The Awakening of Nirmala
Eventually, we went on to India and ended up in Rishikesh at an ashram called Phool Chatti in the jungle on the banks of the Ganges. There we spent our days in satsang with Neelam and our nights singing devotional songs.
Whenever I wasn't in satsang, I sat by the river, especially late at night after everyone had gone to sleep. I would sit about ten feet from the edge of the Ganges along this stretch of ten-foot tall rapids. The river was an incredible roaring presence of rushing white water.
One night as I was sitting there under the full moon, I recognized that the rock I was leaning on was me-"Oh yeah, this is me; this rock is inside of me." Once I realized that about that rock, I saw the same was true of all the rocks in the huge field of boulders along the river's edge. Then since the rocks were so obviously "me," the river was obviously "me" too, not just this stretch of the river, but the entire Ganges from one end of India to the other. Very quickly, I saw that not just the river, but the whole continent was "me." It struck me as obvious that it was all inside "me"-and then it was the whole world, and the whole solar system, the entire galaxy and universe. This kept going until the mind couldn't keep up. There was no longer any possibility of my mind containing all of this endless space, and yet it was all "me" in the same way that one of my limbs was "me."
Then there was a wonderful moment when "me" included not only infinity in terms of space, but "popped" to also include all time. It was obviously who I had always been, and it included all the past and all the future. Then I laughed and laughed and rolled around in the gravel because it was suddenly so silly that I had imagined myself to have suffered. I had always been so free that I was even free to have this illusion of not being free. That's how complete the Freedom is. So I just laughed and laughed.
I sometimes call this experience a non-awakening because what I realized in that moment is that all there is and ever has been is Awakeness.
There's no need for awakening in Awakeness itself. All of life is just the play of this that has always been fully awake.
I would like to emphasize again that the specifics of this experience aren't important. This Awakeness/Consciousness doesn't even make a snowflake the same way twice, so it is reasonable to assume that it wouldn't have an awakening experience the same way twice. What is important is the transformation of perspective that the experience allows. The shift in perspective to knowing that you are already free doesn't depend on having any particular experience.
Since that time, there has been a simple desire to share the perspective of Freedom. I began doing this in informal conversations with friends and then through giving satsang after being invited to.
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