by Greg Calise
There is no way around this. There is no easy road to enlightenment.
“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” – Adyashanti
Make no bones about it, awakening is not a walk in the park. It is a ride through hell. It is the tearing down of all of your cherished beliefs and everything you thought about yourself. There is no way around this. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, they had to enter into the Mirkwood Forest to get to their destination. There was no other way for them. It was not a walk in the park. Likewise, we must enter the shadowlands, and come face to face with our shadows. It is there that our false ideas of who we are are shattered. It is there that all of our false beliefs are destroyed. We must face these false notions and see them for what they are. This is the only way to heal, to become whole again, to live in integrity.
My good friend, Julie Anne gave a good description of this process in Enlightenment. It is a complete surrender, a process of brutal self honesty. It is a path of complete acceptance of the truth, no matter how difficult it is to bear. I still remember it vividly.
We go through life with so many false notions – of the world, of spirituality and of ourselves. We build up masks and we believe the facades. It’s all a charade. It is all based upon illusions and deceit. We deceive ourselves at every moment, and the world also deceives us at every moment. We live in perpetual cognitive dissonance, justifying the most absurd things in our minds. We constantly lie to ourselves…. and we believe it. To awaken to the truth that you seek, you must tear down the lies. But we are too attached to the lies. We want to hold on to the illusions and to become enlightened at the same time. That is not possible. But there are hundreds of phony gurus and “spiritual teachers” that will tell you it is. They offer you processes to become happy, fulfilled, calm, find your soulmate, be positive, get the right job, make lots of money, balance the chakras, become healthy and whatever else you may be desiring. This has nothing to do with awakening. This is only polishing the ego. They all lead you right back into the matrix. You may even be lucky enough to get a golden cage, but it is still a cage, and you remain imprisoned in slavery. This is the road that most people choose to follow. This road is well traveled by the herd.
It takes courage, discernment and self honesty to walk the Siddhartha road to truth and freedom. Not many people have that. We have been weakened by the onslaught of programming since our childhood. Most people want to remain in the herd, as they find comfort in the company of other deluded souls. It takes a certain individual to break free of the herd. The Siddhartha road is not easy. It is a treacherous road that will shatter every part of your existence. No, it takes a certain type of person to walk that road; a person that is willing to give up everything to find his true Self.
My story was one that took me through so many paths to nowhere; detours, dead ends and off of cliffs. I had to eventually be dragged, kicking and screaming through the abyss by Grace herself, for me to awaken. It was simply my time.
Now the strange thing about this, is that worse things have happened to me before, so why did this hit me so hard? I believe because it was supposed to, for me to transform. I took everything much harder, than I ever did before. Also, everything came crashing down at once. In the past, I was strong, and I kept my sense of self, of who I thought I was. But this time, my sense of self, who I thought I was, gave up. I stopped trying to be strong. I just collapsed.
Yes, I remember it well. My entire life story collapsed overnight. My girl friend of five years ran off with another man. And she lived across the street. So every morning I would look out the widow to see his van, just to rub it in. I kept saying, “There must be a purpose for this.” My health collapsed, my business collapsed, and those that I thought were my friends were not. I was alone. I tried to be in denial, grabbing straws as I was being dragged down into the abyss. My world around me collapsed, but so did my self worth, self esteem and my false ego. I felt unloved and abandoned. My life story shattered.
I was left in this darkness for some time; four months. In that time, I was slowly being dismantled, as I had to face the hard cold facts. I had to be brutally honest with myself. Eventually, I came to the point of realizing that I hated my broken body, I hated the world, I hated myself, and I really hated god. Yes, I was very angry at him. He abandoned me. I felt the entire world abandoned me. It wasn’t fair. I threw out everything spiritual in my house. I was facing my darkness with brutal honesty. I sat with that for a while. Imagine the despair of seeing what lies hidden behind your persona, behind the lies you tell yourself daily.
And then a very powerful voice spoke to me. From where this voice came from, I do not know. It said, “Just surrender to the suffering.” That was it. So I thought about it. I realized that I was not accepting what was happening to me. I was fighting it. I was trying to push away the suffering, but it was obviously not working. So I followed the message, and surrendered to the suffering, that which is.
