A reader of the blog I write shared with me his spiritual experience, which 'changed it' for him. He was watching Eckhart Tolle and Bradley Holowitz from Google have a conversation about information technology and mindfulness and how they could work together.
"Eckhart has a very peaceful demeanor and the way he talks and brings his thoughts forward really resonates with me and I was really focused on what he was saying in the video. He mentioned something like 'the moment that is occurring right now is the only moment that ever existed and ever will exist.' There something happened for me, everything in my surroundings kind of came to life, paintings, guitars, the bed I was laying on, my clothes, breathing etc, and I felt an extended 'spatial awareness' of the things around me. I was no longer outside my body, trapped in thoughts, trapped in this movie that was/is my life which has been repeating since as long as I could remember.
"This moment lasted for maybe 2-3 seconds, but that was enough, the light was switched on and I could not turn it off again.
"There is a word in Zen Buddhism that, to my knowledge, is called Satori or Kensho, which I think applies to that moment. It is an awakening, or an insight into one's true nature.
"The day after I felt very peaceful and I had to tell everyone about it! But how could I ever describe this feeling? For me this was the essence of mindful (less) ness, this was the observer, completely detached from my own thoughts, just being in the moment and not putting labels on anything, no judging, no thoughts, just pure awareness.
"No one understood what I was talking about obviously, since none of my friends or family is really into this sort of 'thing' which for me is the most interesting subject of them all since it is primordial to everything, ever.
"I haven't had that powerful feeling again, but for me that is ok. Thinking about wanting it or needing it would be counter-productive, because in the now there is no wanting, there is no need, it just is. My intellectual 'self' obviously wants to be 'there' all the time... Knowing that I have thoughts and seeing them, observing them without judgement and just letting them pass like clouds on a blue sky, knowing that the awareness in itself is the observer and that is who I am..." - Linus
Linus was 'triggered' into expanded awareness by being 'really focused' as he heard the words, "the moment that is occurring right now is the only moment that ever existed and ever will exist."
Each time I have had an experience of expanded awareness, an awakening, there has been a trigger preceding it.
My experiences have been triggered mostly by a shift in my internal 'energy.' Preferences, expectations, outcomes, all dissolve into 'what is' when my conditioned mind yields to being-ness, the moment, the flow. Then it is not what I do but how I do it - the quality of attention I put into each action. Changing the outhouse bucket is an act of grace which makes me smile, and is no less appealing or important than anything else I do.
When defensiveness arises and I observe it neutrally or with humor, or resistance wells up and I soften to allow compassion, I shift from the conditioned to the liberated mind.
Recently, I was preparing to spend the day with a family member visiting from out of state. My personality would rather have continued with the focus it was on. However, it was an opportunity to soften my resistance and yield to compassion - an aspect of the One Being. At the end I was deeply grateful for the gift of the day and the expansion of consciousness and love that grew between the family member, who is another expression of Self, and me.
As another example, a few years ago I had this experience in Andalusia:
At the Banjos in Alhama de Granada, the hot springs in the Spanish countryside flow out of the hills into three tiers of rock-lined pools, then into an icy stream.
I was enjoying the relaxing warmth of the lower pool when I noticed that a large woman in the upper pool was shaving the hair under her arms, and the hairs were floating in the current to the lower pools.
My first body reaction was to tighten in resistance. Then the words rose inside me, "It's all atoms." I relaxed and allowed that to sink in, giving assent, and expanded beyond the pools with the realization that the atoms of the underarm hairs are no more repulsive than the leaves and the earth. It was only the meaning that I had given it, based on old patterns, that had caused the reaction.
The charge of the resistance was gone. I could embrace the whole, and enjoy a relaxed soak in the hot pool.
In the rolling countryside where we were in southern Spain,
People go to natural pools to soak and ease their pain.
Hot springs gush from the mountain and pools form into three tiers.
It seems these mineral waters wash away the dirt and fears.
For on a Sunday morning we visited the pools
And folks were in the water, these people are no fools.
We were in a lower pool with people up above,
And as the water streamed from them I was thinking of
The fact we got the water of two pools where people soaked
So I kept one eye on them as they sat and laughed and joked.
I enjoyed the country freshness of the Spanish morning air
Until I saw a woman shave under arm her hair.
And somehow I was bothered that the hairs were flushing down
Into my pool of water and then were floating 'round.
But as my indignation rose up in self-defense,
I heard my inner voice say "Let go of your pretense.
"Relax and feel your body and enjoy the natural beauty.
Remember It's All Atoms and fighting's not your duty.
"Don't judge the heavy woman as she shaves her underarm.
The hairs are also atoms and they will do no harm."
And as my judgment eased something magical occurred.
The songs of songbirds lifted, ones before I had not heard.
I saw the light upon the water, heard the sound of waterfall
And the colors were much brighter, I was more present to it all.
And from that day whenever my resistance tries to rise,
I remember It's All Atoms, and see life with laughing eyes.