There was something about loosing the crutch of education, the crutch of structure, that rattled me to the core after graduating from college. I no longer had a place to direct my mind, my thoughts. No distractions. There was no longer homework to stress over, papers, finals. I was alone – all alone, with my mind for the first time in my life.
Working life was wholly dissatisfying. I was working a temp job data entry, paid twelve dollars an hour for monotonous, robotic labor. I spent my weekends winding down from the forty hour work week, never feeling quite recovered, feeling like I was like gaining just enough energy to do it all again. I was beginning to see that my relationship with my partner was not an entirely healthy one. We fought constantly, and our apartment became the center of our emotional melodrama.
All the while, my psychic abilities were opening up.
I’d always known I was empathic, able to feel and discern the emotions of others. But deeper senses were unraveling. I was becoming aware of my ability to see the things that people tried to hide. When they spoke to me, it was like their energy drew lines around their pain, their trauma, their unspoken wounds. It was like watching a spiritual Sketch-O-Matic in motion. At first, I didn’t understand why I was seeing it. I became aware of the shadows, the silent darkness in everyone. It became difficult at times to go out or spend time with others. I tried to numb myself, with food, with relationships. Even the lightest conversation became fraught with this shadow energy.
I became depressed. The world seemed bogged down with a weight and cloudiness like I’d never known before. The truth was, I didn’t know who I was anymore. My education had always provided a means of understanding myself. Now, all that was gone. Life seemed bereft of true meaning. How did people go on, wake up every morning, when they worked meaningless jobs just to survive? I had grown up in a largely working class city, and I knew the difficulties that people around me faced. It felt like the forces of the world I had learned about in college – institutionalized oppression, classism, racism, just to name a few, were impossible to challenge or overcome.
I knew I had to start taking care of myself. I’d studied Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation during my time at Smith College, and even went abroad to Sarnath, India, to deepen my study. Yet for all my intellectual understanding and interest in Buddhist philosophy and meditation, I’d never been able to develop a consistent practice. It took becoming so lost, so deep within myself, to reach out.
At first, meditation was uncomfortable. I started with 10 to 20 minutes a day. If I meditated without guidance, I often felt fear and anxiety surface in my consciousness. Sometimes, I’d literally jump in my seat. I understand, now, that this was a reflection of my own mind. I lived in constant fear, and constant anxiety of where I was going. So I turned to guided meditations, which helped direct my thoughts more positively. When I began to see the way that I could soothe my battered mind, I used guided sleep meditations to help me fall asleep on the nights that anxiety kept me up. Soon enough, I was able to have more peaceful, self-guided meditations.
It wasn’t long after I began, that I had my first vision. I was lying on my couch, listening to binaural beats for meditation. I fell into an unconscious state, one between waking and dreaming. I was lying on my couch, just as I was in the physical world. There was something very large, and very loud, approaching my apartment. A plane was able to collide with the building. I would most certainly die. But the craziest thing was that I wasn’t afraid. Everything was destroyed in slow-motion. The building fell and burst into flames. I witnessed my body disintegrate in a matter of seconds.
But I was still there. My body was gone, but my consciousness was still there – vibrant, strong, resilient, and eternal, and full of peace. I was so beautiful, and so strong above the flames. I felt such a wave of knowing relief. I would never die. Even if my body passed, my consciousness was forever.
“The embodied soul is eternal in existence, indestructible, and infinite…” – Krishna, the Bhagavad Gita
Slowly, the world seemed full of possibility. Not only was I eternal, powerful, and worthy, and so was every soul around me, too.
I began to find my strength again, my will to live. I began to search for a sense of purpose. I wanted to help others heal. I realized that my abilities were never intended to cause me pain, but rather to wake me up.