Last night, as I lay down to sleep—literally the moment my head hit the pillow—a thought shook my mind with all the force of a hurricane.
I call it merely a thought because I can’t quite justify labeling it a realization—because I don’t know what the thought was. As all thoughts do, it arose from nothing and fled to nowhere, but this one moved at lightning speed. It was like a race car driving down a residential road.
Although I don’t know its content, it had the feel of a realization. There was a tangible depth to it that I’m familiar with. But unlike other realizations, which for me ordinarily have the byproduct of bliss, this one was terrifying. Something about it scared me. It could have been the startling speed of it, although my intuition says it was more than that.
That moment in and of itself would not be worth recounting—not worth dwelling upon. Thoughts come and go. In meditation, the goal is to not dwell upon them. And I’m happy to say that, in that moment, I maintained my practice. I searched for where the thought came from and where it went. Failing to find either, I rested in the not finding.
And that was when it hit me: a profound desolation.
This thought—this realization—was a hurricane that made a disaster zone of my mind. In its wake was a space where thoughts did not again arise again for some moments, but there was not the usual accompanying bliss—only devastation. Fear. Loneliness.
I rested in that, but probably not for long. I had to know what had done this. I probed the destruction for any hints of what the thought was. At one moment, I believed I almost had it. But the moment passed, and the thought faded to nothing. It was gone.
I was a good practitioner at first, but I failed the test in the end. I should have remained in the desolation and not vainly pursued the thought. I had never had this experience before. Curiosity got the best of me.
Now that I’ve committed the experience here, there’s only one thing else to do.
Not dwell on it.