Waking Up Into Awakening
(This is part 1 of a 2-part entry. Part 2 coming soon!)
I suppose 'awakening' has varied definitions depending on who is doing the defining. I'll spend a little time here telling you what it is from my experience of these last 24 years since my own awakening initiation (you can read more about this on the 'Earth Based Tradition' page here.) In part 2, I will offer three processes that must be present in you if you are to move forward into an awakened state.
In my first blogpost, I mentioned 'dropping the veil of the personality.' I'll start here so that you and I begin at a common premise. I am aware of two states of being; one is set in the 'personality-self' and the other is in the 'expanded consciousness-self.' (Some call this the 'soul self' and I'm aware that the word 'soul' has varied and loaded connotations so I've chosen 'expanded consciousness' instead.)
To be awakened is to move from the repetitive nature of the personality-self as the identifier of who we are into the experience of a more expansive state of being where the personality has no real jurisdiction. To free oneself from the constraints of the personality requires an intimacy with oneself that is profound and entirely transparent. This is not easy and not for the faint of heart, to be sure. In order to drop beyond or beneath the more superficial nature of the personality (superficial as compared to the expansive and deeper states that are available within) we have to become acutely aware of the misunderstandings and distortions we access habitually most of the time in our living. We can find these in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The personality tends to run things and because of its innate limitations, this limits us in our living. And the only way to move beyond these limitations is to become intimate with our personal processes, our meaning-making, our narratives that run us ragged and cause us such unrest.
This doesn't mean we completely abandon the ship of the personality; on the contrary, the personality becomes the vehicle through which this more expansive state can be expressed. And as part of the human experience, it is impossible to not have a personality. Our personalities are the vehicle through which we navigate the world we're living in; through which we relate to one another; through which we express our values. But living in it as the sole identifier of who we are is not only limiting but also indicates a grave misunderstanding of our nature. Separation from this awareness and experience of our true nature is the source of our suffering, of our longing and of our compulsive habit of reaching outside of ourselves for something, anything, that will soothe our anguish, whether that anguish is momentary or lifelong. I know what those things are for me; you likely know what they are for you.
To live in an awakened state then is, ultimately, to live in a state of union with this expansive consciousness; to live in it when in line at the bank, when changing a diaper, doing laundry, having a conversation, getting gas, driving to work, making love, sitting on your meditation cushion, brushing your teeth, feeding the birds, picking up your kids from school and every other mundane or not-so-mundane activity that fills most of the hours of our lives. When we cultivate a relationship with it, it begins to accompany us through the moments of our lives. As it accompanies us through these moments, we deepen in our relationship to it. Most of us live in a state of separation from this awakened consciousness or are completely unaware that living in it and from it is a true possibility. Regardless, it exists as a state of being and as such, is available to everyone, not just a select few.
From one of my pieces during the few years following my spontaneous initiation experience in 1995, I wrote: "I have been cast into a role that has few directives: 'Love me and love the me in all life...and be willing to remember who you are.'" Be willing to remember who you are. That particular line has served me numerous times as a motivator during the more challenging aspects that are always a part of awakening in the way I am describing it here. Are you in touch with your own willingness to go toward something more expansive? Are you aware of your willingness to drop the veil of your personality in service of something deeper and in which you will feel more at home? Or do you meet this directive with great attachment to your personality and your ideas and mental concepts as your defining features? Is it challenging to even imagine a life where your personality is secondary to something else? Does this directive to 'remember who you are' arouse defensiveness and suspicion?
Welcome all of it. Be with all of it. Notice all of it. No reaction in any of us changes the fact that this expansive and awakened consciousness exists. Our notions, whether positive or negative, have no effect on it at all. This is the beauty of this delicious place within all of us. It is beyond and untouched by the constraints, definitions and habits of the mind. There really is nothing else I can think of about which we can make such a comment. This is probably my favorite thing about awakened awareness. It is free and untamed. It is liberated. And it nourishes us like nothing else can. And it is ours for the receiving because it is our birthright.
So how do we unhook from the personality? Here are the three processes that must be present in our quest to liberate ourselves from our identification with the personality. I'll name them here and elaborate on each in my next post:
3. Willingness to be uncomfortable
They're simple to understand and challenging to practice! Not impossible to practice; just not easy. Up for a challenge? Stay tuned.