Thursday, December 30, 2010
I have been reading an interview in Nexus (a free spiritual/metaphysical journal for Colorado) with author Nicole Grace, who has recently published a book called "Boddhisattva: How to Be Free." Nicole, now on an extensive book tour, is a former organizational consultant who experienced a sudden, unexpected, and very dramatic awakening (we would call it Kundalini Awakening, though she does not use this term) and subsequently became a Buddhist monk, spiritual teacher, and writer on the topic of being a Boddhisattva in your own life.
For those who may not know. a Boddhisattva is (originally) one who foregoes enlightenment in this lifetime in order to help others attain this state. In earlier times, enlightenment was especially prized because it allowed one to enter nirvana and thus escape continuing rebirths into the human state, with its attendant sufferings and sorrows. Today we think of the Boddhisattva as someone who shows great compassion for others and who dedicates his/her life to alleviating the sufferings of this world.
Nicole's awakening occurred when she, as an adult, was simply listening to music. Suddenly, her crown opened, and "the light of the universe just poured in like a fire hose pointed down." Light (in both a metaphorical and literal sense) is often associated with spiritual awakening and with Kundalini. When it arrives in this fashion, it can in fact be quite disconcerting. I met one woman who said that when light visited her in this way, she was never really sure where to step, for everything, including the floor and her feet, seemed to be made of pure light.
Nicole is quite frank about her experience. She feels that it was not full enlightenment as such,
but rather a "glimpse" or "taste" of enlightenment. She makes the important point that there are in fact "levels of enlightenment" and that just because one has had an initial experience, one may not remain permanently in this state at all, but rather undergo intermittent moments of similarly expanded consciousness.
I resonated deeply with many of Nicole's descriptions and observations. She describes her path as Tantric Buddhist mysticism, and says "...it's essentially the pathway to enlightenment through direct experience of the Divine, without the formal organized structures of the Buddhist religion." She explains that Tantra has mistakenly become associated specifically with sexual activities through misunderstanding. "Tantra" means "weaving" and includes "mysticism from every possible corner: Hinduism, Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, anything that works."
Oddly, though she advocates following the "direct path" to the divine, she herself quickly located a teacher to lead her through her transformational process. I am not sure how she reconciles this apparent contradiction.
I will say more about her journey in future. The entire article can be read eventually on the website: www.nexuspub.com, though the current issue (January/February, 2011) is not yet on line.
Although she offers workshops and presentations to many thousands of listeners, she does not allow her picture to be posted on the internet or on her book cover, for fear of being turned into a guru (cult) figure. She also refuses to divulge the name of her teacher, considering this to be too private for public revelation.