Everyday Non-Dualism

The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.
— Anne Lamott

About a year ago I was majorly triggered over something small. It was wholly unexpected and jarring to my soul-system; they make all kinds of cliches for that, don't they? The final straw. You miss the forest for the trees. So heavenly minded you're no earthly good.

I've spent so much time, energy, and focus on healing deep wounds that this superficial one caught me by surprise and felt as if someone had plunged a long, iron arm deep into the dark sea and dragged me up by the roots of my hair.

And me, gasping for breath, crying and shivering? That part was real.


A couple of years ago I developed pain in my lower back for what seemed like no reason at all. Walking was difficult, and so was sitting, lying down, turning over in bed, and showering. Endurance meant intense concentration on the slightest movement, right down to my breathing or the way I straightened my spine. I told my tribe, “It feels like I've been off circling the moon and suddenly someone snatched me up and poured me back into my body.” Intriguing, because “embody” was my word for that year and now, through the labor of physical pain, I was being drawn home to my Self to dwell in the paradox of spirit and flesh.

Sometimes I wonder if my penchant for all things mysterious, sacred, and otherworldly is something I hold on a pedestal in a form of subconscious dualism? Meaning, it's something “out there,” separate from the routine of my daily life which requires me to detach myself to find whatever it is I'm seeking. But in my particular flavor of mysticism I work toward a both + and-ness, both the spirit and the flesh, body and soul, cosmic and earthly, the unknown and the known.

Both the deep dark sea and the dragging me out by my roots.

Both the wounding and the healing.

There is room for both, here now, with the rise and fall of my breath. I find that allowing both to Be in a space of unjudged coexistence is the secret portal to true peace. And so here I am, panting my way along the long, hard road to enlightenment following guides who feel hairier and pricklier, rougher and gruffer than I might wish them to be. They drive me hard, allow me to fall, seem downright relentless.

Yet this is the necessary tender bruising required to extract the sweetest nectar from my soul.

And in the process I am reminded just how important it is to make conscious space in my life for other things too—like lightheartedness and laughter, playfulness and frolicking.

So I want to know ... how do you like to play?

What are your favorite ways to experience wonder and child-like joy? What fills you with exuberance and exhilaration? What makes you throw back your head and laugh? What makes you giggle until you cry? How do you embrace the both-and of a spiritual and physical human experience?

This article originally appeared on the Bohemian Collective.

Hillary Rain