Are you awake?
Have you experienced an awakening? Do you understand the question?
You may indeed be awakening, if you:
• Have in recent memory bought or been slightly curious about any material by Dyer, Tolle or Chopra.
• Have been even for one moment “in the now.” You recognize that this is different than being “in the know,” because you watched an Oprah where a guy with an accent talked about the “present moment” and you got that he wasn’t referring to Christmas morning.
• Know who Rumi is, or have tweeted between one and 1,000 of his quotes, or posted one to Instagram captioning a picture of a sunset, a beach or a blooming chrysanthemum (at sunset on a beach).
• Have a general lust for life, experience and people, and want to live fully your time on this earth.
Not long ago, enlightenment and faith looked to me like the white marble of a Vatican statue — the Virgin, perhaps, or another sainted likeness. Pure. Without blemish. Perfect.
Have you ever looked at marble up close? Have you run your fingertips across a smooth, polished slab and wondered at the detail beneath the surface? Really, it’s a big old mess. And it is beautiful, intricately veined and grained with the scars, fractures and heaviness of thousands of years of weather and burden.
Some of them are delicate — indicative of a slower movement. Others are more severe and violent. The veining is caused by heat, pressure and impurities, not by kisses of butterflies and the gentle evening breeze. The essence of the stone lies in its growth fissures — the stretch marks of time and experience bestowing upon it uniqueness and, thus, deep beauty. The exquisite is brought forth by the impure.
Looking inwardly, I notice that impurity abounds. If we were in a bar and you had thrown back a couple, you may admit the same. Sometimes, we are willing to acknowledge and explore. And refine. And “awaken.”
Lately, there has been much therapy, coaching and Rumi “liking” in my life. The contrast of life on the “higher plane” (however your dogma defines) and the occasional disastrous drama I create in this “lower one” are top of mind. I am a broken winged dragonfly, hovering between the two: consciousness and unconsciousness, sainthood and sinner-hood. You may be also.
We are all jacked up. There’s a hot mess inside each and every one of us. Thanks, Mom and Dad. (Wait — it’s not Mom and Dad. It’s the stories we make up about Mom and Dad … or something …) We are learning our personal truths in our own way and time, seeking them through yoga, church, tequila or by facing the consequences of our own spectacular failures. They are all awakenings.
Someone who once loved me told me that I walk through life with an invisible two-by-four strapped across my shoulders unconsciously beating up people and things as I plow my way through my day. I did/do. Which makes it hard to navigate things like forests, crowds and cocktail hour. And swimming pools. And so I get stuck. And hurt people. And sink, drowning in the depths of my unconsciousness.
It is unlikely that my essence will ever be memorialized in marble. It is infinitely less so that I will be canonized and immortalized in a Vatican hall. However, every day I’m stumbling my way toward my (choose your word) higher self, consciousness. God. The truth is that we are all awake at times. And we are also unconscious, wretched ignoramuses blundering through our days wielding our two-by-fours: flashing the mighty middle finger of road rage, asking an only slightly bloated woman if she’s pregnant or watching anything Kardashian.
Newsflash: We don’t have to be a guru or a saint, or the dignified, polished marble likenesses of piety, reverence and grace. We just have to be ourselves — awake, conscious, semi-conscious or not at all. Kudos for noticing what happens along the way. Pennies in heaven for trying to do it better next time. And a shiny, gold, fat Buddha medal for keeping your sense of humor about it.
Mari Rose Hale is a Glenwood Springs writer. She blogs at mariroseland.wordpress.com. Semi-Conscious appears on the fourth Tuesday of each month in Body & More.
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Last week’s column was about Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., a respected gastroenterologist who wrote “Fiber Fueled,” which came out in 2020. Today’s column is the first in a series of columns based on this book.