The Story of My First Step
I had the normal life of most Americans, working to build career and family and obtain the American Dream with all the things one could ever need. The strange thing is once I had all those things, I realized it didn’t make my happy. I continued on while a darkness that I didn’t know was festering deep within. One day ‘out of the blue’, the signs of this problem arose and I had a panic attack. I had no idea what caused it. The doctor prescribed me some pills which worked to quell the anxiety. When I came back to get more he told me that to get more I had to see a therapist. What? I wasn’t crazy, but I went to the therapist because I wanted the pills. I didn’t go because I thought I was crazy, I was not ready to confront that reality. Now, the therapist would not give me the pills I had before that worked for me because he said they were extremely addictive and gave me another kind. This pill I did not like, mostly because it made my mind feel fuzzy and I could not concentrate. At this point, I decided I had to heal the problem myself. Researching in the internet for alternative therapy I found out that others had cured their anxiety by doing meditation. So I bought books on the subject and starting meditating. Unfortunately, I also found an alternative medicine: ‘alcohol’, which helped to relax me and quell the symptoms. Now, it didn’t take too long before I became full-blown alcoholic and dependent upon the drug. Going into a brain fog from the alcohol, I really could not see clearly what I was doing to myself. Then one day I looked into the mirror, and I clearly saw that I was getting quite sick and was killing myself. A few days later I joined AA to stop the addiction.
Now I was really in a bind, I still had intense anxiety, no medication and the only thing left was to go forward, face my inner demons and that is when I really dove into doing meditation. I saw I had done the first AA step: 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. I was ready for help. Now that I was in the door, I looked at the next two AA steps to find out what to do next. They are: 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity and 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. I had never had any connection with a higher power nor religious background, I didn’t believe in there being any GOD. I thought okay, if that has worked for others to heal this problem I will be open to consider it. Now, I started praying very hard every day for GOD to take this anxiety away, to heal me and to help me and continued with my meditation. This brought me to my knees, I could not get relief, it brought me truly to the point where I just wanted to die to have this misery taken away. The prayers became more sincere and my letting go deeper, and one day I just fell into a deep meditative state. At that moment I was dropping identification with my body, but was not aware that was what I was doing. This started to work in a very subtle way, I started to get dreams and have experiences that seemed synchronistic. I started to see the world in a different way, like there perhaps was something invisible underneath the physical world I had never seen before. Insights started coming, a new world was opening up.
The next step in AA is 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. This step got me started to confront myself and see what I was hiding from. Once I started working this way, I started improving and insights were coming. There was one issue from my past which I thought I had healed, but daily life showed me I needed to work on it more. Seeing it was there and not knowing how to heal it, I decided I needed the help of a therapist. I was hurting and wanting to be healed and understood healing happened when I looked within. Therefore I was open and ready and found a therapist I liked. As the therapy went along, I realized her value was observing me and then getting me to ask question about myself. She was quite skilled at always pointing me to look back at myself and keep my focus off of outside distractions.
One day she came into the session and I noticed she had a cane, and I asked her what was wrong with her and she quickly dismissed it as being nothing and not to worry about it, putting my attention quickly away from her and back to myself. She really helped me see myself more clearly and honed my ability to question myself. I was very appreciative of her help and stopped seeing her after a couple of months. A few months later I picked up a newspaper in a bus stop, and in it I saw my therapist had died and the funeral was the next day. I was shocked and read that she died from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), which few people survive which causes rapid deterioration of the nervous system, but does not affect the mind’s ability to be sharp… I went to the funeral. Various people got up and said nice things about her. Finally they asked if there was anyone else that wanted to say something. Even though I had intense fear of public speaking and still had much anxiety I wanted to say something. I raised my hand and went up to the podium and the words came out of my mouth by themselves. Afterword, I felt embarrassed as I couldn’t believe I did that and could not remember what I said. But then many therapists in the room came up to me and told me how touched there were that a patient came to the funeral and said what I did. They said every therapist hopes that one day they will have a patient like you, one that is open and looking for answers, one that is READY. Many said the same thing to me, that it was the best testimony Madeline could have received to know she was able to help somebody in an essential way. Therapists do their work to help people heal and awaken.
After this I thought about Madeline and how much love she gave to me and helped me heal, but then why would someone with so much love to give others have to die so early from a disease like ALS? This did not make sense to me; it was a question I could not answer. Then in AA I met other people who had career of therapist and I wondered again, if they have such great observation skills to help others then how come they are here in AA with the same problem I had? I came to understand they chose a career like this, because they had a genuine desire to help others and they also had a natural talent to observe the outside world. As my healing progressed, insights started to come and because I had received help, I also wanted to pass it forward and help others. Then I understood the therapist. They study about human behavior, are taught to observe these behaviors and with practice gain ability to focus their attention on others. Another skill they have is to keep the patient focused on themselves and to redirect them back if they get side-tracked. They do this by listening to the patient, then posing questions back to the client to get them to think further about it. The best therapists don’t give you the answer; rather they provoke you to ask the question.
