What I have read about the awakening state (a state that is nearing enlightenment) is positive.
Words I have heard used to describe this state are bliss, oneness, interconnectedness, deep inner knowing. I’m not sure what horseshoe got up any of these lightheads ass because I did not feel any of these feelings- not once.
How do I know I had an awakening? Well let’s just say if you have one it will be crystal clear that you are either mentally breaking down or a deep paradigm shift is in progress (and maybe it’s a bit of both).
I was in the mountains. I was snowshoeing with my man. It was a brilliantly beautiful day. We have a little ritual about what we wanted to get out of this day and he say’s “I want to learn how to deeply heal myself and the people I love.” I say “I want to see light! I want to feel joy! I want to have fun!” We get going.
The prayers are answered almost immediately but not in the way I expect. I look across at this expansive mountain range, covered in snow and gleaming sun and a veil lifted, or that’s how I would describe it. I see for the first time what was really there. I see textures in the air that I had not noticed before, I see multi-dimensional sparkles in the sunlight, and I see how the mountains fit perfectly together to catch the snow in the exact prettiest places. I am overwhelmed to tears at the majesty of our earth.
Why would such beauty be here? What is the point of all this artistry?
A voice from somewhere deep inside says “This is my offering to you.”
I am now flooded with information. The Earth is God’s. It is not ours. God needs us to care for the Earth more than we need God to care for us. We are not important. We are not the point. We are stewards of the planet. This was a huge knowing that entered me and I cried some more.
We walk on and it gets darker and I start to ask why. “Why do you want us to care for it? I did not ask to care for it and I have an important life to live and I have some pretty big goals of my own, I need help. I need you to take care of me!” I look again at the mountains and all of a sudden they seem oppressive, like they are trapping me inside a prison. “And you know what, I am not satisfied. I want to know more. I want to know what the ultimate purpose is. I don’t think the purpose is for me to take care of your earth and then die, I think there is more to life than that. There are secrets out there. There is magic. I want the truth and I am ready for a reality check!” I yelled into the snow.
I am now on my knees. I keep yelling, “ I am not going to be an alien form trudging through this wilderness that does not belong to me and is not helping me. I don’t want this burden. What do I have to do to be happy? What do I have to do to feel fulfilled in this life? Where are we going? I want to see God, Goddamn it.”
This is when my head broke open and I vomited.
Now this is the point of the story when I tell you that I was ripped high on mushrooms.
I didn’t want to mention it before because like me, I am assuming you would discount my life changing experience as just a bad trip. True. It was a very bad trip, but it was also an awakening that changed me forever and drugs or not, this shit is worth sticking with.
The answer came through my boyfriend stroking my forehead. “No one knows why? No one will ever know why we are here or what we are supposed to be doing. We are totally lost and blind and everything we think the point is- is not the point”.
And this broke my heart. My whole life I thought that the Universe was supporting me, guiding me to my true unique path and now I clearly see that is not the case. The plan is so much larger than I can ever fathom and God is not concerned with helping me find myself- or the perfect apartment.
I am alone.
We are all down here on Earth alone, with nothing but each other to help us through the tremendous fear that we don’t even know why we are here. And of course we are depressed and anxious and on pills and addicted, of course we are totally fucked up because underneath we know that we have no fucking clue if we are going to be okay and that is the most terrifying piece of information I had ever received. It might not work out. It might be the most horrible thing ever and no amount of praying, singing or believing can make it different.
This awakening/bad trip opened me up to the cruelty of the truth.
We were born from nothingness. We are part of nothingness.
Cultivating bliss is a way to keep the fear at bay.
Doing yoga is a way to keep the fear at bay.
Most mediation is to quiet the mind enough to not want to jump off a cliff.
The only chance for true peace and calm to exist is when one becomes comfortable with the fact that it is highly likely that nothing we do matters at all and all our beautiful ways of coping are just illusions and distractions to keep the wolves from coming in.
I will not stop doing yoga it helps me stay strong in my body and mind.
I will not stop praying. Although I think I will begin to pray to myself, my mother, my partner -the people on the planet here with me. I will pray to them for guidance and strength because we are all we have. Honestly. I saw it. We are all we have.
And my dreams and successes and hopes are nice, good for me for having them and I will keep trying to pursue my calling because it let me tell you it calls! But what really matters, what is the best use of my time here on this planet with no clue? I’ll say it again- we are all we have.
