End Of Search

I dream – I am exhausted and overwhelmed. I have been feeling this way for a very long time. I look forward to finally getting some sleep at night but I wake up at 4 am again and I am devastated. I do not know how much longer I can go on like this. In my desperation, I pack up and travel to my parents home. There finally I can lay down my head and rest fully in the complete safety and unconditional support of my family.

As I arrive, I notice how messy and chaotic their home has become. Furniture is falling apart, there is so much dirt and clutter around that weird insects are starting to make it their home. To my horror, I find out that my parents have just had another baby. I am so tired that I cannot process this so I ask them where I can take a nap and they point me to a dark room. They tell me that I need to be careful not to turn around in my sleep because I might roll over some flies that their new baby adopted as pets. I still cannot comprehend what they are saying. I collapse into a very stiff bed with unwashed sheets and close my eyes. I need to sleep so desperately.

Sleep is not coming and I am aware of how uncomfortable the bed is and how difficult it is to worry about not squashing the pet insects. I begin to worry about this baby my parents mentioned. What possessed them to give birth to a child when they can barely take care of themselves? I get up and go in search of this baby.

As I travel through the darkness, squalor and filth, I finally find the room that is meant to be a nursery and something inside me just tightens. I rush in and start searching frantically for the baby. He is nowhere to be found. I finally realize he is in a small crib, completely covered by tons of dirty heavy rags. I fear that he is no longer alive as he could not possibly breathe through this pile of rags. I yank everything off him and to my great surprise the baby is unharmed and even smiling at me. I notice how incredibly unappealing and even inappropriate the baby’s haircut is. There is a twinkle of madness in his eyes.

My parents rush into the room, hearing the commotion. I am exasperated. I yell at them and ask them what they were thinking. I completely loose it and tell them that this is insane. Their house and they are not fit to have a baby! They must not hear me. Am I screaming inside my head? They continue to smile and shrug their shoulders. They say they don’t know why I am fussing – the baby is happy the way it is.

I suddenly realize that they are completely insane. I cannot help them, and most certainly, they cannot help me. I have come to the wrong place. I cannot find peace here. I was insane myself to think that I could. I look at the baby and see clearly that he is not well either. He has become insane himself in order to fit into the insanity around him. I run outside and try to find my way home.

I am at a bus stop but I cannot figure out which bus to take. There are information booths and even New Age gurus/cult leaders but no one can help me find the right bus. They have no idea which buses go exactly to my home. I realize that I have to simplify my inquiry by asking how to get to the center of town. From there I can find my own way. I finally get a straight answer and line up for the bus number that I am told will take me to the center of the city. My dream ends.

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Joy Comes

I have a dream that initially seems uninspiring but as I think about it before getting out of bed, I am swept away by its power and the new direction in my Unfolding that it is signaling.

In the dream, I am in my 20’s and I am admitted to a great University for a PhD program with a subject I am really fascinated by. I arrive in the dorms and am assigned a bed in a room with 5 other girls. It is very crammed and I am aware of possible conflicts and inconveniences, but it does not seem to phase me. I am all in anticipation of this new way of life, of exciting studies and people I am going to meet. I am young and completely unaffected by the anxieties, fears and mind objections that so limit our joy in life. I am given a sheet of paper with very clear instructions on what sort of supplies and books I need to buy and how to prepare for my classes. Running around getting things done on my list is the most delicious and exciting experience I can ever dream of.

As I wake up from the dream, I realize that the PhD program and the University are simply a representation of my almost completely untapped potential to live a life of joy as I understand it. This has never occurred to me before. I always thought life was about fear, sacrifices and suffering. This new way of life, suggested in the dream, might not be convenient or comfortable, but the mind does not get a say in making this into a deal big enough to stop me from moving in the direction my heart is taking me. As I give myself completely to this direction of joy, clarity (list of instructions) appears magically to guide me and bring even more joy.

As I am lying in bed in the predawn hours, I am struck by the seismic shift this dream creates in me. I am shown almost unlimited potential of expressing my Being in many creative and beautiful, joyful ways. I become aware of some degree of apprehension this creates in body and mind. It is as though I am simultaneously aware of both great grief and great joy, and as I experience them as pure energy in my body, they become one – just a flow of life and love, moving freely through me. What magic.

I pray silently…

GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA.

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Questioning Taboos, Falling Into Joy

Something has changed, has shifted during the last conversation with my therapist. It seems that before this moment I was working diligently on untangling and rewiring the part of the psyche that was created by social conditioning – family, culture, social upbringing, media, advertising, books – basically the socializing we undergo as children and adults that makes us conform to certain standards. Some of it can be helpful, allowing us to function as humans, but a lot of it comes from other people’s and social structures’ corrupted, conforming, anxious, manipulative and abusive views. These views are forced on us from an early age when we are too weak and confused to know better.

