Tag Archives: self realization

Fighting the Self-Hatred Epidemic

***After I pulsed out the original version of this post, I got feedback. Thank you for the questions. It is important to get this right – I learn from you every day.***

There is an epidemic spreading and taking root in the West. It is subtle and nearly invisible in some cases, and more blatant in others. Most importantly, there is a cure, but this cure requires us to recognize the epidemic in the first place. If we are not afflicted, then we can try to help others as best we can.

When the New Age movement started, many fine authors talked about the importance of self-love. There was a stir in the Western world to become more gentle with oneself, to heal the inner child, and to learn to set boundaries with inappropriate behaviors and people. This was good. What is so important about self-love anyway, besides a better quality of life?

It turns out that self-love is not just an emotion or a feeling. Instead, it is an actual configuration of the physical and more subtle nervous systems to receive and be able to hold Spirit in form. Without self-love we literally reject uniting with Spirit and we block Its connection to, through, and as Us. Alternatively, even if we achieve Union, our nervous system can literally fry from this energy if it is unprepared to hold It. There are many pathways to Union with Spirit – there have to be – but the milestones of levels of freedom or degrees of Union appear to be similar. I am not just talking about Kundalini energy here – raising Kundalini energy is no guarantee of enlightenment.

Now the self-hatred epidemic is running rampant again. We had received doses of an antiobiotic, but then built immunity. There are forces at work in this world that have an interest in devolving the majority of the human race, and these forces have been working in new, different, and more conniving ways to manipulate people to accept self-hatred as the norm – and even believe that they feel self-love while engaging in self-loathing. This may not apply to you because you see through it, I understand, and yet there are many caught in this net at this time.

Who or what would wish to sabotage the human race in this way? Think about it…. An enlightened global community is very dangerous to those who believe the world population must be controlled – and enlightened beings are fundamentally free and happy (i.e., not controllable). The easiest way to keep developed populations down is by instilling hidden belief systems that one is fundamentally flawed and screwed up the core, unworthy, guilty, crazy, and just generally meaningless. There are entire theses in think tanks about how to manage world dynamics! Of course there are…. While people go about their daily lives, there are those who carefully deliberate how to generate stability and instability in various communities at various times to achieve control.

One would think that such a negative framework pervading social structures would drive mass majority to suicide, but that is not the case. Instead, it lulls the population into a kind of low- or mid-grade depression, inertia, and various autoimmune responses, OR the perversion of self-love as narcissism, racism, and other forms of “better-than-you”-isms. Both ends of the spectrum are breeding-grounds for separation at the Soul level, fueled by increased distractions that take one away from the simple core idea that one can achieve Union with Spirit and embody It uniquely with full consciousness of the Whole.

Thousands of years ago, yogis attained enlightenment in caves and on river edges, under trees and while sitting on wild grass. They discovered that the human nervous system was capable of a transformation that would ignite all form with Spirit to manifest a new kind of life that would emphasize our creative potential, making fear and the fight for survival obsolete. However, there are those who want to make enlightenment impossible for the human race by destabilizing the psyche, overwhelming people with work or the lack of work, monopolizing people’s attention with distractions, and ultimately damaging our nervous systems to make us permanently unable to feel the flow of Life. Yes, imagine that our nervous systems become so rigid to change and numbed by fear that we become trapped as fragmented consciousness in matter until the world simply winds down – which it will, some day. In other words, we will begin to forget more and more that we are fragments of One Spirit AND be completely convinced that we have achieved full potential at the same time! That is the worse case scenario – not knowing that we don’t know.

We must fight for our lives and sanity from a place of peace to be truly available to pure intention and attention, and resist the urge to fight from a place of anger and sadness. We must, once again, build reminders into our day to choose self-kindness and use these moments to invite Spirit in and embrace It. Once again, we must find good counselors to heal various traumas and let these go. When we are bombarded with messages to fear for our lives, we must flick a switch to choose relationship to every aspect of our lives, to forgive ourselves, and to let go into simple being. This is a moment-by-moment practice, relentless and filled with heart-felt yearning.

Another result of the lack of self-love is the desire to escape. The opiode epidemic is only one example. Besides drugs and alcohol, there are also emerging belief systems that we are shifting into a new Earth (and leaving the “unready” behind). But there is just this Earth – this one right now, and with this you and everything else on it. And if you think about it, is escaping and leaving others behind spiritual, even if it were possible?

