All of the obstacles and hard times were only lessons on a path of greater opening, connection, love, and surrender.
Moments of awakening happen to all of us, all of the time.
They are glimpses – pauses in our incessant thought stream – where for an instant, we are completely present. Our minds are still, and our hearts filled with unconditional love and a feeling of deep connection to the world around us. It is in this present moment, free from resistance, a place of complete surrender … where we discover our true Selves. The is the Awakening Process.
Awakening can also be the result of a grueling life lesson. Stripped of all of our defenses and without our subconscious efforts to manipulate our environment, we are left naked to experience life in an egoless way.
From this place, we can make a choice to move further towards our soul or move farther away. The path we take is determined by our frame of mind and the will to dig deep to stay present to the miracle of life instead of running from the pain.
We call it a process, yet it is not linear.
We call it a process, yet it is
In the process of awakening, life lessons become like pieces in a puzzle, where each experience allows another piece to fall into place. Sooner or later, enough pieces are there to start changing the way we perceive, experience and react to life.
There is no specific end destination or timeline on this journey. The weaving together of all these lessons through life becomes a process of awakening: life experiences synchronized in a way that there is no turning back. There is no on/off switch. Once the process begins, a life towards more stillness and consciousness will be your only choice and quest.
Tools and practices, combined with life lessons and moments of insight, are all conduits of this process. It is a deepening of your connection with your own higher Self and strengthening of all the elements of awakening; loving unconditionally, gratitude, forgiveness, observance, connection, grace, and surrender.
Using tools for the furtherment of the awakening process isn’t required. But by using them, your transformation will be amplified. Moreover, you will begin to rely on the tools to shift your consciousness. Thus, what might seem like work towards the beginning soon becomes like a dear friend – something you look forward to encountering every day. By default, I have found that most of us on the path are already using various tools to keep ourselves fine-tuned and connected.
Everything we do, including the words we say and the foods we eat, becomes part of our awakening process and transformation. Without being too hard on ourselves, it is vital to make wise choices and treat ourselves and those around us with love and attention.
Our hearts naturally open through devotional practices such as kirtan and prayer, and our ability to give and receive love radically expands. Here, we can tap into a realm already saturated with love and divinity. For example, through kirtan or prayer, we step aside from ourselves and our ego and live in our hearts. For many, these devotional practices are tangible and easy to access. Many of the verses used in kirtan are Sanskrit words that have been chanted for thousands of years and have an incredible ability to shift consciousness.
The practice of becoming intimate with your inner Self, your mind and your thoughts. Through meditation, we find space to become aware of the root of our emotions, and as a result, can shift the sticky issues and neurosis in our lives. Accessing total stillness and presence, we remember who we truly are and become part of the underlying loving energy that is connected to all things and all beings.
Finding the courage to delve into and dissect our own neurosis, character defects, and the unconscious roles we play in life. The practice of self-reflection is an essential steppingstone on the spiritual path without which we reach a glass ceiling.
Asana (physical practice of yoga) is the doorway or the first step in getting to know ourselves and our breath. The need to disconnect from pain or discomfort is natural to the human experience, but the practice of yoga shows us another way. Through this practice, our bodies show us our center, a way to connect with our soul, a state of presence, and a connection to the divine.
Pranayama (the science of breath control) allows us to merge with the underlying life-force energy that sustains us all. By bringing awareness to the breath, we create a deep nurturing connection with ourselves, our souls, and the Universe.
The practice of working with mantras is used in many traditions and is an ancient method for quieting or calming the mind. The power of a mantra drowns out the mind chatter, intensely shifts our energy, and often becomes the apex of total stillness. Here, silence is tangible, and our connection with the great soul and the divine becomes solidified.
Interacting with nature is the most basic and natural way for humans to experience presence. Without even knowing why, we often find ourselves coming back to nature for a sense of comfort. Walking in the woods or along the shore, we naturally become still and sink into a connection with the universal energy that sustains us all. In the same vein, with animals, we become deeply connected as we commune with them through the mutual experience of unconditional love. There is no past or future for animals – they only live in the moment, bringing us closer to their state of presence with every interaction.
For most of us, our curiosity is first sparked by a teacher, book, or conversation. Learning, studying, and reading lays the foundation for the work that lies ahead while creating an understanding of what we are seeking and our experiences. Becoming familiar with the knowledge that came before us provides the framework within which we can evolve.
These elements are the aspects of the human experience. They become stronger as we carry on with the awakening process, evolve and continue to discover ourselves. Interchangeable in their order, none needed to obtain or assimilate the other, they become part of a natural evolutionary process —all part of a nonlinear flow in the circle of consciousness. Of course, none of the elements appear in a linear fashion or in one instant. But over time, we see how each of them takes a stronghold in our more evolved self.
Elements are already part of our make-up but might have gotten stuck or hidden from our conscious view. As we go along this process, we are humbled, and our ability to forgive becomes seamless. We discover that grace already infuses our lives, and we are naturally grateful. We feel connected to all other beings and love them unconditionally. In a state of presence and observance, we live in total surrender.
An innate sense of belonging to all beings. Feeling nurtured by the energy that lies beyond creation, the energy that holds us all.
A state of being where everything in life is regarded as a gift and each moment treasured. We are inherently thankful for all that we have.
Understanding, accepting, and deeply empathizing with the complex nature of all beings and all life circumstances. Resentment is non-existent in a state of true forgiveness.
Blessings bestowed upon us by the universe. A force that guides us, where events and circumstances become divinely synchronized.
Becoming aware and being the witness to our thoughts, experiences, and actions without attachment, judgment or emotion. In this state we discover increased awareness:
I am not the doer – I am the observer.
An abundant, all-encompassing, blissful positive energy. Unselfish and unconditional by nature, representing kindness, compassion, and affection toward all beings.
Being open to receive, aligned with the will of the divine, and living in the flow of the present moment without resistance or attempt to control. Accepting everything that life brings with complete non-attachment to the outcome.
Beyond thoughts and beyond the mind is a place of connection, peace, and calm. This - is our natural state. When we get there, we recognize it because it is a place we have felt and been to before.
In the game of awakening, there is not only one way.
All of life’s moments and experiences slowly become linked like pieces of a puzzle, with each of the pieces unexplainably dependent on the other. This divine interconnectedness plays an essential role towards greater expansion.
Tools like meditation and self-reflection will enable you to see things more clearly and intensify the awakening process. Understanding the tool or practice that resonates the most with you will guide you to see past your separate Self and connect with what lies beyond.
The interweaving of practices and life experiences strengthens each of the elements of awakening, shifting your awareness and consciousness. In this process, you become more loving, present, and forgiving and less attached to every single outcome. As each of these elements gradually integrates into your life on a deeper level, you will discover a place of true stillness and presence.
This inner journey is the only journey that matters. The only journey that gives you profound, genuine happiness and satisfaction. Whatever you may be looking for, remember it is already here within you.
I encourage you to stay present, trust, forgive, and completely surrender to the flow of life.