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Entering a brand-new decade strikes a pivotal chord in many people.
For me, it has been no different. Not only have the past couple of years proven to be monumental on a global scale, but individually, I have grown in leaps and bounds.
A month into the first 2020 lockdown, I walked away from a connection that cracked open my core and turned me inside out. Even now, I find it almost futile to describe exactly what that encounter meant to me, but nevertheless remain haunted by it to this day. Truthfully, the more I grasp for words, the farther I feel from the essence of all that it was and so the depth of that experience remains so alive and yet somewhat intangible.
There is a line attributed to the poet Charles Bukowski that reads, “Don’t you have a knife somewhere deep in your heart where love left?” I heard that question uttered in a clip I listened to a while ago and suddenly felt as though I had been hit in the gut and my heart had spilled out.
Yes, a familiar but fragmented voice in me responded. That is exactly how I feel my pain. There was a dagger in my heart initially, but I’ve since ever so slowly pulled it out and now all that is left is this gaping hole. I have been trying my hardest to fill it.
Thankfully, she seldom circles my dreams any longer, and only on the rare occasion that she does do I wake up feeling triggered. I’ve long since thrown out the gifts and shredded all the pictures in a naïve attempt to try not to think of her. To not be reminded of her. I’ve long since learned, however, that blocking someone on social media and destroying pictures and presents does not equate to feeling less tormented by the memory of their face whenever one arises.
I’ve also learned that time does not always heal, but that heartbreak is something that only dulls a little in intensity as the sun goes down on all the weeks and months of my grief, year after year, and gives way to a new season in that same feeling of loss that shapes my internal landscape in a different way and offers yet a new perspective.
The pain remains there throughout each season, lingering in the air. And last but not least, I’ve come to realize hardly anyone will ever understand all that she was to me—not even her. Therefore, all of the remnants of trapped love and pain have nowhere left to go—except, perhaps, in an article, a poem, or as fuel to achieve some particular end.
Sometimes I can hear her voice in me saying, there is more to life than falling in love, Sarah. Come on. If you think that this connection was the be-all and end-all, you’re out of your mind. Or, I mockingly hear her say, we don’t always get what we want, Sarah. You’re just going to have to deal with that, okay? Didn’t anyone ever teach you that life isn’t always fair? Now, quit sulking and feeling sorry for yourself! It was only an experience, a fleeting moment or two in time.
Sadly, I can’t argue with that voice, and I am certain that she would not be alone in echoing that common sentiment. Sometimes, I even feel the entire world belittle me for the degree and extent to which I feel the pain. After all, who takes a break up that badly and for that long? Moreover, who allows anyone to get under their skin that much?
But somehow, all through the eye of the storm I called the worst of my heartache, I knew that there was something extraordinary about the encounter. It was a feeling I couldn’t shake off for the life of me. Furthermore, I knew deep in my bones that it had changed me right down to the marrow and that my heart would never beat the same again.
When you know, you just know. That is, as I say, the simplest and most complex fact of the matter—and the one no one understands because most people require another answer, one that they feel they can more comfortably sink their teeth into.
This was by no means a fairy-tale encounter. It wasn’t something out of a Hallmark film. I pushed and she pulled. My love was like an albatross—it was all too much. She wanted to swim. Even when I tried to let her go, to leave her alone, and let her come to me if and when she wanted to, my energy kept tugging at her. Sooner or later, the dam broke and the flood of water came rushing in. The liquid became a kind of poison that slowly but surely drowned us both.
I learned so much about the blessings of nonattachment through that connection. And now that I see that encounter for what it truly was in hindsight, I now know that practicing nonattachment is perhaps the only way to truly love and appreciate someone or something without condition.
Furthermore, I’ve learned that you can share the same core essence with another person whilst having a completely different ego structure composed of mind, personality, and identity. In fact, that right there was the final realization that brought me to the brink of a greater spiritual awakening this year—a metamorphosis I am continuing to ripen into, little by little.
Had it not been for this epiphany, I may never have been as willing to die before I die, as Eckhart Tolle so famously put it in his book, The Power of Now, and see myself for what I am at the core. What I am, I have come to realize, is a soul—a tiny piece of Source, which is where I came from and where I shall return once my body ceases to function and my mind no longer exists.
