reply to post by Brown Bear
My apologies, I misinterpreted a line from your original response to my earlier post. Specifically, this one:
Perhaps a progression of events on your personal Spiritual Path? With a time frame as well?
When somebody asks me to recount how I got from point A to point B spiritually, it doesn't usually imply "tell me a little about what you do".
Typically, when I am asked to explain every step I took, it is because someone thinks if they do everything that I did they will end up where I am;
that just isn't how it works. So, again, sorry that I misinterpreted your original intent. Seeing as you have clarified, I'll do the same.
If you want to know the steps I took, and how long it took me to get to where I am, I'll give you a brief outline. It started when I first was taught
how to read by my parents, and then "officially" taught in grade-school. After I learned to read primary education level books (Dr. Seuss and the
like) my dad introduced me to cryptozoology, the paranormal, and the supernatural via books by famous paranormal investigators (Loren Coleman, Jerome
Clarke, John Keel, and others). It was while reading John Keel's "The Mothman Prophecies" that I first got the idea in my head that "unknown
territory still exists in our world; we don't know how everything fits together just yet."
The rest of primary school introduced me to very basic mathematical, social science, and scientific concepts, which I enjoyed more and more as each
grade passed. I was, in short, supporting two loves: on one hand was my love for the mathematical and scientific understanding of the Universe and
people; while on the other I was continually seeking answers to the questions posed by the existence of unknown beings, odd animals, and paranormal
experiences. When I entered 6th grade (what we call "Middle School" here) I got a breath of relief in the support of a literature teacher who saw me
thinking and reading on a much higher level than the other students. Her name was Ms. Strand, and she said that as long as I completed the daily
course work, she'd allow me to cater my other literary interests. Special treatment, yes, I know.
During that year I read voraciously; anything and everything I could. Fiction, non-fiction, the Bible, historical fiction, biographies, and more. Ms.
Strand would stay after school hours frequently and talk with me about what I was reading, helping me to grasp the concept of unexplainable phenomenon
more thoroughly. It was because of her encouragement that I started talking with a man named Jacobi, a science teacher at the school, about how
science plays into all of this. That moment was the first "sign" for me, my moment of Waking Up. Jacobi and Strand steered me towards exploring
alternative history, science, philosophy, whatever interesting books we could find.
During my Middle School years I began reading religious tomes: the Bible, the Koran, a collection on the Dharma as issued by the Buddha, and thanks to
my dad and a small resale bookshop he knew of I was able to get collections of various world mythologies. I began to notice similarities in mythology
(like the Rites of Osiris and Tammuz, or the Descent of Ishtar and the myth of Demeter and Persephone, etc
), and religious histories (multiple
flood stories, a "naval" / "tree" of the world, etc
). The things I was reading were blowing my mind, and I wanted to know more, and more. I
was Waking Up with quite a hunger.
So, I began to meditate, following an outline from the Buddha (which I still use as a cornerstone, see my Meditation thread on ATS linked in my
profile). I was really hoping to meditate my way to some form of connection with some kind of angel, or god, or other divine being. I was still young
though, and still in school for 9 hours a day (I worked in the middle school with the shop teacher, helping him get everything set in the mornings so
he could direct traffic), which meant that I didn't have the time required to devote myself to these things. I was trying to feed my mind, but it
wasn't working out so well.
And then, just shy of my fourteenth birthday is when I had my Mystical Moment. It came in the form of a girl, a wandering Shamaness (my word for a
female-shaman) who was staying-over in my town. I happened to meet her by chance while visiting the land my family used to live on. She was using the
woods out there as a habitat for her Hanblečeya
. That word is what the Sioux called their Spirit Quest, where they lament their existence
until the Ancestors, or gods, or spirits give them entreaty. She didn't know my family used to own the land she was using, and I stumbled upon her
make-shift hut. This was my first moment of satori
, or clarity. Here was someone not much older than I (she was 17) who was seeking the same
things I was, but who was further along the path than myself. Our first meeting was filled with an air that I still can't quite make sense of:
familiarity, comfort, compassion, and much deeper emotions: liebestod I believe is an adequate word for some of it. The "Moment" was our first
"touch" done during shared meditation in which I saw—whether imagined or not—some form of the grief and life she had lived.
