Monday, May 22, 2017

5 Practical Spiritual Awakening Strategies

sacramento, midtown
There's a lot of naivete around the spiritual path and especially around spiritual awakening. Many people--mostly those who haven't awakened--think that a spiritual awakening immediately erases all problems and pain in life, and then you can go on living la-di-da throughout all of life. I have not yet seen that happen for anyone, although I don't doubt the possibility of it. However, for most everyone else, a whole lot of work ensues as the seed sprouts and starts pushing up through dirt and debris into the sunlight. And then more work ensues as the person gets out of the pain and dirt of their own suffering and starts maturing and actually living in the real world.

And there is a maturing process in all this awakened stuff. It's something that I'm beginning to touch on in blogs like: How to Guide Your Awakened Energy. However, the topic of today is really about getting through those initial years--yes, I said years--to a stable mature level of ongoing growth where you understand yourself and the process of maturing as a spiritual human being.

Finally, before I launch into this subject, I want to address faith. Real faith is trusting the flow and the divine. False faith is expecting God to give you hand-outs without you doing your part. The divine river of life will keep pulling you along, but you have to paddle. And there are no guarantees in life. There is just life. So even as you have faith in the changes that arise after a spiritual awakening, I encourage you towards ongoing humility. Because if things are easy for you in life in regards to having food and safe shelter, you are lucky. Not everyone is so lucky even in rich countries. And if you don't have those things, find humility and appreciation that you are even alive. It took trillions of events just to bring you into existence.

We all are given a different number of support systems in this life, and it is not fairly dealt out. It will not continue to be fairly dealt either. But we can have faith in ourselves and in this beautiful inner transformation to help us best engage with the challenges and opportunities life presents us.

With all that said, let's talk about some practical strategies for engaging with your transformation after a spiritual awakening.

Practical Strategy #1: Plan Your Finances for 3 to 5 Years

One of the many misunderstandings that people have about spiritual transformation after awakening is that it's like the flu. It'll be like 6 or 7 weeks of being down and out, but then you'll go back to your regular life, right?

Wrong.

First off, there's a lot of healing people have to do, and that absolutely includes those of you who felt like you had good upbringings. The depth of pain and false beliefs in people is tremendous, and they have to be healed. Secondly, your "regular" life is built up off of your unconscious ego and that ego is built up off false beliefs. So when those beliefs go, your regular life is going bye-bye too. Initially, that's not what most anyone wants. Later on, you usually realize what a huge grace it is to be released from that old, false life.

Spiritual Healing

But these transformations take time. The seed may seem to sprout in an instant. However, the redwood tree needs a few hundred years to mature. Fortunately, we don't need a few hundred years. You may, however, need 3 or 5 years to focus on your inner space. That also means you need money because that's how society currently works.

So I encourage you to figure out some kind of financial set up and job situation that can support you and any dependents you may have over the next several years. At this stage, it's not about finding a dream job either. Especially for a couple years, doing deep inner work makes it almost impossible to do the usual full-time job. Your inner work is your full-time job. So take that in account when you consider how you can take care of yourself. Basically, you just need something that pays the bills, and it should be flexible so that you have time to go into your process. If you have a partner who can take care of the financial load, that's great. Just talk to them to help them understand why you need them to do this. Perhaps this blog post can help.

If you don't have a partner or family member who can support you, savings, work-from-home jobs, part-time jobs, and other such financial scenarios can be used to help you get by. Some spiritual centers do work-trade situations where you can be taken care of and have a supportive community around you. There are a lot of ways to go about this. It's just important that you do this kind of financial planning so that you aren't constantly triggering yourself wondering how you'll pay your rent.

5 Tips to Healing Your Fear of Scarcity

Finally, do not just assume that money will come to you. This is a myth that has arisen in rich Western countries. We have so much wealth here that money can seem to just pop up out of nowhere. If money comes at important times, consider it a grace. Don't rely on it.

Practical Strategy #2: Make Space for Lots of Alone Time

Central to financial planning is the understanding that you need to make space for lots of alone time. This is critical to going in to your issues and letting them work themselves out. Plus, when the awakened fire is really cooking you, you won't really want to interact with much of anyone anyway. So much is going on in the inner forge that you'll find that you have little energy being social. Some of you will find such interactions draining as well.

Energy Sickness and Feeling Drained Energetically

For my mom and dad readers, I know finding time for yourself can be a challenge. It's even harder for those who have small children and babies. But you have to do this for yourself. This spiritual transformation can make you an even better mom or dad than you can imagine. So finding more alone time, usually means getting more outside support to help supplement childcare. That can be a challenge in many ways, and for some parents they can feel like they are abandoning their children or are not doing their parental duties. But I assure you, the clarity and love that you are opening up inside you will be some of the most important gifts you can EVER offer to your children. The sooner you are deeply in touch with those spaces, the sooner you can emulate that way of living to your children. If they are small during your awakening, then most of their memories as they grow up will be of you being gentle, loving, strong, clear, and other amazing traits. What a beautiful parent you will become.

To be clear, I am not saying to do nothing with your kids for several years, but you need to carve out space for your own inner process. It's critical. Otherwise, you'll just end up an exhausted mess for several years, and not a whole lot of healing or inner change will have been able to manifest within you.