The mind, I have learned, is a phenomenal instrument, but we weren’t meant to be used by it. However, because we are tiny pieces of God (Source) expressing itself in a world of matter, structure, form, and duality, we have come to believe that we are nothing more than flesh and bone with a thinking mind that entertains concepts such as past or future, and operates to formulate an ego-identity based largely on conditioning and the assurance that we are a personality, our likes and dislikes, where we live or where we came from, what we do for a living, and how we tend to react under a certain set of circumstances.
Who we really are, however, is so much deeper than any and all of those things.
Every concept and state we know and have ever known was designed by us. We co-created laws, rules, and concepts on this planet as we know them. This has been the case since time immemorial. However, these concepts—such as time, itself—are not intrinsically woven into the fabric of our universe.
Instead, they are just rules and devices we use in order to exist here and make sense of all that we cannot adequately comprehend in our limited scope of vision—with a thinking mind that operates on the principle of duality. The human mind is linear while the universe is infinitely more complex, and modern science is only now beginning to understand the extent to which that is true. We now know, for example, that events exist beyond what was once observed or even believed to be possible through phenomena known as quantum entanglement and quantum superposition.
In a similar vein, although we have no concrete proof that the soul indeed exists, we can verify that we sometimes experience things beyond our capacity to logically or rationally explain them. Isn’t this just as real as something we can see, touch, or measure? We also know that several otherwise sane people have for brief moments in time, been proclaimed clinically dead only to come back to share stories about seeing a white light and feeling an all-encompassing love. They have also mentioned looking at themselves flatlined on a table or in a hospital bed as though they were glimpsing their own body from a bird’s-eye view.
In addition, we also know that we are conscious and that many other forms of life are also conscious of their own existence.
If science were to understand and explain all that there is to know about the nature of consciousness, perhaps it would fall short and fail to ask the overarching question to which there may be no definitive answer. Moreover, perhaps we are not even meant to understand it—or, at least not all at once—and instead, only to experience it.
Regardless of the answer to that question if it were one, once we attempt to analyze and dissect who we really are, which is pure consciousness expressing itself temporarily in physical form, we’ve automatically misled ourselves and taken ourselves ever further away from that ethereal essence. There is, after all, a Zen saying that goes, The moment you teach a child what a bird is, that child will never see that bird again. So, instead of trying to comprehend it using the logical mind, we must shed the old skin that is identification with thought and form and bask in that felt experience of who we are beyond all we’ve come to believe.
After all, what would be the point in denying ourselves the opportunity to die before we die? Everyone on this planet believes that they are the mind and no one is ever at peace living through it. Many people spend years in a psychotherapist’s office trying to repair the contents of this false or mistaken identity, believing that they are what their thoughts tell them they are, what other people’s thoughts tell them they are based on their own thought patterns, and that they are limited or even broken due to events in their past.
They also spend years processing what other people have done to them—other people who also believe that they are their mind and are unknowingly suffering because of it while simultaneously causing other people to suffer in and around them. Even people who have a lot of money, fame, and material success eventually find themselves feeling empty inside, once all of the elation has subsided. They too derive their identity from this false-self that is the mind.
In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says,
“Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, even if they have great material wealth. They are looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”
We are all, in essence, victims of ourselves and each other in this human condition that gives rise to a sort of poverty and separation consciousness, and to keep holding on to these limiting beliefs about ourselves, other people, the inexplicable nature of the universe, and the reason we’re here seems preposterous to me. However, I cannot change the people I love and care about. Nor can I change the way the world is. Instead, I can only and rightfully awaken to the timeless truth that exists within me.
And that is what awakening to this Twin Flame encounter has taught me, by default. My soul wanted me to awaken to this and to align with it and it used the body and mind of the other person to trigger me into awakening into the true spiritual journey and thus, dying before I die.
Sometimes when I miss her presence, I try to quell the pain by telling myself, if you miss her, go in here, to where your core can be felt. There, in that formless and unconstructed space, you will find her and that itself can never be lost but only obscured by the thinking mind and ego-identity.
It is in that moment when I realize that this is what I’ve been waiting on all along—to embrace this profound sense of love and peace far greater than what anything in the world can offer me.
It is also in those moments that a deeper realization washes over me like a wave—that I have died before I died and am infinitely more alive than ever before.