Monday, 8 August 2011

The Spiritual Garden - A Guide to Safe Awakening

I wrote in a previous blog that I didn’t feel I was walking a Spiritual Path, but, rather, sitting in a Spiritual Garden. It was an off-the-cuff remark that I later realised was such an accurate description of my life, in the moment, and expanding on the concept may be helpful to others who are awakening.

Although it would be a lie to say that I’m happy 100% of the time, it’s very definitely true I’m 100% most of the time. I have my challenges, both internal and external, but I get through them like I never did in the past. If I have a bad day, it’s not the crashing end of the inner-peace I have, it’s an opportunity to recognise the issue, let it go, learn and become even stronger than before.

My cup is refillable…

I used to say that my cup was half full… of wasps… so there’s a marked improvement there!

I think that most other ‘Awakeners’ will identify here, in that, when you awaken, there is a sense of “What do I do now?”

From, seemingly, out of nowhere, you are gifted the most exquisite peace and clarity, and of course it feels amazing. Your senses are heightened, your appreciation and perception of the world becomes so acute that even the Sun shining on your face feels like a miracle… four and a half billion years old, and there it is, each day, lighting your way, radiating light and life.

So, suddenly, you’re liberated from all of the agitation and suffering of mind… you’ve been removed from the dysfunctional collective consciousness that, for thousands of years, has betrayed our species…

“What do I do now?”

The question contains a contradiction that can draw us back into the betrayal of the unconscious mind – otherwise known as the ego.

While appearing to recognise the present moment, the ego is scheming to find a way out of it. Rather than accepting what is, there’s an urge for more, and – if left unchecked – the ego will always want more… and more… and more…

A reminder…

When you are completely present in the living moment, all of your negative thoughts will be silenced. If you are totally immersed in your senses - such as while mountain walking, dancing, listening intently to music or playing it, stroking a cat, painting, making love, or a whole host of other things – all of your worries will fall away.

This is the state of true consciousness.

If you are entirely in your mind, with your physical reactions on auto-pilot, you can still do all of these things, but you’ll be thinking about something else. You’ll reflect on the past and project yourself to the future, with fear, sadness, pain and uncertainty being the primary emotions.

This is the unconscious state… and this is the only place ego can survive. This is where fear is fermented, anger and hatred is stoked, jealousy is fuelled, battles are plotted, prejudices exacted and judgements forged.

It’s a phantom, in that it doesn’t exist, but at the same time dominates our world, because for millennia we have been conditioned to believe it’s who we are… but we are so much greater than this illusion.

So, meandering back…

Through awakening, you find yourself living without the constraint of ego… but if you had no concept of ego in the first place, you’ll likely have no idea on how to defend yourself against its inevitable attempt to claim you back as its own.

Most spontaneous awakenings seem to be sparked by traumatic events or come as a snapping point after long periods of emotional pain, so though it’s a truly beautiful, miraculous experience, without awareness of ego, we can still be very vulnerable to relapse and a return to the darker places of the mind.

Many people, it seems, go immediately from awakening to assuming they must become some sort of activist, or join their local church, or read dozens of books on dozens of different theories, or seek help from others…

I tried the latter…

I had a curious ‘friendship’ with a former celebrity who told me I had a ‘Divine Number’ of 33, which she called ‘Christ Energy’. She wrote, in an email: “You do realise the implications of that?” Of course I didn’t, and when I read about it online, it was a bit disturbing, and not the sort of thing I wanted to consider, fresh out of two decades of ‘mental health’ problems.

She also said she believed I was an ‘Architect of the Fifth Dimension – one of the people who will build the Golden Cities after Armageddon’ and, later, that she felt I’d had an ‘angelic walk-in’ – basically that my body had been taken over by an angel, and I had died gone to heaven. Really!

Our friendship broke down twice, and each time, she unleashed a tirade of abuse, questioning my mental health and calling me, amongst other things, ‘bonkers’ and ‘a psycho’.

Now, she’s ‘rebranding’ herself as a ‘heart-centred thought leader’. She’s going to build on her media presence to give possibly the same sort of advice she gave to me, to the masses… which I find very chilling indeed.

Um… when you want to learn to spin plates, make sure you go to a teacher who isn’t standing knee-deep in a pile of broken crockery, amidst shuddering poles that have no plates spinning on them. Of course, it’s okay if they smash a few now and again, but when all they have is theory and no practice, you’re best to look elsewhere for training.

So here’s my advice, from experience… from practice, not theory… on what Spiritual Path you should follow after awakening…

None.

