Last spring I sat a 5 day retreat with Sharon Landrith at Omega. I had a heck of a time for the first 3 days - meditation felt less like meditation and more like my mind was a concrete mixer filled with glass bottles and a bowling ball, relentlessly crashing and churning away.
On the 4th night I stayed late after the evening meditation. As each person left the room a tick of pressure released inside my body. By the time all but the last person left I was quiet; a column of peace and stillness. This continued for a bit and then, quite suddenly, a tremendous wave of STILLNESS came over me. I was in the middle of an immense struck bell, vibrating, but vibrating with utter stillness and silence.
I sat in awe, eyes closed. It felt as though the stillness had come from beyond, a gift that washed over me. After a while I wondered if the woman sitting several chairs over from me could feel it, it was that palpable. Inperceptibaly I opened one of my eyes and looked at her.
Yes! She was there! And then, as I looked at her, I absolutely could not find a self in her. Perhaps it does not make sense as you read this, but that was the feel of it. I simply could not see the self in her. At this very moment the "self" that I had always taken myself to be dropped out through the bottom of me; a big popsicle of "self" that I hadn't even known was there was pulled right out.
It was totally wild, although I doubt that was how I would have put it at the time. This entire "thing" that I had heretofore taken myself to be, was gone. And this false-self that dropped out had a felt, energetic component. This energetic component was gone. I had never noticed this felt energetic thing in me before, probably because I was so used to it being there. It was only when it was pulled out that I could describe or notice it.
I ( the term 'I' is used for lack of a more accurate way to write about it) sat for awhile, maybe a long time, I'm not sure. Such peace and lightness. Holiness everywhere.
At some point I tuned in to some voices. It seemed that they had probably been there before I noticed them. I turned my attention to them and found the exact likeness of Bugs Bunny talking and walking about. He was soooooo cool and collected and suave. You know that Bugs Bunny style? He was talking and talking, I can't remember about what. He wasn't talking to me, in fact I didn't get the sense that he noticed me at all. I'm not sure who he was talking to. It was fascinating to watch him go on and on, as if I was watching a cartoon that someone else had created.
Then Yo Samity Sam entered the scene, in all of his Yo Samity Sam - ness, stomping, hollering, generally bristling with indignation and hot anger. He would carry on for a bit, and then Bugs Bunny would swing back with a cool retort. And so on, back and forth they'd go.
As I sat there, the STILLNESS washing over me, the moonlight and the peace, Bugs Bunny and Yo Samity Sam were there too. At some point it occurred that they were my mind talking. My thoughts. It didn't feel like a seismic realization, it just felt relaxed and true.
This is how much the thoughts and voices in my head are not me. Once the false-self is gone (once the energetic popsicle of false-self is pulled out) the thoughts and voices in the head are hardly noticed, and certainly do not come with the confusion that they are me. They are there own characters, living their own, completey unrelated life. For some reason they seem to be in my mind. That's all.
After more time passed I didn't hear Bugs Bunny or Yo Samity Sam anymore. Eventually I got up and quietly left the room, the other woman still sitting.The walk back to the tent was peace beyond peace, lighter than light.
When I awoke in the morning the popsicle of false-self had been reinserted, I could FEEL it in there, and for a week or so I could identify which part of my moment to moment experience was the popsicle. This knowing, or differentiation, faded after a week or so, and now I am left with the memory, and the lived experience that things are different than they appear.
At the end of the retreat the woman in whom I could not see a self came and hugged me. Crying, she told me that it felt like an angel had filled the room that night.