Fatal Attraction Part 3—Choosing the Path of Light

Karnamrita Das

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[I am continuing the reposting of this 5 part series.] An unusual cold, rainy day in Berkeley, California, but for a particular person, it was a fitting, useful, backdrop for an epiphany, or deep “aha moment.” Chris Cox, in a contemplative mood that was becoming almost normal, was sitting on the floor in his minimally furnished room. A single light bulb hung down from the ceiling by a cord speckled with white paint from an ancient paint job. Warming himself in front of the gas heater, he would occasionally look around the room or out the window at the gray day, as if looking for special meaning, or some clue about what was missing from his life. In fact he felt like he, himself, was an existential question waiting to be answered, and for the first time in his life.

Chris had lost his job and was getting food stamps. His hippie house was on “rent strike,” having banded together with other renters to withhold paying rent until the “pig landlords” lowered the cost, so he hadn’t paid his rent in months. Still, the electricity and water were on, and he had food and shelter. How was this possible that he could live here with no effort? He could just sit here and live, having time to read religious and mystical texts and think about the purpose of life. It all seemed magical, yet purposeful.

He didn’t know it yet, but he was experiencing how simple living can foster deep thought about life. As it turned out, this was a rare time when life conspired to make certain results more likely by arranging the environment like a perfect supporting cast. Many of these insightful moments built up to create this pivotal time, something like the proverbial straw on the camel’s back, but rather than breaking its back, the camel was let free to begin a new life. In his thoughtful, reflective mood, Chris remembered these profound insights, and wondered what he should do next.

Only a year and a half out of high school, his whole life was unrecognizable from before—which seemed like another lifetime. So many events and different situations all crammed into this short window, and now he seemed on the precipice of some major change—but what could it be? What was happening, he couldn’t tell, though he could feel some kind of opening or energy around him. His past use of LSD had shaken his life to the core. So many dimensions and vistas had opened up before him in these intensely profound states. Thus he sometimes doubted his current reality as perceived by his senses, since the world appeared unstable, changeable, and like it couldn’t be trusted—as it might shockingly melt into a colorful puddle, morph into some fantastic creature, or, he shuddered to think what else.

As an unusual contrast to this external insecurity and his “spaced out” appearance to others, within himself, he felt certain about his identity beyond the body. Whatever that was, he didn’t have words to describe it, except that it was everlasting awareness and real identity. He was one with the world, all beings, and the Universe. Every trip Chris had taken was a confrontation with death and the frailness of life in a physical body. His whole life seemed in question and in flux. Where was solid ground, and what was true?

Once he switched bodies with his girlfriend, staring at himself in disbelief, and another time he lost all memory or frame of reference to matter—he was just pure eternal consciousness with no past, future, or connection to the present. Both experiences had freaked him out so much that it took him weeks to feel somewhat normal. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your angle of vision, normal felt foreign, like he didn’t fit in to the world, and he felt so very alone, empty, and sad. He didn’t have the means to really process what these experiences meant, so he tried not think about them—which he couldn’t do, because although they were strange, they were strangely intriguing.

As unsettling as those drug experiences had been, his last LSD journey put his perceptions into a larger context and added to them, creating a “tipping point.” He knew he had gone as far as he could. Some kids Chris knew had become permanently damaged from these trips, though others had given them up to embark on a spiritual path. Thus he gave up all attempts at drug voyaging for good, dedicating his time to the search for truth, meaning, peace, and lasting joy. During that last experience, he not only traveled outside his body as he had done before, but had a near death experience. Floating above his body, he sensed that his body was dead, or could be dead, but the choice was still up to him to live or die. It would be easier to leave this life behind, and part of him wanted to.

However, Chris sensed that he still had important lessons to learn. Even though he knew he was a non-material entity who had gone through countless lives, each life was important and should be lived fully. Life lessons are repeated until learned, so if he didn’t return to his present body, the same lessons awaited him in his next life. If he could face his current situation he would grow as a person and be able to help others. Feeling like he was getting a second chance, he returned to his body and his existential struggle, knowing he must continue his spiritual quest as his main pursuit. He remembered this as the same resolve he had living for months around Muir woods, the redwood forest in Marin County.

Part 4 recounts some of his realizations living in the woods—and yes, his dealing with his upbringing is coming. I am combining the parts of the puzzle or tapestry of his life (have you done this with your life?) which lead up to his learning to be present and at peace with his past. Everyone’s timing is different, but the main thing is to learn and grow as a person in such a way that the soul comes out, the heart opens. Here is the link to Part 4 of this series: http://www.krishna.com/blog/2015/02/22/fatal-attraction-part-4-awakening...