Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Awakening Marathon: Pacing Yourself Through this Sacred Process

The Spiritual Road Ahead
I want to take another one of my periodic pauses to be sure that everyone understands how I'm talking about spiritual awakening. Spiritual awakening is a timeless thing. It just hits full on in a moment of profound presence, and the light goes on. Something is unleashed. There's a sacred flow opened up inside, and the waters of your internal landscape start to inexorably move.

Embodying this flow is what I'm referring to in the title. Awakening doesn't have a process. It simply is. But we live in bodies in the world of duality and time. We need time to develop new habits and patterns and clear a lot of things, although I don't want to over-emphasize time. Too often, we use time as an excuse for not being as we are. Nonetheless, growing into the space of spiritual teacher has taken time not because I am learning anything perse, but I'm changing the waters around my life so that others know who I am and the momentum of my outer life can truly reflect the momentum of my inner life.

Many of you are going through this awakening process, and a lot of it requires deep healing and letting go of the things that are standing in the way of this flow. It doesn't have to take a long time, but for many of us, there's a process of embodying and transforming that can take days, months, years, and lifetimes. To dedicate ourselves to this process is important because it's like the caterpillar in the chrysalis. It is a unique time in our lives, and it offers certain possibilities and opportunities that can only come in this time period. I could also use the metaphor of pregnancy, which requires certain demands of a woman's body and of a couple in the instance of a committed relationship. Those demands will be unlike any others at different times of your lives, and so you approach it with this understanding of its temporariness and sacredness.

The Sacred Shift: Creating a Safe Space
The caterpillar builds a chrysalis to create a safe space to become the butterfly. For those of you in awakening, this is what needs to happen. You need to find a safe space to support and sustain you while you metamorphosize. For some of us, we made a bunch of money at different times and can live off of that harvest. Others will find spiritual caretakers to give them the space to go through their changes--sometimes just one caretaker or moving on to others as you go through your process.

What is simply crucial is that you have that safe space to trust your process and to not rush it. This is key, and it will show you where your ego is still hanging on if you are trying to get somewhere or just get through it all. Embodying awakening energy--in truth, embodying the fullness of your own spirit--takes everything you've got. It requires you to be engaged, active, and receptive. The qualities of that activity, receptivity, and engagement are always shifting too, so each wave of energy that comes through will ask something different from you. One month, you'll need to mediate for 3 hours a day. Another month, you'll need to eat green leafy vegetables like they're going out of style and do sound healing once a day. It's always changing, and it really depends on you and your soul path.

Varying Soul Paths Vary the Timelines
People are always wondering how long the spiritual awakening process will take, but there is no definite timeline. You define that timeline. I can't ever tell you how long it'll take. I can create lots of fictional scenarios to suggest why it might take several years. For instance, someone is a very powerful energy and will need to work with a huge array of different energies around the world, and creating that internal clarity and groundedness to do that work will require several years for this individual. For someone else, that could be several months. For another person, it could be lifetimes. Ultimately, I will tell people that only you can truly intuit that timeline. Sometimes a lot of internal pain will extend things out, but there's really no telling for sure because when someone is ready to heal, it can happen fast. That's why Jesus could do instantaneous healing. The power of readiness for healing and belief from those who came to him allowed him to move them through it instantaneously. It's not magic, but it is sacred. And we all have this ability within us, which is why I'm always careful around what I say about "time" in this process and in how I even mention awakening in conjunction with a process.

Pacing Yourself and Letting Go of the Race
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to find your pace. It's very easy to exhaust yourself by doing too much. Doing can be a real problem in Western Culture because it sends your energy away from yourself. During this stage of embodiment, you need all of that energy within you. Just as a woman will eat a lot more during pregnancy, you need to absorb a lot more energy. It's an important time to be receiving through energy meditations, sound healing, energy work from others when appropriate and clean, and other sources. Nature is a really popular source of clean energy for many people, and just about any means that you can use to offer yourself lots of rest and nourishment will go a long way as you go through your transformation. But you can't rush it. Going slow often is going fast. If you try to "get it over with," you will exhaust yourself, and for those of you dealing with a lot of awakening fatigue already, you can put yourself into a completely non-functional state. Awakening fatigue is not a lot of fun, but it's being done purposefully--by you I might add--so that you can stay put and allow the process. You may also get sick because your energy gets so low.

Tips and Techniques Matter Less
A lot of tips and techniques on the spiritual path are about making space and cultivating space for an awakening. During intense awakening moments, a lot of those techniques matter less because the work is already happening of its own accord. This is a very different space to be in, and few of you are actually here. So I want to caution any of you from running to the conclusion that because of the intensity you're in, it's okay to throw the meditation practice out the window. Probably not. If you are resonating with what I'm writing for this blog, you may still need meditation in intense moments, but you probably don't need five other techniques and tools on top of it. As much as I'm a huge fan of journaling, I've put the journal away in my life. There's nothing there for me right now, and my morning meditation is generally most of what I need. There are a couple of other things that are helpful--spiritual community for instance--but my process is in full swing. I am very much allowing and receiving it through rest and quiet contemplation. There's not much else to do. I don't have much energy to do anything else.

Letting Go of the Idea of a Process
You also have to let go of the idea of the process to embrace the process. It's too easy in this culture to be looking towards a goal or an endpoint. The end of the transformation will come. You will emerge from the chrysalis in your fullness and be able to fly to wherever you want. But you can't speed any of it up. You can't get anywhere. You are where you need to be.

And this awakening isn't a dodge from being a responsible person in life, but you do need different spaces and can't do the same old things. That may feel irresponsible, but many of the old things and ways of acting need to go. Those ways of acting weren't responsible or integrity with yourself, and when you're not in integrity and truth with yourself, you are not in integrity with the world. How we act on every level touches every other level of the world. That's why you're being torn down to the very bottom-most layers. From here, you can build a new foundation, and from here, a new foundation will build itself. You'll find so much more ease and relaxation as you let go of the old and embrace the older--the original you beneath the crap and fake smiles and falsities you've ingested. You're vomitting out all of that delusion, and that's an intense process. Accept it. Accept it in its ugliness because that ugliness has also been a part of you

Waking Up Is Hard to Do
Some days, waking up is hard. Some days, it's easy. It is what it is, and if you haven't been making space, some days will be agonizing. Some days will be agonizing regardless. That's what internal resistance does. It makes us suffer when we should be healing and awakening further. Let go deeper in those moments. Let go to what is and let go of that resistance. Each level of us needs to be cleared of resistance, and even then, this process can be rigorous. That, too, is okay. Trust it. Trust all of it. You truly have no other choice, and give yourself to the pace that's being developed intuitively. Relax into that pace so that you don't burn yourself out. Embodying your awakening energy isn't exactly a marathon, but some days, it will feel like it. Acknowledge that and then drop deeper into the sacred process that's allowing you to become everything you've truly wanted to be.

Today's beautiful picture comes from my student, Jenn.
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