What is required for awakening to happen? Actually, nothing. Awakening happens differently for different people. For some it came after decades of meditation and other practices. For others it happened spontaneously during deep suffering, either physical or emotional. They say Ramana Maharshi awakened at age 16 while deeply pondering what death is like. He was laying in his bed, not under duress or in fear, and had not had a lifetime of spiritual practice. Eckhart Tolle had just awakened from sleep in deep depression, asked a question, and was suddenly transformed. He had no spiritual practice and no understanding of what happened until later study. Gangaji awakened after years of meditation, yoga, and self-inquiry, when under the guidance of her teacher, Papaji, she finally stopped searching and became completely still.
For me it has happened in bits and pieces at different times in my life, and I have a long way to go. In my teens I had a near-death experience during which I experienced the infinite field of consciousness directly, among other things, but I did not fully understand what was revealed and had no one to guide me. A few years later I began meditation and one day had a profound experience. A brilliant light came flying at me through the darkness, as if from the heart of eternity, shot into my forehead, and exploded inside me. I perceived myself being in the heart of the universe and simultaneously the entire universe existed within my heart. My mind could not make sense of it and promptly ended the blissful experience.
Those are the kind of experiences we traditionally associate with awakening but the ones that created the most transformation in me were not at all dramatic, and they did not happen during meditation. One of my favorite experiences, during which I heard what I knew to be the voice of God/Source, happened while I was driving. Many have occurred while I was writing, talking with my unseen Team, or with my best friend, or even my kids. The most powerful awakening I’ve experienced happened while I was yelling at my Team and God in deep frustration and anger. Suddenly there was a shift and an opening and the truth burst through from within. Expanded awareness of eternal truth was my state of being for several days and created a permanent transformation.
I do have a meditation practice, do a lot of self-inquiry, and practice daily being present and conscious, but it is only in the last year that I’ve had the discipline to maintain them. I also spend a lot of time in nature, where I am available to openings and insights. Even when I was deep in the dramas of life, Spirit was able to reach me through nature. Both in meditation and in nature gentle awakenings have been gifted to me. So, what’s the secret formula for awakening?
There isn’t one. When it’s time, it happens. I do believe, and it’s just a belief, that we can make ourselves available to it and prepare the way, but even if you have no spiritual practice and it’s your time awakening will happen. If you’ve been thinking that you’re doing it wrong or you’re not doing enough or you just haven’t gotten still enough, relax. Take the pressure off yourself and live your life.
You can’t make it happen … and you can’t prevent it from happening. You can’t screw up awakening! :) It is the emergence of our true Self through the personality structure and it is the pure consciousness that we truly are that is directing the process. Trust it. Allow it to proceed naturally. When you have awakened you will see the perfection and grace in the way it happened for you.