ENLIGHTENMENT-AHOLIC


Road-to-NowhereFunny, isn’t it. You’re positively sure you know some fact or other; you understand it completely from your head down to your toes. And then one day the candle of Knowing spontaneously ignites, and whoosh!  It’s made a liar out of you, just like that.

The other night I came to know — really know — there’s no point to the goal of attaining future enlightenment.

Mind you, I would have said I already knew that chasing a phantom “future enlightened state” is an exercise in futility. I seem to recall I wrote a book on that very topic.

And yet I discovered I was doing just that.

I realized I was still seeking enlightenment as a future-based end goal, complete with checkered flag and trophy cup. One more item to check off the to-do list. But there is no end goal, and no finish line where enlightenment is concerned. How could a limitless state of awareness ever be brought to completion?

I honestly thought I knew better. [You probably know better too.]

But when an authentic knowing floods in and rewires your perception, as it did the other night, you can’t help but recognize with a shock that up until now, you really didn’t know what you thought you knew.

That you didn’t, in fact, know squat.

Because now, suddenly, you have become the knowing — and no amount of shriveled-up previous mental “knowledge” compares, once that fully integrated whoosh of living, breathing, juicy, mind-body-Spiritual embodied wisdom takes permanent hold of you.

•          •          •

It happened this way:

Having recently vowed to live our lives as “loving servants of God *with plumbing*” (it was me who added the plumbing clause to the contract, because I do enjoy a good hot shower in the mornings), Steve and I have taken to spending big chunks of our day in meditation or contemplative prayer, since we have no clear idea of what form that service might take.

But we haven’t been praying in the sense of asking or telling Spirit what our ego minds think should happen; rather we’re doing our best to simply stay open and empty and trusting, and rest in God while listening for…what?

Inspiration, I guess.

Mostly I get Big Silence. Peaceful, sure. Grounded? Absolutely. But not much clear direction happening on the topic of loving service – or any other.

This particular day’s meditation was much the same. But then suddenly at the end, the candle whooshed, the dominoes fell and a fully formed knowing clicked into place:  It’s pointless for me to go on chasing the goal of enlightenment. It’s only my ego mind that seeks it, and what’s the mantra of the ego? Seek and do not find.

I had long ago convinced myself that awakening was a necessary step toward choosing Love instead of fear, because theoretically if I’m awakened I’ll be present enough at all times to remember to choose correctly between them.

Sound enough logic, as far as it goes. But it’s a future-based ego trap, designed to put an end goal on something that has no finish line.

And then a second knowing whooshed in: I needn’t wait for, or struggle toward enlightenment (which is a pointless effort anyway because the time and circumstances of my awakening are not within my control). I need only choose to let my life be guided by Love in every moment starting right now. Awake or not awake is kinda beside the point, when one’s life is being shaped and moved and art-directed by God.

So I let go of enlightenment as a goal. And I chose to let every moment of my life be guided by Love instead.

I can’t say it felt good, letting go of that firmly entrenched goal – which is a pretty fair indicator of how deep my attachment actually was.

I felt disappointed, deflated in the pit of my stomach. And alarmingly close to tears. My identity as a spiritual seeker was a huge chunk of who I thought I was. If I was no longer chasing enlightenment, my ego mind would now be forced to give up acres of prime real estate.

And then a third knowing tumbled in on the heels of the other two: Letting go of the cherished goal of future enlightenment allows me to have less resistance to what’s going on right now, in this moment.

THIS moment is the classroom, the treasure, the eternal choicepoint. Every gorgeous, messy, imperfect, confusing moment of it is a fresh opportunity to be guided by Love. But if this moment is chronically unworthy because there’s no awakening happening in it, how can I hope to embrace it fully and receive all the infinite gifts it has to offer?

Ah. Oh I see. Ok, I get it now.

It’s all well and good to agree to let my life be guided by Love. But it’s not quite the passive activity I imagined it to be. (Not at this stage of my development, anyway.) I’m no leaf, peacefully surrendered to the eddying stream; I’ve got a very bossy ego that is still mostly sure it knows best in every situation. And that ego will not hesitate to grab a motorboat and tear upriver at full throttle against the current anytime I let it.

So am I serious about living my life in alignment with Divine Will? Do I really want to let Love guide me?

If so, then an ongoing commitment to action is required. It’s my moment-to-moment responsibility, as crap hits various fans, to pause, step back and ask: How would Love have me respond in this situation?

To ask it over and over, as many times a day as I manage to remember to do it. And this is key: To ask it and listen. And not assume I already know the answer.

Oooh, another small whoosh: Yes, forgiveness will always be a component of the answer. But Love is chiefly concerned with extending Love. So the decision to be guided by Love is a request to be used by Love as a conduit for actively healing, nourishing and replenishing everybody and everything I encounter.

