My teacher Allan walked beside me through the Plaza of the Butterflies in the Toltec pyramids at Teotihuacán, Mexico. The day was ending, and our group was making their way back to the hotel for an evening meal.
Allan, a “Toltec Master” and spiritual teacher, had invited me to teach alongside him on this trip, and I spent the day pretending to be happy and at peace so I would look like the enlightened guide I wanted to be, but inside I felt troubled and sad. My life wasn’t turning out the way I’d anticipated or hoped. I couldn’t find my place in the world and felt jealous of the people around me, especially if they were married or in a committed relationship. I was likewise envious of anyone who made a good living from a successful career. I couldn’t seem to keep a regular job for very long, and was always dissatisfied, always yearning. After a long silence, as if reading my thoughts, Allan stopped walking and turned to face me.
“Jessica?” His blue eyes shone with that intense fire they always had when he was in the presence of absolute Truth.
“You are never going to have the kind of life that other people have, and you wouldn’t want it if you did.” He had my whole attention, and I stared, speechless.
“You can’t compare yourself to other people and say, ‘Oh, I wish I had a life like theirs. Why can’t it be simple like theirs?’” He drew close and put his hands on my shoulders, the brims of our hats touching. “The answer is, because you came here to be you, not someone else. You can’t be wishing for something you can’t have. Your life is not going to be simple or easy. It may not even be comfortable sometimes.”
“It’s never comfortable anytime!” I shouted, insulted at the idea that there were things I just “couldn’t have,” – like a well-paying, mainstream job that I didn’t hate – though I was gathering pretty good evidence in my daily experience that Allan was right.
“Perhaps it’s not comfortable because you resist the truth of your destiny. You try to make things happen that can’t happen because they’re not your destiny. You’re awake, and you live among a sea of people that are unconscious and asleep. You can’t make them conscious and you can’t make yourself go to sleep.” He paused. “And you’re okay.”
I shrugged. “I’m okay, I’m just alone.”
“Yes.” He replied, without hesitation or pity. “That’s one of the challenges of the awakened “spiritual warrior.” To be alone, surrounded by people that are shopping, going to the mall and watching TV, talking about their favorite TV programs, dressing in the latest styles and buying all the latest technologies. The warrior’s challenge is to be surrounded by that culture and know she doesn’t belong to it. You’re like a ghost walking through the world and seeing all the people but they don’t see you. They don’t know you’re there, really. They can’t hear you. Only other ghost warriors can hear you. And there aren’t very many of us yet. So part of your warrior passage is to come to terms with that and accept it as the truth of life for you. There’s really nothing you can do about it. You might consciously seek out other warriors however you can, but you can’t make yourself fit into the life of our culture.”
“No,” I admitted, tears streaming down my face. “I guess not.” Allan held me as I cried, recalling jobs, classrooms, and relationships where I struggled to be different than I was so I could belong.
Clouds were moving in for a late afternoon shower, and groups of school children were making their way out of the pyramid complex.
“Jessica,” Allan placed the palm of one hand on my cheek. “You’re here to light the way for a lot of other people, not because they need it or because you have to, but because it’s who you came here to be. If you can accept that and go into the world that way, you’ll attract other warriors and you will not feel so alone. Better yet, instead of being a human alone in the midst of other humans, recognize yourself as that spiritual Divine Presence which is the One Thing. Step into that experience of being everything and you’ll never feel alone.”
“Come on,” he said, taking my hand. “Let’s go have dinner.”