Two years ago I had what those of you in consensus reality might refer to as a religious experience. It was brought on by a self imposed abstinence from a number of personal habits, long hours of introspective manual labour, and a strong desire to understand the beliefs of someone I felt very passionately towards. It was an epiphany of love turned inwards and ironically towards everyone and everything.
I spent a whole year trying to understand this moment of clarity. I built this understanding on the foundation of my understanding of christianity, a belief system I had disregarded for an agnostic stance early in my childhood. I refined this understanding through comparative religious, philosophical, and poetic studies. The more I read the further I got from the actual experience that started the whole journey in the first place.
I began searching for the key to how I felt shortly after the experience. I wanted back what I had briefly glimpsed and lost. I knew this was the only goal of any true value. I tried abstinence, I changed eating habits, I exercised, I hid from the world. I searched everywhere outside of myself. I knew deep down that it was love that set me free but I had no idea how. I had lost faith when I lost the woman I loved. I didn't know how to get back there by myself.
I eventually became interested in meditation as I had had good experiences with prayer after the experience. Not prayer to a god off somewhere in the distance but prayer to that part of myself that was beyond my comprehension and connected to the universe in a way I can only begin to understand. I remembered a connection with myself that I hoped I could make again. It was then that I came across Vipassana on the internet and signed up for a ten day course the next day. I had never met anyone who had taken a course but I knew that it was what I was meant to do.
My first course, which began exactly one year after my first moment of clarity, gave me another glimpse. It allowed me to experience much of what I had been reading about over the previous year and solidified my understanding by extending its foundation beyond my intellect. It gave me a technique to use to continue to deepen my understanding. It changed my life not by indoctrinating me with a particular belief system but by giving me an environment and a method to experience myself.
As with my first experience, as time passed my focus was on an intellectual understanding of the experience and the connection I had made with myself weakened. I spent another year continuing to struggle with myself but I had broken free and was on the path to find out. I understood my experiences enough that I knew my answers were not intellectual ones anymore.
I tried to meditate and I tried to maintain awareness forgetting that these are not things you force yourself to do but things you allow yourself to do. Letting go is not accomplished by willing but by unwilling. Over the year I was reminded of this over and over and over again. I learned lesson after lesson. I faced many pains from the past. I got sucked into many old black holes of despair. Each time I clawed myself out I was a little bit stronger.
The last one was the original one; self respect. I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and decided to go back for another ten day course. My goal this time was not to understand but to reconnect. This last time through, one year after the first course and two years after the original experience, was hard. I hit a wall that I knew I needed to walk through but that would require a toll. I crumbled and begged like a child; I acknowledged the past; I promised to always treat myself with the respect I know that I deserve. I loved myself again. This wasn't a verbal dialog, this was communication at a purer level. This was genuine unconditional love.
From that point on I have been connected again. The release I experienced and continue to experience from this connection is unexplainable. I meditate two hours a day and that connection continues to grow stronger. I remain aware of the connection as continuously as possible. We're working things out. I'm working things out. Things are working themselves out.
I'm in love again.