When I was about seventeen years old, I went to the theater to see a film called "David and Lisa". This was an independent film about David, a teenage boy who has an aversion to being touched. David feels that the touch of another human being will kill him. Placed in a mental institution by his parents, David strikes up an unlikely friendship with Lisa, an immature acting teen, who only speaks in rhyme, and will only communicate if she is spoken to in rhyme.
One of my favorite scenes from the film has the patients, on a field trip from the institution, waiting for a bus in the bus station. An unfriendly family, also waiting for the bus, becomes disturbed by their presence, and the father tells one of his children, "those people aren't normal" . Offended and hurt, some of the patients begin to cry and become upset. David comes forward and says to the father, "If you're normal, who wants to be normal?".
As I was seeing a psychiatrist weekly at that time, this became a kind of slogan for me; "If you're normal, who wants to be normal?". I was struggling with an identity crises at the time, my homosexuality coming to the surface. I had never been normal . I did not want to be normal. I had already had more than a year of psychiatry in my early childhood, and I did not like seeing this psychiatrist. At seventeen, I already knew more about myself, my motivations and "inner " life than anyone I knew, including most of the adults in my life. The shallowness, the emptiness of their pathetic lives was frightening. It was like living among robotic aliens.
Psychiatry to me, was like confession. I had told all my "secrets ". For a while, it was as if there was no "me " left. All those little things we keep hidden in our selves, that go to make up what we think we are, were gone. I was naked, scared, but very free. No one "had " anything on me, for it was all there on the table. I was my own. Naked, I was now free to "dress " myself as I chose. It was then that I chose to live for Love alone. Looking back, I can see that there really was no choosing, as there was never any choice, Love being the call I could not resist. All I knew was that life had to be experienced here, now, in it's own terms.
Now, as an aging human being, I can't say I feel any different. For many years I read and studied. I delved deeply into Christianity and Christian Mysticism. Then Nisargadatta Maharaj. I continue to have 60 or so books on the shelf that have inspired me, and I occasionally read bits here and there, but I don't read many new books or articles any longer. There are so many teachers, gurus and people that others have labeled as clear, holy, inspired and all the rest of it. But I have found that adapting others spiritual discoveries is only useful in gathering an intellectual understanding. The "teachings" must become alive in us. They must be lived.
When I was in school, I found that I could learn something much more thoroughly, if I took the reading and turned it into my own words, make it "my own", so to speak. If you read any of my notes or blogs, you will see that I try to explain my experiences and understandings in my own way. I will often use terms that are understandable to those who I feel will read my writing, but try not to use too much jargon or too many quotes. As a largely uneducated person, I try not to go beyond what I have found for myself. I know I am not normal. My "secrets " are gone. There remains nothing to protect. Life "wakes " in the morning, and I open my eyes to mystery.
In all honesty, apart from my Partner, I have no "friends ". Yet every "stranger " is loved. You, my readers are my life. I wish we could talk face to face. It would be so much clearer if we could share, and I could simply "be " with you. I was reading this morning that Robert Adams felt that self inquiry, and being in his presence were two ways to self discovery. I never really felt that "presence " would make a difference, but as the mystery of life unfolds through me, there is a greater sense that I would love to see deeply into your eyes, and speak directly to the love that is both speaking and hearing. But in a very real way, my writing is sharing a presence that lives both in it and in you.
Without secrets, we can be One. Without fear of who we are, we can see that stripped bare of masks we have the same face. Non-dual meetings or "satsangs " are more than "student " "teacher " get togethers. They are the Self meeting the Self. They are the celebration of the unfolding of Love. This is not "normal ". We are not "normal ". Who wants to be normal? There is no teacher. There is no student. We have no secrets, only Love.