Day 15: If You Can Say What It Is, That’s Not It

Head hereto read the first step of my seven-part journey to consciousness: How An Alcoholic Taught Me Peace; inspired by Caroline Myss, among other bodhisattvas.

The essence of what it means to become conscious is to seek truth that is detached from social or cultural structures like language or religion.

This is the groundwork for symbolic sight which gives a seeker the ability to penetrate illusion. We are all capable of this at some level; for example, seeking truth is what makes it possible to notice when someone is lying or acting unethically. The degree to which we are each capable of seeing patterns correlates to our varying levels of sensitivity.

The most highly sensitive people are not challenged by a lack of symbolic sight.

Detaching from tribally recognized ideals that don’t serve us is likely to be faster the more sensitive you are. Living impersonally — that is to say, detaching from subjective perceptions — comes naturally for us once we learn to hear our intuition. Detaching from the emotions of the physical world is something all HSPs need to do on a regular basis. We cannot simultaneously feel all that goes on outside and inside of us, it is simply TOO MUCH. Wisdom is achieved through detachment and it is this detachment to culturally established perceptions that has led many to call me an “old soul.” You know the type, I have encountered several myself. Their energy is most noticeable in the form of wise children and teens that automatically seek truth and shy away from illusions based on the quiet whisper of their internal voices.

I have a loud internal voice.

It was the only one I ever trusted, in fact. By gradually learning to trust this voice, I opened the door to evaluating my internal reality before I can even remember. After many turbulent years of jostling and coping with change, my ability to detach when changes came along steadily increased and I quickly realized that no one person or group of people could determine my life’s path. As I learned this lesson, I grew strong in the same way that repeated small tears from exercising muscles re-heal bigger and stronger each time.

When I was thirteen I was just getting ready to enter high school. I had endured four years of my parent’s divorce and lived in three different homes during that time. The court-regulated schedule had me at Dad’s every Mon and Tues, Mom’s Weds and Thurs, and alternating Fri, Sat, and Sun every week.

Santander, Spain (c) Veronica Anderson

Santander, Spain (c) Veronica Anderson

The discovery that I kicked ass at Tech Ed was a landmark on my path.

CAD and hand drafting were the easiest and most satisfying subjects I had that transitional year. I was encouraged by teachers who noted my proficiency in such things as quite curious for a twelve year-old girl and I was given extra assignments which I devoured with a new, unfamiliar voracity. This was the natural step between designing structures with Legos and attending architecture school which I finished last May.

My destiny light lit up that first time I was handed 3D graph paper.

Intuition kicked in. I now recognize that forward-moving confidence as my third eye lighting up with a purple glow I know very well today, but at the time, I was just happy to do something I was good at. Because I instinctively knew I could only listen to my inside world, this is the same light that led me to my passion for design and it is the one leading me into a future of satisfying work helping impoverished cities full of people. This is the light that shines when I imagine myself as a bell of mindfulness, which I know is my highest purpose. I have only just begun to change the world.

“What is life about, what am I meant to do, what is important to learn?”

These are the lessons learned via the third eye. These are not questions with a static spoken-once set of answers, symbolic sight will always be the tool necessary to see the higher truths hidden behind illusions of perceptions and attachments to beliefs. One learns that this time of intense change in the spiritual and physical worlds should be used to distinguish between knowledge and wisdom, brain and mind. From these lessons we learn that healing requires union of though an action, mind and heart; integration of Self and Divine can only happen when we become conscious of the relationship between what we think and what we feel.

My no-sarcasm-intended perfect childhood taught me quite early that I needed to evaluate the distance between my internal emotions and external actions. This is the same skill people learn after a mid-life crisis when they begin to reevaluate unhealthy jobs and stuck marriages but I learned it from my parents and am so grateful to have gotten a head start on my divine purpose.

We all know that God’s sense of humor is strangely perfect.

Turns out, my father’s particular quirk about reminding me that children should be seen and not heard was a good catalyst for self-investigation. It was impossible to not question my place in the world when one of his favorite ways to end a good yelling match was, “I get to be the father this time around!” (Side note: Do you think I was his parent a few lifetimes ago? Probably.)

Simultaneously, my pre-teen self was thrust into the role of emotional care taker for a small boy three years younger than I. My brother and I have only recently waded through the weird murky waters of our mother-son relationship and I still think our bond is tainted by the grime that floats between us. We find it strange to be friends at times and I can sense the same awkwardness within him that I feel when I’m talking to my own mother about certain sensitive subjects.

The day of reckoning came about one year ago.

Suddenly my Mom blurted out how I had been more of a mother to my brother than she had. I was shocked, this was something all of us had seen for thirteen years but it was never something we talked about. I was speechless and the comment was left hanging in the air over the dining room table. It was a statement, not an apology or commitment to change her style and we haven’t talked about it since. Think of the removal from stereotypical tribal roles necessary when your mother writes you, “Good point my lovely mentor,” and you have a definition of “detached.”

This is how we become conscious.

A mystery arises and we feel compelled to take action, again and again as each following mystery is shown to us. Once you start asking the question “What is my purpose, why was I created?” you can’t ever stop, it always leads to another truth which forces you to redefine and refine your connection with the divine, as you shed externally constructed non-truths. This is how the process of becoming mentally and emotionally congruent happens. This is how we become complete. Once the crisis in my personal life had activated my ability to question my reason for existing, I was continuously empowered to confront my shadow side again and again in order to achieve spiritual mastery.

