No sleep yet; it’s about 3:30 a.m. Thought I would get up and write my sense of where I am these days. As I speak briefly in videos of my teacher, Vernon Howard, I need to make some things clear if they are not already. I do not run a Vernon Howard discussion page for a reason. I am not Vernon Howard! Nor his clone. I am myself and free of any doctrinal identifications at this point.
He spoke in his own way and I in mine. In some cases I differ from him decidedly and yet I carry his energy. It is an energy that wreaks havoc on the mind that wants to question or argue on the intellectual level. There are always people hovering around the edges of my page wanting to bait me. Not gonna happen, as Dana Carvey says in his best George Bush voice. I know what I am about.
I understand more and more that I am the Self, albeit in a female body and an insecure personality. My essence is bigger than I am. It is as big as the sky, to quote my friend Peter. I had lunch with a new friend last week and the realization of this came. I think she has had it as well. Although we met for lunch, we were meeting as the Self. And we had a good time being ourselves as well.
The days of people posing as enlightened beings online are over. Until we understand that we are neither and both will we come to know the truth. I am Vicki that has undergone more than one crucifixion and bears the scars to prove it. I am also the Self that shares love freely and unconditionally. Both forces happen at one and the same time.
So visit my writings and my blog and Facebook Page. But don’t think I am here to represent Vernon Howard or anyone else. My main teacher these days is a shaman who shows me joy in the moment. It doesn’t get any better than that. Honor the Self in all beings. Be grateful that they are embodied or un-embodied. Be grateful that we have these moments together. Soon enough we will be thrown into the fire to return again as light.
So I am up before daybreak again. Sunday morning in the dark. We all start life in the light, carrying it with us from higher realms. Gradually we get coated over with the slime of this world. Some despair before ever getting rid of it. They just get on with their lives, albeit bogged down with things that are not naturally theirs.
But the light shines in darkness. It is up to us to see the darkness so clearly that we realize it was thrust upon us by a sleeping world. We try to get rid of it, but find that we can’t do it easily. It is so inculcated in us to play along with the world’s script. We read our lines blindly, in ever-increasing darkness. It takes a shock to release us from the prison of the mind. For mind and society are one and the same thing. “They” are running the show and “I” am supposed to fall in with their demands.
It doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to wake up, but few of them work. I was lucky to be led to Vernon Howard, a darkness-buster if there ever was one. He yelled at us to “Wake up!” It was scary to be around him and also scary to keep on as we were before we met his teachings. Fear was all we had!
At this point in my life, I have seen through many of my inner demons, but they can still lord it over me. I tend to hide my power lest people turn and rend me. Oh, yes, the Bible is loaded with the truth. Rending or tearing at your aura happens, folks. I put white light around myself every day and it works. I had a few months where my defenses were penetrated by antibiotics and shingles, and all I could do was have patience until I healed. There are times in your life to fall back and regroup because well, that is all you can do.
So the Bible is dope, as some would say. Esoteric Christianity rocks. It leads you beside the still waters of awareness. It restores your soul. Even on a Sunday morning in the dark. The light is close at hand, always.
You can study the words of enlightened beings, but until you make them yours, nothing real will happen. Wisdom is safeguarded that way. Parrots may squawk the words, but the heart knows the difference.
When I heard the words of Vernon Howard on an audio tape, I recognized the voice of truth and I wanted more. I studied him obsessively, as many did, hoping to receive the inner meaning of them. This takes time and effort and commitment. In that way the sheep are separated from the goats.
Many heard the words of Jesus, but few wanted to truly unlock the secrets he gave them. They wanted to settle for the miracles. But as Vernon said, “A miracle is a state, not an act.” So only a handful of disciples followed Jesus. Or Vernon, for that matter.
Ego wants truth for its own benefit. You have to see that. You have to see how you want to twist it for self-glorification. Thank God that can’t be done.
So finally you begin to actually see clearly and the first thing you see is your uncleanness. Your ability to be a pharisee and a faker. You undergo a phase where your heart is true but your mind lies. And this causes you to have to dig even deeper. What is going on here? I want to grow, but I can’t. I just can’t make it happen. Again, the truth has safeguards to keep the ego from pilfering what doesn’t belong to it.
The list of byways is endless and the ego will try every one of them. But one thing is important. You have activated the witness and now you know when you are being a hypocrite for example. And because you know that in yourself, you now recognize it in others. “See it in yourself and in others,” as Vernon said.