Just sit in your Spiritual Garden. Let it grow around you. Nurture it with peace. Enjoy the tranquillity of your new space and the freedom in your heart.

Meditate, simply by letting go of your thoughts. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and stare out into that inky void. Listen. Feel the energy in your body and move your awareness around it. If you are distracted by noise, make that noise part of your meditation… because it is part of your moment and your experience of life. If a dog is barking, listen to the dog. If a truck roars by, listen to the truck. Don’t let your mind make excuses that you’re being distracted, when it’s just the annoyance of the ego that you’ll be reacting to.

Don’t rush yourself. Let go of any sense of urgency to be somewhere else.

If you make mistakes, recognise them, learn from them  and let go. To beat yourself up about them would be to feed the ego’s strength. To forgive yourself diminishes its power all the more.

Don’t set yourself on a new journey when you’ve already arrived…

Just sit, in peace, enjoy the Sunshine and watch your garden bloom.

It may appear - to those with just a theoretical understanding of spirituality and awakening - that you are wasting time, but this period of growth and self-nurturing, hidden from them, leads to a far greater strength within.

When you are ready… and only when you are ready… then you can decide what to bring in to your garden… what you plant, build and create, what new knowledge you take in or new skills you learn, and you can even lay a path, if you choose.

36 comments:

  1. Nice...same as my wheelbarrow-effect :)

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  2. Les,

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and share a similar past of very hard times and then emerging into a better place. Recently I came across a website that provided free discourses and lectures from a
    Spritual Master that I believe has utterly changed the way I SEE the world. Directing others to walk the same path that has worked for ourself is very difficult. I will share what source has awakened me and what you do with that information is usually discarded because the flower pot is upside down and the water is of no use. It just means the person is not ready and another day will come the opportunity to wake up. I woke and with compassion I want to share, not preach or have a ego trip of becoming some enlightened one that everyone now wants to follow. You have found your garden and I would say that I have also found my garden. The gardener though that got my garden to grow is named Osho and I have never been given so much wisdom from any other source on this planet. It really is not a path, it is a garden!!! thanks for sharing your experiences and wisdom. I am not a follower of you or anyone, this is Zen, and you have found it.

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  3. When I 1st read your tweet inviting to read this blog, I thought this..he hasn't visualized yet that spiritual awareness is like a re-birth, one becomes like a new born in the spiritual aspect. Was going to warn you about those that take advantage of this sudden "state", sadly you learned your lesson well.

    Leism, you need to visualize your spiritual self as a new born, so think how new borns are.

    Gladly you came back to what you call your spiritual garden. In that place/stage you are like a new born, just hearing, smelling, and sensing your surroundings in a new different way.

    Same as a baby starts on his own to move, you will move in your own.

    The main purpose of this new born stage is to give you chance of acknowledging your spiritual self, at your own speed.

    Pay attention to the following during this state:
    -the way you sense all now,
    -the way your thoughts comes to you now.

    Those 2 aspects will guide you to your next stage.

    Light and Blessings,

    Maria :)

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  4. Les, you are AMAZING!! Really. Reading your blog truly gives inspiration to me and I am sure many others. While I read your ideas, for some reason I immediately thought of a philosophy class I took years ago that centered on the here and now and so many other things in which I thought was so hard to imagine...like being centered- living in the exact moment and not allowing distractions to seep in. Thanks for taking your time to enlighten our lives.

    BTW, the "friend" you had is really crazy, oh I dislike judging but how can someone go from telling you wonderful things although doubtful to calling names?

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  5. Very well said. I go sit by my magical pond.

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  6. When planting a flower garden, sometimes it's necessary to build a fence around it, something to protect it from being trampled when the seedlings are still young. During this time, the gardener has time to nurture its growth until it can provide blooms for one to enjoy. Eventually, these flowers will be enjoyed by many.

    I see a spiritual garden in much the same way. The fence we put up protects us from negativity and those who may purposely or inadvertently want to harm our peace. As the roots of our practice grow stronger and deeper, we may not need this fence, but it's a good thing to have initially.

    I never subscribe to following anyone blindly, and certainly not someone who does not practise what he/she preaches.

    I love your message because it asks me to be true to the one person who knows me better than anyone else - myself.


    eden
    xoxox

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  7. Thank you, Eden - your words are always so tranquil and soothing to read. :-) xoxox

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  8. Thank you, Anam - and for sharing your story, too. Enjoy the garden! :-)

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  9. Thanks, Maria! It's been almost 18 months now, though. I've found my feet and I'm loving my life. Thanks for your wise words. :-)

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  10. Thank you, luerai - I'm glad I can be a little help from time to time! :-)

    The 'friend' has her own stuff to deal with, I guess. I hope she finds her way.

