Sure, we all know the benefits of living in an “awakened” state, but what does it take to actually get there?
Most spiritual or self-help books write about the benefits of living in a mindful, conscious, or awakened state. The authors of these books paint a beautiful picture of a life full of grace. What they tend to neglect to inform readers is how that ideal state is not one we can necessarily exist in all the time. Not only that, but in order to just have moments of these blessed and awakened periods we must be both vigilant and diligent every day.
Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun now, does it? Awakening is arduous, and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. It is downright painful at times. With that being said, however, it is so worth it.
The process of awakening involves a ton of reparenting. This basically means you’re taking a good hard look in the mirror and acknowledging and owning all your limiting habits and beliefs. Through this process we are able to see and feel where we have unfairly judged ourselves and other, where our pain and trauma points are, and are able to reevaluate our perceptions of ourselves and the people and world around us. This is really hard to do and doesn’t all happen at once. In fact, you could go weeks, months, or even years thinking you have all your own stuff figured out to suddenly be blindsided with new revelations about how certain parts of your personality, relationships, or life aren’t fully “enlightened”.
This entire process is ongoing in ever moment of our life beginning from the point where we decide we no longer want to unconsciously walk around like some form of spiritual zombie.
It is never ending.
This article isn’t meant to dissuade anyone, by the way. Instead, it is meant to be an upfront and honest description of what the awakening process has been like for me and so many others who have decided to take part.
When I first started almost a year ago, I made massive progress very quickly. I was hungry for change and salvation from what I knew wasn’t a sustainable and healthy existence. But, eventually, my progress plateaued a bit.
The leveling off actually freaked me out because I thought I would slide back into unconsciousness. This fear also pops up every now and again when I realize I though or acted in a way that wasn’t “enlightened”. The key concepts that you and I need to remind ourselves of are that this is also normal, we are human which means we err, and the fact that we were able to recognize the “bad” behavior at all is a win.
It is completely natural to experience judgmental thoughts, anger, jealousy, disappointment, disgust, hurt, anxiety, and other uncomfortable feelings while you are in the midst of awakening. These are all very human and natural feelings.
The lesson that we learn is that we should not associate our identity with these feelings or act according to these feelings. Instead, we give our emotions and bodies the respect they deserve by acknowledging whatever the experience is and exploring it through curiosity. By approaching uncomfortable emotions in this way, we don’t judge ourselves (which only makes us feel worse about ourselves). Instead, we explore what triggered us and why. A lot of healing and self understanding can be done in this process. It isn’t always easy and is rarely fun, but is beneficial nonetheless.
There is so much more that can be written about awakening. I’m by no means an expert but have hands on experience. As I write this now, I am trying to process different uncomfortable feelings about myself, others, and my life situation. It is difficult. It sometimes feels like it isn’t working. But I know I’ve come a long way in the last year and have made internal and external changes that are creating a much higher quality of life for myself and those around me.
Some closing remarks would be that I’ve found the road to enlightenment to be more of an internal journey than anything else. You gain so much insight into your own psyche and personality. You realize there are layers and depths to your existence that you had never encountered before. You are able to treat yourself, mind, body, and soul with more compassion, kindness, understanding. This then enables you to approach others in the same way.
In other words, this whole awakening thing can really suck at times but it is totally worth it.