This blog was born out of a homework assignment for one of my spiritual mentors. She wanted to hear about an experience of the “higher self”. What was supposed to be one paragraph quickly turned into a story that I knew I wanted to share for the readers following this blog. This is a topic I usually never talk about, and have only shared with people close to me. To give you a bit of context, what you are about to read took place many years before my journey of Yoga, but after a few years after I had started studying my mind through contemplation and meditation practices. Enjoy the journey!
My First Awakening to Spirit
My first awakening to the spiritual realm came unexpectedly. I had been deeply focused on inner work: cultivating a peaceful mind and compassionate heart; but I hadn’t thought much about spirituality beyond the physical realm.
The weather was absolutely beautiful – seventy-eight degrees and blue skies – when we all showed up for Brian’s memorial in a local park overlooking the harbor. In his honor, I took off my shoes prior to entering the park. I had never seen Brian wear shoes, even when I’d run into him in the street or at the ice cream shop. At the time I thought he was out of his mind, but something drew me close to him despite his shoe-less style and vegetarian diet. At the time I had no idea what was so magnetic about him but I knew I wanted to be closer. I wanted to impress him. I think everyone around him felt it…but what was it? He was calm when others were stressed; he found humor when others were engulfed by anger. And, his ability to stay focused was incomparable. I never developed the relationship I yearned for while Brian was alive, but after he passed I got to know him as a mentor, guide and best friend.
The memorial was beautiful – full of musicians pouring their hearts into honoring Brian. I admit I was freaked out by the meditators and the esoteric practices – chakra meditation bowls and chanting the sound of Om. Unbeknownst to me, a few short years later I would call these practices my own. I tried my hardest not to judge these “weirdos” knowing that Brian was close friends with them and would probably participate if he were still in his body. I watched my mind struggle to listen to statements such as: “he is with us in spirit”, “he is all around us”, and “he’s in a beautiful place now”. I had heard these phrases all my life but chalked them up to a means of comforting loved ones. I had little belief in afterlife, reincarnation, or the ‘G’ word that I was so scared of. My association with spirituality was that God was synonymous with organized religion, and that meant church every Sunday and believing what everyone else believed. As cynical as I was, and as atheist as I claimed to be, I yearned to believe in something…but I needed proof. When I was growing up, if something bad was happening I’d find myself saying “if there is a God – I mean, if you exist – please help me.” Rightfully so – why believe anyone else without evidence?!
The evidence showed up on that beautiful day in the park. As I listened to this weird lady whispering “Brian, Brian, Briiaaaann” into a microphone, judgements ran wild. She was creepy, crazy, and out of her mind; that’s when it hit me. Suddenly, without trying, I was out of my mind too. Colors were as vivid as a high contrast HDTV. Every sound was crystal clear no matter how close or far. The bird in the tree across the park was as loud as my friend crunching a twig with his bare feet. I could smell the burning sage that was on the stage forty yards away. He was all around me, and I could feel him and sense him more fully than when he was alive and physically in my presence.
I was awake for the first time in my life, really awake, as if the rest of my life was a dream – a dream I didn’t even realized I wanted to escape. Life was pretty good until that moment: I was driven, artistic, passionate. I was doing the things I loved, but nothing compared to the overwhelming sense of joy and peace I felt on that day. I knew it, and I could feel it: life would never be the same.
To Be Continued…
-Thank you to Lauren Lauren Jacobs for preliminary editing, and Taylor Dunham for the final edit.