Enlightenment in a J. C. Penney’s

I’ve read and studied and practiced various forms of cognitive therapies and mindfulness practices for the past few years, a process in which Eckhart’s books have played a major, if not primary role. This period of time was wonderfully healing, and helped bring me out of what in retrospect was basically a low/mid-grade lifelong depression and self-loathing.

I had reached a point where life had basically been going in cycles. Longer cycles, as when I would slip back into depression for a week or so, then gradually come out, restart the practices, gain a sense of peace and fulfillment, get frustrated with my inability to stop the cycle, becoming depressed again for a week, etc. And shorter cycles, during a single day, of “getting it”, of then getting tripped up, of having to remember the practice, “getting it” again, losing it, etc.

I would practice giving up the idea of ever “totally getting it”, which was fairly effective, until the cycle started again. I was content enough to continue these cycles, though, as even the worst of it was still better than what I’d dealt with prior to finding the practice, finding the power of Now.

And then there I was, walking into a J. C. Penney’s this past weekend, and as I walked mindfully toward the jewelry section, looking at all the shiny things, I was suddenly hit full-force with one simple, incredible revelation which would have sounded ridiculous before, but afterward seemed so obvious that I couldn’t believe I could have ever not known it. It was this:

Nobody is seeing this.

There was the seeing, the feeling, all of that was still there, but there was absolutely nobody doing the seeing or the feeling. Of course all of the great books talk about this, and before this moment I could “understand” it, and would occasionally get to the point where I thought, “maybe I’m feeling it now?” But in this moment, walking into the store, I knew as surely as the sun would come up the next morning that there was nobody there. The Ben I had been carrying around my whole life, the Ben who I’d been protecting and judging the whole time, the Ben who I thought was doing all of this seeing and feeling and thinking, honest to goodness just dissolved, and there was nothing left but the big Me, the creative intelligence which pervades every inch of the universe, and which is using this body as a host to become conscious of itself.

Since then, there have been cycles, but much much smaller ones, and the days just flow with an ease I never thought possible. Having Ben dissolve so completely that time, it’s much easier for him to dissolve again every time he reincarnates.

Knowing that the creative intelligence is using this body as a host, I’ve been able to keep greatly dis-identified from thought and feeling, from form, by reminding myself of something like: “this is a thought/feeling which the human form experiences”. Since there is no Ben, nobody at all doing the experiencing, it’s quite easy to play the role, our true role, of the One creative intelligence allowing itself to unfold in the proper manner, letting Me do My thing. If you know what I mean.

– Ben (sort of)