We try so hard to overcome separateness with others. More intimacy. More rubbing of bodies. More exchanging of ideas. But always it’s as if you are yelling out of your room and I am yelling out of mine. Even trying to get out of the room invests the room with a reality. Who am I? The room that the mind built.
We spend so much effort to get out of something that didn’t exist until we created it. Something that is gone in a moment. We’ve all had moments when there was no room. But we freaked. Or explained it away, ignored it, or let it pass by.
We each come out again and again. We turn and look and realize we’re out – and panic. We run back in the room, close the door, panting heavily. Now I know where I am. I’m back home. Safe. No matter how squalid the room is, no matter how unmade the bed, no matter how many bugs are crawling around the kitchen. Safe.
These moments appear again and again in our lives. For many people, it first comes as a glimpse into other states of consciousness brought about by emotional trauma, drugs, sex, nature, or a love affair. This glimpse reveals to the person that there is something more. That he or she isn’t exactly who he or she thought.
You may link these moments with the conditions out of which they arose. Perhaps it’s the moment of sexual orgasm when you transcend self-consciousness. Perhaps it’s a moment of trauma, of extreme danger when you “forget yourself.” Perhaps it’s when you are out in the woods away from people and you let down your defences, loosen the boundaries of your self-consciousness. Perhaps when you are lazing by a stream. Perhaps when you are sitting quietly with friends you trust and love.
For surfers it is the moment when they come into equilibrium with the incredible force of the wave. For skiers it is when the balance is perfect. When our skills fit the demand perfectly, then there is no anxiety. Then we have proved ourselves. There is nothing left to do. In that moment our awareness expands.
– Ram Dass
Photo by Andrea via Flickr. Used under the creative commons license.