Do you find the noise of global and national events confusing and disturbing? It certainly plays havoc with my emotional energy. I try to balance this mental rollercoaster with news and social media-free days. However, there are still times when I find myself slipping into the awful black hole of despair. I feel overwhelmed and squashed, trodden on by those who arduously attempt to eradicate my truth.
A life-altering flash of clarity filtered through my consciousness during one of these rather bleak moments. After a night of tossing, turning, and wild dreams, I awoke to this thought,
‘Stop focusing on events around you; instead, focus on the awakening within you.’
I’m not sure of the science as to how these bursts of split-second clarity moments happen. However, I know there is no mistaking or misunderstanding them when they do happen. They are moments of truth and liberation for the person receiving them. They are nudges and reminders from the spirit part of the body, mind and spirit.
When I first started documenting my life from the ‘inside out’ on Fiftypluskiwi, it was to hopefully find answers to a persistent never-ending hum of yearning that would not abate within me. It was a relentless gnawing ache of longing for … something I couldn’t put a name to. I became a master at suppressing the yearning. The noise of ‘busy’, the hustle and bustle of the outside world helped drown out the cacophony of longing, masking the hollow ache of my inside world. I moved from one life event to the other. The image I presented to the world took 100% of my time but portrayed nothing of me on the inside.
I began the journey towards a healthier inner life. And after a few years, the yearning subsided. My inner life became less noisy, more of a faint background hum, and I assigned this period of my life to a mid-life crisis event. What I didn’t realise back then was this yearning was associated with awakening and that, over the years, I would have many awakening moments. This awakening, however, has never been so endangered as it has been over these last couple of years. I am grateful for that moment of clarity reminding me to stop focussing on events I have absolutely no control over and start looking at what was happening within me.
I have been listening to people as they comment on their pandemic turmoil. They say they have changed. “Something in me has changed – I don’t know what it is. I am not the same person as before the pandemic,’ they say. Hang on to this feeling, something fundamental is happening within you. Sit with this beautiful, yes, I said beautiful, event of change inside you. It sounds to me like the murmurs of awakening. Don’t dismiss it, and don’t let anyone else dismiss it for you. Explore it.
So, what does the term ‘awakening’ mean? To be honest, it’s still a term I feel a tad squeamish about using. It conjures up, or triggers, something different for everyone. For some people, it sounds religious; for others, it has an airy-fairy feel. And for some, it triggers discomfort or antagonises. To understand my own awakening, I made a list of questions and tried to answer them based on what I had discovered so far.
What is a spiritual awakening?
Awakening is a wake-up call, a nudge, to pay attention to the most precious part of you that makes you who you are. It is a personal growth journey of the spirit. There are many layers to awakening – it is a lifelong process. Often, we embark on a personal growth or self-love journey to happiness by doing plenty of ‘doing’. We spend a lot of time planning, thinking, sorting, and fixing what our minds tell us to do. But becoming awakened is more about ‘being’ than ‘doing’. And as the author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says, “Being can only be felt when you get out of your head. Being can’t be thought, it can only be felt,” he says. And that, my friends, is a matter for the heart. All spiritual awakenings occur to guide us back into balance with our true selves. The awakening draws our attention to all that is not true to ourselves and reveals all that is true to who we were created to be. The method may include opening, unfolding, unravelling, understanding and letting go – thankfully not all at once.
How does awakening happen?
From birth, our lives are shaped and moulded by others. As we get older, we add our own experiences to the mould. I read somewhere that ‘awakening is discovering true freedom within us, beyond the limitations of thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions. There comes the point in life when you realise your perceptions of life are not entirely true. When we start asking questions about what we are seeing around us or experience a personal crisis or revelation that changes our outlook on life, an awakening is nudging. Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? Something about this doesn’t sit right with me. Who or what is God? Why did this happen to me? These are all awakening triggers. Please don’t ignore these feelings. We live in times when it is more important than ever to know who we are. We must validate and acknowledge these feelings within us.
Do only some people awaken?
Anybody and everybody can awaken. There is no ‘chosen one’. It happens within you. There is no leader, church or charismatic figurehead leading your ‘awakening’. It is not controlled or overseen by any person on the outside. Your awakening is personal to you and no one else. You can choose, or not choose, to pay attention to what is happening inside of you. A word of warning, though: Awakening is hard to run from. I know this because I tried to run as fast and hard as possible, only to run smack bang into myself each time.
Can you experience an awakening without Divine influence?
Awakening is always a Divine process, whether we like it or not. We don’t always recognise, want it to be, or associate it with a Divine influence. I think you can only go so far with the awakening processes if the Divine is excluded. Remember, it is an awakening of the spirit, not the head. A theme often decorates my writings – God and love – for both have woven a well-trodden path of bittersweet moments in my life. Both, as I have come to understand, are connected. One of the questions asked of me at a time when I was literally going to dump God for good was this, ‘What if everything I perceive God to be is a lie?’ And it was. What a great unravelling and discovery period this was.
What is the point of being awakened?
There have been many times when I have put my awakening quest in the too hard, too tiring basket. But you can’t keep running from the endless wandering of your soul without understanding what you are running from, why you are running and where you are running to. Life is returning to normal for most people, and it will be all too easy to toss these inner signs of awakening aside. I beg you – please don’t. Why?
I can’t express it any better than this:
“The human form of life is rare in that we can use our will to rise above the animal functions of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Humans may be progressive and dominant in these animal functions, but if we don’t know who we are, if we are not on the path of self-realisation, then we are simply like two-legged animals. Worse, actually…
It is time for humanity to change course, to change how we use our will. The choice is up to each and every one of us, before it’s too late and we destroy our planet… and ourselves” [Sivarama Swami].
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