When we last left our hero, he had reintegrated brain into heart through a type of self-given therapy called “positive-negation.” The icebergs of emotional trauma, childhood issues, and bad adult decisions were forgiving themselves and evaporating rapidly. So rapidly that a few close friends and family members thought he had joined a cult or had a mental breakdown or something. They thought his happy-happy joy-joy exuberance was an act. And why wouldn’t they? This is usually an act in those who repress their issues, and we don’t live in a society that even tries to cultivate Truth. It’s all an act here. But he wasn’t acting. And since he is me, please allow me to step out of third-person—it’s awkward here.
Heart wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough for me to break through to whatever Jiddu Krishnamurti was talking about. Or not talking about, actually, because he never said what happened when silence was the case, just to be silence and see what, if anything, takes place. He kept it an open question because to answer it would be to administer a goal and an instruction for the seeker to obtain that goal. Another thing to seek; another road to get there. He knew the folly of it. I knew the folly of it. I completely understood all that he was saying. So what was keeping me from the silence of simply being? Put another way, what was I doing now?
Now I was living joyously with compassion in my heart and a goofy smile on my face. Now I knew the cold, mechanical facts that we are all one on the subatomic, scientific level and the ecological level. Now I felt deeply connected in relational oneness to everyone and everything. Felt it like a remembrance of something good from childhood that made the tummy turn with warmth and often brought a tear to the eye when the feeling had nowhere else to go. I still tried to relate to people through my old sarcastic, cynical self, but it got harder and harder to wear that mask. I had outgrown it, yet I had to wear somebody like that to fit in. I was still living in The East Village, after all, and humorless hipsters hadn’t yet gentrified Manhattan.
Economically, I was a free spirit working temp jobs for rich corporations that paid me to do mostly nothing all day. One of these was a reception job where I was the fill-in for a woman on maternity leave. My boss was mostly, if not always, out of the office. I had no idea why they needed me, but there I sat at my desk next to another receptionist for another absentee boss. She looked like Latina Wonder Woman. I looked like Schmoo in a tie. Wonder Twin powers… activate!
We talked, sometimes, but she actually was busy, unlike me. That was fine. One of the attributes of having integrated into heart was and remains that I never got bored. Boredom, the need to be occupied, the need to constantly do things, is running from the fact that you’re screwed up. I wasn’t screwed up anymore. Where was there to go? I had all the time in the world and an unoccupied mind. This was the perfect setup for insights to come flooding in, which they did. I wrote most of what became the book Urgency. at this temp job. I couldn’t help it; I didn’t want to. Insight after insight on aspects of how life worked flowed through me. I can’t say I was wholly unfamiliar with the material, as I’d been reading Ken Wilber and Jiddu Krishnamurti, but I can say that what came out of me went beyond those readings. Once you start to understand this stuff rationally and open up to the transrational, it’s like learning not just a new language, but a new culture. Like learning new words, their multifaceted meanings, and the heart of the people behind them, all in one impossibly off-the-cuff lesson.
You keep learning, keep growing, keep evolving. And then one day, if you’re lucky, you wonder why that isn’t enough. You wonder why you never had that breakthrough moment, just this constant learning—which is fine and necessary on its own terms—but not the transformational mutation where you become one of the X-Men. Or whatever happens. I mean something happens, right?
This is the thing. Something happens and you know it hasn’t yet, even if it’s unnamed. The hole is in you. It’s smaller than it was when you were brain-self. It’s different. It’s a pinprick of a thing, not an unrequited love song. But it’s there making itself known as a sleepy seed scratching the cornea, ever-so-gently, to remind you that you still exist between awake and asleep and you’ve got more eyeball-rubbing to do before you’re up.
Yes, heart and brain are working in synch… and that still isn’t enough. Still isn’t enough because… because… you’re still there. You’re no longer the sensitivity-blind person angrily mocking the things you don’t understand; you’re the person who gets it. And that person rarely breaks through precisely because they get it and so they think they’ve already obtained… something. They think, ‘Maybe everything? Must be everything. This must be what enlightenment looks like! It looks like me! I’m smart, open, compassionate, and being flooded with insights!’ The truly unfortunate will at this point believe they must teach these insights. But if such a one sees through this, sees clearly that they’ve become a self again, new and improved though they may be, they’ll understand that they’re in the way.
I have become he who knows. He who experiences. He who gets it. I am (still) in the way.
Eureka. And in that moment, understanding self-as-dilemma shoots through and obliterates the core of you. You are no more. In that stillness of space where you existed, an awakening happens. Well, an awakening for the body. The energy awakening within was always wide awake; it’s not waking up, you are. You are. You’re back. The same but different. An energy is moving the body. It’s not you doing it. Life is taking another drastic turn.
So, how long did that take for me? Until I realized that even in transcending brain to heart I was still there. I shifted. And I persisted. And that “heart-I”, though a far lovelier, evolved, and giving creature than “brain-I”, was a blockage to mutation. With that realization slicing me to bits, I put down whichever Krishnamurti book I was interrupting with this revelation, sat crosslegged on the couch, and became the silence of simply being for but a moment. In that moment of undoing, a new type of doing came alive in and as me. It was off to the races from there.
There are three types of transformative experience, see? One takes time and one is instantaneous. The third one shall remain a mystery for now. But all three work on the same unit of measurement: When you’re ready. How long does it take to move from brain to heart? As long as it takes. When does the instant thing happen? When you’re ready. Can’t it all just happen at the snap of a finger? Yes. But the probability is low. It all depends on you.
And we wonder why sages and mystics speak in riddles?
It’s riddles all the way down.