Not that you’d know it by looking at me. I live in the same house, wear the same clothes, listen to the same music and so forth. But everything that I believed in that brought me to live in this house, wear these clothes, listen to this music – that all feels ‘gone’. By which I mean that the reasons I used to motivate me to live in this house, wear these clothes – these reasons no longer make any real sense to me. These ‘reasons’ were part of an illusion, the dream of the egoic self that didn’t know she was dreaming. But I woke up – just for a moment – from that dream and from that point forward, I always know, on some level, that this is a dream. Since that day, nothing has looked quite the same, felt quite the same. The jig is up and there’s no going back to ‘normal’. (Matrix, anyone?)
And thank all the merciful gods for that – I mean, who wants normal!? Who can say they’re happy to live in a world that generated today’s headlines? … Anyone? … Howzabout yesterday’s headlines? You get the drift; it only takes a hard honest look at today’s ‘normal’ – mass shootings, racial violence, political corruption, financial fraud, environmental degradation – to recall just how unsustainable our way of being in the world has become.
But let me be clear – though I was deeply troubled about the state of the world when I went on my psilocybin-fueled quest a year ago, I hadn’t necessarily intended to sign up for a complete overhaul of how I perceive … everything! I had in mind something more along the lines of experiencing some wonderous cosmic energy field of the type hinted at by quantum sciences. Failing that, maybe I’d just end up adding a groovy psychedelic experience to my bucket list. Instead, the awakening put me eyeball-to-eyeball with the very thing I said I wanted to know – The Truth – and then went silent, as if to say; “now what are you going to do about it?”.
Looking back, I can see I did the only thing it made sense to do – and the very thing it just so happened I was perfectly set up to do: learn. Read the books, listen to the meditations, watch the films, round after round, day after day. For a year now, I’ve bounced back and forth between lessons on understanding the awakening and lessons on recognizing egoic illusion, largely from a desire to avoid getting wrapped up in the illusion all over again. This post-awakening period of deep exploration is often called ‘the unfolding’ (or something similar); a process by which you find your story about the awakening and begin walking down this new path, exploring what changes you will let it bring into your life. And as an awakened person learns to live in the awakened state, they’ll often experience what’s called ‘flickering’ (or something similar); feeling the identity jump back and forth between the illusion of ego and true inner awareness. And especially for many of us born and raised in this ego-focused western culture, these two post-awakening phases can bring experiences that feel emotionally and physically exhausting due to the dense egoic identities we’re confronting.
Luckily for those who seek to awaken and remain awake, Nature loves the seeker and rewards such courage in lots of little ways. For myself, it’s taken the form of an article with just the right words of encouragement on a difficult day. Or a guided meditation that helped me recharge my flagging batteries. And sometimes the boost comes from simply giving myself permission to say, “enough already!” and take the day off from the endless stream of books, films and meditations for comfort food, some sci-fi and a hot bath.
The frequent little coincidences that have followed me along the path for the last year have been fun to notice and have occurred so often I sometimes wonder just how much synchronicity one can expect in one lifetime! Case in point, I recently experienced another significant shift in consciousness and the encounter left me feeling pretty wiped, mentally and physically, for the next day and a half. As I was resting, I reached for my ipad to watch whatever video was queued up from a few days earlier; it just happened to a short YouTube from Rupert Spira called The Non-Dual Honeymoon is Over. The video ends with a message that spoke directly to the very tired person on the other end of the line: keep going; it takes courage; persevere.
And again this morning, as I sat down to finish this post, I noticed a new video on the site that’s my homepage, the title of which caught my attention: The Crisis of Waking Up: Shakti Caterina Maggi. I wasn’t familiar with (Hindu teacher) Shakti Maggi but as the video seemed connected to what I was writing about, I had to watch. Yup, you guessed it – it was the perfect video for a post about the changes an awakening brings. (See!?) Shakti Maggi has a wonderfully loving but frank characteristic to her teaching – and she also shares a welcome reminder of the joy that is part of our time in this human form (we get so focused on the pain!). Her insights about how our sense of separation originates, how to recognize an awakening and about the emotional shifts that surround this transformation perfectly summarized so much of what this last year has been about for me.
If you are curious about awaking, about the nature of consciousness and ‘self’, your journey has already begun. The next step is to find the courage to continue, and then to continue again. And when you face your suffering and you push through, you do it for us all.
Find your courage. And the world will help you.
top image: gorbash varvara / shutterstock.com
Todd WilliamsNovember 16, 2017 at 5:03 am
I’m at a loss for words, but my grin says “yes”.
lmdietzelNovember 17, 2017 at 2:18 am
:-) … right on