“Those powerful moments of true knowledge that we paper over with daily life… But every so often something shatters like ice and we are in the river of our own existence. We are Aware.” – Louise Erdrich
Have you ever had that experience in a movie theatre, when you are watching a good movie – flowing with the emotions, leaning forward to know what happens next – and the reel snaps. The screen goes blank. Maybe a collective groan rises. The lights come on and you blink and look around with an awareness of yourself sitting in a row of seats in a movie hall.
Sometimes, my brother and mentor GD reminded everyone in a recent Sunday session talk, Consciousness appears to pulls the plug on our life-movie too. It feels painful and heart-breaking. But is it really so?
When Consciousness wants to awaken to itself, GD said, it often starts dismantling your life. When Consciousness wants to be fully present, fully embodied in your system, it will not let anything work. Work starts failing, relationships start failing, health starts failing. The mind panics and starts putting all kinds of band-aids to fix the cracks. But if you’re lucky, nothing will work…
I remembered the time in GD’s own life when, despite his undeniable creative talent, nothing seemed to work out. Everything he tried ended in failure, and he was literally forced to explore meditation and the deepest aspects of his psyche. Most friends told him he was wasting his youth in spiritual pursuits. And it was truly a difficult period, complete with a sense of depression and lost-ness.
It took many years for the ‘dismantling’ and ‘reassembling’ to settle down completely. But today, as a result of that, he has that quiet glow which attracts people to him for healing and clarity. Had he continued down the career path he so much wanted, he would probably have been a successful advertising executive today. But something even more precious than that would never have emerged.
“This is important to know,” GD says in hindsight, “because we all resist the dismantling of our life. We keep asking and praying for something new – but when the old is being taken away, we fight, scream, therapeutize, we hate ourselves and God, and we judge our spiritual path also. But what if this dismantling is the exact answer to your prayers?”
Disappointments and failures, in these days of DIY abundance & affirmations, are seen as signs of inadequate spiritual practice or faulty manifestation. But I remember that three years ago, it was a slip disc that finally pushed me to make the painful decision to quit the only life I knew, that of a highly paid full-time corporate executive.
When I told GD I was writing a blog on this subject, he showed it to me through a different lens: “Consciousness – your true nature – is inherently Freedom. So when the time comes, it will start breaking down all the situations, relationships and beliefs that limit Itself. It will make the job dissatisfying… it will make the marriage dissatisfying. That is Consciousness wanting to break out, wanting to be fully Itself, completely unfettered by the mind.
“So this simple process of Consciousness coming into its own feels like a breakdown of your life. But actually it’s an expansion of you, it’s the process of becoming more fully You. A time comes when Consciousness wants to break out of every box created by the mind. It will break every self-definition and limitation you have created – so you can be something much bigger and vaster.”
I wanted to put this out for all those who may be going through this phase or feel the pain of a loved one going through it. As a reminder that when the movie-reel stops, heart-wrenching as it feels, it is also the wake-up call you had set for yourself: to remember that you were never the movie.