Michael Rossato-Bennett lives in NYC. He is a householder with a wife, two beautiful children and two dogs. He has accepted the challenge to become Enlightened in one year. Will he succeed?

A conversation: Is Hari a good Teacher? from Michael Rossato-Bennett on Vimeo.


What was this year all about?

The Mona Lisa

I have been thinking about what I went through in this year, what it meant, what it did, what it is still doing to me, and I think I am starting to understand it.

My truth is embarrassing.  This life I have lived has been very remedial.  The funny thing is we all seemingly are in need of remedial life.  See, I got stuck in the starting gate, and that has made all the difference.  In the time when my peers were out exploding their souls and hormones, I went back to meet my Mother.  When others were exploring where their life energy could take them, I was recreating, reliving the trauma of my youth.  I have to tell you, I do not recommend this path, avoid it if you can.  Life is better lived not driven by your infant mind!  However, if you find yourself burdened before you have choice, (that describes much of our species unfortunately) I recommend facing you pain with infinite courage (something I am still attempting!)

Now, I am not saying my trauma was huge, all I am saying is I got stuck in it- right out of the gate.  Ah! Foolish me!  I got stuck in a whirlpool of my own mind, and in the bending of my life energy necessary to let me stay in the whirlpool of my own mind….

But, slowly, very slowly I have unpacked myself, created security, and reoccupied the being outside of that whirlpool.

What did I learn this year?  I learned that it takes great courage, and great ease to experience life unmediated by a map.  And every journey has gifts right?  The one I am conscious of is how much my own journey mirrors the journey of my species.

Is it wrong to categorize our path as a traumatized whirlpool of the mind?  Think about the ferocity with which we have populated and subdued the wild parts of this planet.  You could easily make a case that we are making a virtual world, one that only references the human mind, replaces the rhythms of nature with rhythms of our own creation.  This is exactly what I did in the first half of my life- I made a life, mostly in relation to my own mind.  What I learned from this year is how much needs to be put on the table to reach enlightenment.  Let me tell you what is happening to me- my chest, my intuition that lives there, my heart are awakening.  You see, this is the gift of my wounding- my heart was closed down for years- so, now when it opens, I can feel the difference!  It is such an odd treasure for these times, but it is my treasure.

Imagine living in the dark forever and then stepping into the sunlight… this is how I feel.  This year I slowly opened my heart and my intuition that lives there and now they are stirring.  Lets say you felt that sun on your face, for the first time and someone asked you if you wanted some money.  You would probably say,  Not now, I am feeling the sun for the first time.  The money would be meaningless.  See, that is the way it is for me.  The experience of living fully is such a novel and overwhelming thing that it makes other things pale.  It makes me feel a little out of sync with the general crowd though…

To get to this experience I had to discard much of what I thought was myself.  I had to open to experience of self, to be willing to experience self as not me!  That is a big thing to put on the table.   And this is where my year has left me; I deeply understand how much can be put on the table and how difficult it is to do.   The reason I even attempted to reach enlightenment in one year (please smile here) is because I wanted to explore that question.  Could I put what I was on the table?  It is obvious to all of us that we are living in a cataclysmic time.  Of course, people do not act like it is so, but it is.  Humans have gone from .02 of the mammalian biomass of the planet to .98, and that simple statistic is everything.  We are making a human world and it is a weight on the planet.  Is it not obvious that a change in human consciousness is necessary to evade a huge traumatic experience of life for millions, perhaps billions of people?  So, I thought I would do a little experiment to see how much I could personally put on the table.  The idea of course was if I could do it, maybe there was hope for the planet.  It answered for me the question is change possible.  I had wondered, must change come from death or could it come midstream.  My verdict- midstream is possible.  Yeah!

What did I do?  I changed the center of my being.  From my anxiety to my intuition, that is what I did.  The yogis say the spiritual path is from the root chakra to the heart chakra.  I went from the head to the root to the heart.  Am I enlightened?  Practically! In moments…  just like you.  Did I learn how to put things on the table?  Definitely.  Can I live in that place?  I am trying.

If this story inspires one person to put their mind on the table, and to open their being, and to experience I would consider my effort more than rewarded.  I thank you for being there to inspire me.  Even if you did not know it you were there to watch me, to keep me honest and to keep me from turning back.  Now you try it.  You put everything you have been holding on to on the table and let me know what you experience.  Let me know when you observe yourself with all that is gone.




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