The desire to escape suffering and pain is built into the manipulation and prepares masses to become lost in video games and, ultimately, “virtual fiction” reality – possibly removed many levels from this reality. We already see this behavior taking over many people because “it feels better than reality.” Sadly, this trend takes us deeper into the dark well of devolution. We must fight to feel the Sun on our faces, the grass and sand between our toes, and the touch of another’s hand in our hand to remain connected.

True freedom does not require any specific material or life conditions to be happy and awake. Life does not have to work out for you to become free and feel happy. How can it be freedom otherwise? It’s nice when things go well. But things don’t always go well. When stuff happens, does the enlightened state disappear or go on hold? No.

The yearning for enlightenment can die for us if we buy into unconscious self-rejection and escape. This would be tragic when we have the key to a revolution and an unhinged marriage of Spirit and Matter as individual expression. Enlightenment does not require props – only a consistent leap of faith that it is very possible for you, and the intense yearning to break through.

The great news is that the Light is always there and ready for you. It waits, poised for that instant when you accept yourself just long enough for It to get in and stay. You will literally feel a physical sensation of It pouring into the crown of your head and taking hold of the brain stem – and that is only the beginning. It has to stabilize.

There are endless opportunities all day long to yearn, release, and surrender to what lives you. Self-hatred and the Light are like oil and water, and the meditation must become a fight with the total fire of your will to burn through the thicket that falsely guards and separates you from the truth.

The new mantra is that “all the truth is within.” Sure, but we may not be able to understand it or even misinterpret it. Some say “we don’t need teachers – we can do it ourselves.” If it were that easy, we would have all done it by now and be living as a world community of free beings. But this is not the case, is it?

We have to be practical and streetsmart about spirituality for it to continue to be a force for good. For many, this means seeing through self-hatred, the desire to control and dominate, the need to be right, be powerful, be knowledgeable, be smarter, be “good-er.”

We are at a tipping point of falling into deeper illusion or waking up. There are enlightened beings. They just live – mostly incognito. Why are they still here, working hard amidst the dark tragedies, human hardships, and atrocities still going on? Why haven’t they just vanished into the rainbow of the “next level”? After they die, there will be others. But, at some point, the world may reject such beings altogether – it is not easy to be on the Earth plane in a free state, but this does not equate to suffering in human terms.

We can keep the candle of human potential burning by being practical and real with ourselves, questioning everything about our influences and our state, testing ourselves, and rejecting messages that we are flawed or better than others. This will be a fight that can only end in total transformation.

The test for enlightenment is simple – if you do not spend all of your time and during any activity feeling Life, being meditated by Life, and yearning for all to be free, then you are not yet enlightened. If you feel the need to defend or attack anything about yourself, you are not yet awake. If you take pride in what you are, you are not yet happy – because the little you is still there, needing a bigger I. If you need to escape – even as most cry out for help, you are not yet free – free beings tend Unity like a sacred garden. You can have “heaven” in any situation. If you are not living This, you are not yet free.

I often hear the question “Is enlightenment bullshit?” If the torch of true freedom is put out then yes, yes it is….

The Enlightenment Debate

People wonder what Enlightenment is – and good for them! Certainly, Enlightenment promises something wonderful, but what is it? Well, I guess there is some debate about what “it” really is…. Does it have to do with hightened perception, increased intelligence, “love” (another vague, but shiny goal)? If you meet an enlightened being, would you be able to tell they are enlightened?

These are great questions and should be asked by anyone interested in spirituality. Our lives are limited and precious, and should not be wasted on false prophets claiming lofty attainment.

All enlightened beings share a lack of self-absorption. They have a consistent focus on the welfare of others in both action and words. And the more time you spend with such a being, the consistency of their other-focus never wavers – never. To those who are still self-absorbed, it eventually becomes almost annoying to relentlessly consider world issues – not to mention, overwhelming.

Also, enlightened people laugh a great deal and with heartfelt joy. They do not take themselves seriously because there is – literally – no one there. They can display intensity in one moment, and instantly switch gears into levity.

