Quiet Peaceful Place
For as long as I can remember, all the way back to early childhood, I have taken refuge in the quiet peaceful place. The place where the world could not reach and nothing really matters. The safety of this place was my survival through a lot of emotional turbulence in my upbringing. When I look back at it now, I see that retreating to this place made it impossible to find fulfilment anywhere else, as hard as I tried.
There was a deep inner longing that pushed me into spiritual searching, as I believed there was something missing. I tried to make the pieces fit hoping someday all would be well.
I joined Christianity and studied the bible. I had some “religious” experiences, but they did not really rub off on my daily life. I also had a hard time accepting the judgmental attitude that was very much part of this community.
During my college years there was sex and drugs and rock and roll.
Yoga and Meditation
After my college years I started yoga and meditation and lived in an Ashram for several years. I got well acquainted with altered states of consciousness and had many energetic experiences, but still something was missing. I was teaching yoga and meditation and had a lot of students, but my personal life was a mess and below the apparent easygoing personality, there was a deep feeling of loneliness and a longing for peace.
In 2004 I started a 2 year training course in spiritual therapy. My intention was to learn to get more in touch with, and understand, my emotions. I felt that these emotions were running my life. I could see that the spiritual idealism and arrogance had made me suppress and deny my personality and human side. It was time to get my “hands dirty”, so to speak.
During this training I started to get a real taste and a remembrance of the stillness of my childhood. A stillness or peace that is not just a state, but that is always here. This revealed itself to me very clearly when I was working in depth with the death process. There was no doubt about it. It also made me realize that understanding the emotions and becoming better at expressing them, instead of suppressing them, actually didn’t make much difference. Same game, different clothing.
Desperate For Guidance
When this training was finished in 2006 I was almost desperate for guidance, as to how to permanently live from this place of peace and embody this. To realize it and to see it was not enough. It was like one side of the coin was missing. I was isolating myself from other people and it felt like everything I did was just some kind of covering over the pain, longing, and discontentment inside. I knew that nothing but the truth could give peace. What I see now was that trying to hold on to the stillness and trying to be in this transcendental place, made me feel very separated from it, everything else, and everybody.
In December of 2006 I accidentally stumbled across Elysha on the internet, and from that moment on I knew that my search was over. He said there was something I could do. I knew that doing nothing, as the Advaita teachers often say, just had me going on doing the same as I have always done. I got all the material I could get and was in frequent email contact and Elysha responded. For the first time in my life I felt supported in a very true sense and decided to go visit the Ashram (now the True Nature Centre) and sit with him for 4 weeks. I practised the “Meditation with Elysha” CD several hours a day and was very inspired. This meditation was not a chore for me, but brought me back to remembering who we are and it felt like a celebration.
When I look back at this now I see that the practise helped me stay focused and made me see the already-ness of who we truly are. From this place I got a much clearer view of all that I got “lost” in.
Taken In By Life Circumstances
Still I got taken in by life circumstances, but I was seeing it more clearly and was able to see it and drop it, which made it pass through a lot faster. It actually made me experience very clearly that the peace is always here, but still I kept adding to it. This was clearly not at all a self-improvement plan, but a way to let go of the whole mind-body package and just come to a deep at-rest-ment within the dance of life.
This was so totally different than watching the thoughts!
The witness stance that I had developed during my searching years was certainly less painful than being totally involved in the arising experiences of life. But it had become very dry and almost depressing to stay there. I had a lot of energetic experiences through yoga and meditation prior to meeting Elysha. But it got even stronger through all my new meditation and sittings, and my body was shaking a lot, especially at night. I was afraid to meditate as the deep states would enhance the shaking and I was afraid it would go out of control. This energy was difficult to sit with and it brought out fear and resistance. I see now that at times I also indulged in it and believed it to be “important”. During my first visit to the True Nature Centre the energy was an “issue”.
I can see now that I believed this strong energy to be the fruit of who we are. When Elysha was speaking of the molten honey and the aliveness, etc, I really thought I was on to something and really missed the mark. I believed that I was being more in touch with who we are when the energy was really going. As this happened whenever I meditated, it reassured this illusion and a lot of spiritual books I had read (and the kundalini yoga and meditation I had practised, etc.) give a lot of praise to these high energetic, blissful states.
Addicted To Excitement
I see now that the addiction to excitement, emotional drama, and these energetic states has been a big “trap” and hard not to cling to. I thought this was being alive and felt lost and naked without the restlessness. At the same time I longed for peace!
After my first visit to the True Nature Centre I really wanted to come back and visit for a longer period of time. As well as sitting at the Centre I had a longing for communal living and missed the company of others who were on the same path as me. There is so much fraud and emotional “violence” in the spiritual community, and the dedication and love of the group in Patea made me consider to come back to live there permanently, and commit myself to the group that way.
I went back to stay for 3 months in 2008. A lot of changes were happening to the group during this time, and it was a perfect time for my stay and clarified a lot for me. I think the most important thing was to find and verify the ever present still-point (not the aliveness) and get the help and confirmation to trust it. There were a lot of energy and shakings in the body. But now I began to just let it be, even if it were to last for the rest of this life (as Julie would say) and sink below it and find the stillness. That was a great release.
Pointing Me Back To See For Myself
During my stay Julie was always pointing me back to see for myself and not just giving fixed answers. These inquiries and leaving things open were so important to make me start to trust what is natural and obvious in the moment. It stopped me from believing in how I thought it ought to be or should be. There were so many ideas and ideals from my upbringing and spiritual conditioning. The mind can be a very tricky business and hard to see when in the midst of it. The Sedona method was also a great tool to help release when the heat was on. I saw very clearly that our true nature is already a done deal in every moment, but to be it and live it is a different story.
At some point, soon after my return back home, something turned and it was not something I did. It was like instead of living outside looking in, or retreating into stillness whenever I remembered to do so, the stillness started to look out (always has of course). What the person Karuna is doing is actually irrelevant, and that is the whole point. This movement and activity does not try to stop or have a judgement about anything.
Making the mind or anything else the bad guy, or having a personal agenda is such a struggle. Being what is already stopped, and not in fight with any part of manifestation, is the love that at some point became obvious when it entered the picture. Even not fighting with the fight, so to speak. When less energy is given to the struggle, this love seems to grow in me and I have no idea of the vastness of this. It is totally ungraspable.
A Different Perspective
In one way it seems to me that seldom do we take the inquiry far enough. It is easy to stop when we start feeling good or when the pieces begin to fit. To believe that what arises has anything more or less to do with the heart is such a limitation. To see and deep down realize that everything just is as it is because it is, no matter what the voice in the head has to say about, it is such a different perspective.
It is like trying to fit life into a square hole, and believe that things are right when it fits (according to the beliefs) and wrong when it doesn’t. I have spent so many years performing yoga and meditation trying to make life fit, and feel now that the fight is over. Even though resistance still occurs life is such a blessing.
So I am out of the desert and in love with life.
The short version of this story is that Elysha and Julie were there with such wonderful clarity and spiritual wisdom when it was really needed. A huge amount of gratefulness awoke in my heart through the continuing support and guidance from Elysha and Julie. This is a blessing and the biggest gift of it all. All else is secondary.