I’ve always appreciated the concept that we humans have a committee in our heads, often with parts of us holding different perspectives and goals. This analogy comes from a transpersonal therapeutic model called Psychosynthesis. The collection of various ideas and positions we hold represent different aspects of our psyche that cause us to feel divided, undecided, impulsive, moody, and to make choices one day that we might regret the next. These parts of us are always jumping up and demanding our attention.
Perhaps you have a spiritual seeker on your committee that is trying to help you wake up out of the suffering in the world, and another character that turns on the news at night and keeps you angry or frightened about world events. Most of us have parental introjects – the part of us that responds the way our mom or dad responded in times of stress. The inner mom might hold a belief in a god that is punishing and demanding, or a lifestyle you do not entirely enjoy. The inner dad may be a critic telling you that you are never quite good enough, or successful enough. We often have a character that wants to lose weight, and another that says “Life is short. Eat sweets, Feel Better.” Addicts are taken over by a committee member that wants to escape emptiness, or be high one more time, while other committee members with better judgment are wasted in the background of the mind. Take a minute to make a list of your personal committee members – perhaps a judge, a protector, a problem finder, a problem solver, a conflict avoider, a dreamer, a poet, an activist – what attitudes are carried in your committee? Those thoughts of yours are neurons firing. Their content reflects the committee.
Our minds are full of opposites. Our human experience is one of division and multiplicity. We can feel paralyzed by indecision for weeks because of these committee members who argue about what we should or should not do, where we ought to go, what are our goals, what someone else thinks of us, and corresponding emotions of fear, anger, inadequacy, desire and failure. (Isn’t this the outer world as well? )
Is spiritual awakening simply the addition of a new committee member, discovered by the seeker inside of you, or could it be the locating of a witness, a neutral observer of all these characters within the play of your life? What if you could rest as the witness or become a centered peaceful presence that sees through these committee members as simply belief structures? What if you knew them to be irrelevant most of the time? Would you like to have the power to step out of the boardroom and into the sunlight where there is no chatter, no conflict, and new clarity? Awakening offers this chance.
When you have a glimpse of your awakened Self it seems as if everything else falls away, and you are standing with no objections, no needs and no defenses in the field of timeless existence. It is the consciousness that you essentially are – the I am — realizing its connection to Source, or seeing clearly that all is One and Whole. In this moment the world of human thought has fallen away, leaving a knowing presence that cannot be defined. It just is. You just are. You are free of following the demands of the apparent separate and conditioned little self you have always depended upon.
These flashes of realization are not permanent. You cannot stay transfixed
by this moment and function in the real world. To the extent you are ready, the impact of awakening can last indefinitely. But most often there is a long period of slipping between ordinary functioning as you always have known it and moments of perception where you see the world in a new way. IF you return over and over to trusting the Truth of what you have seen underneath the habitual veils of the human mind, gradually you will become able to live more and more from an awakened perspective. This means you become less reactive, more light-hearted, more flexible, more compassionate and more intuitive than you were before the realization. The critical mind loses influence. You may find yourself to be more creative, more sensitive, more alive. These are signs of freedom taking hold in your psyche.
Most of the committee members fade away once there is a strong awakening of pure consciousness. But many of them put up a fight. You may have the judge telling you how you should be more enlightened. You may have a doubter telling you that what was experienced was only imagination. The inner striver may insist you have not accomplished enough, learned enough or earned enough money and you need to put your attention there. The inner parent may say you cannot let go now because you might stop loving your kids, Often there is a wanderer who shows up – a part of you that wants to give up everything and just float around the world or hide in a cave somewhere. The adventurer may seek more dramatic ways of feeling high. The lover may seek a soul mate.
Some eastern teachings suggest it is the belief in an “I” that holds all these parts of us together. Instead of facing and releasing each character, one of them at a time, we can just release the sense of the I, the do-er, and be done with the whole scene. Like a house of cards the separate self will collapse. Something new and more authentic can then enter and direct our life choices, and there is no one in you to object to what arises. This is a greatly condensed description of how it is to lead an awakened life. To most of us who have developed a workable life and functional mind this sounds crazy, until it happens.
If you are honest with yourself, haven’t most of the major turns in your life begun with something you never planned, beginning with your birth, a random event caused by two other people? You didn’t plan the family, the place or the time. Didn’t your friends and your partner just show up in your life one day with no planning or expectation? Someone was there and you recognized them! Did you pre-plan your career and all the turns it took?
Sometimes the committee members worry too much and take too much credit or blame. In their efforts to protect you and guide you they create great unnecessary arguments and generate fear and contraction. If by chance a part of you gets its way there can be great joy for a time, or if life calms down and a crisis has passed there can be great relief. Your committee members enjoy these times of agreement with what is, and may even feel a sense of accomplishment,
If you wake up and leave the committee behind you may have less intensity, less drama in your life. Even the spiritual seeker part of you will fall away eventually, and you will wonder what to do with yourself. The deeper part of us is free of seeking, anxiety, anger and demands. As it becomes more of your “go-to” place life is
smoother, even though the same challenges may arise. You still have to face whatever lands on your doorstep, and at times a committee member may arise to yell about it or weep. You may have to deal with sexual desire, or the emotional bonds of family and other human conditions that are part of your DNA. But you have found a home base, a quality of stillness, and a breadth of perspective and even unconditional love. This can sustain you and bring light into the darkness you encounter. This is why some non-dual teachers say there are no problems. Situations arise. Response arises and action coming from the heart may move you. But the perspective through which you see this dance of life unfold has changed. This is what makes you free. This is, as far as I can tell, awakened living.
If you are drawn toward awakening you will find support in “The Awakening Guide”available on Amazon and Kindle and the website: