Saturday, June 19, 2010

In the Beginning: A Retrospective on My Spiritual Awakening

Most people who come into my life are picking up the story of my awakening after a lot of big shifts. But this is hardly my starting point, which happened in 2006 (This was the start--not the awakening). I know a lot of people are curious about my story, but for the most part, I like to keep a lot of that sacred to me and apart from the many stories I've already shared on this blog.

Tipping Point
Lots of stuff happens to lots of people, and it doesn't change the course of their lives. Plenty of people meditate for years or read tons of spiritual books, and still their lives and their internal set-up remains unaffected. I've run across a lot of really frustrated spiritual type people who can't figure out why something hasn't happened. I can't say why or why not a lot of people don't move into awakening. It's the divine mystery at work.

Shouldn't an awakening just happen? Yes, absolutely. There is a flow that you have to surrender to in this process, but most of us have sixteen types of barriers to the flow. And if you're a go-with-the-flow type person, your barrier may be an aversion to hard work and discipline. We all have something (at least at this point in the human evolution; maybe some people don't). Most people need the spiritual discipline to get energy moving to overcome whatever internal blocks they have. Then we need to have the faith that the awakening will do what it needs to do and that we'll be all right.

My Spiritual Tipping Point
People have heard me tell this story a number of times and in a number of ways. It morphs as I re-tell it partially because of the perspective I'm gaining as I get further away and have more awareness around what was happening. After I broke open in August of 2007, I'd already gotten into a deeper flow, and then things started to unravel everywhere as I became more and more aware of the truth about me and the idea of me that I'd created.

Realization Strikes for the First, but Hardly the Last Time
The big realization that started me on the path to spiritual work came when I was sitting in my office cubicle. One day I was pissed about something, and I realized that "I" was making myself miserable. I realized this as I'd had no actual situations to warrant this anger. I realized just how good my job was and that I was making it a bad situation. That was the start of me trying to make amends for how I was being with people at work.

I honestly can barely remember exactly what I did. I think it started with listening and being more present with people, especially the people who were the most difficult for me to work with. This went on for about three and a half months, and then the next challenge came, which was the universe's way of asking if I was really ready to go on to the next thing. I said "yes," not really knowing what I was doing, but that is how it ofen is. As I already mentioned, faith is central to all this.

If you're looking for the spiritual path, just start at work. There's always plenty of ego and attachment for all of us to work on in that space, and there's usually someone there lighting us up. I remember taking a walk into a park, absolutely fuming about something. At some point sitting on a picnic table staring across the field and at Mount Rose, I let go. At the time, it was probably more like, "Fuck it." But sometimes close is good enough for spirit.

The Power of Letting Go
This was probably my first real experience with letting go and a first experience with a deep sense of completion. In college and high school, we're told we're done after a set criteria is met. That's powerful, but the completions in our lives that are most meaningful just happen. We can't control them and can predict them only rarely. When I let go of the issue, I felt in my body and soul that I was done with that job. I had nothing left to prove.

Shortly thereafter, a friend invited me to her dad's meditation group. That group became my next set of spiritual connections and my next sangha. Her dad would eventually become my teacher when my heart opened to him a year and a half later, and then that too would come to completion.

And so much more would happen and move and shape me leading up to August 2007, which would be a major turning point (a turning point is something that you can't go back from; a tipping point is just the start, the opening). After the turning point, I would learn many, many lessons as I walked the humble path of the spiritual journey. It is always a humble path too. There is no room for self-aggrandizement, and even as we grow into our true greatness, our humility grows right along with it because humility is a central aspect of true greatness.

Next blog: Defining Spirituality and Religion
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