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A year and a half ago, while sitting with some friends in my dorm room, I suddenly became overwhelmed with an intense feeling of fear coupled with a need to escape. The whole world seemed to be shattering around me, I had the fear that even the dormitories on my university campus might crumble and fall. This spontaneous isolating fear the doctor's called a panic attack. The "panic attack" sparked a lot of philosophical contemplation. How was it that I was experiencing the exact same external conditions as my friends and yet I was interpreting them so differently? I became aware through my nightmarish pain that the external world is indeed only a reflection of your internal state. I also realized, after numerous failed attempts to escape the NOW, that the NOW was all there ever was. This only exaggerated the painful fearful feelings because I realized I could never escape what was, and what was happened to be very very scary and painful. I developed Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. I experienced life through the veil of anxiety for the next year. Every day the panic attacks would come in waves and when they came, yet again, the whole external world seemed the most frightening place and my thoughts would turn into fearful apprehension: What if these buildings fall? How come people don't get scared of being trapped in here? etc etc.
I came across The Power of Now in my Mom's storage room while I was home for christmas. Apparently my mother had bought it as a gift for my sister but my sister had only dismissed the book and left it in a box full of junk. I picked up and started reading. I was very intrigued and relieved- finally! someone else appreciates the illusion of past and future. I was intrigued and wanted to discover how shattering the illusion of time could be liberating. For me it only intensified my fear and need to escape. I read the book and started to take little steps to implement the power of now in my life. There was no extroardinary change, however, only a tiny relief. A month later though, I saw A New Earth on a shelf 25% off and noticed the author was the same as that other 'random book' I had read over Christmas. I bought it and started reading. Halfway through I became completely paralyzed with bliss. I really can't put this experience into words. It was as if everything made sense. There were no questions. I remember being amazed as I experienced the powerful energy of what Eckhart calls the 'inner body.' I had no thoughts at all. I just lay and felt the energy all throughout my body. Without trying, I understood The Bhagavad Gita, which I had read (and subsequently dismissed as just another stupid spiritual text) a month earlier for a Philosophy class. Phrases kept arising from The Bhagavad Gita. "The wise grieve neither the living nor the dead for to the wise death is no more than taking of an old dusty jacket." This phrase I didn't just understand, but appreciated and experienced as truth. Or, "I am the seed that can be found in every creature." This statement too I experienced (not just understood) but KNEW in the surest way to be true. I was so happy it felt like even my toes were smiling!!! I felt detached (but not in a scary way in a wise knowing way) from my earth identity and body and past. I experienced myself beyond all this. It was amazing!! Felt like this for a few hours. The next day I still felt very happy and joyful. The agoraphobia diminished and I found myself taking buses to differnet cities and going to visit friends who lived a few hours away. I stopped all medication. I remember picking up the bottle of medicaiton and smiling at it thinking, 'how small the effect of this pill compared to what I've just discovered.' There was no more pain. I realized that all panic stemmed from projection into the future so I became very committed and at peace with the present moment. I accepted everything. This was 7 months ago and I am still doing very well and am not on medication. As you can see Eckhart's teaching have really changed or should I say eliminated 'my life' revealing only the life that is leftover. Sometimes the ego creeps back and I fall back into suffering, but I've had so many glimpses of presence that I can never forget for long. Thank you!! :)