Awakening is a unique journey that can only be experienced. The closest description I can come up with is that it feels like finally seeing the true colors of the world for the first time after having taken off a pair of tinted glasses that was tied around your eyes since birth.
As you are running down the path with enthusiasm, you realize just how magnificent everything is and you are eager to inhale all its beauty.
You long to find all the treasures you never thought were there, and every time when you find something and hold it in your hands to examine its intricate details, you remember it is something you’ve left behind long ago. In fact, the entire journey looks familiar.
Eventually, it dawns on you that this is the path that takes you back to your true origin and the further you go, the more illuminated your path becomes until you see an infinite number of paths all around you and billions of souls traveling at their own pace back to the same place, a place that has birthed the light.
With the excitement of finally starting a new chapter in the journey comes a series of challenges and confusions that can be overwhelming. After all, rebirth is never without its labor pains and some can be quite intense to the point of making us wonder whether this is worth it. There is no “one size fits all” formula or linear path that works for every individual; however, these are some steps that can be taken to ease the impact of the speed bumps. Usually, the more out of alignment we are prior to awakening, the more intense the journey can be felt on all levels because there is much that needs to be unlearned.
It is a journey of letting go and home coming.
Step 1. Acknowledgement
“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive… And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling
Many would describe one of the triggers of the awakening process is hitting rock bottom. The common feelings accompanying this step are often depression, anger, despair and loneliness. It can be a dark period of time when we feel no matter how much we try, we continue to slam our faces against the cold brick floor of the pit we have fallen into. We condemn life and everything in it believing it has all been a mistake and we have reached an end.
It is only when we can acknowledge the defeat of the existing paradigm will we be able to liberate ourselves from it and awaken to our true nature. When we are faced with our greatest challenges and darkest moments after having failed to change what is outside of ourselves, we often are left with only one choice — taking the journey inward and changing ourselves.
As difficult as this step is, being in a place in the absence of what we desire in life be it love, joy or fulfillment becomes the motivational factor that pushes us to journey within to a sacred place where higher wisdom can be accessed.
This step is the starless dark night before dawn and the ferocious storm before the rainbow. Many refer to it as the dark night of the soul. As debilitating as the step is, underneath the pain is tremendous love and grace that allows us to journey back to who we truly are if we choose to, but the journey must be taken outside of the mind and existing beliefs. The more we can question every belief we hold onto and see beyond the thin veil separating what’s real and what’s illusive, the more we will be able to see our existing system as a mirage created by others around us to maintain a façade of this dream state.
We begin to realize just how heavy our baggage is from carrying and living those beliefs that we have internalized from our caretakers, teachers, peers and culture without ever questioning whether they represent who we are.
Eventually, we begin questioning ourselves, “If I am not my beliefs, who am I?”
Step 2. Trust
“Faith is trust. Faith is a deep sense of connectedness with Being.” – Eckhart Tolle
Trusting that all will work out for the greatest good when nothing seems to be is a crucial step in the process of awakening. It can also be one of the most frightening steps because it requires a giant leap of faith. Personally, I feel it is the catch-22 of awakening. We simply cannot move forward without at some point making a deliberate choice of being willing to let go of any and everything. However, without knowing how long the tunnel is and whether we will ever see the light at the end, we hesitate with each step because we are consumed by fear of possibly making the wrong move hence losing everything we’ve ever worked for.
This step always involves much fear of change. As miserable as we may be with certain aspects of our lives and as much as we yearn for the better, we are so used to things being one way that we fear once we change, we will change for the worse and end up with regrets. This is why we often choose to stay in failing relationships and careers. We tell ourselves we’ve invested too much in something, that the only way we may change it is if we are guaranteed some kind of success while that very belief keeps us trapped in less than satisfying circumstances for years and decades.
