Have you noticed there’s a not-so-subtle narcissistic weather pattern that prevails in today’s awakening and non-duality climate? It’s a kind of low pressure system of “how can waking up make MY life better” and unfortunately a whole lot of contemporary teachers—me included—have at times accidentally or even purposefully catered to that self-serving impulse.
I’ve watched people in satsangs with teachers like Ganga-ji, Adyashanti and Igor Kufayev repeatedly ask the same question dressed in the clothing of different details. The ever-present questions of “How can I wake up, get enlightened, get the to the next level of my journey, get my samadhi deeper and my bliss higher” all have one underlying commonality.
It’s all about what you can GET and nothing about what you are here to GIVE.
It’s laughable, really, the small self and its misguided ambition to wake up in order to get an upgrade to a better quality of life. Because the circumstances of your life don’t necessarily change post awakening. Rather, it’s the perception of who you are that dramatically shifts, and with it, the perception of everything else—from how you see your mate and children to how you view the coffee mug in your hand.
Suddenly, you are all these. And you are nothing. And wonderment, spontaneity, flow and acceptance become your favorite flavors of reality. But that does NOT guarantee that the surface details look like your affirmations, vision board, hopes and dreams.
And it does not mean your life is without feelings. To the contrary. Unless you are stuck in a detached witness stage (which is a transition, not a destination), you are inclined to feel your feelings with more depth and sparkling clarity than ever before, including the so-called negative emotions of sadness, grief and anger. The difference is these feelings do not belong to “me” but instead move fluidly through me, as does everything else….
You see, in awakened reality there is a natural state of effortless surrender but this surrender is one in which personal agency also resides. Think of it as a graceful pairs dance in which your individual genius is being danced in the arms of the infinite.
And in this dance, you are not thinking about “getting my better and less troubled life.” Rather you are asking “how can I serve?” Or as I wrote early on in my own awakening, “What is this form for?”
I’ll leave you with a short four minute video I filmed yesterday after at day at the Science and Non-Duality Conference in San Jose California. This article and video were sparked by questions raised by speaker Craig Holliday, juicy questions like: “What if you asked God to help you? What if your enlightenment is not just for you? What if you entered into a less selfish and more generous spiritual quest?”
Oh, featured angel image by Jon Hamm.