The day after waking up from the dream of being a separate self, the everyday took on an enlightenment afterglow. Three months later I’m still tickled by what I call “the indescribable lightness of wow,” a kind of newborn fresheness from which life is perceived.
What is this wow? With the caveat that what arose here is not necessarily what will arise for others in the aftermath of an awakening, here’s my symptom list. These symptoms may or may not indicate self-realization, but if you haven’t indulged in an illegal substance there’s a good chance something non-ordinary is happening.
1) Visual Disturbances: Immediately after I woke up from the dream, I noticed my eyeballs seemed to be delivering a different picture than before. Now I perceived the luminosity of all things, a lit-from-within brightness and crispness to the trees, the cars, the traffic lights, even the pedestrians. It was as if someone had photo-shopped reality using the apps for color saturation, boost and sharpness. I still see the world this way, but more so when I am walking though nature than in moving through traffic or a grocery store line up. Though then too, I am sometimes dumbstruck by way sunlight shines on a wet street, or at the smile of the person behind the cash register. In these moments, the ordinary looks extraordinary.
2) Boundary Issues: Awe and delight arose at the simple seeing that I was not separate. I wandered through a forest one day saying aloud (with tears streaming), “Wow, wow, wow, this is me!” Crow flying, trees swaying, clouds moving, dog barking—every bit of this movement seen as objects arising. “Lori Ann walking” was also an arising, from the one source, that vast empty-full teeming ground of being. Now I know why they send ‘God-drunk’ holy fools off to the ashram or sanitorium—this perception of oneness is distracting to say the least when you have to pick up the kid from soccer practice and suddenly, you are the ball. If fact I used to be sort of bored watching my daughter’s soccer games—now suddenly I can be like a dog, captivated by the ball rolling and soccer cleats kicking and coach shouting. I’m an avid spectator and participant all at once.
3) Empty-mindedness. Okay, so where did all those thoughts go? Even the thought “I am Lori Ann, a person in charge here” has evaporated. Instead, a spacious emptiness exists where before a whole mob of rowdy “thinkings” had been partying away. Now and then, a stray heavy thought will wander through the emptiness and leave pretty quickly, probably in disappointment “Like, man, where’s the party?” Living in this thought-vacuum is pretty easy. When mental noise is minimal, reality is much more vivid and immediate. When a friend talks, I listen like never before, because competing thoughts (like I agree or disagree) are out to lunch. If ever I wanted to become a good psychotherapist, this would be the time.
4) Freakish Calmness: I don’t think valium has anything on enlightenment. Two days after I woke up, the man I lived with told me he wanted to break up with me. I sat there calmly—even serenely–and listened. Instead of over-reacting as Lori Ann would have, what arose was complete acceptance. No defense. No argument. No “how dare you” verbal attack strategy. What did arise was the clear seeing of my partner’s reactivity, and the allowance for that, yet also the compassion to say: “If you want to leave, that’s okay. But I see you are in a lot of pain right now. Perhaps give yourself three days to make a final decision.” (Yes, he stayed). Since then, there have been many occasions of experiencing a quiet inner calm while emotional storms churn around me (let me tell you, a pubescent 12- year-old daughter is a guaranteed stress test). If Big Pharma could bottle enlightenment, it would be a hotter seller than Prosac or Viagra. Perhaps my brain chemistry is altered for this super-tranquility to be here. But hey, I’m not offering myself to science to find out.
5) Precognitive Flashes. Unlike hot flashes, which I also experience as a menopausal woman, these flashes of foresight are kind of fun. I was always pretty intuitive, but now its like ESP on steroids. What has changed however, is what I do with these glimpses of the future. There is no impetus here to change what will happen—in fact, getting these windows into the what-will-be-ness is like getting a weather forecast. I would no more endeavor to change the weather as I would to manipulate the future. A case in point: I had a vision one night of a friend snooping into my emails to check up on the veracity of something I had said. I knew I could change my password or delete any email correspondence that might fuel the fire of suspicion. Instead, I knew it was perfect for events to occur as forseen. Trust is here in a brilliant design to this play of god. Sure enough, the next day this person hacked into my emails and later confessed. And from there, a series of lessons unfolded. The thing is, Lori Ann would never have allowed this unfolding. Rather she would have tried to change outcomes to what “she thought was best.” Which brings me to the last symptom of self realization.
6) Radical Surrender: I know people think surrender is an action you take to get to enlightenment. But truthfully, it’s a state of being that results from self-realization. Surrender is simply a letting go because you have realized control was an illusion anyway. This looks in life like flow and magic, because when we are not trying to direct the river we are being carried along by it. In radical surrender, what arises are perfectly timed intersections, high serendipity and off-the-richter scale synchronicity. But don’t take my word for it. Wake up and see what life is like when the “I” dissolves and life lives itself effortlessly through the non-you. This is not to say life is always pleasant. Pain can be here. What is missing is the control knob on the video game remote. All you are left with is the game, playing itself on the screen of life. You are a spectator, you are a game character and you are the screen. It’s pretty darn cool to be everything and nothing, to be the water, the river, the current, the flow, the ocean and the sky.
So there you have it. Six symptoms of waking up from the dream of self. Although some of these symptoms arose in a milder form in the life of Lori Ann before the big shake down of Oct 25th, 2011 (http://theawakeneddreamer.com/2011/11/17/hello-world/), they are now every day features of this life being lived. And unlike symptoms of disease, these are symptoms of the one state we all strive for, a state of ease.
So. I invite you to live a symptom-filled life of non ordinary ease. I invite you to wake up.
Awarenesss is Here,
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