This continued for two weeks, right through Christmas. I felt so rejected, so abandoned, so alone. The pain of being stripped naked in the frigid cold, with no hope in sight. But I accepted what was happening. I was no longer trying to push it away. The suffering felt endless, yet I endured it. I don’t even know how to explain it. And then on the morning of Jan. 1, 2004, I woke up. Not to a new year, but a new life. The suffering was gone, all was forgiven, and I was at peace. A peace that I had never known before. That which I thought I was no longer existed. My false perception of Self vanished. I remember the singing of the birds, the Sun entering through the window, and everything around me was seen in a new light – a light of awe and amazement. My mind had ceased its chatter, I was experiencing a very deep peace.
And then it started – wave after wave of revelations, of deep knowings. I began to awaken to who I Am. I became acutely aware that I Am eternal and sovereign. Each wave awakened me more to my deepest Self. Each wave also shattered the illusions and deceptions of the world. As I awakened, my eyes saw a very different world. All the pieces fell into place. Someday I will describe the many revelations that flooded over me. I have already written much about it.
The largest wave came a couple of weeks into this. I was meditating, and I went so deep, following the river of life to the depths of my Being. I was empty, but then from this emptiness, a powerful divine love sprang forth, inundating my entire mind and body. This love is unconditional. It spread out from me everywhere. All of the bugs, the lizards, the birds, the plants, the trees, everything was inundated with this love. I could not tell where I ended and the other Beings began. We were all intrinsically connected with this love; and yet my individual Self remained. I was not the bugs, the birds or the plants, but the connection was so deep, that I felt they were as if a part of me. There was simultaneously separation and no separation. It is not easy to describe, but this divine love is nothing like the love of this world.
But when you do awaken, and you do see the world with new eyes, you soon realize that no one else is seeing the same thing. I tried to tell a few people what had happened to me, but no one believed me. They thought that perhaps I cracked under the pressure of suffering and had gone crazy. No one wanted to hear anything I said, as it exposed their false beliefs. So I remained quiet for eight years.
“I awoke, only to find the rest of the world still sleeping.”
– Leonardo daVinci
How can I possibly explain something so deep, beyond the mind, where people have no concepts or understanding? What I woke up to I call Knowings, as opposed to knowledge. Knowledge comes from outside of the Self, either from the world, or from “up above”. Knowings are who you are. It is not new information, but rather an awakening to your true Self. Someone who has not awakened to his true Self has a difficult time understanding. They believe it is just knowledge, a different set of beliefs. Therefore people say things like, “That is your idea of Truth. It’s different from mine.” or “There is no absolute Truth, only relative truths.” They think they are only my beliefs. It is quite pointless to explain this to people, because all they know is beliefs. So I remain alone, with but a few friends that have experienced their own dark night of the soul, and awakened to their true Self, if sometimes only a glimmer. That is all it takes for one to see that their is a deep consciousness separate from the vast majority of people.
When one decides to take the Siddhartha road to the Self, he soon realizes he is alone on that road. The herd is going in the opposite direction. One must be prepared for that, to find comfort in being alone, not understood by others.
I cannot take any credit for my awakening. I was dragged, kicking and screaming, grasping straws. No, I take no credit. It was by Grace alone.
“Grace is within you. Grace is your Self. Grace is not something to be acquired from others. If it is external, it is useless. All that is necessary is to know its existence is in you. You are never out of its operation.”
As Eckhart Tolle has stated, you don’t have to wait for the dark night of the soul to dismantle your false notions, your false self, your life story. You can consciously take that road. But it demands courage, discernment, and a brutal honesty of yourself. The mind is a very tricky opponent, and will deceive you at every step, as your awakening is the end of its control over you. But it can be done. Nisargadatta Maharaj did it. You must simply allow Grace to act within you.
“As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.”
– Eckhart Tolle
So the choice rests with each of you. No one can do this for you. All I, or anyone else, can offer you are sign posts, pointing in the direction. But you, and you alone, must take that road. It does little good to read my writings and not act upon them, to not take that road yourself. Otherwise, you are only hanging out at the signposts, believing that you have already arrived at the destination.
This road is not for the timid or the faint of heart. not at all. But there is no other road. No one will simply wave a magical wand over you. It is a road of destruction and the question is, “How much are you willing to give up? How much can you endure?” Because on this road, you must give up everything. Every piece of you will shatter. Can you endure that? As the great Bhaktivinode Thakur has written, “You must die to live.” So how serious are you? How much do you want it? How much will you pay for it?
– Greg Calise