Most of this spiritual awakening blog is devoted to death–spiritual death. By this, I mean I help people learn how to die to their old unconscious egos. I help people to prepare for this death for those who haven’t had an awakening, and those who awaken, I help them complete their spiritual death so that they can be reborn. Because it is only in dying this spiritual death do we become free and able to truly live.
Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people don’t know how to live at all. Much of human living in the Western World is an attempt to feel good or feel safe because people don’t feel good or safe in their own skin. They are numbing, running, avoiding, suppressing, repressing, over-working, thrill-seeking, drugging, and drinking their way to zombie-hood, and when they shuffle home at the end of the day, a gnawing feeling that something is missing eats away at many people–if they can even feel that much.
But after awakening and the sometimes prolonged spiritual death some of us go through, now there is space. Now there is the opportunity to truly live. But what does that even mean if you don’t need a vacation, a romantic partner, job, or anything else? What does truly living feel like and are there still issues that get confronted?
These are some of the questions I feel like exploring today.
Every human experience has an end. The undying Self may timelessly be with us through every experience, but the human being is fully immersed in an experiential world. That is how it is. As such, the time after awakening and the releasing of the old unconscious ego eventually come to an end. If you have been sincere, you will now be a healthy growing apple tree, metaphorically speaking. Before you were a seed. Then you sprouted, and then you pushed your way up through the darkness of the ground to fully receive the light. But your journey is not done. You have just started to growing naturally, and in growing naturally, you are discovering your own rhythms of growth, rest, and decay. This is natural, but there is an ease in you that moves through these natural rhythms if you have truly spiritually died.
If you are still hanging on to the old ways, then you are not complete in your death. It is very common for people to limp along half alive and half dead. The unconscious ego is a powerful force with many deep attachments. But I don’t feel like talking too much about this today. As I said, there’s enough of this blog devoted to that topic, and I encourage you to read more on this site if you feel still caught between two worlds.
The dissolution of the ego into oneness is different for everyone, and I can’t emphasize enough that people are their own unique plants. A sprouted (awakened) apple tree looks different than a sprouted pumpkin plant. A sprouted one year-old redwood tree looks different than a sprouted 1,000 year-old redwood tree. But each is at one with itself, with its growth, and with life. The divisions internally that caused so much pain and suffering have melted away. Any separation that does exist in someone is also far more easily engaged with.
Earlier on the path, people run from the pain of separation, which of course maintains separation and extend or exacerbates pain. It’s like having a broken leg, but you keep avoiding having it get set by the doctor. The mature awakened individual runs towards this separateness. This individual embraces the pain and the separation because that embrace is the natural act of oneness. In this way, the individual goes straight away to the doctor and endures the pain of re-union of the pieces of the bone. This means that eventually this person can not only walk, but run.
Because someone who has truly died understands that nothing can be avoided, this embrace becomes exceedingly natural. Where people early on the path may commiserate or complain about dealing with hard issues, this is not how the mature awakened person is. This person has seen how pain dissolves and how pain is equally part of the oneness of this world. S/he knows nothing can be left out, and as such, this individual does the most logical thing possible; s/he embraces the moment.
Embracing Each Moment as it is
Because truly living is often guessed at by the ego, most people don’t know what a truly alive person is. Sometimes, people get glimpses in the playfulness of a puppy or the laughter of a child, but really, those are examples of innocence. A matured awakened person lives in similar ways but with awareness. Joy and playfulness may arise easily in any moment, but the awakened person is never upset that it leaves. S/he lives in the moment and doesn’t wait for new moments to bring something better or to get rid of something uncomfortable. The reliance on the future for joy and happiness has gone away. Instead, whatever is is. Sometimes, that means life is difficult. I would emphasize that difficulty isn’t necessarily enjoyable for anyone, but truly living means embracing difficulty. It means embracing joy, anger, fear, and sadness. Nothing is excluded because they are all parts of the human experience.
