Beginning to Know There was More
By Jerry P.
In April of 1977 I was 34 and part of a four-person team running a GED school in Madison, Wisconsin. I was working on a PhD dissertation, in a struggling marriage and both amiable and neurotically constricted. While aggressively sensitive, I had no “spiritual” direction and little sense of what I should do in my remaining time on the planet.
Annie H was one of the others running the school. A hippie chick, she was whip-smart and maniacally committed to managing with precision the small part of the dark world entrusted to her.
Annie was a numbers person; I was not. Bureaucratic responsibilities at the school were shared. I had recently attended to the financial books, and at this moment, Annie was walking to me in the high-ceilinged commercial building, holding the financial ledger and, with a chastising look, telling me I had FAILED! I knew I had tried and knew Annie could be a scold.
I received her message and *#@%*%+ became instantly captured by ANGER. If I had reviewed inner awareness, I would have said I had suddenly lost the power to control my actions. Inches from Annie’s five feet, my hands shot to her neck. I grasped it, shook her, and three times screamed: You psychotic bitch. Then it was over and I was storming down the stairs of the early 20th century building a hundred yards from the Wisconsin Capitol.
Annie remained my friend and a few years ago when I cautiously brought up that moment, she corrected me once more and said that my hands had been on her shoulders and not her neck. I had found my anger but was still a Catholic schoolboy.
I don’t know where I went from school that day but I immediately and continuously walked into (temporary) transformation. I felt angry but cleansed, empowered, intensely alive. I had lost self-doubt and was larger, LARGE. I didn’t know what had hit me but was in a different world. Everything which followed in the days ahead was different. Perhaps the clearest way to explain was to say that two days later I walked to the celebrated farmer’s market on that square. As I conducted that long walk I became aware I had no interest in paying attention to my thoughts, my inner being because I knew everything was groovy inside (at the moment), and what I wanted to pay attention to were those other humans I was about to find at the farmer’s market.
In The Leap, Eckart Tolle’s protégé, English academic Steve Taylor, delineates how turmoil is often connected to expansion of consciousness. That first turbulent episode and subsequent consciousness ended two months later when I became simultaneously caught in worry and pride at my access to power of which I had no understanding.
Six months later there was another episode of expanded consciousness. This was brought on by anger at my then wife and it lasted, with the same basic flight path, until my thought-crowded head again got in the way.
Thirty months later there was a third episode. This one was triggered not by anger but by my surrender to the awareness that I needed to end a good romance I knew was not good enough. I spent a period of time in which I continuously did what my intuition told me I should do at that moment. It worked until I again got too self-congratulatory.
One hundred and two months later there was another opening. This was triggered by another romance ending and the realization I never again wanted to deceive or manipulate another human. Modest powers - siddhis yogis call them- I happily carried for six months, but again I didn’t find stable humility and thought it was about me and not Spirit. I lost the thread and went back to my same old used to be.
One hundred twenty four months later there was a fifth expansion. I understood I had never loved my ex-wife unconditionally. I spent weeks ruminating on unconditional love. After a critical while, doors opened, powers expanded. Signs and portents, including a pheasant on my heels for a long walk. Again, after months of empowerment, my inability to rest in humility ended the period of power and grace.
Thirty years of ups and downs. Most recently, six hospitalized months in which I at least saw Oneness, even if I was still a watcher and not a participant. Saw it was good, even if my head was in the way. Saw that loving it was mostly about letting go and doing it in a way Nike would struggle to understand. Understood I’m not there and need to surrender to staying the course. Understood it is a sacred game and really the only one that matters.