Most importantly, enlightened beings are utterly fearless truth-tellers and truth-seers. They have a seemingly infinite capacity to enter the totality of life, both light and dark, and embrace It in Its entirety. They may not have all the answers, but they can live with the right questions.

Enlightened beings are not power-wielders or manipulators, but respect every life’s potential as the most precious of gems. They shine light in dark corners and have impeccable timing for revealing truth.

Do such people have heightened intelligence? Possibly – it depends on their background and training. However, they certainly have lightning-fast insight into people and life dynamics. In fact, most have highly developed psychic abilities. However, a truly enlightened being does not consider any ability a goal, or relish it as an accomplishment. There is a simple reason for this – when you are plugged into the stream of Life, you sense and perceive Life – it is natural. And natural things are – well – normal.

Lack of self-absorption and unconditional joy are very difficult to fake over time. Those who are not truly enlightened will eventually slip into goal-orientation, ambition, seeking praise and approval, and some expression of fear. No matter how charismatic, such people are eventually discovered for who they truly are. Hopefully, they are simply left to their own evolution without being castigated or judged. They are people on a path, just like others, and deserve kindness, compassion, and generosity of heart just like all people. Some enlightened beings will be attacked unfairly, but they will persevere in service nonetheless.

An enlightened being never makes you feel lowly or faulty. Instead, they befriend you and treat you as an equal in many ways. Even while they may provide you with insight about your life, you feel free to make any choice and are invited to do so. Their lack of judgement of you is, again, a natural by-product of the lack of perceived separation.

When talking to an enlightened being, you feel like you are talking to a wiser version of yourself. This is because this being reflects to you your potential.

Contrary to common belief, enlightened beings do not necessarily have perfect health or perfect manners, nor do they wear white robes. They choose the mode of expression that best matches who they serve. They feel at ease with people of any social status and nationality because artificial social division lines do not exist for them.

Enlightened beings may be visible activists or quiet nurturers of small groups, connected only by their yearning for Union.

If you sense that you are connected to such a being and feel a recognition, reach out to this being and watch their words and actions carefully over time. Watch for subtle or blatant promises of being “advanced,” “powerful,” “psychic,” or “superintelligent” – these are signs of a fake! No enlightened being will promise anything to you, but they will often speak of your potential for freedom from illusion. Most importantly, you will never feel obligated to this being in any way. You may develop a sense of devotion, but this is very different from a feeling of forced obligation.

In this day and age of click-bait, promising everything from chakra unification to lightning-fast thinking, ask yourself – what do these promises have to do with attaining Union with Life? That latter is the primary. Always. Everything else is just a natural result of feeling Life as an intricate and holistic stream. The Divine in motion. The creative possibilities of expression. Any other focus is just the ordinary path toward the clutches of narcissism and self-assertion. No enlightened being is that complicated.

One Day in the Universe

Everything rises, falls, and arises again. We are used to thinking in terms of beginnings and finalities. We look for cycles and patterns as a way to make the world seem more predictable.

We calm ourselves with fragmented insight and knowledge and cling to a promise of something better around the bend – something to look forward to. But our whole is not the Whole because the vantage point is very personal, embroiled with investment of physical, emotional, and mental energy that is but a fragment. Nevertheless, we carry on without giving the dilemma of skewed perspective much consideration.

What if you ceased looking for patterns and cycles for one day in the Universe and simply lived? It is only one day, so you can let go of any fear and anxiety…. You spend this day so fully immersed in every action that you forget to judge – anything.

You notice the fullness of the world in every spec and feel an unbridled joy that seemingly has no cause.

It is only one day, and so you let go of the past, the pain, and the discomfort of being in a body.

This one day, you find balance among all tensions of opposites and simply let go into the ever-moving Life Stream. Life is motion, someone said. So, you move unfettered by preconceptions of how life should be.

You stop the work of crafting your life, and simply embrace yourself as pure awareness. For one day, in the totality of the Universe, this is OK.

You have no need to drink because you are intoxicated by breath, by being breathed. What is breathing you? What is living you?

You realize the illusion of ownership and control because the Universe is your hands, and its stardust flows right through your fingers. You just let go into being, without defining yourself or others.