Everything in life is energy that flows to us and from us. When we refuse change, we are placing roadblocks to limit or stop the energy flow and eventually causing stagnation in life force energy. Blocked energy in our bodies creates dis-ease while stagnant energy in our lives creates distressing situations. When we say to ourselves we are stuck and we are not moving forward, we are essentially referring to the lack of energy flow.
The truth is, we are change and life is change. In 1 year, 98% of the subatomic particles in our bodies will be different, yet we continue to attempt to hold onto the same beliefs and expectations by imprisoning ourselves in the cages we build with them. By choosing not to change, we are ultimately still choosing and that choice comes from fear.
Awakening requires us to shed our caterpillar skins so we may emerge as butterflies, and trusting the process of metamorphosis is an absolutely necessary step to awaken. Underneath every fear is a dream waiting to blossom and a wish waiting to be fulfilled.
In order to wake up, we must trust enough to take the red pill. That leap of faith is a trade-off with the divine intelligence in the universe. To remember and claim the greatest gift we each have — the gift of our ability to consciously create, we must first give something in return, and that is our very doubt in that creative power. The journey of awakening is nothing but a process of giving back everything that is not us so we can travel with the lightness of who we really are.
Remember, life begins once we step out of our comfort zone.
We may ask ourselves at this point, “How is my fear holding me back from living the life I desire?”
Step 3. Allowing
“The wound is where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi
We all have wounds. Prior to awakening, it is tempting to cover them up with bandages so we can present ourselves to the world as whole and perfect based on the world’s expectations. When we finally come to the realization that we have been dragging others’ baggage all along and realize the wounds have never healed from being covered up, anger is usually a common response.
It is easy to slip into a phase of judging and blaming ourselves and others for the flawed lives we have lived. We begin to see problems in everyone and everything. Our families, friends, media, society and often times ourselves all seem to represent sources of our pain. More often than not, we are so eager to shed the disempowering beliefs that we couldn’t purge them fast enough.
The risk of finger pointing is that we can easily slip back into the old victimhood except instead of being the victims with blindfolds on, now they have come off to reveal to us the dungeon we believe we are in. Some of us during this time will turn to teachings of law of attraction without first having taking care of the baggage. We convince ourselves in order to attract what we desire in our lives, we must raise our vibration to that which matches what we seek. As a result, we attempt to bypass all the intense emotions of awakening which is equivalent to introducing new expensive Italian furniture into a packed house that has never done spring cleaning.
The emotions we are bombarded with when we take the first few steps to awaken are part of the journey, and must be processed and integrated before we continue. If we try to resist by judging, denying or repressing any of them, we are still reacting to them and identifying with them which essentially means we are placing ourselves at the mercy of those beliefs we so desperately want to get rid of.
Know that the reason we may still be categorizing emotions into good/bad, positive/negative, acceptable/non-acceptable is because we have been conditioned to attach beliefs to the entire spectrum of emotions that are otherwise natural to us. This is the time to allow ourselves to feel without judgment or resistance. We can do so by journaling, talking to our emotions, practicing sitting with our emotions to understand their language, and inviting all parts of ourselves to participate in our meditations.
The question we may ask is, “What are my emotions trying to tell me?”
By being fully present with all emotions and sitting with them, we are beginning to step into our own power of being conscious creators.
About the author:
Juliet Tang is a Usui/Holy Fire Reiki Master, certified hypnotist and founder of Jewel’s Healing Garden, a holistic practice in New York that combines energy healing, hypnosis and intuitive coaching to help others achieve healing and personal transformation.
Juliet empowers her clients to tap into the power of their unconscious to access the infinite wisdom and inner resources that can be utilized to carry out their visions.
With her psychology background and a decade of teaching experience, in addition to the healing work conducted, Juliet also teaches her clients simple and powerful techniques to rewire old habits to reinforce desirable patterns in all areas in life. Her hypnosis/coaching packages can be found here.
Juliet also offers free remote Reiki healing every Sunday for people all around the world. Details can be found here.
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