Monday, March 25, 2013

The First Stage of Spiritual Awakening — Know Yourself

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a re-play of a broadcast interview given by Adyashanti whose teaching is prolific on the web at the moment. I had a personal interest because prior to the programme I had sent him an email question and like anybody who does something like this was eager to know if he would answer it. With the time difference it was too late to wait up for it, so as soon as it was available I downloaded it.

In the talk he gave before he answered emails and took calls, he spoke about two different kind of awakenings. Given my interest in Kundalini energy, what interested me was his not speaking about Kundalini specifically, but as a reference to the incident in the Bible when Jesus was baptised and the spirit descended on him like a dove. He said that he had had that kind of experience many years ago, but hadn't thought very much about it at the time. He talked about this 'spirit' operating in two ways:
  • The first being upward and outward which results in a transcendent state of consciousness, a moving out of the body/mind.
  • The second going down and in, which he says leads one to realize there is nothing wrong with the world or anything in it.
He offers the suggestion that from an early age we are taught or decide that there is something wrong with the world, but with this inward, deepening of the descending spirit there is the realization that everything is exactly the way it is meant to be and there is nothing wrong. I found this really interesting and it resonated with the two experiences I've had with this energy, which I call Kundalini solely because it was the first available label I found for this energy.

Talk over, he went to the emails and I held my breath! He asked that the emails/phone ins relate to his talk. 

However, the first email had to do with was an unresolved issue in the writer's personal life. I listened to him go through it with a growing sense of frustration that he was moving away from the content of the talk he had just given. Then he went to the phone to take a call and my frustration grew even more as he dealt with the caller's personal issues once again. While he didn't refer to my email or reference me, there were some sentences in his talk which were taken word for word from my email, so while I don't know for sure if he was influenced by my email, I was happy with the content in his main talk.

After the broadcast finished, I began to ponder. There is no doubt that without doing the work to resolve personal issues of the kind aired by the emails and call-ins, spiritual awakening is not possible.

The first commandment of spiritual awakening is 'know yourself' and it is the one most people want to avoid. Even after being on a spiritual path for many years, as I had with Buddhism, it was only after Kundalini rose that I was forced to face up to personal issues I had been running away from by hiding in the spiritual.

It is not the role of someone who has awakened to deal with this early stage of spiritual awakening. All of us who desire to awaken must take on that responsibility for ourselves. I say this because there is a great danger on the spiritual path — especially those practices featuring meditation, yoga, etc. — to believe that the practice itself can correct root issues which are holding us back from awakening. These can only truly be resolved at a conscious level when we are willing to take responsibility and stop blaming circumstances.

So before any spiritual work is attempted, I strongly recommend individuals, especially those who have been on a spiritual path for many years, do a transformative, self-development programme. In my case it was the Forum from Landmark Education, but there are others. It's not important which one is done. What is critical is doing something to deal with the sloppy thinking in which one presumes that simply by meditating or doing yoga one is going to transform the ego that stands in the way of awakening.

Trying to transform the ego on one's own is like a thief turning detective to catch the one who is the thief; it can't be done and leads to frustration and disillusionment.

So daring to ask, no matter how spiritually advanced one might consider oneself, "Is there something hidden from me that, were it to be revealed, would change everything?" The ego has no interest in this question. But when you think about it, knowing yourself is but a small price to pay for awakening. No only is it essential to awakening, it is a forward step in self-realisation.

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