There is a free meditation course starting today by Sounds True, called “Waking Up.” There will be thirty different guest speakers, some of whom you may be familiar with. After May 31st, I think the series will be offline, but you can buy the whole series if you wish.
Today’s guest was Adyashanti. I heard of him before but never listened to him speak or read his books. This time he was asked about his “awakening” experience, which made me think about my spiritual path. After his interview was over, I thought about how many times I had an awakening but had trouble remembering. I know there were times I dabbled in spiritual rituals, but I don’t think I really practiced anything on a daily basis. On different occasions throughout my life, I went through the motions of a spiritual practice, like observing the full moon and burning incense, but I don’t think my practice became a part of “me.”
I went to church on occasion but afterwards I went back to what I thought was my “real” life the rest of the week. I dabbled in Tarot and read books about Goddess worship. Mostly I enjoyed learning and reading about it, but that’s about it.
There was one time though, when I lived in San Francisco that I am comfortable calling an “awakening.” It was my first one. A friend was downsizing and moving into a much smaller apartment and he couldn’t bring along his bookcase. He asked if I would keep it for him, along with his collection of books. I agreed and a few days later his large wooden book shelf arrived. His books were packed in boxes. I put the books on the shelf and glanced at some of the titles. There were a variety of books, mostly what I now call spiritual, although at the time, I didn’t know that.
A couple of weeks later, I got curious to find out what these books were about, so I started reading. I say curious, but if I’m honest, I felt the books were calling to me. I know it sounds crazy but when I sat in my apartment, I kept feeling this sensation or urging to go to the book shelf and pick up a book, any book, and start reading. So I did. It was like a light bulb turned on inside my head. I read book after book. The words I read on those pages made sense to me. I meditated at home. I visited different churches to see if they offered anything similar to what I was reading. Soon I found the Zen Center. It felt like I was home as soon as I entered their building.
Over the next few years I went there every week to sit Zazen and recite the Heart Sutra. I practiced at home and read books about Buddhism and parts of the Bhagavad Gita.
Then hubby and I left the City and moved to Chico.
Chico is a nice town but offers nothing in the way of Buddhist meditation or at least I didn’t find anything. Meditating at the Zen Center is a tough act to follow (in my opinion) no matter where you live. Eventually I stopped meditating and went back to my old life. Instead of cultivating my spirit, I had a small booth in an antique mall which I enjoyed running. I still enjoy looking for vintage things.
A couple of years later we moved to Southern California and again I looked for Buddhist meditation groups. I found a couple but nothing that kept my interest. Then I discovered the Internet. Actually, I already had a computer in Chico but I was busy looking at vintage collectible themed blogs and sold a few things on eBay. I guess It never dawned on me to look up spiritual blogs… until I got a cancer diagnosis. My whole world turned upside down. I don’t know how I found the book, You Can Heal Your Life, but it helped kick start my second “awakening” and this time is stuck.
I understood that if I wanted to be healthy again and stay that way, I had to nourish my spirit. I read blogs and watched videos. I meditated. My essence changed and for the better. I feel more balanced. My skeptical brain still asks questions and that’s ok. Its a part of me that I’m comfortable with. I know I won’t follow someone blindly and that I am my own Guru, although there are plenty of teachers from different perspectives who give me lots to think about.
Each day I work on being open to all possibilities when it comes to the “unknown.” This series will be helpful because there are so many guest speakers who may offer different points of view about the same topic… spirituality, at least that’s what I’m hoping.
A friend told me once that spirituality is like ice cream, it comes in many flavors. I think that’s a good way to look at it.