Ultimately, all spirituality leads to one thing: Waking Up and discovering truth.
For some people, waking up is spontaneous but for most it is a gradual happening.
Waking up is a metaphor for “Returning to Our Selves and Seeing Clearly ”.
Our minds are entrapped in a sleep like ignorance of our true nature and what is happening around us.
This was beautifully portrayed in the movie “the Matrix”, though the waking up in that movie was far from the relief that is experienced in authentic awakening.
The initial stage of waking up is to notice the false promises of the mind, which are also mirrored in our everyday life:
The mind, with its non-stop thinking and dissatisfaction is always getting caught up in something: hopes, dreams, worries, catastrophizing. It imagines by doing so that it can achieve lasting happiness and avoid the pitfalls of life. What actually happens though is that the mind gets lost in a kind of dream. It never stops spinning and the same dynamic is repeated day in day out.
Because the mind essentially lives in its own imagination, it is very susceptible to influence from outside promises. Consequently, we now live in a consumer world which promises so much but can never deliver. Adverts tap into this: The young sexy woman looking orgasmic as she eats yoghurt (really!); the powerful fast SUV that is going to make you into a rugged real man; the chocolate bar that is going to bring all of your cravings to an end. The promises are of course totally abused by government, the media and big business. People live in the illusion that the people running their lives (the government, the media, big business) actually have their best interests at heart (right!).
It can be quite a shock to discover that these people are not actually on your side: they are of course after your money or maintaining their power base, and interested in keeping you imprisoned in false hope. Of course, they too are living in darkness.
Until these illusions are seen, spirituality will be little more than another “consumer trip” with more false promises.
Waking up will always begin by stepping back from ourselves and our lives and watching the unfolding of ourselves and our lives through the clear eyes of awareness instead of automated thought. And this means to discover intrinsic awareness and presence.
Have you ever had the experience of suddenly feeling peaceful and wonderful? It suddenly arrives and just as suddenly disappears again. Most people can relate to this on some level.
What has happened is that you have touched upon “Being”. Being is our natural state of wellbeing that is always present when we relax and step outside of the mind’s compulsive need to think, do, achieve, be someone and cling to a fixed identity.
If we have an encounter with something beautiful it can create an interruption in our mind stream and we can briefly touch upon being. This is why slow mindful walks in the woods can feel so sacred. It might also happen during exercise, especially once endorphins kick in.
But we can also intentionally fall into “Being” through “sitting”.
You simply sit, in an armchair or on a meditation cushion if you like, let yourself relax, let go of any agenda to have specific kind of experience and remain lightly present. Thoughts will come and go, feelings will arise and dissolve. But you just sit, without a goal, just being present.
At some stage you will feel a “switch” happen. A profound sense of wellbeing and peace arises without apparent cause. Physiologically this is marked by parasympathetic nervous system activity – breathing slows down, the heart beats slowly and evenly, the entire body system relaxes and rebalances itself.
This switch typically happens after 15 – 25 minutes of sitting. But it only happens if you are not trying to make it happen. You sit with the attitude that right now is just fine.
Try it – it is FREE!
Where do we find spiritual truth? In a church, from a Guru, in India?
Of course not: The sages of the ages have all pointed us to the “silence of the mind”.
So many try to stop their thinking through meditation or fasting. Yet it is hard work and doesn’t last for long.
The reason the mind is not silent is because we choose to listen to and believe our thinking.
Yet thoughts do not hold truth. Try to find spiritual truth through thought and you’ll end up very frustrated. Thoughts are just empty energetic formations made of consciousness which if left alone just dissolve without leaving a trace.
If we stop living our lives on the basis of thought, our minds naturally become quiet. And once the mind is quiet, an intrinsic wisdom and truth begins to present itself.