All I have to do is focus my attention on something and I can get drawn into it. Does this seem familiar to you?
Part 2 of "Awakened by e-mail"
IT professional, Paul first e-mailed Oshana about his rapidly changing perspective on Feb 17, 2002. Following gentle probing about the connection between his awakening and working on the oshana.org web site. Here he shares more of his on-going experience:
Tue Feb 19 2002
I don't know what a full awakening would be.
I'm not a seeker in the sense of being a dedicated follower in Advaita "culture" or any other religious/spiritual culture for that matter. I don't follow gurus, so I don't know much about the experience of others or other reference points. Are there reference points?
Note that Paul has no religious context for this experience, he can only witness what is happening. He goes onto consider what working on oshana.org has involved:
I suppose there can be some factors we can point to.
[Reading oshana.org articles]
The nature of this project has had me read pretty much every word you [Oshana] wrote that is available through the web, some of it several times over, and over a period of several months now.
[Co-operating and working closely with Oshana]
Also, my interaction with you on the project has been very different from a typical web or software development project. Your engagement in this had none of the characteristic ownership and ego issues that are common to development projects, but instead, your participation might be described as that of a gentle guide, and experiencing this mode of interaction could have opened new possibilities for me.
But this is new territory for me. In the past, my first reaction would have been to measure my performance as defined by something like "The 17 Rules for Highly Effective, Efficient and Successful Living".
But arbitrary, external measures have no real meaning to me now because there is no performance - this a life being lived from another perspective than what was there before.
I'm still wary of explanations and arbitrary assignments of meanings. This is where Paul Tillich, the Lutheran theologian, was on to something. He talked about how all objects in space and time (including words and concepts) can be appropriated for use as religious symbols because it is possible to see anything and everything as pointing to the Divine. But it is idolatry - ascribing divinity to an object - to focus on the object (or symbol or words) as a substitute for the Divine Presence.
If I can say anything with some assurance, it is that I am now living with an persistent awareness of something deep, pervasive and ever present, with excursions into abstraction and thought as needed to continue living, then returning to rest in this Presence.
If there is a next step to this, it would be to see how the current perspective continues to inform my life. In recent months, I had already gone through a process of simplifying my physical and psychological life, starting to remove clutter and impediments to a more peaceful and loving mode of being. Some of this came from learning the hard way the futility of materialistic pursuits. Some of it has been the desire to heal and be whole.
Still, some elements of deep anger and fear - childhood traumas, I suppose - were persistent. And it seems that this perspective shift has allowed me to see even those thought-objects as illusions with no meaning and no place in my current life.
Still, as far as any obvious physical or perceptual changes are concerned, there's nothing to report. This perspective shift does nothing for seasonal allergies or back problems, and I'll have to wait a few more weeks before I can see if it's improved my golf swing ;).
Actually, there is one perceptual change I'd like to ask you about that has been persistent for me, almost to the point of distraction. My orientation has never been particularly visual, at least not the way an artist's would be. But for the past several days, it seems that I find the colors and textures of almost anything I look at to be deeply rich, vibrant and almost alive. All I have to do is focus my attention on something and I can get drawn into it. Does this seem familiar to you?
PS - It also occured to me that working on the web site is a form of mission work for me - a 21st century mode of "sharing the good news", to borrow a Christian phrase.