Your heart must become a sea of love. Your mind must become a river of detachment. –Sri Chinmoy
I felt this desire to discuss what Spiritual awakening and the process it seems to take. I need to be clear the process I put across here is linear because that is how the mind understands the world. However, awakening doesn’t follow any policies and procedures. It simply happens for each person in a unique way that seems to suit their body/mind complex and manifestation in this lifetime. So take these as suggestions. The only thing you must trust above all else is your direct experience.
So what is spiritual awakening?
Spiritual awakening is simply the realization or remembering of who you are. This is not a conceptual understanding, this is a deep experiential knowing. Every awakened being will tell you that awakening was not like anything they thought it would be. This is especially for those who consciously searched for it. When we understand awakening on a conceptual basis only, then it is not transformative and it is not useful to us. It only allows the ego to go around showing off how much it knows. However, understanding it conceptually can be the beginning of seeing and being the truth.
When the experiential realization of wait, wait, what! I am not my thoughts, I am not my emotions and I am not this body, I am the space of awareness through which all thoughts, emotions, and sensations are known, the space in which they arise and that out of which they are made! It is mind blowing! In all truth, most people walk around like blissful idiots for some time. It is simply beautiful.
In short spiritual awakening is simply the realization of the true self.
The process of Awakening
I wish to suggest that you take the next part of this blog post very lightly. Do not use it to control your situation simply read it for the understanding it will bring.
We start lost in the world of objective experience. We believe we are our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Everything is taken very seriously as we seek to defend ourselves from others and ensure we are always better than everyone else. We are constantly running after what we think is good for us and running away from what we deem bad and unpleasant. Our lives are run by 3 things: fear of death, fear of pain, and self-hatred. We work very hard every day to ensure we do not experience any of these things because we believe we are the Body/mind.
Through Grace, we meet a form of crisis that causes our ego to crumble and in that moment the light of awareness shines through. This could be the loss of a loved one, an accident we are involved in, deep levels of mental pain and suffering that force the sense of personhood to sort of crumble. For others there is no crisis; it is simply this ray of light that floods their lives.
This crisis does not need to be a tragedy it can be an existential crisis, where you just start to question everything and nothing you have been told makes any sense!
This crisis or moment of despair is a whisper of Grace that you later become grateful for.
Within this crisis comes a light shining through. The sense that everything you have believed is a lie. You see the truth for the first time in your life and it blows your roof off! For those who know what is happening, this is a moment of celebration. While others are not sure what is going on.
This space of realization comes in two ways. An abiding awakening or a glimpse of it.
The abiding awakening is here to stay and it begins the embodiment process where deep healing and release happens.
For the glimpse of awakening a process of conscious spiritual practice to fully sit as pure awareness begins
The seeing of pure oneness is an aftermath of the realization of the true self. While in truth we have always experienced oneness even though we did not realize that is what it was. When you fall in love and completely lose yourself in love, when a mother has a child and the entire world disappears around her, when you hike that mountain and the entire world dissolves in the beauty you behold, or when you are doing something you love and you disappear into the doing. Time seems to stop and you behold is the beauty of the moment. That is an experience of oneness. Once the truth of pure awareness sinks in this oneness goes beyond an experience and becomes the truth we live in. We see everyone as a mirror of yourself and the face of God. Everything is an expression of what we are. We are life being lived, we are also the witness of this life being lived. We are all of it.
Love becomes your expression of this oneness you have become. You are no longer a person with likes and dislikes and all manner of opinions and preferences. You are more! That lack of person is love and we can express it into life however we would like to.
Embodying the true self
The realization of I am and of oneness can happen in an instant. It normally does. However, the embodying of pure awareness can take time, a lifetime for most. While the anchor is gone, the echo of the life we are accustomed to remains. The spiritual practice or post-awakening sadhana then becomes the emptying out of the remnants of the separate self. We find that our habits still betray the truth that we have found. We are still triggered, still selfish, still afraid. This can be frustrating because we thought awakening would eradicate it all. While this might happen, as there are infinite possibilities, I am yet to hear of anyone who has been gifted that Grace.
So yoga meditations become a great practice at this point as you slowly find and root out this sense of separation and personhood that shows up. Triggers become your friend Because where you are triggered you will find a sense of separation hiding.
This is the space of silence. You cannot say anything at this point because whatever you say feels like a lie, an injustice to what is discovered. It is oneness and yet nothingness. Beyond time and space and yet within it and as it. It is all there ever has been or ever will be! It is before and after experience and even beyond it. It is an experience itself! It cannot be described, touched, experienced. You can only be it, and you are it! Silence.
The 3 levels of Awakening
Ok, so I want to end this somewhat long article with these 3 levels of awakening that seem to be present.
This is the place of realization that I am not my objective experience. It is a place of separating yourself from what you are experiencing and seeing you are beyond it. At this point, life can seem pointless to be a part of. At times if it is only conceptually grasped, a little arrogance can creep up. As you continue your spiritual practice, this resolves as you realize you are actually nothing, no one. So some people get here and are satisfied. However, it can get very flavourless, because you have only discovered half the truth. Well, not even half.
The seeing that you are everything! The falling in love with love, the addition of flavour! Hehehe. At this point, we realize the oneness of everything. We see that we are life itself. We fall in love with everything, even the most seemingly cruel things. This is not to say that we do not see the issues in love, we do. However, like a person in love, we see but we still love.
I was recently reading a comment by an awakening being and it was just such a beautifully put understanding of love! He fell into the bliss of awakening and everything became beautiful because it was him there! All he saw was himself in every situation!
This may not be your experience, it may be intimacy with every moment, the forgiveness of all including the mess that is life, yourself, and others. It can be contentment in every situation. It can be a deep empathy for all beings. It will express itself differently for each of us.
As you continue with your sadhana, or maybe you don’t, there comes to a point where this deep heavy sense of personhood which seems to be deep within the gut it just wooossh leaves. It is at this level that people feel as though they are dying! In truth, you are. Not the body but the ego. This is not the case for all people, for some it is asymptomatic. It differs for each person. However, at this level, the deep attachment to the body dies and a new level of freedom shows up. Mooji puts it beautifully: With time this body can go into full convulsions and it will not matter to you!
Ok, so what the hell have I been saying?
Awakening is not linear, it seems to the finite mind to be chaotic. It is not but it seems so. You may realize I am and oneness all at once. It may all just happen in a split second. Nothing is cast in stone. My writing on these matters is not for you to take and try to do them. That will only increase the sense of personhood, someone doing stuff and being “enlightened.” Sorry to burst your bubble but the you that is searching for awakening doesn’t get to survive an awakening. It will die, the unreal you that you are accustomed to will die. But the truth will be seen and will remain!
I would love deeply to hear your story and how awakening has been for you. Feel free to holla and let’s have a conversation.
May you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you awaken!
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