With the dissolution of the dream self four months ago, I woke up to the shocking realization I’d spent a lifetime with an undiagnosed case of mistaken identity. Like someone with amnesia, in place of true nature, there was a construct called Lori-Ann, a fabrication that suffered from the push away and pull toward pleasures and pains, likes and dislikes.
The most consuming of these pulls was an attraction to ambition, along with the attendant belief I had to do something important in life. Yet I found myself facing my forties with low marks on the achievement index. I tallied my scores for a failed marriage, limp career choices and flagging creativity, added up the trauma of shock-grief from the sudden death of both parents, and somewhat concluded I’d had a life short on success and happiness.
With awakening, the suffering self leaves the premises. What remains is a perpetual welcome mat for whatever shows up at the doorstep. Who is the welcomer? Awareness. True Nature. Ground of Being. No-self. Call it what you will. When this Infinite Self stands at the doorstep of reality, every happening is allowed entrance. When the bouncer has been evicted along with the illusion of a separate “me,” life becomes one big invitation for each moment to show the way.
Lately, the way has been a one of turbo-charged creativity. Unlike when I first woke up (drunk on the spaciousness, languishing in the stillness) these days there is a passion for writing. It started mid November when I had a dream to create a blog called The Awakened Dreamer. I’d never before blogged, but without much effort or fanfare went online and created a word press site. Within weeks this site was mysteriously attracting thousands of hits and now at three months old, has reached over 20.000 views. Since I began the blog, I’ve been invited to feature write for an upcoming book of essays called The Journey Home, and have been given the creative seed for a book called Kisses from God.
What I am pointing to is this irony that after years chasing the muses, the muses are chasing me. After years trying to find my voice as a writer, my voice has found me. Waking up from the suffering self, has allowed an unimpeded creative flow and ease to arise. This flow and effortlessness seem to be a hallmark of living from Awareness –it’s the Welcomer standing at the door, saying to reality: “Come on in. Let’s play.”
I’m not the first one to point this out. Non-duality teacher Greg Goode, in his book Standing As Awareness, notes that after he saw through the illusion of a separate self, “Life became an effortless smooth flow.” Adyashanti writes in The End of Your World, “When you get out of the drivers seat, you find life can drive itself…it can flow in ways you never imagined. Life becomes almost magical.”
This flow feels like a river carrying me along toward purpose without effort–there is no choosing or doing from that sense of struggle. Rather, in waking up from the self who would strive and drive toward a goal, what has emerged is a magic carpet ride in which goals have been replaced by inspired action and effortless creativity.
In a weekend retreat with teacher Ganga-gi in September, she mentioned that one of the gifts of self-realization was also the answer to the question: What is this form for? Until we are free from identification with the illusory self, all ideas of purpose are happening in a dream, to a dream self. The purposing that occurs post liberation is of a different order. It’s not about “What can I get?” to make this dream a happier one. Instead there is a natural impulse toward “What is here to give?” in order for all dreamers to wake up.
In other words, enlightenment is about more than seeing what is true. It’s seeing the stillness of true nature and then, paradoxically, it’s the movement of stillness through form. Some have called this operational awareness, or embodied truth, but by whatever name, it’s about more than sitting for a lifetime alone in a cave (or on a sofa) with your enlighenment.
In his book, Evolutionary Enlightenment, Andrew Cohen proposes that we are entering a new phase where traditional enlightenment is evolving into the collective impulse for creativity and service, toward the birthing of what Eckhart Tolle in his book of the same title calls, “A New Earth.” In a recent Buddha at the Gas Pump interview, awakened teacher Sharon Landrift speculates that “I think we are collectively moving into something that has really not been fully described as of yet…there’s this full waking up right in the midst of form, right in the midst of the earth.”
As awakening catches fire, as bright candles light more candles, we are perhaps all called to be Bodhisattvas. There is a time for lounging in the vastness, and there is also a time for engagement with reality in a way that serves the collective seeing of what we are not, and a collective remembrance of what we all are, beyond the dream.
So I invite you to engage the question for yourself: What is this form for? If you are still asleep, the answer is “to wake up.” If you awakened, then the answer will show itself in the ease and flow of each unfolding moment. Let the magic begin!
Awareness is here (welcome mat out.)