Most people that end up in therapy, go there because somebody told them they had to do it or they feel they should do it, but not because they are really open to find out the truth and look at themselves. They are simply not ready. The therapist knows this is the reality of most patients and they also know nothing fruitful will come from the work. The patient will not be helped and the therapist will not get any satisfaction from her work. A therapist only feels good when she can work with a client that is open and ready, thereby giving a good feeling that her readiness and desire to help others has actually helped another.
There are several things about taking on the therapist career. One is that by keenly honing our skills to help others and observe them, the therapist effectively takes the eye off oneself and stops growing. This is why it is common to see therapists becoming sick, because they put all their focus onto others to help them, and this creates a forgetting to observe oneself. When they stop observing themselves it is the same as them stopping to give love to themselves, and from lack of love and attention, they stop growing and become rigid and get sick. The second thing is the therapist only gets a truly satisfying feeling by having a patient that is open and ready. After having an open patient they will feel completed like their life’s work made sense and they have made a difference to help others. But the sad part is this good feeling will not last. After the patient leaves, they will need to find the next person that is ready, so they can get their ‘fix’.
Back to me. A little while later poems started flying out of me, even though I had never been interested in writing before. Writing the poems made me feel good; it was a creative side I had never experienced before. I went to the internet because I wanted to share my poems with others; I was looking for someone who understood where I was coming from. Soon I met a friend and a poetry exchange happened. It did not take long, and I realized my friend could answer some questions I had. I asked him my questions and he wrote the answers which helped my awakening process.
Soon after this I experienced my first awakening and the “I AM” arose. What is important about this happening is after the awakening, you now have greater ability to observe yourself. You can see it like the ‘Observer’ is born. There is now a split, there is the observer (the one who sees), and the observed (your reaction or what is seen). At this point you gain natural therapist abilities. Now that you have ability to observe yourself better, you start to do that by questioning yourself and as you do insights come. Insights are information that comes from another source than your knowing by observing happenings inside and outside of yourself and asking questions about what you observed. Asking an essential question is what is most important such as: “Why did I do that?” This is your observer side asking a question about what you saw or observed (yourself past tense). When you ask, an answer might such as: “To gain something for myself”. That is an insight as it doesn’t come from ‘what you knew’, because you couldn’t see that you were offering your help with the hidden expectation to receive something in return.
With the help of my friend, who had great ability to observe and much insight, I learned how to sharpen my own observation skills and I continued to receive insights about myself. Much of my learning was done in written exchange on the internet. I would observe the exchange of energy in the conversation, action and reaction and always keep my focus on myself, to see what I needed to see. He also had the skill to keep directing my attention back to myself. After some time I got quite good at observing these behaviors in myself and in others, and then we became a team working together responding to people in discussion groups, with the intention to find people who were ready that we could help. We often posted in spiritual groups, where it seemed a fair game to provoke people because we assumed people with this interest want authentic self-realization. The better I could do it and the more reaction I could provoke, the more satisfying it was to me even if they weren’t ready. The strange thing is just observing, relating and responding to the other also produces insights and creativity, which by itself gives satisfaction but it comes at an expense… The two of us doing it together made it much more enjoyable and the exhilaration even stronger. I will tell you that if you were one of the poor people that entered into this energy field at that time, it certainly must have been very shocking to you and for that I am sorry… We were enjoying our combined abilities very much and were searching actively for people that might be READY. One day I posted a response with my laser-vision, accurately describing the motivations of a particular person, pointing out for them what they were doing, showing how they were trapped in their fake-reality, etc. After this I received a private message in my email, where the person complemented me on my great skill to analyze this person and that I was entirely accurate. They were genuinely complimenting me. But then at the end of the letter they asked a question: have you ever used your great skill to analyze yourself?
This question shocked me out of my game. I stopped writing and took time to review my actions over the last weeks. Then I saw that everything I was seeing in the other people as their way to stay trapped in their fake-reality, I also was doing the same thing. What I couldn’t see is I had found a way to ‘hide’, by taking on the role of therapist or having the mission with the good intention to help others awaken and was actively looking for the next person whom I could help. Anytime I felt I helped someone or even just wrote something which felt creative, I was getting my feeling of existence out of it. Of course intentionally provoking people who don’t have questions, will cause strong reactions which I fed off of and this also kept me in this game. At this point I stopped provoking people like this and questioned our motives. Then a personal exchange started which was like a great battle that ended our ‘togetherness game’ to help others. After it was over, I reviewed all my reactions and his reactions to my reactions and wondered: “What is the Truth?” I had asked is he the one that sees the truth, or is it me that sees the truth, or what if neither of us sees the truth. I spent many hours thinking about this, and finally had to let it go. Try as I might, this was a question I could not answer. Then a bit later I received the answer: the ‘I’ can never know. What happened is with that question I had reached the upper limit of the ability of the intellect to come up with an answer. Not being able to answer it, I let go of clinging to my mind and the answer came to me. Soon after this the second I AM arose, now expanding further into the next energy layer, out of the mind and into the vibration layer of the body.
Our mind has the capability to understand everything about enlightenment up to the final understanding that we are not a separate identity. But the one thing it can’t do is know truth. Many people who have awakened are still in the first level, because they understand they are awake and then it seems logical the next thing they need to do is go on a mission to help others achieve the same thing. At this point they stop querying themselves and become stagnant.
November 2, 2013