As I am learning to slowly shake myself free of these constraints, I am becoming aware of a new, even deeper level of conditioning our wiring as animals.

This comes to me from my therapist’s gentle insistence that we continue to look into my fear of death. As I begin to lean gently into my anxiety, pain, panic attacks, and even fear of death, I suddenly begin to see that there is nothing inherently terrifying about inquiring into these states. Instead this terror of death, pain, any kind of discomfort is held in place by very strong animal hard-wiring in our psyche, that prevents us from even “going there”. These wirings work like taboos – you do not have sex with your parents and you do not question fear of death and discomfort. They are so basic and fundamental to who we are that we do not even see them as constructs that can be explored, let alone questioned. They are so close and compose the very sense of who we are that they are almost completely unseen and function to shape our behavior, thoughts, feelings, our very lives without our awareness.

When I first touched this understanding it felt overwhelmingly frightening. Like jumping into the abyss. But with time passing, clarity and even some comfort begin to appear and I am able to look deeper into these hard-wired beliefs – fear of death and resistance to any degree of discomfort. There seems to be a great release of energy accompanied by this and an invitation to further explore my life, leading into joy and freedom of expression that I never dreamed was possible.

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

The Dome

The final dream in the series –

I am in a strange city. I am alone and outside having a good time. Going to the movies, eating ice cream. Suddenly I hear a big commotion and realize that everyone around me is running struck by terror. I look around and realize that we are in a small city, completely surrounded by wild forest fires. There seems to be no escape. In the stampede, I am injured and eventually brought to a very large dome.

The dome is completely insulated from the outside and is built to resist fires that are common in this area. Only injured people are brought here to receive medical treatment and the rest must find ways to escape fire outside on their own. I am sitting on a hospital bed in a large room, observing the doctors move around with such ease, confidence and a sense of calm. I am surprised. Don’t they know just how bad things are outside? Are they not afraid that this epic fire can consume the dome as well? They seem to be confident that they are safe. I, myself, am very doubtful.

The doctors check me out and I turn out to be okay with minor scratches. I am released from the medical wing and allowed to stay in the dome with a few hundred other people who made it in during the fire. We are told we can wait inside for the fire to subside. I begin to look around to try to understand what kind of place this is. The dome is really large and houses apartments, small shops and other amenities necessary for survival for short periods of time.

Suddenly I hear screaming and great commotion. I see someone running and ask them what is happening. He tells me in haste that the worst has happened – the word was received that the fire outside has become so powerful that the dome can no longer protect us. We have minutes to get out and find our way through outside fire to safety. There is no guarantee that we will not die if we leave, but if we stay, we will not survive for sure.

Another stampede ensues, but right by the exit door I see a young man, waving his hands and screaming something. He is young and good looking, with blue eyes and longer hair, and is very charismatic. He tells people that they are being fooled, that they are safe as long as they stay inside and will die if they run out and try to find their way in the fire.

I see clearly that I do not have enough information to make the right decision so on some hunch I decide to just stay inside. Most people leave but a couple of dozen of us remain and the young man becomes our leader. He looks and sounds like a profit but he runs around with two half naked young women who are constantly fighting over his affection. The bottom line, the fire does not destroy the dome, at least not immediately, and the “profit” is actually doing a decent and fair job of running our day to day lives in the abandoned dome.

We feel suspended in time and space as we continue to explore this strange dome, wondering if at any moment it might succumb to the fire and hoping the fires will finally end soon.

The overwhelming feeling I have about this time is this incredible freedom and ease of being. Life is not exactly comfortable here but it provides the minimum we need to feel safe and be fed and healthy. The rest is up to us. We know the unspeakable can happen at any moment and we make peace with this knowledge.

I go out on my own a lot and experience life in this suspended state as though through the eyes of the newborn. There is no judgement, no worry, no anxiety, no plans, just Pure Being and Pure Exploration of the Unknown. It feels fantastic. Life is uncomfortable, like nothing I ever imagined I would experience, but it feels wonderful, it feels like Home.

After some time passes and we become comfortable with our new strange relaxed and leisurely way of life, we get a word from the outside. The fires have stopped. It is safe to come out and return to our regular lives. I suddenly realize I feel deep sadness about leaving this strange place of complete freedom from the world as I knew it before.

Written in the US, September 2020, month 9 of Coronavirus pandemic.

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No Need To Jump

The same night I have the dream about the city, I dream this –

I am with a group of friends. We are all young and in the land we are not very familiar with. We are having good time and being somewhat careless while we explore this new new city and country. We see a beautiful large building and we walk right in.

