A couple of months ago, a fellow coach and dear friend of mine and I were discussing the topic of spiritual awakening. My friend was claiming that we are all awakened, no matter where we are on our journey of personal development. I argued that, but for some enlightened souls that are awakened, at peace and totally aligned with the grand scheme of things, the rest of us still struggle with control issues, worry, anger, expectations etc., therefore we are not fully awakened and awakening needs to take place.
My blog on the “death” of expectations and the “birth” of unconditional love, illustrating the process of spiritual awakening through coaching, had me thinking of the beginning of my awakening journey. The moment when I started “seeing” past my conditioning. The moment when I started seeing a small part of the truth and was shaken to the core as long held beliefs started to tumble down one after the other.
Here’s how it started:
Having suffered from health problems from the age of 25, ten years later I was at my wits end. The rational, cartesian attorney, who only believed in science and in the tangible, my old self that is, was so desperate to get well that I decided to consult an energy healer. She later became the person who taught me or, to be more accurate, reminded me of my ability to sense energy and channel. At the end of the training she told me that I had to learn how to practice reiki. I had never heard of reiki before but after the mind-blowing experiences during the channeling training, I wasn’t skeptical of alternative methods that promote healing any more.
I found a reiki master, who I still consider as one of my spiritual teachers along with other people I met in person or whose books I read, and had my first reiki training and attunement. I had spent all my life living on the edge, being a true daredevil. I was afraid of nothing or so I thought. From bungee jumping to backcountry skiing, the proud owner of two motorcycles, a racing one and a dirt bike, I would do any stunt on a dare. I was fearless.
During the weekend of my first reiki training which was also a personal development workshop, I made an earth shuttering discovery about myself. The reiki master asked each of us what we were most afraid of. I heard many answers before I could give mine; illness, death, unemployment, poverty, loneliness and many more. When I was asked, I replied “fear”. The reiki master insisted “Yes, we are talking about fear. Which fear scares you the most?”. “Fear” I replied. “I am afraid of fear itself!”. For the first time in my life I “saw” my fear. I realized that everything I had done, the stunts, my academic and professional accomplishments, everything I did was out of fear or, to be more precise, to hide my fear from myself.
The acknowledgement of my fear was the first of a series of insights that kickstarted my awakening but I had never felt awakened. I still don’t. I keep “seeing” new things and working on old survival or defense mechanisms as they become visible to me one by one.
As with many ideas that linger in my head before the finally sink in and become experiences (you can read the blog “When the student is ready…”), this is what happened with my friend’s claim that we are all already awakened.
While I was writing about how and when my awakening started, I thought of my childhood. I remembered that everything that I could see after my awakening, I already saw and knew when I was a child. Everything that I started “discovering”, I intuitively knew before the conditioning I underwent because of my desire to fit in with my family and with mainstream society blindsided me. The word discover says it all. It was already there but it was “covered”.
As a young child, I could see and feel energy. As a young child, I could see the truth, I could see through people and situations. In my head, I would challenge long held conventional beliefs and see universal truths. I knew… I was awakened…
The question of awakening or awakened is much clearer for me. I now believe that my friend and I were both right. We are born awakened but most of us “go back to sleep” either by choice or by conditioning or both. We don’t have to look elsewhere for the truth. It’s already inside us. Nevertheless, awakening needs to take place to be able to access the truth again.
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