I used to write more about these things.  This blog grew out of an initial awakening experience, but it has not been particularly high on my list for awhile.

I normally find it (with myself anyway) useless, if not conceited at points.

But the experience that is most clear is that such experience is no different than washing the dishes or writing a post on politics, so I shouldn’t retract from it either.

If by the “m” word, you mean focused concentration, learning how to still the mind, learning something like mindfulness (say Buddhist) or more in a more Christian context, learning the way of union with God (separate but now united), then I’m just about a total failure in those departments. Never have been.

When I sit, there is just this deep giddiness.  Deep hearty laugh at the normality of it all.  I can’t adopt some special serious meditation posture.  It’s just so silly to me.  Not when there is nothing of absolute value to gain by it.

For a long time after the initial awakening experience, I suffered from what is often called “Zen sickness” (ZS)–though the Zen folks clearly do not have a monopoly on this one.  ZS is a laziness, often born of some arrogance, in spiritual matters.  Because hell the person’s enlightened already….what more is there?

Later it morphed more into a fundamental questioning of the purpose of life.   My life had been built around the idea of being a spiritual seeker.  It focused everything in my life, and I do mean everything.

That lodestar element left with the awakening moment.

Later on (this is a year or two post the initial experience) a deep despair and cynicism set in.  Not just for myself, but asking deeply whether any of this mattered and profoundly turned off by “spiritual talk”.  Particularly talk about “awakening” or “nonduality” or whatever.  The key element of the Absolute/Nondual I had realized was sacrifice and death not attainment.

I “realized” this because it fundamentally wiped the mat with me.  Life crushed me and let me know who was in charge.  Answer: not the ego.

The cynicism came with understanding how so many of the folk who talk these spiritual matters talk in the language of attainment.  “Attaining enlightenment.”  Da:  There is nothing to attain.

That last statement is not metaphorical.  That is as literal and factual as saying put some water in the freezer and it will turn to ice.

But I don’t know, at some point, that cynicism and arrogance mercifully disappeared.  If people need to seek, need to become seekers, then they should seek.

At about the time that contraction dissipated, the ease of siting in open-eyed meditation return.  The humor and the non-meditating Meditating.  It’s the difference between trying to meditate and actually Meditating.

Or to put it differently, the natural state is Meditation.  The Natural State of all things is at Rest–even in motion.  Trying to meditate (relative meditation) is more activity.

But even that sahaj-samadhi I noticed last night is no longer really “enough” for me.  I find a deeper desire burning in me.  I desire to be not just at rest and happy, in awe, however deeply I appreciate those (and I do), but rather burning.

Anger, ecstasy, beauty, transformation.  But sanely so–realistic, sober, not utopian.   These are burning beneath the surface of sahaj contentment.  A clear-eyed, relaxed fire.  Something along the lines of bhava samadhi.

The last time this movement I believe started to take place in me, my outer life was in shambles, and I was afraid letting go into that place would send me hurtling into some very very bad places emotionally.

My life is more grounded now.   I’m older for one.  Two, I’m less afraid.  Three my life has more stability and grace in it now.  Last night a part of me spontaneously opened to that force and I believe that will continue more and more in the months ahead, though seminary has a way of crushing the human spirit and spiritual life like few things in the world sadly.

Published in: on January 5, 2008 at 8:29 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Zen sickness, questioning, cynicism, “life is bigger”, loss of “performance-thinking”, relaxation, deepening, becoming “normal” in a new way.

    I wonder if this is a general religious phenomenon?

    Very nice post.

  2. Chris, thanks for sharing your personal story. i agree with you that talking about such personal experiences is “useless, if not conceited at points.”

    that said, although i don’t have a “spiritual practice” in the traditional sense of practice (e.g. meditation), i think i’ve undergone a phase of “Zen Sickness” in the process of my blogging (e.g. i treat blogging as my spiritual practice but i don’t have a delusion that it would to any nondual realization. that takes serendipity/Grace and a more focused practice.). i’ve had this experience a couple of years ago. the tone of my blogging shifted and words of “arrogance” just flowed through me as if being “channeled.” see this post. and this post. maybe i’m just trying to make a sense of my passing existential angst and interpreting it as “zen sickness.”


  3. Must be a universal one.

    Thanks for the comment Michael. Peace.


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