It seems to be some sort of a a very grand government building with stunning old architecture. It is full of people and we rush toward the center of the building where some sort of assembly is being held. Thousands of people are gathered and listening intently to the speakers.

In our rush to see what is happening and to find a space to stand inside the large auditorium, we find ourselves being pushed on the very top balcony. We are happy we found such a great spot to be able to observe everything from such height, when to my horror, I realize that this balcony is not a balcony after all but a thin ledge without any railing. I want to leave the ledge and move to safety but a couple of young women have already stepped on the ledge after me and they are blocking my exit. I cannot ask them to move because I feel uncomfortable admitting how scared I am to fall. And I am not just scared. I am shaken to my core. I have never felt this way before. As I am contemplating this, the young women next to me decide that life is way too much for them and they can no longer go on, so they jump off the ledge to their death.

As horrified as I am about what I have just witnessed, my overriding feeling is that of the tremendous relief as their action has cleared my way to safety. I quickly and safely move away from the ledge and feel tremendous relief spreading throughout my body.

I feel reassured again that I do not need to jump off a cliff to find my True Self.

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Why Can’t I Go To The City On My Own?

I had a series of three very profound dreams, which I am feeling moved to record.

I have to preface this post by saying that as an immigrant I spent many years feeling the agonizing sense of loss of the beauty and the lifestyle I left behind as young person. In my dreams I always searched for my way back…

The first dream is a recurring dream. With minor variations, I have been dreaming this for years now, but the plot has been escalating.

In the dream I finally return to the city of my dreams. It is loosely based on my birth city in Eastern Europe, but in the dreams it is so much more. The beautiful city in my dream has everything my heart has ever dreamed of – beautiful parks with fountains, benches and the kind of leisurely activities only Europeans seem to understand; grocery stores full of foods that I grew up with and find delicious; cafes, restaurants, theaters and libraries. Above all it has the architecture and nature that make me cry with joy and sorrow of having lost them. Every blade of grass here is the Beloved.

I also feel incredibly safe here. I can finally relax and exhale the breath that I have been holding all these years.

As I arrive here over and over again in every consecutive dream, I cannot believe my luck. I long to run outside and start exploring every single street, square, house and park I encounter. I want to drink them all in. I want to see them and fall on the ground weeping from joy and sorrow of finally being reunited with that which I loved most and lost.

But for some reason in the dreams, I cannot go anywhere along. It is as though I am not allowed to enjoy any of it by myself. I need a friend to come with me. So in a series of dreams, I begin calling on my old friends, but they do not want to have anything to do with me. They say that I betrayed them when I left and moved to another country in search of a better life. Their lives did not turn out so well, so why should they now go spend time with me. In some dreams they are angry, in other they are just politely cold. I am desperate so I try to make new friends but no one would have me, and the ones that would, don’t want to spend time exploring the city with me either.

Finally I find some old friends from another period of my life and they appear to be up for socializing but when I offer them to visit my favorite restaurant, they quickly loose interest. They are just into completely different things. In desperation I cry: “Why would no one go to this restaurant with me?” I wake up and wonder why I cannot just go to that restaurant alone. I have no answer.

So the dream returns. This final time I am in my dream city with my parents. Finally someone who understands me completely and loves the same things that I do. I tell my parents about the amazing things we are going to see and we take off. We do not get very far before my father starts to hint that this was nice but they would really like to head home now. I am shocked. I tell them about all the amazing beautiful beloved things we are about to see, but they are adamant. They want to go home. In desperation I look into their eyes and I realize just how deeply tired they are and how being this tired they cannot possibly enjoy anything. They just need to rest and relax.

I realize that I now ran out of options. There does not seem to be anyone left who could possibly come with me and so that which I long for the most is right next to me but is completely unavailable.

I wake up and wonder again- why can’t I go to the city on my own?

How To Heal

A wholehearted and enthusiastic yes to everything – migraines, sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, illness, panic attacks, allergies, bone spurs, fear, anger, severe fatigue… Everything is welcomed now. I never understood this before but I am not saying yes to invite or encourage pain but to accept my beloved self while I am experiencing it. There is no longer a judging of myself for going through difficult emotional or physical states. No more insisting that this “should not be happening anymore”, that I am “too spiritually advanced” or “too healed by now” to feel this way. No more worrying about what all this pain says “about me” or what other people are going to think or say if they find out just how unwell I might be feeling in the moment.

There is also this strange feeling of confusing pain with joy. When pain appears I welcome myself in it with so much Love that it feels like I am bathing myself in joy. So pain and joy are now present at the same time. This feels confusing and welcomed at the same time.

I suspect that this might be the very mechanism by which difficult emotions and illness are allowed to heal themselves by being fully allowed to be present in the body. I sense that what fuels them is the resistance and the constriction, and what heals them is the acceptance.

