From Duality to Divinity
One of the reasons I was inspired to write this book was to share what I have learned about the
power of transmutation . Experiencing enlightenment at the peak of the greatest rage I had ever expressed challenged all of my concepts about right and wrong, good and bad. I saw that anything can be grist for the sacred mill if it accompanies a sincere intention to know the Truth.
In the past, I had always judged myself for “unacceptable” feelings such as anger, fear, jealousy, sadness and so on. Even though I could observe such states and not indulge them, I still felt that they shouldn’t be there. I have since learned that anything can take us to our Divine Self when it is allowed to “be.” As I have said in the Introduction and will repeat many times throughout this book, the magic key that opens the door to our divinity is a blend of our sincere intention to experience the truth, and our unconditional love and acceptance of whatever arises.
Throughout my life, I have longed to pierce the veils that have kept me from my God Self. But my overactive mind would pull me in the opposite direction, and I would try to satisfy my longing for the Divine with the distractions of the outer world, rather than the urgings of my inner self. This habit created a separation and a tremendous inner tension. Sometimes the tension would build and take the form of dissatisfaction, anger, hatred, fear, abandonment, loneliness, loss, and jeal- ousy. I would try to observe these states passing through, and sometimes that would dissolve them. But there were times when the thoughts created emotions that were too strong to ignore and I felt powerless to combat or transcend them. At such times, I came to understand that I was not in control, and that something larger than me was at the helm. Using my intention to know the Truth, I learned to ride the intensity of the emotion. When the tempestuous emotional seas calmed down, I could divine the purpose of such storms – to wash away my more deeply embedded attachments to things that no longer served me.
For example, there are times when the pressure builds between two people in a relationship. Things reach a point where no matter how faithfully each person observes the negative thoughts or feelings towards the other, or how many yogic techniques each of them uses to control the mind, the negativity won’t diminish. Then one day, the energy builds to such a crescendo that everything gets aired out and both people have been cleansed of the limitations that had kept their relation- ship stuck at a lower level. Thus the stormy emotional wave carries them to a new level of honesty. Just as a rainstorm removes the impurities in the air, so too can inner storms remove the impurities that keep us down and separate from God.
On one occasion, while living in a beautiful ashram with my meditation Master, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, with whom I studied for 16 years, the inner tensions built to such an extent that I was pushed through the divine door. On the surface, everything seemed peaceful, but the spiritual practices of selfless service, meditation, and chanting, and the grace of the Guru put great strain on everyone’s ego, including mine. At times, we all seemed a little mad. The crushing pressure on the contracted mind was meant only to relieve us of the veils that kept us believing we were limited beings rather than divine beings. Nonetheless, the pressure, designed to work on each person according to his or her particular need for growth, felt awful. I loved meditation but I had great aversion for the noise and busyness at the ashram. My aversion reached a peak one day when I was riding on a hot, crowded, poorly ventilated bus, feeling overcome by body odour, incessant chatter, and continual bumping up against my fellow passengers. For my highly sensitive nervous system, it all felt like torture; every moment felt like an eternity. A mantra was playing constantly and repetitively. I felt that if I heard one more “Om,” I would tear the speaker from the wall. I prayed fervently to God, “Please help me. I can’t bear this anymore.” The internal and external pressure built to such an intensity that just as I was about to lose it, in what seemed like a split second, my mind imploded into a whole other state of awareness. Rather than being bumped around, I was being carried on a gentle wave. All my irritation dissolved into peace and love. The mantras became a heavenly chorus and I felt at one with everyone on the bus. It was as if the pressure placed on the coal of my mind created a diamond of consciousness.
I was no longer just a body. I became pure awareness.
Later, while taking a walk, another veil dropped. All the leaves on the trees shone with incredible brilliance. The sky, the pebbles, and the road became one with the shimmering Love. I felt as if I was touching the entire world with my hand, which was really a heart. I saw the face of God in all creation. I knew in that moment that I and everything and everybody in this universe are in God’s heart, as undulating consciousness. I felt deep gratitude and love, and I saw all of my unwanted pain as the pain of birth and the pain of death, and that entering into these tunnels with open and witnessing eyes, brought me to the light. Having witnessed the face of God in everything, my ideas about what was “spiritual” and what was “worldly” slowly began to dissolve. Labels no longer held any power over me. The concepts or boxes in which I had previously felt comfortable, were gone. The old me began to feel like a cardboard cutout animated by the creative power. Every moment and every place was of God’s essence. I saw how I was truly a part of the whole and not separate from anything; I was not different from others.
saw the one soul permeating throughout All That Exists. I saw that God has no judgment over us, and that all that we experience can be used as fertilizer to yield bountiful crops. I saw the only thing in us that needs changing is the belief that we are separate from God. The only purpose of our experiences is to push sufficiently hard on our self-judgment and perceived limita- tions, that any beliefs that separate us from God and each other can be shattered.
Recall a time when you felt strong irritation.
Where were you at the time? Who and/or what surrounded you? Relive this moment.
Remove the label “irritation” from this feeling and just explore the sensations that you are having.
Rest deeply in the sensations that you are experiencing. Ask to know the truth of who you really are.