Awakening to What?

Those of us who see ourselves on a journey of self realization or spirituality, have a sense of awakening. But an awakening to what? I wonder if we all awaken to the same thing, or if we awaken to whatever we are ready to awaken to…

Whatever it is, when we find it we think “This is it!” But it is really so? Is it the final piece of the puzzle or just an other piece along the way that finds its rightful place?

woman in blue and white floral long sleeve shirt holding a round shaped puzzle

Photo by Wesley Carvalho on Pexels.com

As I reflect on my life there have been moments of awakening, when it seemed like my inner world and outer world launched into a new way of being. Yet, on reflection it is now clear that these have just been pieces of the puzzle.

These pieces connected to each other, yet they revealed only a part of a great unknown picture. Here are my reflections on my journey towards the unknown and the awakenings along the way.

Life Awakenings

I can only imagine what it must have felt like when I first discovered I was no longer in a dark and nourishing space merged with my mother. This experience is beyond my thinking,  but I can imagine how traumatic and profound it must have been becoming separate and in all that bright light!

The next awakening was when I learned who I was in relation to other things and people. My ego developed as I grew into a separate human being with preferences and beliefs. I learned how to get what I wanted, how to be in relationship with others. I created beliefs about who I was as a girl child, daughter, sister etc…

Not long after this revelation came, the waking up to feeling hurt when I didn’t get what I wanted, or when I was not seen in a way that I wanted to be seen, or when I felt abandoned and unloved. I believed that there was something wrong, and it was me. I wasn’t good enough. So I would try to be good and perfect.

This part lasted for quite some time. I continued to learn who I was in this world from those around me, and in the roles I played. I was looking outward for validation and love.

Then as an adult I awakened to the part of me that wanted to express herself fully. To slough off the conditioning and expectations of others. I started to look inward so I could find the real “me”, not through anyone else’s eyes, but through my own… Awakening to myself as a strong individual who mattered… Stepping into my own shoes and expressing myself to the world.
From not being good enough, I realized I was precious, unique and strong. I could make things happen! I took on challenges and overcame my fears. It was a period of tremendous personal growth.

Around then I began training to became a life coach. For the past 20 years I have worked with people to discover who they are as unique human beings who can overcome challenges and be their authentic best in the world.

Yet, this was not the end. From this place of self growth, confidence and expansion, an other kind of awakening started to unfold. One where I started to question who “I” was.

self inquiry

At a time when I was disillusioned with the competitive, self absorbed human beings around me, I fully embraced yoga and took my first yoga teacher training. Unlike a lot of yoga trainings nowadays, our practice was more than postures, sequencing and breath work. We had time for self reflection, we read yoga philosophy, and committed to following the eightfold path of Patanjali.

Through yoga I became aware that my personal “self” was made up of my thoughts and beliefs. The world around me mirrored my own perception of it.  I had been creating stories about who “I” (this “small self”) was. I had grown as a person, but had replaced stories of not being good enough, with new stories about all I could achieve and show the world.

A part of me still got caught in patterns of self-doubt, fear and worry. I also had moments of glory and immense satisfaction and had glimpses of the timeless beauty and mystery of being alive.

In yoga I felt drawn to the belief that we are all connected and share the same Source or Conscious Presence. When one says “namaste” in greeting and farewell, it means that one recognizes the light shining within each of us.  This inner light is our true spiritual Self.  We connect to something more that our human body and thinking mind. Whether we call it God, the Divine, Brahman, Source, Presence or the Universe. There is a part inside of all of us that is connected to an infinite beingness, that words can’t fully describe.

Then something happened. It was like the outer shell cracked and the gloriousness of what was within was revealed. From understanding in my mind, I experienced a overwhelming feeling of love and connection with my fellow human beings, animals and nature.  There is a deep sense of oneness that is profound, no matter what is happening in life. It is hard to put into words, because it feels beyond words.

If I were to try to use words, it was be something like a veil had been lifted to reveal what had always been there. It is something that once felt, can always be accessed.

The aum symbol of yoga symbolizes this seeing beyond the veil and embracing an unchanging reality of oneness with spirit or pure consciousness.

aum symbol with meaning

Finding Your Middle Ground

Finding your middle ground is the gateway to this awakening.  The starting point is when we take time to pause and become self aware. We begin, by simply learning to slow down and noticing what is going on inside: our thoughts, judgments, emotions, body sensations … and al the stories we make up about ourselves and the world around us.