As you let go more and more, just on this day, you see all as yourself and know yourself as all. You know there is only one being here, wherever here is. You rest with eyes wide open. You may be dead or alive – there is no difference.

You’ve woken from the dream only to rest in one eternal day in the Universe that is alive at all scales – because it is One Life as many, yearning for Unity.

This Unity is the only certain thing on any day, even today.

Fear of Being Real

The fear of being real is very real. Why bother being someone when you think that you are not good enough for others? Being fake is also scary – what if they eventually strip away the veneer and figure out that you may not be all that they’ve believed you were?

This fear goes deeper than reluctance to  reveal beliefs and ideologies, gender identity, sexual orientation, intelligence or education level to a critical audience. This fear is older – ancient – cutting at the core of whether or not you value who you are. And, who are you, anyway?

We often hear that if we love ourselves, we will attract people who love us for who we are. The reality is that we cross paths with all kinds of people, even if we love ourselves through and through.

It may be more accurate to say that if we love ourselves, we attract and keep relationships where we are loved, while appropriately distancing ourselves from those who hurt us. But even this feels incomplete…. I can name a number of people who loved and cared for me when I completely hated myself, and feel gratitude for these kind souls then and now. Some people come in and try to teach us that we are lovable and that love is possible. So, who does one really need to be to be loved?

We don’t really know who we are until other people come along and show us how we feel about ourselves through our relationships.  They mirror back to us all our antics and machinations, and reflect any and all heartfelt movements. We see, we react, and we boil inside when we know that we have allowed ourselves to be false.

At first, relationships mostly teach us who we are not. With every conflict and confrontation with another, we learn when we’ve had enough pretending. With every accolade for playing to an audience, we feel more and more exploited for forgetting our truth. Every time we are ignored or cast aside, we feel our insides twist and the temptation to be whatever we need to successfully pull in relationships – we begin to notice those moments when we feel the need to pose. We don’t like to be lonely, and many also don’t like feeling fake.

Not knowing who we are feels like we are  unpredictable,  uncontrollable –  and that is scary. There is so much uncertainty about doing the right thing to keep our relationships and avoid being lonely. Thus, many people are not interested in who they are – and only care to be the bare minimum to get what they want. And, if they don’t get what they want unless they behave a certain way, they change until they see results. They morph to match expectations rather than being real, and many are good with this setup. However, others will suffer under the industrial-scale pressures of moulding themselves to conform – what to do then?

Feeling that we fall short is not a new thing. While you may interpret this feeling as a negative, that is only an interpretation. What if, instead, you interpret every rejection, dismissal, or act of violenece as a question What am I not willing to do/be to get love? Then the beat changes…. Just asking the question can lead to new words and behaviors, which cast aside the things you are not. You can’t and don’t change who you really are. You just let go of the things you are not. This requires strength, courage, and the wilingness to explore. It is hard work in the beginning, but does get easier.

Perhaps the story of the Promethean gift of fire was passed down to us as a reminder that we are a kind of fire. Eventually, all that is false in us will burn to ashes, and the truth will rise out of these ashes to be seen. Old memories are healed when we allow ourselves to relive them consciously – as long as it takes to let them go, sitting in a pool of tears and tissues.  The fire of the heart burns away old, impacted pain and allows us to be fearless with regards to being who we are.

Ironically, we fear being truly loved because that would mean opening ourselves up. This is not emotional love that needs and clings and uses others for self-validation. If we search ourselves, we may learn that we don’t want more attachment games, and we want something more real. In its pure form, love is an embrace of yourself and the world as pure awareness. It is confidence and self-knowledge. It is vulnerability that can only be perceived as strength. To become this love, we must resist trying to protect ourselves from our own fire.

The journey to truth is a winding path – far from a straight line for most of us. Past hurts cling to the fibers of our being, and we get used to these thorns. They are pain, but we learn how to numb discomfort with overstimulating our days with social interactions, internet crawling, gaming, food, and even drugs of all sorts. Because we have lived, we carry much pain that is unfelt and unknown, but it must be known, released, and set ablaze.

