I am people watcher. I admit it. The people I find most interesting to watch are those whose breathing slows down, and grace begins to glaze across their eyes and knowing arrives from some place pulled forward from the past when we talk about becoming enlightened. Now, I don’t doubt for a moment that we all want to be awake, but that ego of ours whose job it is to help us survive with power, position and perfect presentation all in tact, works overtime. I think we all know on some level that there is a better way to live – a higher level of happiness and contentment to be had. But how in the world do we get there?
Spiritual awakening is about a journey – a journey to enlightenment. The journey itself, not the end result, is the transformational part. Every step along the way tends to reveal a new part of oneself that can be celebrated and that reunion with the truth of who we are results in enlightenment. Enlightenment is not about sitting on a mountain some where Om-ing, although one could certainly get there by doing so. Rather, enlightenment today is about living the truth you know to whatever degree that you know it.
In order to become enlightened one must first have the intention or desire to wake up. That requires a certain level of fearlessness. You must want to be free more than you want anything else like recognition, money, adoration or security. You must want it more than you want or love any one else as well. You must want it more than you want your momentary needs to be filled. You must want it more than you want to be protected from your fears or the truth about yourself. No doubt all that sounds a bit drastic until you understand that until you want enlightenment more than anything else – everything else – most of which is based in fear – still has a greater hold on you. The moment you want enlightenment most, you can then have everything else but you will never compromise your character to get those things. That act of compromising the truth of who we are is exactly what keeps us from becoming enlightened. In the past we have wanted to look good, have great material wealth, be powerful and be in control more than we have wanted to wake up.
You must also be willing to take personal responsibility. You must be willing to understand that you are living today exactly what you believed yesterday and tomorrow you will be living whatever you choose to believe today. You are doing this minute, exactly what you most want and have chosen to do. That means you stop pretending to be a victim to your past or the future and you start making different choices. You can legitimately be a victim when you are a child. Once you become an adult, every choice you make creates a consequence. That consequence in turn ultimately creates your reality which eventually creates your destiny. The moment you are willing to stop all unconscious behavior, you have opened the door to enlightenment and freedom simply by taking your own power and making new choices.
To become enlightened you must stop running from your fears as if they had more power than you do. The minute you turn around and face your fears, you have made the conscious statement that you are bigger than they are and the energy they carry is instantly diminished. Once you learn to avoid nothing and face everything, you find the fastest way out of the fear is right through the middle of it. There is nothing from your past that you have not already survived – so now you are simply cleaning up the emotions from those events so that you can get to the understanding and lesson. When we face our wrong choices, we can begin to make right ones. When we admit our mistakes we can make fewer of them. Facing your fears gives you the exquisite experience of finding out that you are deserving of self-respect after all.
Another important step is to stop taking everything so personally. Believe it or not, 90% of any response anyone else has about you is about them and it comes directly from that person’s own set of life experience and individual references. Your own ego may tell you that everyone is focused on you, but the truth is, most people are pretty overwhelmed with their own set of challenges. This baby boomer plague of thinking it’s all about us needs to come to a screeching halt. As Terry Cole-Whitiker once said, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” Don’t sweat it.
If you want to be enlightened, commit to your own growth and make a difference in the world – sometimes anonymously, sometimes not. Find a support group of people, maybe in addition to, or out of, your 12-step groups. Pick people who can help you stay on the path and commit to keeping each other awake. Form a couples group or a singles group and talk about how to stay in your integrity and remain awake with each other. Talk about transformation. Come out of the spiritual closet. Get the information you need to know in order to integrate new principles and ideas. Stop regurgitating the old stuff, and venture into some new concepts as well. Be willing to bump up in your awareness and integrate new levels of energy and understanding.
Be spiritually generous. Be willing to give when no one is looking and with reward. Be willing to sacrifice for another without voicing it. Be humble when you could be loud.
And finally – Be Joyful. Look for the people who make you laugh and can laugh at themselves. Look for activities that lighten your heart and take time to see the beauty in the world. In other words, lighten up. This is not a somber process. It is one that lifts you off the earth and gives your heart wings.
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008