maggie-carterI’m not sure when the whole “seeking” thing started for me. My best guess is that it began in 1984 in the midst of a divorce. Prior to that time I was oblivious.  I was just attempting to lead a happy life and failing miserably. I had no clue who I was and never thought about it. I had never heard the words “enlightenment” or “spirituality” and had thrown out all religions.

After the divorce I was faced with the intense and strong emotions that come when your world falls apart and I didn’t like it at all. Emotions could no longer be controlled or held at bay. I went into therapy, read every self-help book I could put my hands on and then started with a couple of “easy spiritual” books..

Tara Singh, a teacher of the Course in Miracles, introduced me to the various teachers from India. When I saw the photo of Ramana Maharshi and looked into his eyes I was struck with the most intense sense of longing I can possibly describe. “I want to know what he Knows!!” came loud and clear. I had no clue what that meant or where that would lead me but I knew to follow.

The longing to realize Truth for myself kept me immersed in a search. I became what I call a “mono-maniac with a mission” without knowing a thing about what the “mission” really was and no clue about what would be required along the way. Life supported me by providing the situations and circumstances that were needed so I could “dive in” again and again to see what is really true.

I attended a variety of retreats and workshops and read dozens of books. I spent time with Tara Singh, Bill Bauman, Byron Katie, Adyashanti, Gangji, and Unmani. I used the processes I learned until they had taken me as far as they could take me and then I left them behind. None of them were enough. Nothing is enough. What matters most, it seems, is having the courage to align with the internal longing to know what is True. And discovering that we can’t make that happen.

The walk was challenging as the dream disintegrated and fell to the cutting room floor, no longer a part of the “story of me.” I experienced discomfort and fear that I thought I couldn’t bear and I did. I experienced disappointment and hopelessness.  I no longer found joy in doing things I used to love. Friends fell away and my world turned inside, outside, upside, downside. It has not led me to some bliss filled state but has left me grateful for it all. I’ve been supported in every moment.

Very few spiritual teachers talk about the challenges and discomfort that is often experienced when your world falls apart and everything you know is stripped away. I found a couple who did and what they shared helped me feel a little less crazy.

Over the years I have done a lot of things that have made no sense, things that no rational person would do. Following “heart” is not rationale. And honestly, I have no idea if any of what I have done was “helpful,” it’s just what I’ve done. One thing led to another and then to another and it all unfolded magically. I am not suggesting that anyone do or not do what I’ve done. Life provides each of us with our own unique experiences. There is no one-way to wake up to the dream. It’s just what is unfolding in any given moment. Grace is ever present.

These days sadness, laughter, anger, grief, delight and various other emotions and feelings are experienced and welcomed rather than rejected. I live in the free fall of “I don’t know” and feelings of being lost with no frame of reference. I don’t care much about what goes on in the world but I have fun pretending that I do. Life just isn’t so serious. What people think about me matters less. I laugh a lot more. I find life to be very funny at times. And intense feelings of discomfort are sometimes experienced.  It’s just all part of the game of Life.

It’s been an amazing magical mystery tour that unfolds continuously and endlessly opening to what is True again and again and again. It has left me open to Life: in love, peaceful, vulnerable, weak, unprotected, helpless, hopeless and clueless.



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