Credit: Maya Oren
Credit: Maya Oren

At Midburn, I found myself fighting depression due to a recent breakup. Each morning I was on the verge of packing up my gear and driving home. I was unable to connect to anything or anyone. I was trapped in my own internal, horrific pain – like a supernova that could not explode.

In the midst of so much celebration, happiness and freedom, I felt utterly alone, stuck inside a miserable prison cell. On the the last day just before the temple was burnt, I woke up early, again fully intending to pack my bags and leave. In that moment, I decided to stop and take a walk into the desert. The pain in my heart was so intolerable, I needed to let it out somehow.

I stopped at one of the crossroads and stood there staring at nothing. Someone noticed me and approached, asking if I was ok. I told her that I’m going through a difficult breakup and that I am in pain. She hugged me, and I let myself completely relax into her embrace. For a moment, I decided to give myself more freedom without letting go of the pain. Things started to move and flow, people responded to me. Once again I was part of a whole, part of a community. People accepted me and embraced every part of me, even the pain.

Later on, I went to the temple and wrote on its walls, something about my breakup and something about my father. As I was writing, a woman came up to me and said she was really moved by what I wrote and hugged me. I read the words of others written on the walls of the temple, and saw that it was all reflecting the same human experience. They all spoke of wanting love – like one person was writing the same thing in different words. It was breathtaking.

Each and every moment that morning was Midburn for me. I felt like one whole organism, like I am part of the story and the story isn’t me. Even though I felt alone and in my pain, I was accepted. Even in my moment of wanting to leave, I was totally enveloped in understanding and warmth. I gave up on the need for control and just gave myself into my experience, my pain, and sharing that pain. I allowed myself to just exist, and share my moment with strangers.

They say that the biggest pain is the separation of the souls before they come to this world, an experience of separation we all share. When we are born, we break apart from the universal energy that has cradles us. This is why the end of a romantic relationship is so difficult – it reminds us of this ancient experience. The strongest feeling we have is the lack of separation, the reminder that we are all humans, with the same hurts and fears and desires. This is how we can combat the feeling of separation.  

We are taught to look at other people as if they were separate entities, but in reality we are all the same.  Humanity is like a room filled with mirrors. With this knowledge, no one really exists and the feeling of “self” is replaced with a feeling of unity and connectedness. For me, this is Midburn.

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