Unlike immature people, there is no need to extend any of the feelings. Many people will wallow in sadness or constant recycle anger, complaining about this or that. If a feeling arises, the awakened individual feels it fully and lets it go in its own time. The awakened person also knows how to find the roots of feelings and lingering beliefs. Because it is rare for someone to release all unconscious and instinctual programming, this embrace of inner investigation may continue for some time. But the inner work tends to be much more spontaneous. There’s no need to seek out issues in the way that is very important for most people in the beginning. Early on the spiritual path, most people are stuck in their thinking and behavior patterns. They need to seek, for the most part, to gain perspective and break out of those patterns. But after you’ve spiritual died, you are free of the attachments to your patterns–or at least free enough to do as you please. You are free to choose how you respond to any old issue that may still be lurking about. Usually, that means to address it, but who can say? There’s no predicting a truly awake individual.
The Beautiful Wildness of Awakening
Ego beliefs create a kind of inner order. Even if someone seems like they are out of control, their beliefs have ordered a kind of out of control nature. As such, most people’s opinions and behaviors are extremely predictable. That’s part of the reason so many people can be manipulated and controlled by governments, marketing, and all the other interests out there that what to take things from others.
But when you’ve passed through your inner fires and are resting in awakening, you can do anything. You can go in any direction you like. You can find a new career or not. You can go back to old unhealthy relationships, create a new type of relationship, stay single, or do whatever you like with relationships. It doesn’t matter.
This is strange to most unconscious egos because it can only think in the rules its been given. It often will exaggerate an idea like “you can do anything.” Then the unconscious ego says, “Well then I could be a mass murderer.”
Such silly ego thoughts. These generally don’t come up in mature awakening. There’s no time where that seems like a thought I should do. A deeper inner harmony moves the awakened being, and why would harming others make sense. Where is the joy in that? Since we are all one, harming others is also harming oneself. Why would you do that? These are all things the unconscious ego doesn’t understand because it lives in separation. So it thinks within the boundaries of separation while the mature awakened being moves from the space of oneness, and that creates a fundamentally different understanding of life and draws out very different actions. To the unconscious ego, the awakened person probably seems wild and out of control. And the awakened Self is wild and beyond domestication. It’ll break social rules because they are not real. Someone in this wildness can propose to a stranger on a subway as easily as to stay happily in seclusion for thirty years. All of life is open to them.
Living Beyond Possibility and Impossibility
When we are truly allowing ourselves to be alive, nothing is impossible. But whatever is possible in life also doesn’t matter. You’ve moved beyond impossible and possible because they are concepts of the ego and products of its core beliefs. The ego mind thrives on setting boundaries of what can and cannot be done. But a need for those rules, these ideas stop existing. It doesn’t mean you won’t run up against things that don’t work. You may. But the thought structures that would have limited you go away, and you may try and think things that the old ego structure would have labeled as impossible. And you won’t limit yourself to doing just what was considered possible.
Sometimes it takes awhile for these beliefs to slough off as you grow. As I mentioned, there is still growth after spiritual death. It’s this natural growth that will very likely be most interesting to you. In a world so stuck and stagnant (despite the many external changes that pre-occupy people), you may find your own space the most fascinating of all because you may never have seen what a healthy growing person is actually like. You are witnessing the truth in yourself guiding and shifting and changing you, and many times it will help you grow beyond these old beliefs of what you thought was possible for you. Your divine Self is such a beautiful intelligence to witness as it shapes your human self. Who is your ego to see what you may become or what you may not become. This is living beyond what is considered possible or impossible.
The Continued Growth and Destruction of You
Because human beings are connected to a separate world, the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of you will continue to grow and die in a variety of ways throughout your life. Just like the apple tree, you will have times to flower, to grow fruit, to let go of that fruit, and to rest or decay. That is the way of things in the human world. But these realities do not inhibit your living. You are truly alive in each cycle including rest or decay. Many people these days only see living in terms of youthfulness, but there is so much life in later years, if you are so lucky as to live into those later years. Thus, the growth and shifting of your aliveness continues to evolve. Certain wisdom may grow in later years than earlier on. Some activities become more interesting while others go away. At each step of the way, you are here now. You are in the moment, as you always have been. In being aware of this, you are truly alive. No action is required to truly live. No belief or feeling or experience is required. You are. That is the most truly alive truth that you can ever know, and you may spend the rest of your life fascinated, horrified, excited, and at peace with that simple truth.