I don't know what she experienced during her Lamentation, but she agreed to help me path-work through the early stages of spiritual awakening. It was
under her guidance that I began to meditate successfully, while also unlocking deeper dream states, and understanding the "metaphors in life" as she
called them. I also graduated from Middle School and entered my High School years, so education also opened up to allow me to openly study philosophy
and mythology and history and earth science and so much more. I spent my freshman year doing three things:
1) Going to campus every day at 6:45 am to free-study and free-read before class. Then going to class from 8 until 3:15.
2) I would walk from campus at 3:15 to a mutual meeting place her and I had set up about 20 minutes away. I would then work with her 5 days a week
from roughly 4 until 5:30 on whatever the subject happened to be: mythology, religion, the Buddha, science, Mystery Schools, whatever she was working
on or that I was curious to know about.
3) I would then walk home (or get picked up in the Winter) and have dinner with my family before using the evenings to see friends, see girlfriends,
complete school work, etc. I would then sleep and repeat.
That was one of the most productive years of my life.
She died in September, a little over a year after I had met her (I suspect her Lamentation was concerning this). I was broken, having lost a friend,
and a teacher, and my Guide. She left me her collection of books, religious trinkets, her journal, and more (all of which I still possess). So my real
reason for waking up and seeking Enlightenment? Because she took her last year of life, a time she could have devoted to anything, and she devoted it
to me, and helping me quench my thirst for answers and understanding. I continued to read everything I could find (philosophy, mythology, science,
history, religious books, and more) while trying to practice techniques she had taught me.
But it still wasn't enough, I wasn't content with just reading and learning. I was ashamed that I was doing it for only myself, because she had
chosen to open up and share her world with me. I decided to seek out like-minded individuals at my school, and see if I could find other people
walking my path so we could walk it together. And I did. Some of them became close friends, some of them studied and fell away to drugs and other
vices, some are on ATS right now, some explored and didn't like it so they left. We caused a little stir though, enough so that an unsanctioned
after-school club was formed where we invited all people—for, again, intellectual, burn-out, whoever—to come and study and learn and experiment
That little meeting held every Thursday after school in the cafeteria is where I started to learn about the non-spiritual side of life. People
interested in psychology brought their views on religion and spirituality, people interested in empirical science started reading about Quantum Theory
and asking questions, and on and on. We were a melting pot, with me and a female-friend of mine at the head. So I started reading and learning about
all things so that I could answer questions and lead discussions the next week about the topics posed. Time and time again I experienced little
moments of epiphany where science and mysticism seemed to overlap, and moments of satori
where some bit of information opened personal insight
When graduation came we all went our separate ways, some studying science, some psychology, some religion, some math and engineering. Even though we
had all gone different ways we kept the Collective (our name for our band) alive though. As we went further and further away we picked up new
interested individuals. Every time we met for recesses we would all get together for a weekend and the exchange became communal. Everyone working off
of what everyone else brought to the table.
And to this day that is how we still operate. It doesn't matter if you're Wicca, or an Occult initiate, a Buddhist, a Christian Mystic, or a science
guy. We invite you all, and we all share in the experiences and lessons you have to offer. We fill each other up, continuously. None of us are fully
enlightened, and we never will be in this single life; but none of us can ever go back to sleep.
I'm twenty-two now. My path to spiritual enlightenment has been an almost life-long progression. And I am no where near done yet. I'm really just
beginning. So, if you want to know what I did, I got lucky and found some great people to help me out along the way. I watched the only person I've
loved so far in life lead me to a point and then retire herself. I started a collection of interested minds and encouraged thinking and questioning.
And I never stopped moving forward. That is the key. When you think you've got it all figured out, take another step and see how everything
So, do I have an Ego? Yeah, I do. I never said I was a practitioner of one of those anti-ego spiritual routes. And do I misinterpret things? Am I
fallible? Yes, I am. That's part of being human: the ability to grow and learn and make mistakes. Am I proud of what I have become and done? Yeah.
I hope this post has been more directed towards answers you were looking for, Brown Bear. And to the OP, a thousand apologies for hijacking your
thread momentarily with this post. I'll do my best to bring my next one back in line with your original topic again.
~ Wandering Scribe