This allowing does not happen automatically for me yet. Instead oftentimes when pain appears, the immediate reaction is frustration and constriction, but almost always a reminder pops up – it is not necessary to react this way. And I am now given a choice to continue to constrict and resist or to open up into Love.

These reminders and the choice were not always there. Nor there was any clarity about what I was allowing and accepting. It seemed unnatural and even wrong to welcome in pain. I cannot say what can cause such shift except perhaps a sincere desire and longing for it, and of course prayers.

Photo Credit – Openseed Photo

So Simple, The End Of Suffering

And this is my deepest longing and my sincerest prayer…

“I am finally quiet enough to fully rest. Effort is draining out. It has taken so much effort, enormous, draining effort to guard against pain… to resist and fight against reality. It is such simple wisdom to lean into the pain, to lean into reality, whatever is happening right now – shouldn’t we be teaching our children this liberating pathway? ”

~ Beth Miller, Waking Up On The Couch

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Love Comes For Everything

I begin to notice the value of slowing down. Often when I move through my day I can begin to feel frustration, and when I stop and analyze why I am suffering, I realize that I am in a hurry to get somewhere or to finish something and it is not going according to the plan. When I am able to see this, I am able to slow down and pay better attention to what I am doing in the moment. In doing so I automatically begin to improve the quality of what I am doing instead of worrying about how it is not working as planned and feeling in a hurry to get somewhere else.

But what am I in a hurry for? Why is the task at hand considered unimportant or unpleasant and the next task I am trying to get to is so valuable or enjoyable? What is wrong with washing dishes or rolling the garbage can back into the garage?

If I physically slow down and dissolve myself into the process of washing dishes or copying files or organizing my closet, the process becomes joyful in and of itself. There is no longer a need to hurry through it or to struggle with parts of it that appear difficult.

Love comes equally for everything – creating art, cleaning dirty dishes, reading favorite books, drinking tea and rolling in trash cans. This is the secret to finally finding what we are all looking for.

Are You My Mother?

My therapist tells me that she is taking a leave of absence, a second one this month. This time it is for two weeks. She makes a point of making an appointment for our next time together but I realize I am not sure she will be returning.

In our last session we talk about relationships – I realize something new. Having been rejected by my own mother time and time again since early childhood, my mind cannot cope with the idea of being “motherless” and keeps searching for parental love in all the wrong places. It is painful. It is pointless. The love I am looking for cannot be found on the outside.

As I contemplate the idea of my therapist leaving, I am overcome with a very heavy feeling. I look honestly and deeply into it and see that I feel hurt, abandoned (again), unloved and even betrayed. I even feel anger and despair now. I am lost in the story I am telling myself when suddenly there is light.

I suddenly see this for what it is – an old story my mind is telling me, nothing more. I see this so clearly that I realize that this is not “who I am” anymore, but simply a thought pattern loosely attached to my personality. And in seeing through it like this, I am able to let it go.

I go to sleep and wake up the next day a new person – so full of freedom and joy. I know that such deep patterns don’t let go so easily but having seen through it, I cannot go back to pretending that this is who I am anymore, no matter how many times it raises.

I am filled with deep gratitude to my therapist and I can now accept her exactly the way she is, without any attachment. I can shine back onto her the unconditional love she is shining onto me. “We are just all walking each other home” (Ram Dass)

Love Me

Admit something.
Everyone you see,
You say to them,
“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud.
Otherwise someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this,
This great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With this sweet moon language
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to hear?

Hafiz

Is Transmission Real?

As I am reading my therapist’s book (it is a story of her awakening), I begin to sense something beyond regular experience of reading a book – understanding the words, meaning of the text, forming impressions… This time there is more. A lot more. I search the mind to find the word to describe it and the word “transmission” pops up.

Transmission is a mysterious process some spiritual teachers hint at and some point to directly in their work. I often wonder about it but cannot quite grasp its meaning. It sounds like a magic energetic exchange that occurs between the spiritual teacher and the student. Something gets sent directly to the student’s very being, which begins or accelerates the awakening process. It always sounded intriguing but I was never able to feel it before. And now here it is, quite undeniable. As I am reading her book, a quickening happens. I can feel it in my bones. As I am reading about her journey, my own begins to unfold faster and with more clarity.

By accident I come across a small journal/essay another woman wrote about the days prior and right after her awakening. I begin to read it and have to put it down. Every word is shining with meaning and energy far beyond what regular words and sentences can usually convey. I can feel this woman’s being and what is happening to her in my bones.

And this is yet another example of seemingly ordinary magic I was always surrounded with but did not have eyes to see before… Blessings all around…