Continued from Into the Light – Part I

My commitment was pure. The first night in Rishikesh, I meditated for hours in the cold by the river. Any sight of light became intoxicating, particularly the morning shimmers on the surface of the pristine Ganga.

sriramakrishnaI had been reading The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, and he said to avoid “women” and “gold.” I was less interested in what to avoid and more interested in positively identifying life’s genuine treasures. I concluded that both innocence and love were two of these treasures. Intuitively, I also began to feel that ananda, or pure spiritual bliss, was a third, and that I had been so used to suffering in my life that I had to prepare myself to allow this happiness to enter.

diwaliI left Rishikesh for Benares as I had decided I wanted to be in Benaras for Diwali, and was a little disappointed to find that all the candles and diyas that I imagined would be lighting up all the homes were now replaced by electric lights and unsubtle fireworks.

Benaras, or Varanasi, was a special place to me – a place I had visited on my first trip to India at age 18 – a place so diverse with spiritual devotion that it made me stop and stay. This time, I sat on the ghats in meditation and prayer. I didn’t know much about meditation, but quickly and intuitively developed a process.

I came to India to get rid of the old me. And so I worked on letting go of the old with force and deliberation. I tried to gather myself and exhale it all away. Conceptually, I was able to give up most everything, but hesitated giving up my care for other beings and my responsibilities to Loveleen.

In trying to gather all of me, I quickly found myself in touch with my body and all the knots and blockages that I had within. I felt as though it was necessary to clear away all of these impurities and so went at it with a vengeance. This whole process was highly intuitive, but I felt as if my lowest chakra was completely clogged up. I psychically worked to break through these blockages with concentrated attention, love, and through the use of reiki. I imagined this space to be like a tunnel that traveled down for a long distance and then out of the body into infinite space. Once the blockage was unclogged, this tunnel then seemed to be covered with filth and neglect. I spent a lot of time working to clean this whole passage and after much work, the vision had changed into a pristine tunnel lined with candles.

Traveling through this tunnel enabled me to connect with my own innocence. I consciously worked to regress further and further to a point of purer and purer states of me. Anytime I felt any trace of identity, it meant that I hadn’t gone far enough. I was looking for the me that exists without me – that existed before I was born – the me without any ego whatsoever.

Finding this was hard, but eventually I tapped into a very pure state of being.

At the same time, my love and compassion for all living beings in the universe was extraordinary. In all honesty, the real motivation for my trip was to surrender myself for the good of all. I prayed for all forms of life, whether near or far, past, present, or future, and wished great happiness and enlightenment for us all.

sarnath02One morning, I went to the ghats and prayed. This prayer was deeply sincere and I was able to connect with an extreme purity within. Later that day, I took a bus to Sarnath nearby, where the Buddha gave his first teaching after attaining enlightenment. Though I had been there before, this time I was very moved by the solidness of the monument that had been built for him. It was as if the massiveness of his teachings could be felt by the weight of this structure. There was a tree nearby and I felt that this was my time to sit and awaken.

I smiled at the children nearby for a while and then closed my eyes and went inward. A fly landed right on my “third eye” chakra and stayed there. I tapped into the innocence within. I then connected with my love and felt that the pathway from the lowest chakra to my heart was fully opened. I worked on clearing the energy through my neck and up in my head. I remembered a prayer from Meister Eckhart that said:

“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

With the same focus I had placed on breaking up the blockages in my lower chakra, I worked on clearing the channels to allow the ananda to flow from Above, through my head, through my neck, to my heart, and through the rest of my body. I prayed for all living beings and concentrated.

I could feel the light start to enter and I repeated to myself: “Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.” The purity and intensity started to build up and in an unexpected moment, a complete calm took over. Everything came into complete alignment as the Ananda, the heart, and the innocence all merged together as one. People often think of Enlightenment as a great thing, and that is the great mistake. It is a very humble thing.

buddha02_2I sat in a space of profound truth and sincerity, where the “I” had now been successfully let go and all that was left was something universal and perfect. After just a few moments with everything in perfect alignment, something happened. Somehow I saw a white light spirit figure leave my body and unlock each chakra one by one. I felt my crown chakra open and felt a wide ring encircle the top of my head like a halo. An enormous flow of light, the size of a great and powerful waterfall, poured from the Heavens through a now fully opened crown chakra, through my whole body and out into the infinite. I knew that my prayers for everyone were being answered.

Later, as I walked away from that spot, I knew that something extraordinary had just happened.  I left behind an earring I had found that looked like a perfect gem on top of a leaf along with a flower. Before this day, I never really knew whether the Dalai Lama was indeed an Ocean of Wisdom or just a figurehead. For some reason, at this moment, I was left with the specific and powerful impression that ‘now I know what it’s like to be the Dalai Lama.’