I like to think of it as the phase of personal expansion and growth. Its a place of new perspectives, letting go of the past, and understanding and truly accepting ourselves as imperfect human beings.

We start to explore new aspects of ourselves, our passions and what gives us meaning in life. Taking time to pause and ask ourself the deep questions that we want to know the answers to, allows us to go beyond what we know in our mind and tap init the wisdom in our heart.

From this place of mindful awareness, we can come new insights into who we are beyond our beliefs and conditioning. Beyond our own small separate self.

With more compassionate self awareness, meditation and mindful living, a new way of seeing ourselves and the world unfolds.
We realize that we are not separate, but are connected to something so much bigger, and to each other.
We come to know that we are not the master of the universe, but are simply a part of it all.
There is no right or wrong, because we know that it’s our thoughts that make it so. Everything becomes as it is.
We stop resisting life, and begin to let go into its own flow.
We let go of ego and surrender to being small as we connect to the Source of being. From wanting to be somebody, we embrace being nobody.

Wherever we are on life’s path, we can open ourselves to new insights and awaken to a new way of expanded being.

As human beings perhaps our purpose is to awaken to what we are ready for, and to be open to surrendering to the next unknown.

Thank you for joining me on this journey to freedom.

Namaste

At Every Fork in the Road

photo of person holding umbrella

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

The Path to Freedom

“What is the path to freedom here?

The answer is clear the moment

I ask. At every fork in the road,

there is a conditioned response

and one that is unpatterned, bold

and free. The old, known way is

more comfortable, but the other

path holds mystery and wonder.”

~ Danna Faulds, from her collection of writings and poems “Limitless”

 

I love this question. What is the path to freedom here?

So often we will ask “What’s the right way here?” or “What should I be doing now?” This alerts the mind to start to analyze what is “right”  – which is usually based on our old conditioning or brings up feelings of guilt and “shoulds” from the past. So often the answer is fear based, especially the fear of making a mistake.

Can you see that we have already created a cage around our response and limited our choice based on the old known way.

It isn’t about avoiding doing something wrong or pleasing someone else. It isn’t about being a good or a righteous person either. Or being safe and comfortable.

In my experience, the answer isn’t in the analytical mind at all, but is in the passion and inspiration that fills your heart and uplifts your soul.

Its about being aware, bold and free to approach the mystery of the unknown, and trust the inner voice that’s calling you.

One step at a time is all it takes.

This question will take you there.

 

Wishing for Things to be Different

backlit beach clouds dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Acceptance of ‘what is’ can be the hardest part of the journey.

Doubts, flaws, mistakes and self absorption are part and parcel of life. Yet, how easy to forget, especially in those times when they overwhelm us and highjack our thinking.

Wishing for things to be different, creates anxiety about whether we have made the right choice, and sets the mind into a spinning spiral of ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’. It can keep us there for hours, days or a whole lifetime.

We become acutely aware of what is missing and what is wrong. Like a dark cloud across the sun. In our mind we hold that cloud there and push it back towards the sun. We create our own darkness and confusion.

Only when we realize that clouds pass, that the sun is always there, no matter how cloudy the day or how dark the night. Only when we see the bigger picture, can we break free and open once again to acceptance and love.

Namaste

 

 

 

Inspiration – Freedom

jumpshot photography of woman in white and yellow dress near body of water

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on Pexels.com

“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”

~ Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

As long as we listen to – and believe – our thoughts, we will be stuck in the same old patterns.

This is big.

Freedom is there for all of us.

When we see that our thinking is not the truth… When we understand that our ego mind creates critical thoughts to keep us from harm and to keep us small…. We awaken to our real life journey.

Listen to your heart and break free.

What is the Path to Freedom Here?

the path to freedom

What is the path to freedom here?
The answer is clear the moment
that I ask. At every fork in the road,
there is a conditioned response
and one that is unpatterned, bold,
and free. The old known way is
more comfortable, but the other
path holds mystery and wonder.

~ Danna Faulds

What a wonderful question to ask ourselves when we are facing struggles and resistance in our lives… When deep down we want to change, but keep being pulled back into the old ways.

What is the path to freedom here? … Opens up a bigger context that can shake off the smaller conditioned responses that we have become so attached to.