Why Spiritual Awakening Can Make People Solitary

Practical Strategy #3: Build a Spiritual Support Network

I've always appreciated the three jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Buddha is essentially the teacher. The Dharma is the teaching, I believe, and the Sangha is the community. Each has an important role in someone's spiritual development. Well, a spiritual awakening is kinda like getting the first two inside you. The spiritual awakening is the teacher and teaching, and they are flowing through you. It certainly can be helpful to find an awakened teacher to help you, particularly when you are brand new to a spiritual awakening. But many of you have will learn how to shift and grow by listening to this inner teacher and teaching. So it it not inherently necessary to have a teacher in a physical body.

However, I've found that most people need some kind of community, especially in the early days. It's often helpful so that you have a few kind listening ears as you talk about the truth you are realizing and learn to express this reality to which you're opening. It's not about finding people who understand spiritual awakening. That's nice, but spiritual awakening is rare. Most of what people call awakening is a term for gradually figuring stuff out or a spiritual opening that they once had. Most people aren't being put through the inner fires of transformation nor are being hammered every minute of the day 365 days of the year. So even if you do find some people who say they have awakened, you'll probably realize most have not as you talk to them. 

But that's not a problem. You don't need to find people "exactly" like you. No one is ever exactly like someone else. The main key is finding people who are loving, open, willing to listen, and maybe give you an extra hug on those really rough days. That little bit of sangha support can go a long way in helping you to transform.

Practical Strategy #4: Coordinate With Your Energy Cycles and Shifts

I want to offer two concepts that can help you to figure out your daily and perhaps monthly schedules in regards to all this inner healing and growth. One is an energy cycle. The other is a spiritual shift.

Regardless of awakening, we all have energy cycles during the day. There are times when you probably feel more alert and clear, and there are times when you are more tired or unclear. It's normal and natural for the body to move through cycles of activity, and I've found these cycles can get accentuated at times after awakening. The intensity of energy shifts can make some of you feel kind of manic, as you may have a lot of energy to do things at certain times of the day and none at all at others. Central to understanding your energy cycles is getting rid of alcohol, caffeine, excess sugar, and other substances that inhibit your ability to feel your body and/or unnaturally give you energy or reduce your energy. For example, substances like energy drinks impair your natural cycles by giving you energy when you should be resting. It makes it difficult to know when to rest or do something.

The other concept is a spiritual shift. These are the bigger cycles of healing and releasing issues that can go on over weeks, months, or years. It can be hard at first to get a sense of any kind of shift at the outset of a spiritual awakening. A lot is usually happening all at once. But the more you pay attention to these shifts, the better you can adjust your schedule to what you need. Perhaps you notice that you go through two months shifts, and then you get a week of active energy. That helps you to potentially schedule some more involved tasks or errands into that timeframe.

Similarly with energy cycles, there is no use trying to make yourself do things when you have no energy to do things. So pay attention to when you can work or be active during the day, and do the work, childcare, household errands, and whatever else you need to do during that window of opportunity. When that window closes, take the time to rest, process, and go into whatever is moving through you.

I do want to emphasize that you shouldn't be trying to use these windows of opportunity to go back to your old ways of living. A lot of those needs go away because they simply weren't healthy, and you'll eventually need to interact in new and healthier ways in your life. Instead, you should be coordinating with these cycles and shifts to facilitate the space to do the inner work that is arising. So finding a job where you can work from home from 9 PM to 12 AM if that is a high energy cycle for you would be a way to make money and have the space to be a hot mess during the rest of the day.

Permission to be a Hot Mess on the Spiritual Path

Practical Strategy #5: Budget for Spiritual Support

Getting support can require money, and that's okay. Think of investing in spiritual support no different than investing in education. And after a spiritual awakening, you are getting an AMAZING crash-course education in the truth.

Once again, too many people think money should just appear or that spiritual workers should do everything for free. The first idea is naive. The second impoverishes people who genuinely are here to help, and that doesn't serve anyone.

Mindful Money Use and Reciprocity

Thus, as an add-on to spiritual awakening practical strategy number 1, consider how you want to budget for spiritual retreats, therapy sessions, sound healing, bodywork, yoga, working with a spiritual teacher, and other things. Perhaps you don't know what all support you may need yet, so just make a general fund for these things.

And if it isn't already obvious, I highly recommend learning how to manage your finances if you don't already know how. It's just another way to create space and alleviate additional fear triggers around scarcity.

Trust Your Spiritual Transformation

After you create space and gather the support you need, trust the transformation. There are a lot of things that you can do in your external life to make the time and space to transform, but the awakened change that is arising will show you how things are done on the inside. While I talk a lot about meditation, journaling, and other spiritual tools, they really have to follow the awakening's lead. So when issues about your mother or your ex-girlfriend come up, then you journal about them. I've rarely found that you need to go looking for issues after a spiritual awakening lights up the room. You pretty much have your issues thrust in your face, and then you go to work.

The amazing pain and joy of inner transformation is truly extraordinary. It is also a truly extraordinary gift that few people are given. Most spiritual seekers have to work hard to get energy to flow, and they do have to go looking for issues. Those issues are happy to stay there if the person doesn't actively attempt to deal with them. In a spiritual awakening, those issues come up and get worked on. As you learn from this process and stay engaged with it--because this is not a passive process even if it feels like you are initially pushed out of the driver's seat--then you learn to understand yourself. And you learn to go deeper. Then at some point, you move more into a space of embracing your light--where you actively go towards the roots of the issues in union with your awakened energy--your true self.

It's these issue roots that I also intend to blog more about, but for now and for those of you in the early awakening years, this post should help you take the practical steps you need so that you can discover who you really are.
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