Them, before myself.

And I haven’t a clue what’s the best way to do that in each new situation. Only Love knows.

So it’s a whole new moderately unfamiliar landscape here that I’m looking at, one with several key landmarks missing. And a certain amount of mildly uncomfortable newfound humility heaped on top.

I haven’t entirely made sense of it all yet, but there seems to be a faint, sparkly joy playing around the edges of it. But I can’t absolutely swear to that.

We’ll see.

I’ll let you know.

 

The Lois Lane Syndrome

I’ve often been asked to describe what happens when I “channel” Spirit. But channeling is not what I do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be able to nudge my ego mind aside and make room for Spirit to come through instead of me. But that’s a talent I don’t have.

I’m just a listener—and then afterward I report on what I hear. I would describe my role in this as being kind of like Lois Lane: Through no virtue of my own, I seem to have acquired an ongoing, daily relationship with a mysterious Friend much greater than myself.

A Friend who feeds me wonderfully accurate information to write about. A Friend who cares only for my happiness. (A Friend who also shows up to save the day, every time my foolish, impetuous ego mind gets me into a jam.)

Like Lois, my only “talent,” if indeed I have one, is that I’m a plucky, intrepid sleuth. Whenever my Friend gives me a hot tip to follow, I’ll track it all the way down to its source—and then I’ll share what I’ve learned with interested readers everywhere.

What can I say, the whole analogy makes me laugh: Carrie Triffet, Girl Reporter.

•            •            •

But Lois Lane makes for a useful analogy in another, more universal way.

Because really, we’re all a bit like Lois: Every single one of us has the same great Friend with us at all times. This Friend loves us all equally, and shows each of us infinite compassion and patience. It wants only our happiness, and wishes us to know its Friendship as it truly is.

But, like Lois, we never seem able to recognize the true identity of this most dear Friend.

Why? Because it’s wearing those ridiculous glasses.

Now, let’s be honest. We all willingly choose to be fooled by this laughably thin disguise. We could easily see through it if we really wanted to. But we don’t really want to. We love the fantasy that our super Friend is something entirely separate from poor old Clark Kent, and we don’t want to see they’re One and the same.

The truth is this: Every single one of us is that wonderful Friend. Just as every single one of us is also mild-mannered Clark Kent. And evil genius Lex Luthor, for that matter. Whatever flimsy disguises we may seem to be wearing on the surface, the truth is each one of us is infinitely loved and loving. Each is equally innocent of crime. We just don’t look like it at first glance.

See, our eyesight isn’t so good.

But if you squint very hard and ask for help from that wondrous Friend, you’ll begin to notice all those Clarks and Lexes and Loises are actually united in the same holy perfection. Which, not coincidentally, is all part of your holy perfection, and mine.

Working to see the holy perfection in the people around us strengthens our true vision. Maybe soon that’ll help us ditch those eyeglasses once and for all.

And then—who knows? We might develop some x-ray vision of our own, and finally see past all surface appearances to behold the shining, eternal truth of Oneness that lies beyond.

The quandary

You know how it is when you discover a band with a fresh, new sound – you love their catchy pop hooks, and you can’t wait for their second CD to come out. And then the CD finally arrives, and it’s filled with Chinese orphans reciting classical 12th Century poetry, all set to a backdrop of modern, atonal compositions for viola and flute.

And you think: What the hell?

It’s nice that you guys are following your muse…but couldn’t you do it while sounding the same as you did before?

•            •            •

If I treated writing as a career, I’d be sorely tempted to apply everything I know about product development and marketing. I’d look at what makes my first book connect with readers, and I’d give them more of that.

I’m well aware the first two thirds of Long Time No See appeals to a wide audience. That’s the part of the book that reads something like an older, wiser Eat/Pray/Love. And I could’ve stayed in that vein, and gotten mainstream success.

But in that final third of Long Time No See, instead of meeting a hunky stranger in a tropical paradise, my story dives into the single-minded search for non-dual truth of all existence.

Not really bestseller material. Yet it was by no means an accident; the story went exactly where it was guided to go.

And so Long Time No See is embraced by a much smaller (and much different) audience than it might have been. And that’s as it should be.

But now, as I prepare to release my second book – and yes, it’s chock full of Chinese orphans and atonal compositions – I’m pretty sure most of the small audience that loved all parts of Long Time No See will be disappointed by the dearth of catchy pop hooks.

Yes, it’s still funny. There’s still a healthy dose of pop-cultural snark. And I personally think it’s my best work to date. But The Enlightenment Project shines a steady, unblinking light on some areas usually left shrouded in shadows, and that’s not going to be a very comfortable sensation for many readers.

I think I might lose almost everybody who’s been with me so far.

