Many awakening people write with awe about their first being-in-the-moment experience. It typically seems to happen in nature, in some awesome scenery. For me, it happened in a totally ordinary situation today, while sitting in a metro.
I had been observing my thoughts and emotions for an hour or so. My anger, lust, shame, sadness, all those things. The voices in my head that negotiate whether something can be allowed or not. And then gradually, I felt that my own presence increased, and that my identification with my emotions and thoughts faded. They were still there, but they were no longer the exclusive focus of my attention.
Opposite of me sat an old man with circumorbital rings who seemed to be in a somber mood, dreamily looking outside the window at the dark walls passing the train. A hot girl stood somewhere, with a sharp nose, exuding a witch-like presence. An old woman was looking around looking for something to be pissed about. A well-dressed man with a well-kempt beard and great haircut stood there with a serene and masculine and slightly anxious expression on his face. Another old man was lost in his thoughts about some family relatives.
And so on.
I looked at them without judging them – while observing how my mind did just that.
I realized that most of my life, I had not been seeing people. Or things. Or anything for what it was. All I had been perceiving were my judgments, opinions and categorizations of them, thoughts about their relation to myself, and the emotions that resulted from all that mental debris. I had basically only been seeing myself and the things those people meant to me – not the people themselves.
What was also surprising was that there was no euphoria in this kind of presence. No overwhelming ecstasy of being enlightened or whatever. Nothing that deserved any form of mention by any form of standards of pleasure or excitement.
The only thing that stood out was a sense of peace. It seemed to come from outside of time and space and emotions. It was a sense of everything is okay. But it was not the kind of everything is okay that you think of when you are in distress, imagining relief from such a sentence. This everything is okay had no trace of relief in it; rather, it would have asked me back: Relief from what? It was not a finally, everything is okay. It was a simple everything is okay.
And with that peace came love. But again, it was not the kind of love I had always expected to find. What I used to call love was some kind of craving that led me to wanting to own something, and in a way, submit to it. What I used to call love feels powerless, hectic and stressful. This was nothing like it. It was not an attachment, not a clinging. Maybe it was not so much that it was me who was loving everything, out of appreciation. It was more like I had found a perspective from which I was able to see that love is like a forcefield that holds everything together and, in fact, is the building material of everything. The sad look in the eyes of the man next to me were the same as the hot tits of the girl a bit farther away. All just various expressions of the same kind of force, none of them worthy to attach oneself to.
Maybe it is even better to not use the word love, because it brings up so many painful or pleasant mind-associations. Maybe it is better to call it It. Or God? I would not even call it God, because it brings up associations with specific things and ideas – and when you focus on something particular, you have already missed It. I would call it force, but that brings up Star Wars. But a forcefield is what it felt like. A radiant all-encompassing forcefield.
To be honest, it feels a bit threatening to me now, in hindsight. That kind of mighty, revealing sacredness. When I think of the word sacred, there is an image in my head that pops up. It is a giant, probably infinitely high, beam of light that is split in two and somehow reminds me of the front of a catholic church. The space around it is vibrating, sizzling, like hot air around a fire. This vibration reaches inside me and reveals my deepest existential fears. It is what I felt during my Ayahuasca ceremony, where I wrote that the air is hot and smells burnt. Maybe hell is nothing but that which a man experiences when he stands in front of God with fear in his heart.
Anyhow. It did not feel scary at the time. It just felt peaceful. From a more hedonistic standpoint, you would probably have to call it boring. There was nothing extraordinary about it, because it was simply what is. It does not feel like getting a surprise gift, because in a way, there was no surprise involved. It’s more like: What else did I expect? I know this, of course. There is nothing new about this. It is nothing that is given to me – it is what I am and can never lose, anyway.
That kind of love does not desire or cry when something goes away. It is just that – a forcefield that does not require you to do anything or think or feel any particular way. A guy with manboobs walks by, but they are not manboobs. They are … it. They are beautiful. And it’s not the kind of beauty in which you lose yourself. There is no euphoria. It is not a beauty that stands in contrast to ugliness. It is a kind of beauty that simply permeates everything. But I think that the word beauty may be more of a hindrance in describing this, because it may make you think that I am infatuated with Mr. Manboobz and want to suck on his titties. Which is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that even if I should feel disgust, there would be beauty and grace in that.
So when I say love is not submission, I mean that loving something is different from liking it or respecting it or even choosing it for yourself. You can love somebody, but still choose not to spend time with them, because they tend to hurt you. You can see a man trying to rape a woman, intervene, and still love both the man and the woman. You can love a steak without eating it. You can love a woman without becoming pussy whipped.
So much for this cute little experience, anyhow.