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Archive for the ‘spiritual awakening’ Category

So what’s the point of most of humanity remaining spiritually “asleep” for years or even decades of their lives? Why can’t we all just be born wide awake? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were? Is it natural to start out asleep, or is it a consequence of living in a fear-based culture that stunts and restricts us? *Do* we need awakening as an initiation on its own, and if so, does that mean that all the things that have wounded and repressed us before are actually good and necessary?

These are questions that I wrestled with for a long time. After all, it seems like one can get so much more done in the world, can live one’s purpose so much more fully and vibrantly, after undergoing an awakening– so was everything before that just a waste of time?

In the end, I genuinely do not believe that any experience in life is a waste of time (even if it’s hard to see its value just yet), and I’ve come to believe that there actually is good reason for spending the first part of your life asleep.

Let me say up front that I don’t think this justifies the ways that we as a society hurt, limit, disparage, and bully each other into being mere shadows of our true selves, nor does it mean we should shrug our shoulders and overlook those unhealthy, cruel behaviors. Just as we can have a productive, restful night’s sleep or a troubled, stressful night’s sleep, there’s a big difference between a natural journey towards awakening and a death march through life in which we can only hope that some form of awakening comes as a crisis intervention. (more…)

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Following up to my post titled “What Is Awakening?”, I wanted to address the down side of soul awakening, because it’s very real and, for many people, it is a very confusing and painful time.

First let me say that it isn’t always traumatic, especially for someone who’s “hit the snooze” a few times and because of it, has started to become aware of what’s going on; or for someone who is fortunate enough to have an experienced teacher capable of answering questions and guiding them through the experience. (If there’s one need in this world I’m certain of, it’s the need for compassionate, wise, strong spiritual teachers who are not in it for mere ego gratification…) Some people do experience it as a predominantly joyful and exciting time, or they feel relief because things make so much more sense now.

However, living in a world where there *is* a dearth of real teachers, where religions have become politicized bureaucracies, where there are few remaining rites of passage and our public rituals have become commercialized within an inch of their lives, and where there’s so much information with so many competing agendas, most of us are left feeling alone and bewildered. We hack our lonely way through that wilderness, often frustrated, eager for any tiny sign that anyone has gone ahead and left a path. And when something extraordinary happens within us, we may not know how to handle it.

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“Awakening”.

It’s a word you’ll hear tossed around a lot in spiritual circles, often sounding like a New Agey version of Eastern concepts of enlightenment. It’s a word you’ll hear a lot around here.

But what, in practical terms, does it mean? How does one awaken? How does one know if awakening has occurred?

I’ll start with that last: Like with orgasm, if you have to ask if you had one, you probably haven’t.

That’s not intended to be as flip and unhelpful as it sounds, but rather to assure you that it definitely won’t pass through your life unnoticed.

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