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Radical Gradualism: A Journal of Awakening
By Phil Servedio. Copyright 1995 Phil Servedio. All rights reserved.

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CHAPTER 6

Sunday, March 19th:
Early Realizations and Experiences

 

I WENT HOME to Anne with the energy of a puppy dog. We went out for a walk, dinner and a movie, and didn't mention much of what happened, even though she was very curious. Arjuna suggested that I not say anything to anybody for awhile, as an aid to stabilization. Needless to say, fresh from the event, I was very ecstatic, but not in the blown-out blissful way. It was more down to earth.

But, as usual, my sleep cycle was disturbed. I woke up at around 3:00AM and my mind was blazing. More insights poured into me, but it wasn't pleasant for me as I just wanted to sleep!! The utter momentousness was weighing on me, and I realized that I had to tell a few intimates about it, or I would explode. I also admit that I am terrible at keeping secrets - I even told people my TM mantra.

In the morning, I sat down with Anne and described to her in detail what had occurred, and she was moved to tears of happiness (for me) and sadness (for her). I reminded her that I felt the same way when Joel made his confession, and that everything is useful, even the fearful thought of "oh, I'll never be free this lifetime!".

Throughout the day Sunday, I felt radically different, as if some self image had been crushed and a new one emerged. Energetically, it felt as if the normal bodily feeling was also anew, something similar to what happened two weeks previous. But what was most incredible was that there was a sense of ease at the core level that was entirely brand new. Arjuna spoke a lot to me about the death of seeking. Could I dare say this to be true in my case? It felt much like how Love-Ananda described it, the relaxation of the clenched fist. For my whole life, I've never felt complete where I stood; I had to be somewhere else physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. In peak spiritual events, this fundamental disturbance would relax only to arrive back when I returned to my ordinary state. But in the recognition that my "ordinary state" is Being, and not the locality based ghostlike personality or human "operating system", where was I to go? What other place could I go to find happiness, when now my own self nature has revealed itself to be freedom? It was as if for my whole life I've been trying to run into the future, never fundamentally satisfied, but just like Forrest Gump in the desert, I stopped running. And most of all, no more spiritual search!!!

The impulse of the spiritual search seems to have taken a permanent, vacation. Something really died that day. I feel no impulse to go running after the next enlightened dude or dudette that comes on the scene. What is there to "get"? The cramp of self being relaxed allows me to just be here, to abide in my own self-nature. I thought of the whole silly spiritual game out there, and the utter inanity of the spiritual search, to look elsewhere for something that one always already is. But at the same time, whatever a person feels is necessary for their spiritual growth is fine, for a period of time. Perhaps a great deal of seeking is needed in order to really know that seeking itself is the mechanism of unhappiness. It is certainly true in my case. I still have the motive to sit with Lawrence and Ardeliza, but it is different now; meat-body Phil is now no longer going there to receive something due to his mis-understanding. And, of course, the process continues, and these guys have very wonderful maps!!

Sunday afternoon Anne and I went for a walk around Phoenix lake. For most of the day Anne kept checking in with me, asking what my experience was about every hour. At one point on the lake I was describing what was occurring with a sweeping hand gesture from the front to the back of me. Then it hit me - the bubble of self burst in the back revealing the Background Consciousness, the Ground of Being. Saniel speaks about two locks on the heart that get undone in the awakening process, one in the back to reveal one's self nature exclusive of phenomena, and a final awakening in which the lock on the front opens, representative of what is known as a 7th stage Realization in the teaching of Love-Ananda. We talked about how a number of people expressed awakenings as the popping of the bubble of self to reveal that self and "others" have no intrinsic difference, and this was exactly how it felt to me. At first, the Background Consciousness was experienced just in back of me, but in the days after my breakthrough, was all encompassing, totally consuming me. But technically speaking, that was where the Advaitic pin-prick was first located, in the "back". I also felt down and "in-place". It reminded me of pictures of the Eating Gorilla, Who Comes In Peace. I was plopped, sitting down in myself, and life was so simple.

Another interesting feature out of all of this was the feeling of being "hot and juicy". I noticed that all women looked even better than before and it left me feeling primed sexually. The large amount of shakti, feminine Divine force, coursing through my body really heightened my attraction to women - perhaps it had something to do with a connection and love of the Goddess, I don't know. But it did seem to have something to do a lot with the flowering of creativity. I have heard Saniel talk about people expressing a need to be creative, through dance, singing, etc., and I took it all with a grain of salt and a dose of skepticism. But it was very obvious that a heightened urge for creativeness and expression was emerging (which may have been at first partially channeled through sexual heat). I had to write, or I would burst, and this impulse to communicate continues to this day.

Sunday evening I decided to journal what had occurred for me. I wanted to have it down on paper, as it seemed like such a momentous event for me. I wrote the first third of this account Sunday evening, and when I was finished I noticed a thread in my story, something that Saniel and Ardeliza have repeatedly said: Awakening first occurs in the body, then the mind catches up to it. In recounting this story, it was clear to me that the process of consciousness was gradually working its way through to personal awareness, from the flatline feeling, to the "depression", to utter stillness to witnessing and so on. It was as if I was a ripening fruit ready to fall to the ground. It was marvelous to see the whole thing down on paper; a validation of the process occurred through journaling. Lawrence describes this part of the process as the neti-neti process, where consciousness is "sifting" out all that is not essentially itself. In my case, this neti-neti process was expressed in a bored, New Yorker style of "so what". Tiredness with experiences of any kind left me uttering "so what" more and more frequently over the months - "so what, that's not it, get lost" - this was the symbol and motto of my reaction to and understanding of the arising of experience, especially spiritual experiences.

I also discovered a new thirst to read accounts of Awakening, to see if what occurred with me was in any way coincident with others recently have gone through. My immediate desire was to read the last section of the Knee of Listening, Love-Ananda landmark autobiography. The last section is written from the fresh and radical perspective of a newly Awakened individual, and a piece of prose that I found extremely difficult to understand. Over the years, I had a greater appreciation and intuition of what was written, but it still remained something like a koan, But this time, The Wisdom of Understanding, the most radical portion of the book, was to some degree, a reflection of what I had just recently understood. What a joy! What a relief! The koan penetrated! Of course, some of it still remains puzzling, but there were a string of "aha's" and "of course's" and "yes's" while I read through it. Other teachings, especially those of Advaita Vedanta, through the mouthpieces of Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj ("I Am That") and Ramesh Balzekar ("Consciousness Speaks"), were instantaneously clear and joyously familiar. Ramesh's statement of how the "seeker is really seeking the seeker" seemed particular poignant and comical relative to the futility of the spiritual seatch.

 

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This page was published on Realization.org on February 22, 2000.

 
 

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