The Anatomy of an Awakening
Some people just seem to be born spiritually awake. My 6-month old grandson, Fiver, is like that. He has that Buddha soul that soaks up experiences and eyes that shine with knowing. I’m not sure of the percentage of those of us born awake, but it seems quite small.
Conversely, I know many people that have never had an awakening. Maturity through experiences, yes. But not that lightning bolt of insight that pierces the painstakingly crafted illusions. It is my observation that the more someone’s identity is defined by their religious (or non-religious) beliefs and/or political beliefs, the less likely they are to have an awakening. It seems as if theology and ideology have soporific properties.
Another marker that reduces the likelihood of an awakening is busyness. Busyness messes with our attention/priority hierarchies. In this mindset, the idea of being still, spending time in solitude, being in nature, meditating, prayer, etc all feel like foolishness. It is self-absorption experienced through tasks, calendars, goals, obsessions. Is this not what everyone from Solomon to the screenwriters of “Elf” was trying to say?
“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”
― John Steinbeck
So far, I’ve had two awakenings. One in April of 2014 and one in September of 2020. They were markedly different. I share them here not as some sort of model or pattern for anyone to follow. I’m sure everyone’s awakening has common traits but is uniquely different. I am just contrasting and telling what I experienced.
My first awakening was an unexpected internal experience with external implications. This awakening freed my mind - and freed me from conditions, circumstances, existing systems that I’d opted into. I left Idaho, the Church, my political views. This awakening was an ascension. It came as the sun appears after a long dawning. In this light, I could see what I couldn’t see before. And what I could now see, I couldn’t unsee. This awakening was marked by the command of “Go!” It was expansive, liberating. It literally moved me to an entirely new life. It was conductive (it was a few months after this awakening where musings and insights began to pour out of me).
My second awakening was a blend of internal realizations and external events. As opposed to my first awakening, I didn’t realize this was another awakening for at least a month into it. This is because this awakening was much more of a descent into darkness. And in the darkness, my inner world began to shift dramatically. With a series of mighty blows, it cracked open my heart - freeing it to feel everything. In the darkness, I saw that this awakening was also freeing me from codependency. (I realize now that having an open heart and codependency are incompatible and unsustainable). The first awakening felt like a birth. This one felt like death. The death of roles, identities, narratives, plans. And the painful evolution of several of my key relationships (not coincidentally, the ones that were a source of the codependency.) In the darkness, I found my Self - that indestructible, unbreakable, priceless worth. And miraculously, when I found my worth I attracted a conscious relationship.
The pastor and mystic, Marshal Davis, believes that we each have the opportunity to experience at least three awakenings in our lifetime. I’m not sure when, where or how my next one will occur. I don’t know what it will be about but I do know this …
It will be terrifying
It will disrupt systems
It will contain Wisdom that my mind would never reach on its own
It will free me from some element of my ego-mind
It will help me grow
As always, I would love to hear from you about your own awakenings and experiences.
One more thing …
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