In my early meditation training days I was very fortunate to study with a Taoist meditation master. One of the first things I remember him telling us was that the Taoists do not really believe in being enlightened with a capital E. He told us with some disdain in his voice, that the very idea of there being some final ‘Ah Ha’ moment or a attaining The Brass Ring through meditation ‘levels’ was silly. You should keep having ‘Ah Ha’ experiences the longer you maintain practice. There is no master list for them.
In my book I break with a certain viewpoint among some meditators that you shouldn’t talk about your spiritual experiences. I’ve heard a lot of good supporting ideas as to why you might not want to do that. One of the biggest is: bias. You don’t want to bias new students in meditation into thinking what spiritual experiences should or should not be like. You don’t want to give them expectations because they may either try to mentally manufacture the experience artificially (and incompletely) or feel frustrated that they themselves have not had a similar experience.
Another reason why a person might not want to talk about spiritual events is due to interpretation. Once you talk about it or print it out or define it in words and allow others to read those words, then you open yourself up to their criticism and analysis. I’ve seen this in certain online forums when someone talks about an experience of divinity attained through prayer, everyone and their mother wants to weigh in on it, dissect it, label it or define it ‘properly’ to put it in its place. Everyone seems to have an opinion as to what it ‘means’ and I think it dirties the experience a little when other people walk all over it with their feet like that.
In writing about my own spiritual experiences, I set myself for interpretation and dissection from others. The only official take on it of course, is mine. I know that I can’t stop people from projecting their own bias onto my experience.
I don’t want people getting the wrong impression so, I am saying it now. I am not enlightened and I have not mastered my ego. In fact, between you and me, I think most people have no idea what they are talking about when they say “You still need to work on your ego,” or “Your ego is this that and the other thing,” but let’s leave that for a discussion another time.
If that is what you are looking for, I hear there is a pretty popular European guy who knows something about egos, bliss, and Enlightenment, and has written a few books about it. But understand that I do not know anything about those things. I am not a Buddha of compassion or a Taoist sage.
I don’t radiate compassion for all humanity. I try not to be politically correct if I can avoid it. I am not a saint. I say insensitive things sometimes. I get pissed off at people who are deliberately being offensive. My vibes aren’t so holy that flowers spring up in my footprints and birds alight on my shoulders. I am not like that.
Meditation did not turn me into a peacenik or a hippy. I don’t have sacred reverence for all forms of life. I will kill a mosquito or eat a salmon steak without hesitation and I won’t feel bad about it. I can be fiercely protective of people who are not naturally dominant or ‘switched on’ as the saying goes. Meditation did not make me perfect and I won’t pretend for a second that I am virtuous.
When it comes to anger, I am a passionate and temperamental person. I have a quick temper sometimes, to be sure. But consider that I have not been arrested for assault in years. In the past, I have punched holes in walls in at least a half dozen places I lived at. I haven’t punched anything out of anger or rage in at least fifteen years.
My anger was once so out of control that going two weeks without smashing something into pieces was major progress in self-restraint. I still have scars on my hands from that kind of anger and the resulting damage I caused to myself by striking all manner of objects.
So can I get angry? Sure I can and I do. But it’s human anger now, not a demonic, unquenchable, frightening anger that once unleashed I can’t put back in it’s bottle for hours and days and weeks. Do I have remaining anger still? Yes, I do. I have some anger towards the system that brainwashes parents into forcing or coercing their children into taking psych meds that are known to cause brain and CNS damage. I have ‘activist anger’ or righteous anger or money changer anger or whatever you want to call it. If I didn’t nurture a little bit of activist anger, I would not be able to write powerfully, passionately and persuasively about my concerns.
Please, if you read my book and you are digesting my meditation experiences, do not project attributes to me that I do not possess. When I talk about inner peace, I am talking about something that is qualitative and relative–not absolute. I make no claims other than this: I beat depression and mania too. I don’t have thought broadcasting delusions or paranoia or anxiety any longer. I don’t have PTSD anymore. I have been a pretty happy person in general for the last fifteen years. I am not claiming any more than that.
I am not a mother Theresa reincarnate, I don’t channel love and empathy. I am not always a nice and agreeable person. I know it and I am happy with where I am. I did some good work curing myself of three mental disorders, I am in no hurry to attain ‘higher states’ or better vibrations or new attunements or any of that stuff. I am not working on my ego or anything else.
When the book comes out and you are wondering what it means that I had some meditation experiences, ultimately it’s going to mean what you project onto it that it means. But you have it here in my own words that you should not take it as indicative of some vaunted level of actualization. It was what it was and if I didn’t write about them now, I was going to forget certain details as time caused the incidents to fade in my memory.