Life is the ancient ritual that frees us, but only if we allow it. This process feels scary because it is a journey into the unknown. However, many have made this journey and live a life that is authentic. Do such people attract all kinds of people? Sure, and they handle situations by being true. Do such people have partners? Some do, and some don’t – it is a choice. Happy people are always beautiful and attractive to others. Are such people free of all pain? Not necessarily, but they know that they are not their pain. Are there risks in being real? Always – after all, we live in a world with so many different people. Being real does require some street-smarts ūüėÄ But, feeling free requires absolutely nothing except just being.

***Please share your thoughts and feelings. I will try to respond.***

What does the Ego have to do with awakening?

If someone asks you “Who are you?”, how would you describe yourself? How do you define yourself?

Are you your dreams, hopes, and aspirations? Your fears? Your likes and dislikes? Your life experiences? Your beliefs and non-beliefs? Your habits and obsessions? Your past and your future? All of the above? Are these enough to capture your uniqueness and all you are?

You may find that words can feel limiting in capturing your you-ness. But it still feels important to try to define yourself because you want to tell your story.  You want someone to know you and share a connection with you. You want reassurance that you are not alone. Ultimately, you want to feel loved, whether you believe that it is possible or not.

Most people may say that it is only natural to search for love outside of ourselves, and this is what they do throughout their lives. If they feel love coming from somewhere – a spouse, a friend, a child, or a pet – they feel like they have something. If love leaves, there is a devastating sense of loss. So, in this scenario, love is something that can be lost and found, given or denied, accepted or rejected, and valued or neglected.

As long as we are looking to be loved and reassured by someone or something outside of ourselves, it is unlikely that we know who we are. As long as we feel like we live on an island and are searching for connection among other islands, our sense of separation tells us that we are incomplete. And this is where we will begin the story of the Ego and its relationship to awakening….

The Ego, at its core, is a fundamental perception that we are isolated and incomplete. This perception shapes our view of ourselves, others, and how we experience life.¬†When we look around, it may seem like most people are seeking to complete themselves – to be loved – and the drama of the world unfolds around all of the resulting fears, vulnerabilities, and insecurities. Most people are not OK with how they “see” themselves, and there is an underlying sadness, which they continuously mask through posturing and various distractions (including the very act of seeking).

By its nature, Ego-perception¬†is self-absorbed. It continuously¬†compares everything¬†relative to “me” and “mine” vs. “not-me” and “not-mine.” The Ego compares us to others, and our possessions to the possessions of others. Based on these comparisons, we may feel like we have more or less value than someone else.

There is a link between Ego and emotional reactivity. We may find ourselves continuously reacting to ¬†perceptions, and we may not even question if what we perceive is real; it all feels very real and personal. For example, someone¬†may hear what someone says and perceive it as an attack – even if the other person had no such intention. That someone¬†will promptly react to this perceived attack as if it were real, unaware and unconscious of the fact that he or she is battling illusory shadows. The drama does not exist, but that doesn’t stop an entire dynamic of conflict from arising. What’s interesting is that, after awakening and releasing old emotional debris, the distortive lens of the Ego ceases to operate. Instead of imagining reality, we just see it for what it is and ourselves as love itself. We no longer create drama where none exists.

The Ego is like a cocoon, wrapped tightly around the machinery that is intended¬†to perceive reality clearly. Ego-based actions¬†prioritize the individual – either in the positive or the negative. We may either base our identity on putting ourselves ¬†down, or self-aggrandizing, or vacillating ¬†between the two. We look outward to see something reflected back about ourselves, and we are constantly staring¬†at our reflections. The world’s only purpose appears to be¬†to reflect us to ourselves, and we may not truly see anything else. In fact, we live in a world full of people who are infatuated with their own reflections. Are they ever really seeing or relating to one another? What would motivate them to break free? How often do they truly¬†exchange love, gratitude, respect, and¬†service? It is easy to receive love when it affirms one’s identity, but anything else feels difficult and irritating,¬†as it confronts one’s idea of¬†self.

The Ego likes to play games that help us to feel more alive. It-You may play the victim or the aggressor, the smart one or the unintelligent, the superior one or the inferior one. Self-negativity, counter to our intuition, is an effective way to feel alive Рthe amount of emotional drama it generates can be addictive.

The Ego has fear at its root. Because we feel that the Ego is us, we may attack or defend¬†against anything that appears to threaten our identity. When someone brings up certain qualities about ourselves, we are likely to defend and justify ourselves, or we may get angry and walk away, or we shut down. It is difficult for us to simply listen to¬†how others perceive us because the threat to “me” feels too great. The Ego makes us feel like we have to protect our island at all costs!

