If you feel a longing to”wake up” spiritually the most important thing you can do for yourself is to be authentic. You need to listen to your deepest longings and align yourself with what is right expression for you.
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with opinions, positions, fear-based commercialism, and models that demonstrate how we should eat, dress, interact with our peers, perform in all of our roles in life, and even think. It isn’t easy to find our unique way and trust our selves when burdened with all these messages. Most people suffer years of hesitation and self-doubt, and adjust themselves to please others..
Through the last 20 centuries the most psychologically pervasive institutions in terms of creating limiting beliefs have been our churches. As organizations they have found they have great power when they convince large groups of people to follow one belief, and teach them to lean on a hierarchy that is the prime interpreter of spiritual guidance and wisdom. This is a true challenge for any “believer” who feels the inner urge to seek Truth or question just what is the nature of “God” or the “meaning of life”. The independent search for Truth has been condemned as heresy and many great mystics were outcastes in their time because they saw beyond the boundaries of the religion they had trusted.
Any true and full awakening breaks one out of all systems, all conventions and all need of unquestioning faith. It forces on us the isolated experience of personal encounters with the mystery of an existence that is infinite, unbounded, without concept or judgment. When consciousness recognizes itself as Source, as a part of a creative activity so vast that it could never be contained by a belief structure, then the tragedy of human conceptual addiction becomes apparent. It can be a horrific shock to know you see the world through a lens that is ignored by most of the population, and even more so if you are labeled strange, rebellious, uncooperative or even mentally ill by professionals who should know better, but do not have a paradigm to recognize your experience and vision.
Spiritual awakenings of many varieties occur for many reasons. They plunge one out of complacency with the status quo. It is seen that many social patterns are pretense. They are not wrong – they are just not real. People appear to be pretending, and are clearly separated from the deepest understanding of their own true Self.
If you have a great longing for God, or Truth or Liberation, the place from which that longing arises is the most true and enlightened part of yourself. There may be many other diversions, attractions and drives that are plunging you ahead in your life, but this gnawing question will push against all of them until you turn and face it squarely. You need an alignment with this urge to Know. Awakening is not a sideline, an accomplishment, another drop in the bucket list. It can’t happen, or if there is a glimpse, it cannot endure as one of many adventures in consciousness. That within us which is awake is so free and so undemanding that it will allow any whim to distract us and never stand in the way.. It is like a refined flower seeded in your heart that will only push through the earth when it is free of the weeds of distracted thoughts and activities.
This does not mean one must live a cold and empty life – the simple joys of life can feed this awakening bud. The awesomeness of a sunset, the beauty of a baby, the soulful eyes of an animal – almost any fully felt encounter that is experienced with innocent wonder will open you to the possibility of grace. Sometimes a deep concentration or devastating emotion can spontaneously collapse into an awakened state. Experiences that jolt you out of self-preoccupation and self-identification open a portal to awakening. Life is full of opportunity to activate the spark of Self-Knowing.
But this can only happen when you are real, when you are honoring your deepest Truth, when you are caught in a moment of naked sincerity. Only when you know this is what you want more than anything else, will you find the courage to open the door, look deeply into yourself, allow what isn’t true to fall away, and relax into the core of your beingness.
The mind can keep you distracted for a lifetime – there are so many things to think, and adventures to have. This is the human dance – meant to be evidently because that is the way it is. But if you been infected by the hunger to know Truth it will demand all of your commitment, blossom from your love, force you to tear away your illusions and invite you into the paradoxical mystery of feeling alone yet at one with every living thing.
It is true that some people fall into awakeness spontaneously, before they have had a time of longing. This is a gift not always graciously received because there has not been time to long for it, to find a like-minded community, or to understand that consciousness slipping into a new perception is not a mental illness. So it can take many months, even years, to come into an understanding of who you are, even while there is a gut-level intuition of the Truth. It is more challenging to ground into the world, to become aligned with humanity, when an awakening is sudden an unintended. Here again is the need for authenticity. True authenticity can be quiet, relaxed, trusting what you know without a need to push it on anyone else. As soon as an experience becomes a story or a concept to be accepted by others it is the separate self that has appropriated it. Usually it is the frightened or doubting self that is seeking recognition. The Awakened True Nature has no need to be understood or to force anyone else to join it. It is full within itself. When resting here we recognize we have no needs at all.
When awakening happens at a deep level this is rarely the end of the journey – most people will feel the return of many of their unique patterns, needs and desires. Many express the feeling of “I have it and I lost it.” This is not an error. It can take a very long time to live from an awakened consciousness. Here again authenticity helps – listening to the quiet place within that invites you to do what feels right for you despite the many opinions of everyone else. It is as if a deep and honorable ally is at the core of your being and it will help you to find your way. I had an image once of a lantern man lighting my way through a maze – it is rather like this. The light may be feeble at first, or burst at moments into brilliant whiteness, but either way it is showing you the way to live in alignment with Truth. Be patient with yourself. Be true to your deepest wisdom. This is authenticity.