In 2009, I experienced an instantaneous awakening. Here is a little more about my experience:
When it happened, I was sitting in an orange Naugahyde chair in a Japanese temple lodging facility on a cold winter night. I had just had a bath and was sitting there, not doing anything in particular when, from one breath to the next, I was awake. Inside me there was nothingness and quiet ecstasy. My every move was to maintain this precious state, to nurture this delicate balance within me.
I looked for any opportunity that felt good to engage in purely and blissfully: Looking at dry grass blowing in the breeze; interacting with people on a train; smelling a flower; looking at a scene through my camera lens until it felt delicious and I snapped the photo.
There was nothing that I would rather have done in that moment than the activity that I was doing; it had all of my attention and all of my open-hearted love, just like a small child.
There was no thought of past, or future. I had no concern about death. And also no concern as I felt the veil come down one night after a few weeks of grabbing at the habitual thought patterns around the approval of others and other modern-day fears and worries.
From this state, there was a crystal-clear view of others’ tantrums, insecurities, and manipulative behavior and it was easy to look past these, knowing that their actions were rooted in an attempt to ease their own suffering. It just made me love them. This is what compassion is.
My brain felt energized and completely different, like it had been rewired. The closest I can come to describing it is the sensation in my head when I resolve a Magic Eye stereogram.