The first realization that perhaps I was on a spiritual path was when my two daughters were in college. No ‘empty nest’ symptoms there. I was thoroughly enjoying my new found freedom, when one day I was overcome with a profound longing. A longing to be still. At that time I expressed it as wanting to be quiet – wanting to get away from all the noise of the world and even more so, the noise in my head. This was not something that in my busy, productive life I’d ever given any thought to. Looking back, I see that what was being asked of me was to ‘be still and know that I am…’, as so perfectly expressed in the Bible. I chuckle whenever I think that had I followed that very simple pointer I might have saved myself a lot of time and effort. Instead, my mind came up with idea after idea on what I could do to find the ‘quiet’ I so longed for. Meditation seemed like a good place to start. However, it didn’t take long to see that during meditation, not only did the mind not become quiet, but now, I realized how out of control it was. However, I persevered. Spiritual books must have the answer was the next idea. I collected a whole library.
Then I started attending satsangs and was introduced to spiritual teachers. In 2004 I met Adyashanti. Sitting in his presence, I became a tuning fork entrained to a whole new vibration. This was it! By now, I’d lived long enough to see that being human comes with its share of joys, challenges and heartbreak. However, no words can describe the excruciating pain of a heart breaking open. In 2007 I received a phone call that my younger daughter had died following what was to be a simple medical procedure. The shock of it blew what I thought I was to pieces. There was no ‘I‘ to be found, only spaciousness, connection with everything and a profound Love holding the grieving mother in all her despair, pain, and anger at God. This continued for several months. Then, like Humpty Dumpty, the Caroline character pieces came together again. I read spiritual books, looked for something better, attended satsangs. Yet deep within there had been a profound transformation.
In 2008 grace brought me to my good friend and teacher Sharon Landrith who, to me, embodies what being awake really means. With her support and guidance, together with an uncompromising devotion to Truth, I came to abide in my true nature.
And what did I discover through all this? What I thought was a longing to be quiet and escape all the noise, was a movement calling me Home. I discovered there is no end point. Each moment is a new beginning. We are all of the same source, expressing our uniqueness as only our particular incarnation can. What ‘s being asked is that we put aside our beliefs, attachments and resistance in order to allow Life to express and know itself freely through us. Seeking enlightenment is exhausting and futile. There is no endpoint called enlightenment, only Life in service to Life. Knowing that, the question now becomes, ‘How may I be of service to Life in each and every moment?’ With this comes a simple way of being and, amazingly, there’s always silence even in the midst of noise.
By accepting Sharon’s invitation to teach, I step into what Life is asking of me. In the role of teacher, I’m discovering what it’s like to be vulnerable, what it’s like to ‘teach’ and not have any answers, only questions—and in spite of that, or more likely because of that, be of benefit to those who sit with me and ultimately, all Beings. I bow to the perfection of it all.