The first ever journal of an awakening by e-mail. Extremely rare. The first in a series of amazing awakening testimonies from a Chicago man who corresponded with Oshana via e-mail - mostly about the design and implementation of Oshana.org - and to his great surprise got more than he bargained for!

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If I think it's gone, that very thought seems to bring it back. If I get caught up in thoughts or emotions, that also passes

Part 1 of "Awakened by e-mail"

The first in a series of amazing testimonies by Paul from Chicago, whose inner life radically changed after volunteering his IT skills to www.oshana.org. Paul's awakening is on-going. His journal reveals an extremely rare and authentic wisdom that we are fortunate to share in.

Paul first volunteered on:

Sat Oct 13, 2001

I've been lurking for a while on your Yahoo groups, and seeking/not seeking enlightenment for longer than I can remember. As for my motivation for volunteering, I also think that helping others on this path will also help me.

Subsequent e-mails revealed that Paul did not consider that he was awakened. 95% of Paul's emails were about website design. Only 5% were about awakening. Paul was happy to code more than his his quota of web pages in his freetime between work-related flights, meetings and family obligations. A spirit of compassion in service of spreading awakening is more vaulable than pearls. It is a way to get close to a teacher's heart because that is what he is 24 hours a day

4 months later Paul related a surreal experience whilst looking at an elderly couple in a local grocery store. This perhaps is his earliest experience and he does not know what to make of it. Later reports reveal more clarity and acceptance of this transformation.

Bear in mind that Paul, has never spoken to Oshana in person or by phone - only by e-mail. The future potential of the internet is only just being realised!

Sun Feb 17 2002

Oshana,

I defer to your understanding and experience for whatever explanations or insights you may wish to offer regarding my recent experiences...

.. in front of me were an elderly couple moving very slowly. ...I got the very strong sense of them being completely, selflessly devoted to each other. They hardly spoke. They communicated with small gestures and movements ... I don't know where the impulse to bless them came from ... I don't know what it really means.

Possibly the focus of my energy on them? To be more precise, at that moment, all I was aware of was being a protective presence, and after they moved away I saw how crowded that part of the store was, and how my stopping gave them the space they needed.

This will hardly get me a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. I "did" nothing, and now I don't know if elderly couple were even aware of my presence. But whatever did or didn't happen came from a "groundedness" that I can't really describe, and afterwards I had a sense of inevitability - that I could do nothing else in that moment.

Throughout the day yesterday and so far this morning, this sense of connectedness and presence seems to move back and forth from a "foreground" to a "background", and if I think it's gone, that very thought seems to bring it back. If I get caught up in thoughts or emotions, that also passes, and I'm back where I started.

The sense of being an "actor" that I had before is now more like an acknowledgement that there is a persona called "Paul" who interacts with the world, but I am who I am.

I also began to remember other incidents like this earlier in my life. For example, one day, when I was a teenager exploring the wonders of the big city (Chicago), I was standing in a plaza, admiring the architecture, when a complete sense of the aliveness of the place completely overwhelmed me. I felt how the surface appearance arose from the underlying nature.

It was a "high" or a feeling that I had never known before, and it lasted several days. But I had no context or understanding about what happened, and it certainly wasn't consistent with my Lutheran background at the time.