There’s a lot of talk these days about “waking up.” That’s the process of becoming aware of greater realities. Once awakened, we can become more truly alive. But all too many of us are among the walking dead spiritually speaking. We live our lives on a kind of autopilot – unconscious, asleep. We blindly do what the world has taught us we need to do to survive and prosper. And most of the time, we do so fairly begrudgingly. As Thoreau asserted in Walden, we “lead lives of quiet desperation.” We may seem alive – working hard, climbing the ladder, accumulating material wealth, and reaping the fruits of our labor. But the song planted deep in our hearts is muffled. And in a very real sense, we’re suffocating. And because we’re asleep, we don’t know it.
Waking up can take many forms. For some, it’s a sudden event. For others, it’s more of a process. And it can happen in various ways. Sometimes, it’s born of intense joy and passion. We’re truly jolted into awareness. But more often, it comes on the heels of great emotional pain. In either case, we lose our smaller, false self. And in the process, we discover our true self, our soul. All pretense is gets cast aside. We stop caring about how we look. And that’s because we’ve come to know who we really are.
From Egocentricity to Cosmic Awareness
Whether we know it, like it, or appreciate it or not, we’re all but a part of something much bigger. It’s something so big it’s impossible for us to fully comprehend. Occasionally, we get glimpses – small little insights into this greater reality. But to even begin to truly comprehend, we have to get past ourselves. And that means overcoming our egoic mindset. Now, we need both our ego and our rational minds to navigate the world. But oddly, both our minds and our egos can inhibit greater awareness.
Ego limits awareness because of how inherently self-focused it is. It obscures the bigger picture. For the author Wayne Dyer, EGO is an acronym for “edging God out.” When we’re full of ourselves, there’s no room our hearts for a bigger reality. (See: Narcissists Can’t Recognize a Higher Power.) And to become aware of something bigger is one thing. It’s quite another to surrender oneself to a higher power.
Our rational minds also limit our capacity for greater awareness. That’s because our minds think in a dialectical (i.e. “dualistic”) manner. We’re always asking ourselves: “Is it this or is it that?” We strive to know which way to go. And we try to discern what’s true (at least from our perspective) and what’s not.
Seeing a Different Way
Becoming aware of the bigger picture is a big part of the awakening process. But it’s not the only part. The other part involves inner awareness. And our hearts operate very differently from our rational minds. They’re full of opposing forces, desires, perceptions. And most of us do our best to quell the conflicts that result from this. But as odd is it may seem, waking up involves embracing those conflicts instead of denying or repressing them. It’s about bearing the seemingly unbearable. It’s also about coming to believe the seemingly unbelievable. In this way we become more intimately connected with our hearts. And when our hearts are open in fearless faith, we’re finally free. (For more on this kind of faith see: The Judas Syndrome.) We’re free to love unreservedly and to accept all incoming love. This brings us life, in abundance!
Coming to Life
To come to life we have to get beyond our ego selves. In fact, our smaller, egoic, or “false” self has to go. And we must voluntarily and willingly let that happen. Of course, someone said it long before me. We simply must die – to our smaller, false self – to truly live. And when we fully lose who we think we are, we can discover who we really are.
The 1st “commandment” of character growth is all about overcoming our innate egocentricity. (See also: Outgrowing Natural Egocentricity.) And the key to that is developing a particular kind of awareness. It’s becoming aware of the impact our very existence and every action we take has on the rest of creation. And we’ll be exploring how to facilitate that awareness in next week’s post.
A Thanksgiving Note
I hope you all enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving holiday. And I would be remiss if I didn’t express my deep appreciation to all. I know how much I have to be grateful for. And I also know how important it is to express gratitude. I’ll be talking about that more in upcoming posts. My primary way of expressing gratitude for what I’ve been given is through my life’s work. I treasure your support of that work more than you can know. And that includes your support for this blog, my books and other writings, and your thoughtful recommendation of these works to others.