Ask the question, be bold and step towards the freedom that awaits.

Namaste

Letting Go

time to let go

Fall is the season for letting go. Shedding and releasing things that we no longer need. In doing so, its important to accept that there may be a sense of loss and sadness at this time of year. We are emotional beings after all.

This also makes it a time for self compassion, nurturing and kindness.

Yet letting go is a part of our lives…
It happens every day in our breathing and falling asleep.
It happens when we let go of our children and allow them to be independent adults.
It happens when we end relationships or jobs that no longer serve us.
It happens when we accept that we are not perfect human beings after all.

Life is a journey of letting go, to create space, to restore our balance and to discover what really matters.

Letting go is part of the natural rhythm of life.

Without letting go, we cannot be free.

Namaste

 

Breaking All the Rules

break free

There are moments when rules
are meant to be broken; when
bursting out of context is the
sole way to see with new eyes.
There are fences built only to
be torn down. The slats look
solid, but no one drove the nail
in tight. There are barricades
around the heart asking to be
breached. Sooner and later we
all run out of excuses for
staying small and safe.

~ Danna Faulds

May we all find the love and courage within us to break free!

Opinions about Opinions

When I was young I wanted to be grown up and have opinions. I believed that adults with opinions knew what life was about. And that’s what I wanted. I wanted to know things and feel secure in that knowledge, rather than being unsure and insecure.

And so I became opinionated.

I took on a lot of the same values and judgments of my family. But I also went against some of their ways of seeing other people and the world.

And so I formed my own opinions.

Then one day I asked myself  Do my opinions really matter? Do they make a difference or help others … or is it just a facade?  What was behind my opinions?

This is what I discovered.

We strive for knowing in an unknown world. Underneath we still feel insecure and unsure, but we believe that we are right about things. That makes us feel better.

As long as we are attached to our opinions, and how the world should be, our minds remain closed. We become prisoners of our opinions.

Our preferences prevent us from being open to the moment, and can take us off on a wild goose chase to feel more knowledgable, in control … and opinionated.

Opinions about how things should be, keep us hooked on specific outcomes. It takes us out of the present and prevents us from seeing alternatives and exploring new ways.

We judge others as ‘wrong’, when they don’t share our opinions. This increases separation rather than connection and understanding. We become more self centered.

Opinions are an expression of an evolved ego, not an evolved human being.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.

 

 

 

Missing Out on Your Own Happiness

Wise owl

Thomas Merton reminds me of a wise owl.

“In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is so important, you lose your peace of heart…

As soon as you take yourself seriously and imagine that your virtues are important because they are yours, you become the prisoner of your own vanity, and even your best works will bring and deceive you.

Then, in order to defend yourself, you will begin to see sins and faults in the actions of others. And the more unreasonable importance you attach to yourself, the more you will tend to build up your idea of yourself by condemning other people.”

~ Thomas Merton “New Seeds of Contemplation.”

When we find ourselves caught in the trap of trying to be more virtuous and better than other people, we miss out on our own happiness.

Peace of heart ( love this expression) comes from accepting ourselves just as we are, and being true to our inner nature. It isn’t about how others see us, how impressive we are in the work that we do, or how many people like us on Facebook.

This is a lesson for every adolescent … and every adult who hasn’t gotten over themselves yet.

Love yourself, share your gifts and let the rest go.

Namaste

 

Inspiration for growth

 

Shelduck Ruddy Fly Bif Brahminy Bird Flight

Shelduck Ruddy Fly Bif Brahminy Bird Flight

“A bird never asks, am I flying correctly”.

~ Mary Anne Radmacher

 

Listen to the compass of your heart

Follow the beat of your own drum

Stop “shoulding” all over yourself

Trust in yourself and the experience that has brought you here

All you need is within you

Grow into the wonderful being you already are
Q. How many times do we need to hear these messages, until we start to live them?  
A. As many as it takes
Tune in

Trust and act

Let go of analyzing fear filled ego mind

Do it

And fly

Inspiration – Timeless Peace

Timeless peace

Unscheinbar | leaf macro | by Andrea Witt – on Pinterest

 

Find your Middle Ground

Fall outside the world of time
Where nothing ever happened
And nothing will ever happen
Forever peace.

Fall inside a part of yourself
That is unperturbed
And free of everything
Perfect stillness and freedom

Let things be
Just be

 

Namaste