The Unabridged Totality Of Life (In Under 700 Words)

August 27, 2013 by Chris Grosso


“Within us – the flames of the end.”

– At The Gates, Under a Serpent Sun

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you found yourself thinking, “Huh, never saw that coming”? Yeah, me too, and I found myself on the receiving end of one of them very recently as a matter of fact.

It happened on a day that started just like any other, but then again, isn’t that how it usually goes? I woke up and meditated, then I read a bit, wrote a bit, caught up on emails and so forth, the normal routine. I then put on my humble running attire, which consists mostly of discounted items I usually buy either at the Goodwill or Marshalls—shorts, running shoes, a t-shirt and hoodie—dirt class for life over here. 

As soon as I stepped outside, I noticed my surroundings seemed exceptionally beautiful that morning. It was a quintessential fall day in New England, complete with color changed leaves, a beautiful blue sky with soft white clouds and a gentle breeze. This kind of beauty obviously needed a soundtrack I thought to myself, so as I set out on my run I found no more suitable companion than that of Swedish metal band At The Gates. I mean, it was October and nothing says Halloween quite like metal, and Swedish metal at that (except of course for Norwegian black metal, but that’s another conversation entirely.)

I was roughly ten minutes into my run while making my way down one of the main roads here in this rural town when out of nowhere something very strange and beautiful happened. While still running—Christ, how do I even word this—it was as if everything both exploded and imploded simultaneously in my reality, which resulted in a completely abstract sense of perfection.

I’ve had some similar experiences like this in the past, but none that I recall being this powerful, and definitely none of this magnitude while running. My body kept moving forward as a euphoric, almost overwhelming feeling of rapture engulfed my entire essence of being—both inside and out—and the next thing I knew, I was crying.

Before I go any further on this woo-woo sounding, esoteric journey, let me assure you that one, I’m not over exaggerating it at all, and two, yes, you’re picturing it correctly—I, a grown ass man, was jogging down a main road in a rural town with tears streaming from my eyes and a big ass smile from ear to ear.

The experience was short lived however (lasting maybe a minute or so,) because I did eventually become aware of how insane I must have looked to the motorists passing me by, and that was all it took to pull me back into my “normal” waking existence.

It was in that minute however, that I experienced, well, everything—the unabridged totality of life. I really don’t know how else to explain it, and I’m sure that might leave some of you scratching your heads, but this experience absolutely defied the logic of my rational thinking mind. I mean, I was still visually aware of my surroundings, but everything else had faded away; my body, the music from my iPod, everything, leaving me only with the experience of a very precise stillness, within which, resided everything.

And within that everything was also you… yes, you. Not the physical you reading these words right now, but rather, the conscious awareness that makes it possible for you to read them in the first place. The You underneath the you. You were there with me, and together, we were in the vast place that gives birth to all things—both manifest and unseen.

I really don’t know how else to describe all of this, and for that, I apologize. I guess the last thing I can really say is that, if I were to have died in that moment, it would have been as if perfection completely fulfilled itself—bringing me home… with you by my side.


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Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict, spiritual director, and author of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality (Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster) and Everything Mind: What I've Learned About Hard Knocks, Spiritual Awakening and the Mind-Blowing Truth of it All (Sounds True). He writes for ORIGIN Magazine, Huffington Post, and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, and has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, Celebrate Your Life and more. Chris is passionate about his work with people who are in the process of healing or struggling with addictions of all kinds. He speaks and leads groups in detoxes, yoga studios, rehabs, youth centers, 12-step meetings, hospitals, conferences, and festivals worldwide. He is a member of the advisory board for Drugs over Dinner.
  1. Jessica says:

    Beautifully written… and I think I know exactly what you mean =)