And I do apologize for that. But here’s the thing. My writing is a chronicle of my spiritual life – and my spiritual life is a fluid, ongoing progression; it only flows in one direction. There’s no going back.

I write because I feel guided to share the things I’m experiencing right now. And if I didn’t feel that inner spiritual prompt to share these things, I’d keep them to myself. I wouldn’t be writing at all.

By the time a book comes out, I’ve already moved on. I’ve already grown and deepened my understanding beyond what’s shared in the book. This was true of Long Time No See, and it’s definitely true of The Enlightenment Project.

Who the hell knows what the book after The Enlightenment Project will be like. Just a bunch of blank pages, maybe. One atonal poem from the Chinese orphan within.

And in my mind’s eye, I semi-peacefully watch as my readership grows ever narrower, dwindling finally to one, and then none…

Or so it seems to me. But it’s in the hands of Spirit now, so I guess we’ll all find out together whether I’m wrong about that.

Love in the digital age

God bless the internet – it lets us connect in ways that were never possible before.

I’m not talking about dating sites (although they no doubt have their value). I mean the spiritual bonds we can form with anybody, anywhere in the world.

For the first time in history, we can find each other easily no matter how far away we live from one another – and once found we can make deep, heartfelt spiritual connections via digital signals. Ones and zeros.

It’s remarkable, really, when you think about it.

One of my dearest friends lives in a big green field somewhere in England.  The moment we met on Twitter, we both felt a nameless spiritual connection that spanned lifetimes and needed no explanation. We recognized each other. Profoundly.

I suppose there’s a chance we might have met at some other point in history. But a pen pal relationship would never have offered the same instant depth of friendship or shared spiritual experience.

Airmail letters every other month would never have allowed the complete evaporation of cultural barriers between us. I look at him (yes, he has visited here a number of times now) and see the shining essence of my own truest Self looking back at me. How could such a connection have ever been made without the internet?

Many other friends have since come to me in this same way, and I’ve grown to cherish these relationships. I haven’t met most of these people yet (and might not meet some of them at all) but the bond of spiritual friendship between us is rich and satisfying nonetheless.

One such connection was made recently through dear Nouk Sanchez. Nouk and I have spent only a little time face to face, but we feel quite close thanks to – what else – those blessed ones and zeros on our computer screens.

Anyway, through Nouk I was introduced to a woman named Eli Griffin, who, like us, writes spiritual books. Eli lives in Italy, a place I haven’t visited in at least ten years. The intro took place via email, and the connection between the three of us was such that we immediately acted on Guidance to start a project together.

We decided to collaborate on a series of long conversations about the spiritual principles underlying a practice of Oneness. All three of us share a passion to bring these spiritual principles down off their lofty intellectualized perches, and figure out how to use them as living, breathing motivators in everyday life.

So we built a blog site for this purpose. (Or rather Eli did. Nouk and I just contributed to the conversation that’s posted there.) Our dialogue – there’s only one so far, and the topic is RELATIONSHIPS – was rich and meaty, and also tons of fun to participate in! It went some unexpected places, seemingly with a mind of its own.

The response has been phenomenal and truly humbling. Me, I’m just grateful once again for all these human connections we make on the internet. Even the ones we don’t know about.

The blog, if you’re interested, is http://ourjoining.wordpress.com/ We intend to start another dialogue (Topic: COMMITMENT) in a month or so, and when that’s finished we hope to post it there as well.

In the meantime, take good care of yourself, dear friend in zeros and ones.

Love,

Carrie

Double vision

What do you do when you and somebody in another part of the country have the exact same vision at the exact same time? Well, if you’re me, you sit up and pay attention.

I’d been praying recently for guidance on what’s next. And rather than trying to figure it out with my thinking mind – which, experience has taught me, pretty much always comes up with the wrong answer – I just say to Spirit:

Show me.

Point it out to me in a way I’ll understand, and I swear I’ll head in that direction. But I’m flying blind, here. I need to be told which way to go.

So I’d been praying that way for a week or so. Then on Thursday morning, out of nowhere, I woke up that day knowing clearly what sort of book Fran (of InnerVision fame) and I should write together. I understood wordlessly the book’s format, what it would be about, and how I would write it.

And then I clearly saw the book’s cover. Or, more accurately, I saw the bottom third of the book’s cover. The title and cover artwork were hazy, but I could read the bottom part, plain as day. The background was a dark chocolate brown, and I could even describe the typeface for you, although I’m not going to.

It said: By Fran Duda, with Carrie Triffet.

Fran was flying that day (in an airplane, I mean, from one city to another), so I made no attempt to reach her to tell her of my vision. I wasn’t sure how she’d respond, anyway. She’s always known she’s supposed to write a book, but the idea has seemed far too daunting for a variety of reasons.