When I was able to piece my head back together again I felt profound compassion.
I am so scared. My asshole neighbor is so scared. And we have the right to be scared, it’s ridiculous out there. So let’s still build our houses and buy our tasty snacks and go on vacations but I now know that the darkness is always there and no matter how much money I make or how far I run the void is all around me. Which is actually kinda’ cool because if I am part of this emptiness then I can make things with it too. I do believe that at some small level I can co-create my reality and I can try to build a life of abundance.
And then a tsunami can come and kill everyone I love.
It’s not about fair or just; it’s about- will I keep walking?
I have felt this darkness most of my life. I have called it depression, I have called it artist’s temperament, I called it my narcissist ex-boyfriend. Through neo-spiritualism and The Secret and other bliss based belief systems I have leaned that feeling bad is bad but now I see that being filled with emptiness is simply human nature and there is no need to run anymore. It is a relief to stop fighting.
This is what Buddha meant when he said “To Live is to Suffer.” Suffering is never going away, it’s actually going to get worse and funnily enough this frees me up. I am not deluding myself anymore with notions that “if you think right thoughts, right things will come.” That just sets me up for more disappointment and depression. “I guess I just didn’t think enough good thoughts, I must not be good enough yet.” My intuition is dead on when I am uncomfortable with all positive all the time people. It’s just not real.
Good thing may come, I sure hope they do. There could be…chest splitting, gold sparkling abundance of magic faeries and divine love reining down on us tomorrow but let’s be close by in case there isn’t.
The day was getting darker and darker. I sat down and bawled into a snow bank. “I just need some help. I am so tired.”
More of Nothing.
Still walking, I couldn’t stop walking; it was the only thing keeping me sane. The trip was not finished.
I thought well yes, we are pretty miraculous too. The kindness I see all around me every day, the inventions, the fortitude, the never giving up. This is incredible to me. That amidst all the fear we are still trying at all. We adapt so well and are doing so well… considering.
I think what frustrates me is that I can feel we are getting close. I know I am more in tune with nature than I feel. I love it when I think of someone and they call me, I am elated when I imagine a parking spot before I leave the house and there it is! I love those few times I have been able to trust completely and see the ease unfold all around me.
These experiences are not random chance. These are teasers. I know we are so close to such major power. I just had no idea how savagely painful it is going to be to get there.
We get to the end of the trail and there is a cool rushing creek.
We are able to fill our empty water bottle up and it reminds me that it might not be coddling us but the Universe is definitely not against us. It’s not war on humans. We have food to grow and sticks to make houses.
I see that am I am grateful, but again the question keeps sneaking inside my brain…is there more? A greater purpose? The greatest purpose. Come on gimme a hint.
The veil was slowly lowering. I was coming back to an easier place to be but the questions had not left. I realize now that they never will and that is another thing to get comfortable with. The most important things I will never ever get to know.
This awakening was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It cracked me apart.
Drug trip my ass- this was God reining down truths that I could only swallow in an altered state and months later, lucid as a Dr. in an OR working on a newborn baby’s brain box- I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But to get the world I am longing for I think it may be my only choice. I’ll go there again if you go with me this time (not on drugs though, that shit is crazy).
I had to let all I thought I knew about what I know go.
It is hard getting used to. I have to get up every morning and get comfortable with the reality that my living and loving in this world may be good or it may be terribly bad or it may be nothing. I have to let my head relax around that one.
We were back at the cabin now. My man built a fire. I had a blanket wrapped around me. He glanced at me and smiled. “Thank God it’s gone” he said. “What?” “I didn’t want to tell you but all day whenever I looked at you I saw this snake coiled up inside your head, instead of your brain. It was pulsing red and green embers, hissing at me. It was very angry and tight. Horrible. I’m glad I can’t see it anymore.”
I still long for answers and I recognize that is part of the human condition. It’s like God has the best gift ever and we are chomping at the bit till our birthdays- when we finally get our chance to open the best, most terrifying present ever. The ultimate unveiling…
Until then, I know for sure that I that am with you. Scared sober, very much alive and everything just got simple. Let there be light.
Editor: Hayley Samuelson
Emelia Symington Fedy is a theatre creator, yogi and storyteller. Emelia’s favorite quote at the moment is: “Live the light, spread the light, be the light” (found on a Yogi Tea teabag). This is probably because she has a penchant for darkness. You can see more of her offbeat essays at tryingtobegood.com.