us. But these experiences make the difference between intellectual knowledge and actually living it.
Here’s what happened. I read an article in the newspaper about a spiritual counselor who was working at an upscale spa and resort. Since her work was so similar to what I do, it gave me the idea to approach an establishment local to me. I spent hours crafting a great inquiry letter and then sent it off.
Now, this is the place where Buddhists and Hindus and probably every other Eastern religion would tell me to “relinquish your attachment to the outcome.” I had seen an opportunity and taken courageous action and now, except for an appropriately timed follow-up call, it was time to let the universe handle the details. If it was meant to be, it would be—and all that.
But that isn’t what happened. Instead, I was suddenly and surprisingly swept up into desire, a desire thrilling and intense. I saw myself not only exploring the opportunity I had presented, but then, after achieving great success in that, moving onward and upward to a level where I was—well, let’s just say that ‘grandiose’ might be an appropriate word for the position, status and wealth achieved in this amazingly powerful fantasy.
I have to say, this was really, really fun. It felt like falling in love. Instead of that calm, peaceful place I go to in my meditations, I was riding the ego train all the way to the top. I remember thinking, “Oh this is so much better than just being calm and objective!”
I woke up the next morning with that old feeling I had when I had met someone fabulous and we had a date planned for that night. Excitement. Anticipation. Why, anything could happen! My whole life could change in one day! Again, I thought, “Oh, this is so fun! I have missed feeling like this!”
I went to my email with a trembling heart. There was no response.
As the morning went on, doubt began to descend. They probably had lots of suitors, what made me think they would be interested in me? Even if they did call, I didn’t have anything to wear. And after all, how could I wear the beautiful clothes I saw in my fantasy at this weight? But they wouldn’t call, I could see that now. Every past disappointment flooded through me and told me it was no use.
And as the self-doubt grew I began to slip into a deep well of depression, going as far down as I had been up, the ego train revealing itself now to be a roller coaster on an uncontrolled downward trajectory. My energy was completely depleted. All I could do was drag myself around and try unsuccessfully to nap. Oh, what a long and miserable day that was!
And now, today, I am myself again, feeling balanced and whole, my energy reserves restored and clarity flooding into my mind. I finally, really and truly, understand the principles of ego and attachment. They revealed themselves to me so intensely, first in the smiling mask of yearning and desire and then the dark frowning mask of disappointment, loss and despair.
And here’s the really amazing thing. Absolutely nothing actually happened. Such is the power of the hungry, ego-driven mind. Nothing really happened, yet I had a really awful day.
From my normal vantage point today, I see that possibly the worst part of the attachment was the loss of power. The minute that I chose to pin my happiness on what someone else might give me, or how they might judge me, or even simply on how the cards might fall, I was lost. I was like a teenager who couldn’t dance unless someone asked her to the prom.
So now I thankfully return to the simple joy of being alive, grateful for each breath and feeling the power of owning my own peace and joy. And after all, if it is meant to be, it will be—and all that.
But I may just check my email one more time…