The Belly of the Beast

If you take Enlightenment seriously, you will hit a crisis. A crisis is something you do not think you can get through. You bring on a crisis by going into a barrier you do not think you will get through. I have seen some people physically shake for two days at an Intensive, stuck in a crisis. It may sound a bit excessive, but after all they were hot on the trail of something very important to them, and they were stuck in the middle of it. We call it The Ring-of-fire, or being in The Belly of the Beast, because that is how it feels when you're in it. It is kind of a birth canal and you are in the process of passing through it, and it never seems to end. You know intellectually that you will become a different person on the other side, if and when you can ever get through this barrier.

When you are in the Ring-of-fire, you know that you can always back out and go back to the way things were. You also know that the barrier you are facing has been there for a very long time, if not forever. You are in the experience of not knowing how to get through the ring-of-fire. If you start thinking about the ring-of-fire, you get sidetracked from your question, and you get lost. If that happens, you simply pick up your question again and go with it. You just need to open yourself up to the Direct-experience of the truth of your question and not of all the fireworks going on around you. You just sit there and wait, while keeping yourself open to the Direct-experience of your question.

The problem is that Direct-experiences are hard to manufacture. They are not under your direct control; they are more like bombs going off than like logical evaluations, or conclusions. Direct-experiences are those experiences that you feel are most real, and they are far more important than thoughts, and they are worth the effort to experience. All Direct-experiences of Enlightenment in whatever form are life changing and permanent. You don't forget them, because they are not contained in a place that you can forget. They are not mere thoughts. They are you. There is no separation. If you exist, you will always know these Direct-experiences. It is not something you will have to think about.

After attending 10 or so Enlightenment Intensives one gets good at hanging out in the void and waiting for a direct experience. Years ago after I attended 10 or so Intensives I found myself in a pattern. Each Intensive would unfold the same way. I would find myself in the middle of an Intensive with a headache. I found I just could not think. As soon as I say to my partner, "Gee I can't think of anything. That's all." (The signal to reverse roles in the cycle change over system.) Then all of a sudden my headache would clear up. It's just amazing how different I felt when it was their turn. When I would ask them their question I found myself being bright and receptive and awake. When it came back to my turn again, wham, the headache returned. It was very interesting to observe first-hand that something was keeping me from making any discovery. Once I made a discovery, it was as if part of me was waking up from a long sleep. Now I had something. If the discovery lasted for a while and then fades, it was an insight; if it does not fade, ever, it's a Direct-experience. After another 3 or 4 Intensives, I stopped trying to "Think" my way to truth and I stopped having headaches. It is very natural that we have internal solutions to avoid personal responsibility, and for me a web of comprehensive thoughts allowed me to sleep through life, and figure my way along without experience.

That was an old barrier. What then, is the nature of this "Ring of Fire" now? What is my current personal crisis? For me, I want each Enlightenment Intensive to last longer than the last. I am not looking for a peak experience that fades away with time. I am looking for a way of life; a way of being that is more awake and more connected to love. I want each moment of my life to be direct - connect me into the real juice! Give me only truth. In the traditional eastern way to total enlightenment, I would join an ashram and become a monk. But I am not going to abandon those who are still confused and struggling - by going off to an ashram. I want to be there for them - to help -, as they want. I am not looking for a safe 'heaven' for me alone.

I want to live the real thing. Enlightenment that I can put into my "ordinary" life. Maybe it has never been done before - I don't care. Give me that fully active loving existence that does not manipulate others. I want my experiences to be pure - without props or logical payback. The sound of one hand clapping. How do I handle others? I would prefer to bless them where they stand, rather then to change them - fix them up - against their will. I want to leave other people to make their own choices. Balance and an inner recognition that they are up to the challenge life offers them. I don't want to be Peter Pan and trip people into an unsustainable high and then suck their emotional blood. I want my life - not a contact high from others that fades away with time. Life is not a trip I lay on them. Life is more than that. There is only one way to teach and live and that's by example through personal truth shared with others. Real Enlightenment is the only one that will really last and satisfy me. So why is this a crisis? You guessed it - I'm not there yet!

If you were hoping to hold on to me, or this thread of conversation, and get to something like total Enlightenment, you might find yourself in a crisis. Where is the "true" leader - "The Master" who will lead you through hell to the promised land? Sorry, the Dyad way is only help, not a handrail to heaven. You will have to do the heavy lifting yourself. This has always been true. Like me, you too will only be satisfied with the real thing.

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