Hi! I'm finally "awake" and in love with love, life, the One, myself, and all sentient beings. I'm not claiming a Buddha level Enlightenment at this point in time, nor am I turing water into beer or floating around my apartment. However, to me my recent spiritual transformation has been nothing less than miraculous, and I'd like to share my story. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this.
First, a few introductory comments. I'm currently brainstorming as to how I can spread Love or "Light" in collaboration with others and would welcome any ideas or recommendations as to how to connect with as many people as possible. As a clinical psychologist, I endeavor to empower people to accept and love themselves just as they are. To the degree that this is achieved, profound change and transformation becomes possible. I have found that this principle equally applies to relationships of all sorts -- marriages, couples, families, friendships, acquaintenceships, even total strangers. And especially those who trigger a negative reaction within us; they perhaps need love most of all (unfortunately, however, to me it seems that one must nonetheless be cautious in interacting and sharing with such individuals so as to minimize harm to oneself or others).
That is why thus far I have been very selective regarding whom I share my "story" with. I have a professional reputation to uphold, at least for now, and I also believe that, depending upon the context, to preach one's version of Truth indiscriminately without empathy for one's audience runs the risk of harm. In other words I carefully (perhaps too much so) modulate my self-disclosure at present and am especially careful with my patients.
That said, I'd like to briefly summarize my recent transformation, which at it's climax occurred instantaneously, but developed in an ever accelerating fashion during the past 6 months.
Even as a child I was always fascinated by the "Big Questions" -- who are we, why are we here, does God exist, etc. In high school I began my search for deeper Truth via psychology (esp. consciousness theory and research), and the so-called "hard" sciences -- quantum physics, cosmology, mathematics, Artificial Intelligence theory (which posits that information itself is conscious). I've also learned a bit of philosophy along the way, although I'm honestly lousy with names and dates (I'm a bit ADD with regard to things that are not that important to me). I soon began to discover that beneath each level of perceived reality was an even more mysterious realm that often seemed to defy logic and intuition.
It also eventually occurred to me sometime in college that these deeper realms progressively had more and more in common with what mystics, philosophers, and Eastern and Western theologians had known for millenia via the INNER journey, however personally defined. The concepts of reality as relative, unitary yet uniquely and infinitely subjective, Oneness, timelessness, etc. upon examination are common denominators among all of these seemingly disparate fields, even mathematics. This realization further fueled my desire for exploration for the next 15 years or so.
However, until approximately 6 months ago I was almost constantly plagued with anxiety, self-doubt, depression, self-criticism, etc. Few people around me could understand why -- after all, they said, I was bright, kind, funny, handsome, and other positive attributes. But, to me this positive feedback seemed fundamentally invalid. Breakups with women were particularly excruciating and frequently led to thoughts of hopelessness, helplessness, even suicide. Yet to most others, I appeared confident, balanced, and happy. I became quite good at hiding my pain, even from myself through elaborate self-deception.
Then something happened as I approached my 35th birthday in September of 2005. I realized that I was, in fact, a full-fledged "grown up" and that if I did not actively seek to turn my life around, I might literally die within a few years -- via suicide, smoking cigarettes, or some other self-destructive behavior. I had to give it one more shot.
The first thing I did was to expand out of the "bubble universe" that I had created to protect myself. My work with my patients, in addition to a relatively small number of relationships with close friends and family members (to all of whom I am eternally grateful) constituted my entire life, the only things I paid any attention to. Beyond that, I couldn't bear the responsibility of witnessing the suffering of the masses. Watching even the local news had become unbearable. It seemed that suffering was everywhere, including within myself, and it had seemed that there was very little that I could do about it.
Nonetheless, I decided to lift my head out of the sand. Although horrified re: 9/11 and the pathetically transparent web of lies and deceit surrounding it, I actually began to feel better as I shifted my focus outward. Although I felt pain, it was of a different sort. I actually felt more ALIVE AND AWAKE and shifted my concern away from inner "demons" like self-doubt and self-criticism. Essentially, I had re-engaged with the world at large, and consequently felt a renewed sense of purpose.
I then shifted the focus of my reading toward more personal, self-exploratory, spiritual issues. The one book that was the Key in changing my life for good is The Power of Now (E.Tolle). As I read it, I could feel myself being drawn closer to a more profound, deeper Truth that even quantum physics couldn't touch (at least at the level that I understood it).
Things really began to accelerate from there. On 2/24/06, I first saw "Bridging Heaven and Earth" on a Long Island cable access TV channel, and listened with an open mind, heart, and spirit. Immediately after the program, I decided to revisit The Power of Now, my appetite for Truth whetted by the program. I pondered over one chapter, entitled, "YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND". Then, literally in an instant, I got "IT". Everything finally made sense. I laughed and cried with joy as to how simple, yet profound, beautiful, yet comedic it all was. I had finally "arrived", rediscovering whom I had, in fact, been all along -- the ultimate essence of all sentient beings -- we really are all One with each other, ourselves, and God (or whatever word you use to express the Ultimate Being).
Since that moment, 99.9% of my depressive thinking/feeling, self-flagellation, and unnecessary anxiety has been nonexistent. Interestingly, I still am able to expereince the full range of human emotions (actually, more so) and am still "myself" in all my personality dimensions, "Dr. Makris", "Greg", "Mak Attack", etc. Yet I am simultaneously infinifely more. Permeating this "new" level of awareness is a CERTAINTY that all is well, no matter how horrible "reality" may seem at the time. I am finally at peace.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story. I realize that the journey will continue for me, for all life, for infinity. Doing this has felt beautiful, and I hope that anyone who reads this will get something meaningful out of it. I look forward to reading your stories, so that I, too may learn and grow.
For those who are interested, here are some of my personal portals to Truth (not necessarily in order of importance):
1. Love in all forms
2. The Power of Now -- Eckhart Tolle
3. Living, Loving, and Learning -- Leo Buscaglia
4. The Fabric of the Cosmos -- Brian Greene
5. Einstein and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings -- I forgot the author -- lent it to someone
6. Psychotherapy -- giving it and receiving it
7. "Don't Stop Believin'" -- Journey. My favorite song ever since it came out in 1981.
8. Playing my electric guitar
10. Sweet Leaf (adults only, please)
In addition, here's my current personal elaboration upon Einstein's famous equation, E=m(c squared), which demonstrates the equivalence of energy and matter:
For the total of all values from 0 to infinity,
For those of you who are interested, play around with this set of equivalencies and let me know what you think.
Thanks again to all!