Everyone has a different path, a different way of experiencing the awakening process. There is no set plan, or agreed trajectory. For some it is a joyful experience pierced with moments of bliss, and magical insight. For others it is filled with extreme challenges and inner suffering. Like the prints on your hands, the sound of your voice, or the shape of your face no two awakenings seem to be exactly the same. You alone get to experience it your way. The awakening is expressed through our unique vibrational fingerprint, it has its own effect designed to transform us in its own special way. These huge variations in its experience can make it difficult to compare any two awakenings. That being said for many that have begun their journey it can be agreed that the process will challenge you beyond what you thought you were capable of, designed to open your heart and transform how you perceive reality. It is difficult for me to comment on the journey of others, I have not walked in their shoes, or looked through their eyes. What I can do is share the particular flavour and signature of my own path, furthermore it seems to me that beyond the names and colours we use to experience the journey the same transformation is happening in all of us. Like a rough diamond, the process helps refine, and decondition us so that we can shine and experience the translucence and beauty of what is our true self, our true nature.
For me the path is personified in the concept of the Hero’s Journey. A book written by Joseph Campbell. An expert in mythology, he noted that all myths have a primary story that weaves through them, this story is the journey of the Hero. The process of individuation, self-actualization is akin to the journey of the hero. Campbell detailed the different stages of the journey. The call to adventure, facing the abyss, returning home. It’s normal for humans to want things to remain the same, for us to want to stay in our familiar lives. We love the creature comforts, television, money, career security, nice holidays. Given the option most want to stay in the world of the known and the familiar. Here we feel safe, here we feel happy and comfortable. But the awakening process ask that we may leave the world of the known, and set sail into the sea of uncertainty. Ultimately one of the key aspects that keeps most humans stuck is the preconditioned habitual mind. As humans we like to believe we are free, but in truth most of us are hooked on stimulation. We might be hooked on Netflix, coffee, tv, sex, career, money, familiarity, holidays, travel, activity or good food. The beginning of the awakening journey asks to leave the world of the known, and venture on the road less travelled. For me the journey of awakening has been a slow walk, letting go of all the things in life I had become attached too.
My journey has mostly been one of suffering, from the beginning I have experienced a series of unusual symptoms none of which any doctor could explain. However all these experiences have slowed me down. I remember myself at the beginning, working two jobs, dreaming of future ambitions, working night and day, while always having my vision set on where I was going. When my challenges began I had to let go of everything, unable to work, or use public transport, unable to use technology I had my hand forced. Life asked me to let go. Let go of everything I valued, everything I was attached to. It’s weird, you only know what you’re attached to, when you have to let everything go. The chords that bind us to our lives, sit silently. It’s easy to think we are free, but these chords ultimately hold us prisoner to the things we surround ourselves with. It’s difficult letting go of things we are attached to, coffee, food, ambition, Netflix. And why should we, all these things bring a great amount of pleasure and satisfaction. Well, the awakening journey is only about one thing. Freedom. Inner freedom. In order to experience that, it tunes in to all the things that block the experience of freedom. Like an elephant in a cage, or a tiger in an enclosure the wonderful things we surround ourselves with can act like a prison. Being attached to them, in many ways stop us from experiencing our true nature. Imagine a heroin addict, only caring about their next dose. Their attention only focused on the next high, where they will find it, how good it will be. The addict will blank out everything else, unable to enjoy anything else, their experience of reality will be dulled, only hoping for the high of the heroin roller coaster. Our attachments are the same, viewing life through the filtered lens of what we want, we develop a polarized and one sided view. The unawakened self is very similar to the nature of an addict. It’s only when everything is ripped away, that we can fully connect with how lost we have become.
For me, I was slowly asked to let go of each thing one by one. The biggest challenge was letting go of ambition. The future was always what kept me going on, big dreams, big ideas. To be honest, I still have them now, they have come back. But for many years I had to let go of them all. Along with letting of all the stories, and labels I had about myself. I remember one point 4 years into the journey, I had no career, no ambitions, no training or life skill, no savings. I’d become a nobody, no exciting stories to tell, no crazy experiences or successes. Perfectly ordinary. I had no future, I could see nothing there, everything had been stripped away. I was left with just the moment, which is definitely an acquired taste. I realized that the self loves to feel safe. Safety can be achieved by having an inspiring story, a dream or it can be by financial, relationship or some other success. But when it’s all stripped away, the moment can be terrifying. The other side of the coin, is in this space we can also find true liberation. True freedom. We can transcend the things that rule our lives, victory over adversity. The journey teaches us to love adversity, through the context of liberation all adversity comes to help free us from enslavement. There is always intelligent design in the obstacles that we face.
This process of attrition of attachment has closely followed me over the years. Even as I write this blog, I’ve been unable to get public transport or walk on the high street, due to vertigo and dizziness. All of it helping to decondition myself, allowing me to spend more time resting in the joy that is consciousness. Like a cigarette addict, our habitual self always wants to do something, go somewhere, try something, eat something. Like an addict this behaviour just reinforces the chains we are stuck in. Awakening for me has said, stop. Stop doing, stop rushing, slow down, slow right down. I like to call it the ‘Land of Yin’. The world as we know it is full of yang energy. The big, the bold, the noisy, the flash, the exciting, the bright. It’s hard to see the new world amidst all the chaos. The Land of Yin, is the world of the subtle, the gentle, the soft, the hidden.
The awakening journey ultimately gives us new eyes. The eyes of the heart, through seeing in a new way the land of yin appears before us. In order to see the new world, we have to let go of the old one. At least let go of our attachment. For me this has been an excruciatingly slow and challenging process over the last seven years, almost to the day. I am truly grateful for the lessons, I always wanted to be a wise man and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn.