Sunday, 28 December 2008

'Who looks outside...Dreams; who looks inside....Awakens.. CARL JUNG

The title of this blog is taken from a plaque I received as a Christmas present this year from a very good friend. When I unwrapped it and read it I felt a shiver go down my spine as the truth of the words resonated. Since receiving it and over the Christmas holiday I have been pondering on what it means to 'Awaken'. The Buddha said something similar when asked 'who are you' said 'I am Awake' . To be Awake means to have broken free of the bonds of what Buddhists call Maya. This is the world of illusion and delusion. To see reality as it really is not as it appears to be. To realize the unity behind the perceived separation. It really is as clear as Jung said all those years ago, to look outside is never to find the treasure that lies within. To look externally for what can only be found inside is the trap that the human consciousness falls into. Awakening is an inner process. External factors can aid in this process but the ultimate Awakening is an awakening of an inner consciousness that shifts the perception of the world and brings alive, insights, intuition and illumination.

To be Awake means to realize that our thoughts and feelings are not who we are. It means to experience an aspect that has nothing to do with thoughts and feelings. Something that remains constant when thoughts and feelings change, something that remains stable and constant when everything else is shifting and changing. To be Awake is to be in contact with this Something. To stand apart from the drama not because of being detached but because of the realization that it is not real although it can appear to be very real. To be Awake is to be in contact with a higher level of consciousness such that life flows and has a harmony and balance that it didn't have before Awakening. Yet, life continues after Awakening as before, the difference is in the quality of that life and how events in the life are dealt with. A Zen sentence to describe this goes 'before Awakening, chop wood, carry water; after Awakening....chop wood and carry water'. Same actions but the context within which the actions are done has shifted.

I have written in this blog the huge insight I had into how badly I had to control everything in my life. The result of this was that there was no freedom and ease. This realization of having to control everything was not given to me by reading some spiritual literature but by having a painful conversation with a coach I had been doing some training with. By hitting the wall which is what happened I got to see the impact that my controlling way of being was having and I gave it up and created the possibility of freedom. The results have been simply amazing. I had my book published which I had written for 2 years. All of my communications started to flow with an ease and grace I have never known. This Christmas with my family was the best one I have ever had.

My level of relaxation and ability to listen and be with everyone I spoke to was nothing short of magical. I am convinced that the ability to operate from an Awakened state of being is closely linked to the letting go of control. To accept what is and surrender to it. The funny thing is that I have often written about the importance of surrendering when on the spiritual path. I was writing about my own experience of surrendering when on a meditation retreat many years ago so I was authentic when I was writing about the importance of surrendering. But I realise now that after surrendering so powerfully back then I went right back to trying to control everything in my life and my environment. This is because the reason why I had put in place the need to control was hidden from my view. Until it became shown to my consciousness it had power over me.

Now so many years later I understand the full meaning and impact of control. I also see that nobody made me take that decision that I had to control life, it was only me. I would assert that this decision to control life is something most of us as humans have made. At some point our environment failed us in that it didn't do what we expected it to do. In the face of that failure it is natural to say 'I will control things from now on'. So then the child might like me become very bossy and domineering - always having to have their own way. Or it might show itself in other ways but I would assert that being bossy is a classic. I had to smile this Christmas when I heard my 4 year old being quite assertive and bossy. At 4 it is cute but 40 years later it can result in a very small and limited life. However for many it is what drives them to achieve and can be a highly successful and lucrative strategy, however it wasn't for me.

I also found myself more self-expressed at home this Christmas. I had copies of my book home with me and for the first time I declared myself to be a spiritual writer and teacher. I was so encouraged by all the support I had and I noticed that my cousins and family had a different listening for me. I was self-expressed because for the first time I was honest and authentic. There was no pretence of me trying to say the right thing to look good or to show myself as something I wasn't. I was upfront about my desire to have a spiritual magazine based on the contents of the book so now it all feels much more real.

I realize from this just how true what Socrates said 'to thine own self be true, then they canst not be false to any man'......this Christmas I had direct experience of this truism.

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