Pause for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine if you will that you have no name. What does that feel like? This started happening to regularly occur for me back in 2002. I would be in the middle of teaching a yoga class and have no recollection of what I had just said, where I was, or how much time had passed. I was completely aware and present. Another instance of this, what I call a pause or a gap in the stream of thought, happened while walking to my car one day. I saw my mind panic having to remind myself of my name, the day and year. Noticing the reaction that was created it got me thinking. If I don't have my name then I don't have a story. And if I don't have a story, then who am I?
This was a cause of concern not ever having these types of experiences before so I went to go see a trusted friend, Marlene. After retelling Marlene my experiences she politely smiled and gave me a few insights and pearls of wisdom and recommended that I read the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, and told me it would take a year to get through. She was right. Years filled with highs, lows, and drama came and went. The "if only I was 'there' instead of 'here' or "if I had 'this' instead of ’that’". I identified with things I didn’t have, while the things I did have were never enough. By identifying “with it all” I believed my thoughts, beliefs and ideas were me. I bought into it hook, line, and sinker. For me that identification equated to misery, pure and simple. Of course, as I discovered, it was a complete fallacy. We lack nothing and are all equipped with everything we need. If you think that you lack something, play the detective and ask yourself ‘who’ is the one that is feeling that lack. You or your mind?
In 2005 I was a night hostess at a downtown restaurant in NYC. On this particular night we had a very heavy snowfall and after having witnessed numerous taxis spinning out in the streets I decided to take the subway home. Emerging from underground I began to walk home, which was only a few streets away. I was nearly home when I heard footsteps coming up behind me.
Just as I felt something shoved into my back it was accompanied with “Give me your fucking purse!" I turned around and looked upon a young man’s face mostly concealed by his hood. Looking down I notice his gun pointed directly at my abdomen. I looked back at his face staring directly into his eyes unable to look away. In that moment nothing else existed. Time stood still. No emotion, no stress, no ideas, no concepts, no beliefs, nothing. There was absolute clarity in what I can only describe as a boundlessness void. In this void I saw my mind download like you would see on a computer trying to figure out how I was going to get out of this situation, ala Matrix style. I gave him my purse without uttering a word and then followed his instructions to turn around and walk the other way lest he "fucking kill me". I counted the twenty steps and turned back around to casually walk back home.
After my mind was able to catch up with what had just happened I started to hyperventilate as everything from the experience began to sink in. The days following I noticed a fear with me when leaving my apartment. That fear soon waned and changed to anger thinking to myself, "I'll be damned if another human being ever scares me again." That anger then became the motivation to move through it all and just rack it all up as part of the New York experience.
Recently I visited an old friend and teacher I hadn't seen in a couple years. I consider him to be a fully realized person and just being in his presence you become still and abide in peace immediately. We have had many conversations and this particular conversation we were having was about the mind at which time I brought up the two experiences above. His reply was simply, "You have experienced Truth and have seen how the mind works. Some people like Robert Adams have spontaneous awakenings while taking a math test in The Bronx, while other people need a gun pointed at them. Everyone has instances where this happens. They see the mind for what it is and no longer identify with it. The mind is merely a tool. Ask yourself why do you continue to identify with your current life situation, after you've just told me you've seen how the mind works it’s not you."
Aha! I get it now.
Arriving back in NYC I immediately recognized an internal shift. This was not anticipated or expected, it just happened. I finally got that they are life circumstances. There was no more attachment to "my story". Why? My circumstances are not who I am.
So, what’s your story?