Continued from Homepage…
In many ways, I continually experienced extreme states of egocentric consciousness almost all of the time, swinging wildly from ecstatic joy and pleasure to deep and dark despair, stopping off at confusion and delusion along the way. Not only did these patterns create a great deal of chaos in my life effecting work, money, home life and relationships, but the accumulative impact of the stress and anxiety that resulted from these experiences also led to developing unhealthy coping habits such as drinking and smoking and finally to serious physical disease in the form of cancer, at the age of 29.
Four years after successful treatment for cancer and just 1 year before I was given the all clear, I stumbled upon some teachings of modern, Western teachers of nonduality (or Advaita Vedanta) and almost instantly experienced a sudden shift within. It felt like a huge chunk of heavy, embodied pain and resistance had fallen away, like a great mass of land breaking off, disappearing and dissolving into the vastness of an ocean. In time, I came to understand that my ultimate identity was this vast capacity and the repeated returning of my awareness to the unchanging and infinite within me (or rather, me within it), slowly began to feel more and more like my true and natural home, more and more like my true Self. Since then, I have been learning to trust that wisdom within. I have come to know it as a wisdom that appears to have a capacity to supply never ending kindness, compassion and unconditional love in the face of whatever difficulties and pain life may present to it. Trusting in that vast, timeless, unchanging and undying love through the living of my life in the world seems to come more naturally every day.
Life can and does present all of us, at some point, with some form of very painful suffering. My own suffering has blessedly not been in vain. In fact, I am thankful for every ounce of suffering, for it has shown me that it IS possible to live in a peace that passes understanding; that there is a happiness available to us that is beyond our traditional ideas of happy vs. sad and that there is a contentment that is contented even in the lived experience of discontent.
With much love