When I started this blog, I was mostly reveling in my existence as spirit. What I learned since then is that it really matters how you enter enlightenment to how this state unfolds.
I came into enlightenment from a deepseated desire to leave the world behind. So, after realizing this state, my connection with the world was rapidly dissolving. My physical existence was shutting down and I was fine with that. The body and the dynamics of life seemed loud and disturbed, and I just wanted to feel existence as spirit.
Maybe some would have left their bodies at that point and moved on. I, on some level, made the decision to dive fully into my body-mind and into the world. It was tempting to move beyond, but it was not what I came here to do.
When people say “what I came here to do,” I often hear some grandiose plans to impact the world on a large scale. That’s not what I mean when I say it. Our very life, in itself, has value and is meaningful aside from our interconnections and perceived impact on other lives. If this were not true, then the lives of people who isolate from others due to medical conditions or preference would be invalid, and – of course – that’s absurd.
So, what I came here to do is to weave my awareness as spirit with my body-mind, and move that union-in-progress into the world. This means raising two children, working a job, cleaning the house, cooking, participating in friendships, and taking care of my body – and everything this entails. Now, for someone with a generally normal upbringing, these things are a given. In my case, coming from years of childhood trauma that only resurfaced later in life, very few things in life are “a given.” I have to work harder to participate with a body-mind that has lived through its past.
I dove into it all with full awareness…. You may know that childhood trauma resets the body/brain chemistry to be in continuous fight-flight mode. Being with PTSD in my body is not easy – there is a constant burning in my chest that is anxiety and the brain-stem replays visual and emotional flashbacks. I have been witnessing these, feeling these as deeply as I can, and allowing whatever comes up to release. I guess what I am doing people call Mindfulness, but it’s just natural for awareness to be aware without judgment or blocking out whatever is there.
Here is my body, with all of its impacted processes set in motion. The effects were cumulative over the years and compounded by my inability to cope with whatever “present” came thereafter. According to my doctor, I have a “disability.” However, I choose to see it as a challenge.
The trauma precipitated my fybromyalgia – there is research to support that having fybromyalgia is common for trauma victims. As a result, my body gets tired easily and is in some level of pain 24/7. During flareups, the pain gets beyond the point where medication can help. Also, when my PTSD really flared up, I had “psychosomatic seizures,” which caused me to lose consciousness even at work.
Certainly, my body needs more rest than most people and a quieter lifestyle. I have to consciously ration my energy because, if I overdo it, it may take me days to recover. I’ve also discovered that fasting helps me a lot, as well as eating only fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. I can’t eat any breads or processed foods, not do I crave these anymore.
Due to budget cuts, I’ve been recently laid off from my teaching job. I am also still going through the process of my divorce. The only way through to being a single mom for me is returning to the private sector and leaving teaching. Given that I am constrained to live in my current area for the stability of my kids, where there are no careers for my previous experience, I have to retrain and start from scratch. This is the “world” part of “spirit and world.” This is the reality of my life.
Contrary to common beliefs in spiritual circles that “you can manifest your life to be whatever you want” – usually health, wealth, and soul mates – this is not how real life typically works. We are all interconnected at the deepest levels and it is impossible to wish a private haven for oneself – we are all in the arena together with whatever hand we are dealt. The most profound gift of spirit to world is resilience, grit, and the uncanny ability to keep getting back up.
So, I’m getting back up yet again, but maybe more slowly and with lots of breaks. I’ve signed up for courses to retrain for a different career, got in touch with colleagues from previous jobs to network, and overhauled my resume for three potential career tracks (with teaching as a last resort, in case nothing else comes up in a couple of months). Teaching is a very tiring job for me and I’d rather not do it, given my condition. That’s “world” guided by spirit.
Amidst all of this, I am ever at peace. I have no idea what life will bring my way next. It’s possible everything will be swept away like a sandcastle in the rising tide, or I may land on my feet world-wise and continue to support my children. All I know is that I am not sitting on my ass and waiting – I am taking the best actions I can with what I’ve got and still living as spirit.
It would have been easier to drop my damaged body-mind and move forward – surrender to the indescribable bliss of being. But, my life has not been about doing what’s easy for me. That’s not a judgement about a better or worse way to live, but simply a statement about my own life. I know I came here to break the mould that spiritual life is all about meditation, yoga, essential oils, and self-pampering – although these things are nice. If that view of spirituality were true, a spiritual life would only be for a very tiny percentage of the world!
Spirit is everyone, and it is this spirit that is moving more deeply into the physicality of the world – regardless of how the mind chooses to judge our circumstances. Spirit elevates life. To spirit, circumstances are irrelevant – it doesn’t rate life with “Like” emojis. What the body and mind call pain, sadness, misfortune, and suffering, spirit sees with compassion (which is not the same as “sympathy”).
However, it is non-trivial to weave spirit and body-mind together – it requires intention and perseverance. For me, continuing my deep-dive into life – into my body-mind, for which I feel much compassion – will probably be the most difficult thing I do with my brief life spark. And yet, I know it is the right thing – to embrace all of existence in my being while simultaneously transcending.