Cultivating a Spiritual Awakening
Surviving the Awakening
After the Awakening
This post is in the last category--one that I haven't written too much for as I've really moved through the second phase a lot in my own recent life. While nothing really is linear in spirituality or in life, I've found that these three categories sum up a lot of spiritual awakening, or at least they feel useful to me right now. So much of the awakened space is about using something as long as it is useful, and then letting it go. And the letting go really isn't a big deal. So if these aren't useful categories for you, then don't use them or buy into them. That's really fine by me.
With that said, I'm writing to you more about awakened love. It really will be a new topic for many of you, and I encourage you to approach it as a new topic. Accepting the newness of something can be a way where we are humble. We come to an idea as a child--with curiousity and wonder. But we don't have to accept it. We're not mindless computers that just download everything. Remember that too as I describe some of this space, and for those who are particularly attuned to energy, drop into the energy of these words and let them rock you in their arms and nourish you with the energy of love.
Finding Love EverywhereIn the awakened space, love is everywhere. Love simply is. However, love is not the juvenile idea of like or dislike. Love/hate is simply a stronger form of like/dislike. It is the ego's attempt to control life into getting what it wants. If your ego approves, you open your heart. If it doesn't, you close your heart. This isn't the practice of awakened love, although awakened love is always present in everything. It runs through these moments, but to really bring it out into your life, you are in a space of non-judgment and acceptance. That is all love really is: total acceptance. Through totally accepting everything, you can see all of yourself and all of the world--at least as far as we are able through the lens of being human. It changes everything to look at the world through the lens of love. This isn't a passive thing or a rose-colored glasses thing. It's a very deep and profound thing that can lead you to take action to whatever feels true to you, but you certainly aren't trying to change the world. This last sentence may be shocking to some of you, but what is being shocked? The ego. The ego has an idea that something is wrong and something needs to be fixed.
When the great teachers are talking about the madness of the world, they are looking at the world through love. They see what is. The mindless killing and hoarding of resources is madness. This is discernment, not a judgment. They are not saying how we should change the world, although I'm sure some have made suggestions. But suggestions aren't mandates, and they do still come from the human parts of those teachers. That's okay too. Because through awakened love, actions that need to be taken on the human level become much more obvious. Without the desire to change or fix, addressing issues appropriately becomes much cleaner.
And taking no physical world action also becomes a "solution" because that is one way to de-energize cycles of pain.
Pain Feeds on Ignorance and the Energy of Unenlightened ActionIn many ways, the cycles of pain and suffering in this world are fed by by ignorant action. This includes the actions by those who desire to do good. The desire poisons the action because it brings with it a believed outcome that the ego wants to see achieved. This can be to make the person feel good or to see other people interact in some other "better" way. This is non-acceptance. This is only love in the sense that all things are part of the unfolding of life. However, this continues an us-vs-them mentality that feeds the conflict itself even when the individual thinks s/he is trying to resolve it. Perhaps the immediate perceived problem gets solved, but then sure enough, a new one pops up because the core issues are still at work in the situation.
This is why we are always working on the level of presence and love when we want to bring about the greatest possible peace and harmony in the world. That level of awareness and divine acceptance allows us to see what is really at work and de-energizes the superficial levels that are distracting all of us. When I say "de-energize," what I mean is that every action, thought, and intention is like sending out a little spurt of energy. It starts re-inforcing, changing, or creating something. That little energy is powerful. But so often when someone is struggling to make something happen, that energy comes with the discontent of struggle. Other people react to it or feel threatened by it. They resist. The struggle deepens and widens. This happens all the time in families, amongst friends, and at the international level between countries.
Right now, there are a lot of struggles going on that have been grown and fed by all the different ways people have been trying to control and manipulate life with seemingly good intentions and with unconscious ideas. But the goodness is awakened love can change all that.
The Phases of LoveTo truly act from love is to know what love is on every level--heart, body, mind and soul. However, most people don't know what love is. Most people don't even know that they don't know what love is. It is a great leap forward for many people to admit that they don't know what love is because from that space they can step forward humbly into the exploration of love. Clearly, I'm not writing about a romantic, sexual relationship. That is the most common idea of love followed by the idea that love are the emotions a parent has for a child. These are extremely narrow ideas of love. Another common idea is that love is only what makes us feel good. So there's this confusion that when something doesn't make us feel good that it must be bad or evil.
Here are some of the phases of love many of which often get repeated. Wherever you feel like you are, I encourage you to walk humbly. There almost always is a new lesson that love has to teach us:
- Doesn't know what love is but thinks s/he does
- Knows s/he doesn't know what love is
- Thinks s/he has tasted love once and wants more
- Pursues love (this is a dangerous phase because the ego often turns "love" into a singular focus on one person. The individual can consequently get stuck again at the first phase.)
- If pursuit fails, the individual's focus and definition of love may expand or shrink depending on the person's reaction.
- If the pursuit succeeds, the individual's focus and definition of love may expand or shrink depending on the person's reaction.
- Love shrinks when a person thinks s/he has found an outside source of love
- Love grows when a person turns inwards to find love
- If the individual genuinely terms inward, many cycles may begin as the inner love ignites and shows the person where all the barriers to love are within her/himself
- Melting into awakened love, all is oneness
Navigating and Accepting the Flow of Awakened LoveAwakened love is a flow. It is an intelligent flow that takes you where you truly need to go in life. If that means throwing you into the rocks and rapids of your world, then that is where it will take you. It may feel like you are getting beat up, but that is how love shows you all the crap you are holding onto. Even the rapids aren't so difficult when you come into acceptance of what is. Now, there will still be difficulty in this flow, as many of you who are in it right now can attest. That simply is part of living in this world, but the suffering is gone. You aren't trying to fight life. You aren't trying to fight yourself and project out a set of ideas onto the world about what you want instead. You are in deep acceptance of what is, and the beauty of that acceptance allows you to shed things that do not serve you and to embrace those things that do support you.
Love becomes like the breath. You inhale new situations, new life, new people, and then you exhale out the old situations, old relationships, and old patterns of action. In and out, perpetually, and so long as you are live, you can flow like this effortlessly. As I've mentioned before, you are not mindless. You still make decisions, but your decisions and actions are completely different when you are coming from this space. You will not be perfect. You will not always be well-received, but the more you are in this space, the more you are at peace with any action, reaction, or result that comes in response to your interactions in this physical world of existence. And it is so much easier to laugh at yourself when you do get beached on dry land.
"Oh, look at this folly I have brought upon myself."
And rolling along in laughter, you drop back into the currents of the river of awakened love again.
The photo of the sky comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.