A Stranger in a Strange Land
As far back as I can remember, I had the feeling that something about this new life ‘wasn’t quite right’.
I was a happy child but I was also deeply affected by the emotions of those around me. I felt eager to be alive but deeply confused by what I perceived. I felt a discord within me that somehow I didn’t really belong here. That my real home was somewhere else far far away.
I understand now that I must have retained a distinct memory of the place that I came from before. My home before I was born. I remembered it as a place filled with an all encompassing white light and pervasive feeling of love. It was a place where there was no hunger, no need or lack. A place where ideas were shared freely between minds and what I desired was manifest instantly without effort. I missed this place a great deal growing up, I pined for it long before I could explain, or even articulate what it was. In this “new body” I felt like a stranger, like a castaway in a foreign land.
Growing up with this knowledge…
was a challenge, I didn’t always handle it well. I had trouble figuring out why people did, or said, the things they did. I had trouble separating myself from others and knowing my “own autonomy”.
When in the presence of anger I felt it, when people yelled at each other, I suffered, I felt as if a white hot whip lashed across my heart. My tiny mind struggled to make sense of it all. I tried to protect myself from others’ thoughts,…those thoughts “about me”, who I was, what I was supposed to do with my life. I pushed their thoughts away from me and tried to wrap myself in a cocoon of silence. I did the best I could.
Then, as I got older,…
things started to happen around me that I couldn’t explain. I saw things, knew things, and felt things that no one else seemed to notice. I was confused by strong emotions like hate and anger, I was deeply saddened by others’ feelings of loss and worry,…as if they were my own.
Wherever I saw strife, or people fighting it out, I remember having only ONE thought. “Don’t they know there is only love? Don’t they know that there is enough for all of us?”.
I felt alone, different, foreign.
I prayed to go home.
It felt at times like I was trying to learn “how” to be a human, “how” to fit in, “what” to say, “what” to care about. This yearning did fade a bit as I got older, probably because I got better at “getting along”, but to this day it has not gone away.
I was lucky…
that my parents were on a metaphysical path and that they studied meditation and synchronicity, and were open to the things I started to tell them. You have to remember, I was a small child at a time when being a vegetarian was considered “weird”, as was meditation. For this, and many more reasons, I consider myself truly blessed to have been born into the family I was.
I have to tell you though, that once that door to spirit has been opened as a child, things just started flooding though. Some of it wonderfully uplifting and loving, some of it I didn’t understand and some of it was down-right frightening.
My family taught me…
to meditate, they taught me to pray and to call in higher energies to protect myself when things got scary. They raised me to know that these knowings were a part of me, and that they were a gift.
It didn’t always feel that way.
Seeing things no one else does – is jarring, even now as an adult. As a child it must have been terrifying! As I think about it now, I believe I must have been a very brave little girl. Somehow, I accepted these things I perceived and tried my best in every situation to see it though.
Many years have passed since then…
I am much older now, and for many of the years in between I turned my back on such stuff. I ran like crazy, did myself no favors, and basically cried out to the universe to make it stop,….so it did, (most of the time).
I turned to substances that were not healthy, relationships that were not healthy, and mostly I internalized the idea that I was a victim, not worthy, and not to be understood. I also decided that we had built a society that did more damage than good, and that most people sucked.
I was angry at all of Humanity.
And I was mad at the Universe, for letting this all happen and most of all, for leaving me here alone.
Even though I shut off spirit,…
I still had questions. I read every ancient or religious text I could get my hands on. I studied cultures and peoples and their ancient histories. I was searching for clues of what was really going on with our planet, with our people, why were we here and what was consciousness. I traveled, I lived simply, and I cried out in the quiet of night with a face covered in tears.
There were a lot of glorious days in between, filled with love and joy and sense of self. Yet, beneath it was always a yearning to know more. A growing sickness inside at watching war and famine and drought unending. A growing understanding that I as an individual was powerless to change enough of it to matter. My heart was heavy even in the best of times.
No matter where my life took me, this unease was always there. My outer life was changing from a steady stream to a coughing and sputtering spigot. I went through many personal changes, had more then my share of bouts of depression. More than one “dark night of the soul” before I finally gave up.
There I was walking across the street headed to pick up some groceries at the market. A car was turning into my lane but I had the WALK sign so I just went. As I was stepping off the curb I caught sight of the bumper of the car in my peripheral vision. Normally such a close proximity to an oncoming bumper would have caused me to tense up or try to get out of the way. I didn’t even think. I just looked at the car and stood there a second and walked on. (The driver stopped and all is well, that isn’t the dramatic part of the story).
I had a mental dialogue with myself as this all took place. In the span of a split second I decided that it was OK if he hit me,…and it was OK if he didn’t. In other words I didn’t care anymore. I was done trying. I wasn’t suicidal, I was done. Done trying, done faking, done wishing, done wanting, done hating, done clinging, done thinking, done worrying, done feeling sad, done feeling angry. Just done.
So, you may ask, why am I writing this now?…
I have to tell you, though on the outside I may have looked depressed, on the inside I felt a great relief from dropping the mental burdens that kept me from being content where I am right now. In letting go of the need to make any effort in my life, I started to notice that my life had a pretty efficient flow all its own. Suddenly the air seemed sweeter, my steps lighter, I smiled without thinking about it.
I was allowing myself to be content with where I was right then.
I stopped thinking about tomorrow and I stopped tormenting myself about the past. I basked in the glorious nothingness of my thoughts. I felt the wind blow, I smelled the earth, I listened to the birds. I focused where I was – when I was, and didn’t think much more about it. I oft repeated the words “chop wood, carry water” to myself to remind me of a favorite Lao Tzu saying. It served as a reminder that I should do what is in front of me and be consciously present. If the dishes needed doing, I would just do them with attention. If a friend called for a meeting, I just went and I listened. I said “yes” to everything that felt good to me and then just did it with full presence without thinking too much about it.
Then, slowly I started having a few new thoughts. Thoughts on what I could do that might help after all. Thoughts on what my skills were and how I could use them to reach out to others. Thoughts on what I would say if I were asked to explain what my life was for.
I thought about these things for a long time, and then one day I declared to myself that I wasn’t alone and if I was feeling inspired to do something I should do it.
I am a searcher for truth,
What I have perceived as a result is not the only way, nor even the right way to think about these topics for everyone.
There is much to learn from the many great teachers that have come before us, or who write on these topics now. As you read my story, please remember that it is just that, my story, and you have every right to take what makes sense to you and leave the rest.