The Ego constantly looks for attention. It needs continuous affirmation. Whether through sadness, despair, or social contact – it seeks reassurance. While under the Ego’s spell, we do not feel real unless we act out the games the Ego needs to play. While we are dismantling the Ego, it may feel like we are dying – and, in a sense, our perception of the self is dying.

The Ego is neither evil, nor good. It is just a lens through which we have gotten used to seeing the world. However, this limited perception is not who we are. There is so much more to us, and we may never know it if we continue to be trapped in the Ego’s version of our world. After we no longer identify with the Ego, we are free from the illusion. But while we are under the Ego’s¬†spell, everything we perceive – no matter how distorted- feels very vivid and real.

Very few are aware that they are caught up in this¬†illusion because they identify with¬†the illusion. At some point, a person may sense that something is off, but he or she can’t quite pin it down. This individual may be ready to start dismantling the Egoic structure, which got him or her this far. This person is no longer fulfilled by seeking love outside and may start the journey of transforming the very mechanism that senses and interprets reality. And this is the beginning….The process of awakening, guided by a teacher, breaks the illusion and dissolves the perception of separation.

While working on dismantling the Ego, it is critical to stay in touch with the teacher, who may help you handle the intense energies that arise as you confront illusion. The teacher also helps you to become conscious of the illusion, which you may not even know is there. You won’t truly understand¬†the Ego until it is confronted by an awakened being, and – for a brief moment – you realize that you are not that. After you have this experience of the Ego, you know what it means to live an illusory life and to be free from it – you get a glimpse of where we are all going.

While the basis of an Egoic identity is the fear of isolation, freedom from identifying with the Ego – awakening – is the state of love itself and knowing that we are already complete. An awakened being is only interested in sharing the love he or she already feels, and this love is not conditioned by any life circumstances. A free being no longer perceives the self in a way that can be hurt or elevated above others. And, there is no longer emotional reactivity to imagined shadows. Emotions pass through the nervous system and do not stick – they come and clear right out!

While it may be impossible to define yourself using words, you can learn to feel your true self as a state of love that is an integral part of all existence. Feeling this truth will allow you to express it with ever-increasing clarity, and celebrate your Light as the Light of all. The Ego is complicated, but the Light is simple.

What’s on a spiritual path?

A spiritual path awakens the sleep of illusion…

At some point, you may start to feel like life has lost its luster. You may feel yourself wondering why you are here, why everyone and everything is here, and what is the purpose of life. You may begin to yearn and long for the truth about existence, even if you are not sure how to go about looking for this truth. At this point, you have taken the first step toward a spiritual path….

A spiritual path begins with an intuition that there must be something more to life, and its practices aim to free us from prior conditioning and illusory perceptions. It is a path of awakening and stripping away the layers that block our awareness of existence. Over time, we become less reactive to life and more aware of who we really are. We identify less and less with our aches, pains, frustrations, and discomforts, and begin to see ourselves beyond our life experiences.

We begin to relax into life and relate to everything with greater ease. And, as this continues, we start to feel a living stream that pervades us all, as the fabric that is – literally – living all existence. With this awareness, we feel joy, freedom, happiness, and relationship in its true form. Our lives begin to reflect this awakening more and more. “Love” takes on a whole new meaning, transmuting from a conditional emotion to the living force that is reality.

Awakening to the fundamental relationship with and among all  becomes the basis of our existence. When we truly let go into this connection to reality, the Light in all becomes our identity, and This is what lives our life through the body and mind. Service to others, care, connection, and joy arise naturally and spontaneously.

A spiritual path moves us out of the endless chatter of the mind…

Although you may initially enter a spiritual path through the mind – by asking questions, analyzing spiritual writings, and thinking about your life –  this mind approach is ultimately limited and must be surrendered to the emerging faculty of the intuition of reality.

Our culture emphasizes the training and education of the mind. Thus, it is no surprise that intuition is not considered an intelligence at all. Furthermore, our intuition is frequently clouded by the lack of clarity of how we perceive reality. However, as our perception clears and our intuition is trained, intuition becomes a channel for transformation.