Santander, Spain (c) Veronica Anderson

Santander, Spain (c) Veronica Anderson

I recall “just knowing” as a pre-teen that the greatest thing a being can do in his life is to know his Self.

I believe all humans have the instinct to seek a level of consciousness that “knows no conflict with the Divine,” where one’s choices are the same as Divine choice. A drive to align oneself to ideals that hold only truth can often be mislabeled in our society as stubbornness or as a hard-headed nature. This is sometimes the case but when resistance is the result of a person’s sensitivity to the inner voice, it identifies a truth seeker and it is an essential act of becoming a conscious person — especially in a tribe which values mindless consumption and pacified unconscious behavior.

In my experience, it was highly common and totally cool to be too drunk at a party to remember how the night ends.

Indeed, this is the trend in many social circles I witnessed during and after adolescence. One pattern I’ve noticed in my travels is that the need to consume alcohol to the point of excess increases in proportion to the degree that the society’s mentality is oriented towards economic consumption. It says something about a culture when one of its pass times is getting together with the hopes of winding up unconscious.

Feeling the healthy flow of energy at this node in our physical and spiritual bodies means we are in touch with the juicy realization that mastery of the physical is not the goal of becoming conscious: mastery of the spirit is the goal. Western society really started to get me down when I was about six years into my dark night. I gave up on my pledge to never drink in a symbolic protest to my alcoholic father and instead, changed attitudes to prove I was able to be a good person and still drink as much as he did. So drink I did, at least every other day for three years. With each plastic bottle of vodka I grew more complacent as I sank into the inescapable world of body-issues, sex, drama, and black out drinking all the while, carefully balancing a 3.6 GPA and a job designing high fashion jewelry thirty hours a week.

One day, my third eye suddenly snapped wiiiiiiiiide open.

When I found the book Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, I started taking notes immediately. This revolutionary idea of living in the present moment came at a time when my relationship with my father completely deteriorated, I was starting to receive intense dreams, and I was preparing to move to Philadelphia for college. This was the shake the universe gave me which opened my third eye for good. I had been learning for years how to work with my own mind to refine my mental perceptual system without having the words for what I was doing; I was being led by nothing but my symbolic sight and it was life-changing to find a whole body of knowledge that described the same work I had begun intuitively.

Buddhism is a well edited philosophy of the history and art of penetrating illusion.

The simple, intuitive writing of this Zen Buddhist monk gave me the literal words for what I previously only had the feeling of symbolic sight to describe and Thay opened up a whole new dimension to my experience of becoming conscious. To this day, when I read his work and that of any other enlightened being (monk, nun, or layperson) I feel as though I am remembering ancient wisdom and my inner voice often shouts YES! That’s what you call that pattern!

This is what it means to be an HSP.

We connect to the universe’s raw energy with our symbolic sight first and then once the transcendent energy of the universe is inside us, it is our work to pull that energy down and out into the physical world where books are written and conversations are had. Transcendence isn’t our goal, grounding is. It’s okay to do things backwards. When a human begins from the level of transcendence it’s easy for her to get stuck in her own world in the same way it’s easy to get stuck on the illusions of the outside world when we are — or think we are — one of the eighty percent who experience life as a physical experience first.

All humans instinctively know that all truth is the same at the most basic level of truth itself, this means that attachment to one religion or doctrine is a failure to see with the symbolic sight of the third eye. Some feel more deeply compelled to follow their inner voices to an understanding of how to live this deep knowing we all possess. At the end of this path which we all walk, regardless of its beginning, is a state of consciousness in which the dilemma of choice no longer exists, where one sees that every choice is the correct choice because no one is better than the other. Intuition is our guide on this path, it is the voice of God and we know it leads us to pure consciousness, total union with the divine.

“If you can say what it is, that’s not it.” -Zen Koan

Everything is easier before we take responsibility for our lives and learn to understand the power of choice, the deeper meaning of choice. Staying unconscious is less scary. No question.

“We are forever looking for the easy meditation, the easy exercise, that will lift us out of the fog, but consciousness doesn’t work that way. Ironically, there is a simple way out, only it’s not easy; just let go. Let go of how you thought your life should be, and embrace the life that is trying to work its way into your consciousness.”

-Caroline Myss

There comes a time when our struggles have beaten us down to the point where we are willing to surrender to the idea that “all will be well” — not “well” by our standards maybe, but certainly by God’s. When you are strong enough to release fear of surrendering to the physical plane, you embrace the truth that “everything happens for a reason.” The third eye is how and where we see the divine reasons when the time is right. When we surrender our lives to God, we are blessed with the gift of learning without conflict and move beyond the relentless cycle of external and internal conflict. Developing the mind is a lifetime task whose work is done here, in the third eye: the bridge between knowledge and wisdom. At some point we give up and realize that try as we might, we cannot forever “visit” truth only to return to illusion once more, we finally learn to accept change as a vehicle for moving forward.

Once we accept that a shift of awareness is always accompanied by a settling-in period of isolation and loneliness, new companions are found. I say this only because I know that when I experienced the deepest level of letting go I received the greatest gift of my. The gift is the subject of another chakra but the lesson of creating space is relevant here, never the less.

After a long period of work and struggle I realized that memories and attitudes are literally rules that determine the quality of our lives, and the strength of our bonds with others.

It was only then that I became conscious.

The inherent desire to find our ordained path is the definition of divine intelligence. Maybe you have more of it than you think. What things in your life nurture the feeling that you’re on the right path?

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