I’ve always been pretty sure I’m supposed to help her write that book (since I’m the translator she trusts to put her ‘beyond words’ experience into language). But I also always suspected the project was likely to be a hugely frustrating pain in the ass.

Fran is a brilliantly gifted intuitive; so gifted that it’s always been hard for her to blend into society and ‘pass’ as normal. (For more about Fran, if you haven’t already read about her in my book, see any of the previous blog posts under the topic heading of ‘Sedona’s spiritual connection.’)

She’s always been terrified of going public. And especially afraid of going public through the written word.

She’s fine when speaking one on one or to groups of people, but when it comes to writing things down and letting those statements be set in stone and seen by the world, she freezes. When I first knew her, she would spend weeks obsessing over the wording of a single sentence. These days, she’s far more trusting, much more surrendered and willing to let the connection flow as it does, from Spirit through her and through me simultaneously, so that I can put the essential meaning behind her ethereal experiences into words for her.

So the collaborative writing process would be far less torturous now than ever before, but I also knew it could still have its very sticky moments because she would be writing down her deeply personal stories. The desire to endlessly edit might still rear its head if the information in the stories got too close to home.

Yet Spirit’s message had been perfectly clear, so I knew I needed to put aside all my own doubts and just agree to do it.

But Jeez Louise, I already have one book in the works and another in the hopper. And little time to work on either one. So although I accepted this vision as an answer to my request for Divine guidance, let’s say I wasn’t altogether on board with it.

The next morning, Fran called out of the blue, apologizing for the short notice and asking if she could come here for a visit the following day?  We sometimes go months without talking, so I knew this request was purposeful. And she’s a delightful houseguest, I always love having her here. So of course I said yes.

After she settled in, our first activity together was a walk on our favorite beach. While walking on that beach I told her of my vision that we would write a book. She stopped walking and turned to stare at me; I could tell she was having one of those time-stop moments of recognition.

I told her the book would be a series of recorded conversations between us, in which she verbally tells me the story of her extremely fascinating life, as well as a full description (language limits permitting) of her gifts and the nature of her InnerVision work. And that I would then fashion those audio conversations into a written book.

And then I reported what the bottom third of the book jacket would say, reading the words off to her.

And she told me then that she had had the identical vision of the book cover on Thursday morning, and I had spoken the exact wording that she saw on that bottom third.

So that’s it, then. I guess I’m writing a book. It’ll be by Fran Duda, with Carrie Triffet, and it’s bound to be a barn burner.

No idea when it’ll come out, I just know that it will. And I’m good with that.

The Philadelphia experiment – part 3 (The explosive conclusion)

So. My vow to ‘get on with it already’, (that whole Earthly role and purpose thing) newly made, I left Philadelphia and headed for home.

And within 36 hours was contacted by the first of those Guys on Twitter (see ‘The Grudge’ for more about Guys on Twitter). Perhaps ‘contacted’ is not really the word for it. He reached out through the Twitterverse, grabbed my full attention and became an unregulated, unfiltered spiritual conduit, pouring massive quantities of direct Heavenly communication my way.

It was beautiful beyond description.

Naturally he had no idea he was doing it; the supplier of that kind of spiritual linkup is usually the last to know. The whole thing went on for over 2 weeks; it was way too much of a good thing, unfortunately – something like being hit continuously with a Heavenly firehose.

I spent hours each day in anguished prayer, just to keep from drowning in it.

If I sound like I’m complaining…well I guess I sort of am. Although it was glorious in concept and sometimes wonderful in actual fact, the overall event was really, really painful.

(The Divine communication itself was perfect, pure, gentle and completely loving. How could it have been anything else? But I wasn’t able to absorb such overwhelming nonstop light, so I experienced the gap between my own human frailty and that limitless Heavenly perfection as intense emotional pain. I know. Bummer.)

After at least 10 days of letting me flail around in complete WTF confusion (and more than a little humiliation over this peculiar, one-sided ecstatic experience that I was/was not sharing with a total stranger), Twitter Guy finally admitted that this sort of thing happens with him all the time.

He is, in his own words, a ‘catalyst for other peoples’ explosive awakenings.’

The operative word here being ‘explosive.’

What was this explosive awakening like, you ask? Like somebody dropped a brick building on me.

And everything that was fragile got smashed.

After it was finally over I spent another month or so sorting through the rubble. Then one day I suddenly realized:

Hey, I’m not scared anymore. I don’t mind if people find out about me. And I don’t care about hiding in shadows, either.

I think I might even be ready for that Earthly role and purpose thing.

So I changed my Twitter username from @carrietriffet to @unlikelymesngr the same day, as a first step out of that spiritual closet.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

(The moral of the story, of course, my darlings, is this: Be careful what you ask for. You’ll very likely get it.)