The mind is still useful, but it takes its proper place on the tool belt of experiencing reality, rather than being the primary way to make sense of reality.

 A spiritual path can be uncomfortable…

True transformation that unites with the living Light stream, when it occurs, is unmistakable and permanent. This transformation changes how you perceive the world around you and your relationship to it. You feel the living Light physically as your body.

Until you are transformed, the feeling of the infinite may come and go. At some point, It stays….You will know this, and others will feel it from you.

The path to transformation can be extremely uncomfortable because who you think you are is being dismantled. All of your attachments, insecurities, and hurts – regardless of how deeply buried in your unconscious, are brought into the Light – one by one – to be surrendered. Our spiritual teachers offer us the energy and inspiration we need to help us break free.

Practicing connection to ourselves and the world is a channel that leads to awakening. However, this heartfelt connection can also stir up what we want to block, forget, avoid, and run from. The process of becoming aware of the totality of ourselves can be very uncomfortable and even scary. When you deeply identify with a certain perception of yourself, it can be very challenging to let go.

I remember how I defended, fought, ignored, and denied insights about myself offered by my teacher and life situations. In many cases, an insight from my teacher felt like an attack. Now, I see those confrontations for what they were – a gift of force to help me break through my illusion. The closer the Light got to my core illusion, the more resistance I felt to letting it go. Eventually, the resistance itself dissolved.

Without proper preparation for the spiritual path and the help of an awakened teacher, you may become overwhelmed by the intense energies running through you. Preparation for this path is essential.

A spiritual path is easier with proper preparation…

Preparation for a spiritual journey is about cultivating a soft and gentle heart toward ourselves, others, and the planet.

I did not properly prepare for the spiritual path when I started. I entered with a hardened heart and fiery intensity. I pushed and pushed toward – what I considered – a “goal.” One of my teachers called me Agnibhakti – a devotee of fire. Regardless of how much my Ego was confronted, I stayed in the spiritual burning state and worked through it – always coming back for more. While perseverance and steadfast resolve to keep coming back to the practice is important, I could have tempered this fire with a loving and caring attitude toward myself.

Since a very young age, I did not like myself. I felt that, if transformed, I would become more lovable, more worthy, and so on….It is this dissatisfaction with myself that pushed and pushed me on the path. My intensity was good for getting a job done, but not for truly connecting with people.

In hindsight, this made my transformation process much more difficult and more painful than it could have been. Although the transformation softened me to some degree, I had to let go of much more for years thereafter to continue to soften. Perhaps this is the way it had to be for me – learning to balance intensity and softness. The more I soften, the more deeply my body entwines with the living Light stream, and the more focused is my intensity.

A spiritual path is easier with an awakened teacher…

A path to awakening usually involves the help of an awakened teacher. Forging a relationship with a teacher is probably unlike any other relationship you may have experienced in your life. Although, you always want to present your best side to your teacher – your sweetest, most “spiritual” self – you know that your teacher sees completely through you. You feel transparent, with all of your bullshit and beauty exposed. Curiously, the resistance you feel to seeing yourself as you truly are may cause you to feel like you are being attacked.

My teacher presented me with insights about myself through words, gestures, and looks. Although I did not talk to my teacher very often, I always felt the connection. Despite my best intentions, I felt uncomfortable. Later, I learned that this discomfort was really the discomfort I felt with myself, and the experience of being more aware of what I was really doing. I was not just experiencing my words and actions. I was also beginning to become aware of my intentions. In many cases, this discomfort felt like burning.

My teacher gradually listened to less and less of my bullshit and often gave me uncomfortable insights about my bullshit. Intellectually, I knew that my teacher was helping me, but I resisted the help because I thought I was my bullshit.

Even those who have been on the path for a long time often question their resolve when the spiritual heat is on: “I don’t need this shit.”, “What does this teacher know anyway.”, “I am sick of feeling like crap about myself.” Many abandon the path even after years of working diligently. It is difficult to not take things personally, but it is necessary – if you want to come out on the other side of this process….

This cycle of confrontation, burning, and coming through on the other side happened over and over and over….Coming back, over and over, is key and depends on your own intention and the level of your preparation to embrace all that you are – before you can let it go….