And so it goes. It is good to read the words of the enlightened. It is even better to make them your own. By the grace of God, you begin to see the gap between what you profess and what you actually live. This is the Work. This is the path. This is grace.
Someone said I was a provocateur. I rather like that idea. It is good to write dangerous. To avoid the banal and embrace the sheer terror of the human condition. To have a dark sense of humor as well as a light one. To probe your own psyche is to probe everyone else’s as well. Most don’t want it and that’s fine. I live as I must and on the other hand, I have my cowardly side. No one is perfect. No one has this enlightenment game down. And it is a game as long as you think you are a player.
My friend and guru John Ramsey said that we are all skilled actresses and actors. “If you were sitting in the audience of a Shakepeare play, you wouldn’t stand up and shout, “This is only a play!” You would just sit there and enjoy the acting.” I love that.
He was very laid back about people still asleep. He said, “Let ’em nap. They’ll wake up when they are ready.” Droll, very droll.
What we are up against in this world is polarity. Coming into a world of opposites, we are asked to carry oneness in our hearts while living out division in our body/mind. This is how it works. You suffer a tragedy in your heart. You cannot carry it into the world of the opposites because there, everyone is under the necessity of playing a role. There are businesses dependent on their employees “carrying on.” And the world runs on financial incentives. We must eat, goodness knows. So we put our heart under wraps and do the best we can. This is true of every man and woman and that includes people in the helping profession. That is why they burn out. This is why caregivers burn out. I certainly did. My spiritual bank account was quickly depleted as I played the role of my husband’s caregiver. I had to deal with doctors, pharmacies, accountants. And they had to deal with me. Everyone is playing hurt in the human arena and it is rare that we are allowed to run in “subs” to play our roles.
This is the situation. We are all doing the best we can. Leonard Cohen is the bard for our broken hearts. He is the healer of this gaping wound we all have. He called his organization “The Unified Heart Touring Company.” And never did we see such brilliance on one stage as he toured the world with his band of performers. Once the tour was over, he returned home and spent the last 3 years of his life working hard. Even when diagnosed with leukemia, he kept it private and kept on working. His heart was huge and he shared his brokenness with one and all. Why? To enlighten the darkness of this polarized world.
I try to do this with my own writing, albeit a tiny contribution. I write from the broken heart of humanity in search of the one heart we all are. To do this, I must travel a terrain that is often rocky and barren. What sustains me is what is within me. I tell my story again and again in order to heal what is broken.
Some of you reading this are nodding and others may be in mighty disagreement, but I doubt it. What is real can never be broken and perhaps that is the message. But tomorrow we will get up and go about our lives in this broken world. May we bring peace to the extent that we can and always remember that self-compassion is not mandatory; it must be chosen. A good mantra is “I choose to love myself.” And when you do that, you bring healing to the world.
One starts walking the path and it is chock-full of obstacles, to say the least. But we are eager to learn, having no idea of how hard the direct path is. As Vernon Howard always said, “The easy way becomes the hard way and the hard way becomes the easy way.” And he taught the hard way. This kept all but serious students out of his hair. He frightened us with his head-on approach to awakening. He insulted us, browbeat us and imbued us with a sense of our own wrong-headedness. After all, he was speaking to our egos. Why? Because until you realize the ego is the root cause of illusion, you will not be able to see the light.
My life has been spent making mistakes and witnessing them. In this way you learn the art and the depth of humility and repentance. The dawn comes slowly, but it does come. With Vernon’s help, many of us became a bit emptier than we were before we ran into him.
So where am I today? I ask myself that as I fall down again and again, for that is the nature of life. Fall down nine times, get up ten, as someone wrote.
I am exactly where I am doing exactly what I do. Except that I realize the true meaning of “I.” Once you make this discovery, you relax a bit. You aren’t Buddha by any means. Those that claim to be are dead-wrong.
What we are is a nothing that is everything. A happening for which we are not responsible. A love over which we have no control.
I guess that is enough.
Leonard Cohen, on ghost guitar,
is singing sweetly from afar.
I know those robes; I know his beat,
The corner of that heavenly street.
A trail of tears, a life of fears is now
the music of the spheres.
The cheap seats full, the box seats, too.
No longer any me and you.
What’s left is love, what’s left is right.
The back-up singers out of sight.
His chop is back; the licks are sweet.
The great world tour is not complete.
He’s playing on till next we meet.