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To explore more about the humanness of those who
have had experiences of "awakening," see:

  • Monumentally, Gloriously, Divinely Big Egos by Ken Wilber
  • Mutuality of Wakefulness by Arjuna Nick Ardagh
  • On Being Human by Alan Watts.
    As Douglas Harding has wisely pointed out, it is easy to confuse "enlightenment" with the "perfection of the personality."


  • Questions and Replies


    Question #10
    How do you live with this experience, now, after the ecstatic moment is gone?

    Reply:
    In many ways, I live exactly the same way I lived before.

    For example: one thing I, naively, did not realize prior to the epiphany is that this type of Recognition or "clear seeing" does not exempt us from the experience of being human. The personality does not disappear, and neither do our individual idiosyncrasies or preferences, nor the demands of ordinary life (family commitments, work responsibilities, etc.)

    What does happen, though, is that our human experience is now seen and understood within a much larger and broader context. In my own case, all the searching for some ultimate purpose or meaning finally and completely ended during the epiphany -- and it has never returned.


    One other thing that has begun to happen as a result of this experience is that many of my personal preferences and interests have begun to shift.

    For instance, in the almost 2-1/2 years since the epiphany many of my professional interests and ambitions have fallen away, and the primary focus of my attention and energy now continues to be on finding ways to give expression to this Insight. (Hence, the time I've put into developing the AIA website and the Insight Mentoring program....) Nothing else seems as important or as captivating. And perhaps this understandable in light of the fact that I experienced this discovery as an profound, experiential Recognition of that which lies at the very Center and heart of Life, itself.....


    Question:
    And how does your partner live with it? Often, the other person feels threatened by this kind of "breakthrough" experience.

    Reply:
    Actually, my partner, Gary, is a real gem. He is an exceptionally wise and patient man who has, from the very first day of our relationship, been absolutely and uncompromisingly supportive of who and what I am. Even as my understanding of my own identity eventually (and dramatically) shifted as a result of the epiphany, his support of me did not, and he has continued to adjust and accommodate to the changes I've experienced in ways that have allowed the process of "awakening" to continue to unfold -- without him perceiving or experiencing it as a threat to our relationship.

    Also: several years before we met, he had a fortunate opportunity to "work through" some potential jealousy-related issues in a previous relationship. By the time we met several years later, part of the appeal I found in him was the maturity and openness of spirit he exhibited, and none of that has changed in the six years that we've been together.


    Ultimately, I believe our ability to weather the changes that resulted from the epiphany are due to the fundamental nature of the commitment we've made, not to each other, but to ourselves and to the type of relationship within which we want to be engaged.

    Guidelines for Commitment in Relationship
    When entering into a relationship with another individual, make your commitment to the following three guidelines, rather than to the other person. When you are both commited to these guidelines, the relationship will be vitally alive and fulfilling -- in whatever form it takes.

    The beauty of this approach to relationships is that maintaining this commitment does not depend on anything else that anyone else says or does. It is a choice you can make now, about the quality of life you want to cultivate. It is a commitment that will enhance every relationship, and it is pledge you can keep -- regardless of the changes you experience in life.

    Be yourself. Live authentically, sharing the whole of who you are, rather than attempting to fulfill someone else's expectations, or live up to your own imagination of what someone else's expectations might be.

    Tell the truth, i.e., the truth about what you are feeling and experiencing in the present moment. Remember:

  • Truth is an expression of present, personal reality. (Truth telling is not confessing past "secrets" or making future projections.)
  • Truth is an expression of feelings, rather than theories or beliefs.
  • Truth is expressed through "I" statements. ("I feel", "I think" rather than "You always..." or "I think you should...." Blaming and accusing are not "truth telling.")

    Accept responsibility for your experience. This commitment acknowledges and confirms our freedom and power to choose. If we're not happy with our current experience, it's not someone else's fault. No one else is responsible for how we feel about our present experience. Our unhappiness is simply the result of how we have interpreted and reacted to our current experience, and we can always make new choices in the present moment.


    1999, Metta Zetty
    All Rights Reserved.




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