It rained softly that autumn morning. Warmly. That morning when I as a young man, soon to be twenty, and after a year or so of turning over rocks large and small and looking underneath them all, stumbled upon and fell into this gorgeous truth.
It felt like—it was—a spiritual orgasm, this is what I told my journal later; and just like a physical orgasm always precedes birth, so a spiritual orgasm always precedes spiritual birth, this is what I told my journal later.
I can still remember swimming in, embraced by, being that wonderful light that like a fountain had exploded in my feet and shot up and through and out into heavens beyond; and equally vividly I remember what I said when after seconds, or minutes—it’s hard to tell how long when time has ceased—I alighted from this unbelievable flight. I remember that I said, slowly and carefully: “Now I know.”
I had found—yes, I was convinced—Truth. I had found the Truth I had looked and thirsted for.
Finding it had turned me transparent and it felt like I permeated every part of my body, every cell. I had woken up. My mind, now still as a forest lake, agreed. My life, to put it mildly, had changed dramatically and would remain changed for the rest of my days—as it remains changed today, of course.
But as time passed and gapped itself between the me now and the me then, the me swimming that light, it introduced distance between the me now and the me then, between the current self and what I saw as my true self; and even though the memory remained vivid enough, the experience of light experiencing itself drifted away, fading ever so minimally each day.
How then to get it back?
A long, intense year of looking, reading, writing, attempting, looking, reading, writing, attempting, looking, reading, writing, attempting ensued. Nothing worked. The experience, God’s gift as I sometimes thought of it, remained a thing of the past and there it would remain. It would not, no matter what I did, revisit me.
One morning at the end of my year of looking, on a ferry ride from Copenhagen to Malmo (we were outside sitting at the bow), a close friend, also a seeker, announced told me, “I have found the way.” He went on to explain and explain and after explaining some more I looked at him and said, “I see.”
And so, I set out on this path my friend had found to recapture my fading truth, to re-live the experience that had so brilliantly proved to me that experience is all the proof you need.
Forty experience-less years later I found myself in a dark, cul-de-sac alley, finally at my friend’s path’s end. I looked back: I had traveled the wrong path.
What do you do when you realize that you have spent half, or maybe more than half of your life traveling the wrong path; when you realize how much time you have spent (perhaps even wasted) going in the wrong direction but do not know, and have no way of finding out, how much time you still have?
And the memory remained. And the experience remained. And the Truth remained. And this left me no other option: I resumed my search for the true path, that’s what I did. For the memory of light experiencing itself, and my words as I alighted (“Now I know”) remained vivid and strong, and even if I only had days to go, I could not give up my search.
I found another path, that discovered and shared by the Buddha Gotama.
And with every step along his path, a path I now call mine, I find myself closer to the light.