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  11. Thank you, Paulette! That pond sounds good! :-)

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  12. Love this entry, some paragraphs really spoke to me ... a great way to start my day that's for sure! Hugs from Aus x

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  13. Hehe, glad it helped, Bronny. Hugs back! :-)

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  14. Excellent! Like you say, we have the answers within us and these are revealed when we are ready. Your garden sounds wonderful!!!

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  15. Ahhhh Les! Beautiful! Our lessons seem to come in the strangest packaging sometimes. Only as we move away from the eye of the lessons storm do we gain insight on what we have learned or realize the growth stimulated by said experience.

    Buddha said "Question everything." What a validation that was for me since that is what I have always done since an early age...much to the chagrin of others! But it is advice that has served me well!

    So...we all just keep on learning together...thank you for sharing your lessons!

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  16. Beautiful. Well written and true. I often sit in my spiritual garden. Although I am still travelling on my path, I know it's the right one.

    Patricia

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  17. Espavo `( thank you for your energy) wow oh so so true.....just love it when you come across real truth! a wonderous soul with the ego on a lead taking it for walkies :))) wearing mochasins of knowledge and walking with wisdom xxx
    i thank you Namaste xxx

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  18. Really a lovely concept. Though I think "path" and "journey" are helpful and important ways for us to think about the ongoing-ness of spiritual and personal growth, the Spiritual Garden metaphor helps us rest, breathe, take in, be aware, and value where we are, what's around us, all that's within and without all the time.

    Beautiful insights, Les.

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  19. A beautifully written piece.
    I am a Christ-follower. I believe that I awakened when I began to get to know Jesus. That was when my true self (the ego) started to be shaped like Christ. I began to see the world differently and became a new and "awake" person.

    Http://www.transitionslifecoaching.org

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  20. I love your blog!! Thank you so much for sharing:)

    Light and love,
    Amanda

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  21. Les, I still think "Lesismore" fits you better, LOL.

    I learned the hard lesson long ago that few people are content to allow others the freedom of choice when it comes to interpretation of a spiritual awakening. I believe that feeling of peace comes partly from having forgiven yourself and partly from God, from His Holy Spirit. But I don't want to push my beliefs on you.

    If you feel the inclination, you can find out for yourself without stepping out of your garden. Prayer will invite the Spirit to confirm the truth both in your heart and in your mind. Both should agree.

    Leaving your past alone is crucial to your ever stepping out of your spiritual garden and following whatever spiritual path you choose. If you pray, it will happen and you will know the time.

    A prophet of God once said,"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, when or what they may."

    Because I chose Christ I don't waste my time listening to people who tell me I'm not a Christian. If detractors follow after me, judge us all by our fruits.

    Rest assured that whatever spiritual path you follow, the whisperings of the Spirit will lead you in the right way if you listen.

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  22. A beutiful garden you have got up there.

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  23. Love the metaphor. What a clear mind,and reflections from the heart- Thank you! Your writing is incredibly inspiring, and opens fresh insights on your topics; You express so clearly on subjects I thought I was clear on myself- but am learning a great deal from your blogs, and others' comments. (I especially loved Eden's comment- metaphors are so practical and useful!) Blessings, Catherine

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  24. I love the growing your garden where you are analogy! I also saw it as a symbol of standing in our power, instead of giving it away to others to run ruin over our lives by making choices on our behalf or telling us who we are. We can do the stuff ourselves--grow ourselves--identify ourselves. No one else can do it for us. Growing your own power = awesome!

    --Adrienne

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  25. I really Appreciate reading this - I have learned that there are no coincidences in life ... ever. I've been so concerned about walking the path, that I sometimes I forget that I have a garden. Thankyou :)

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  26. Great article! I recognize so much things...my mind is "empty" or "silence" as well...I live more in "the Now" and don't worry anymore about tomorrow or the future...I don't think about the past anymore and it feels great!
    But yes, beware of your Ego....we have to keep our faith and hold on to our believes.
    Live from the Heart and be Love, I experience already so much feedback from people in a positive way by receiving great smiles back, receive love back, receive more hugs and even receive lots of compliments about "what a wonderful and sweet person I am"...it's just great!
    I live in a more positive way, negativity just seems to be dissapeared ;-).

    Love and Light,

    Angelique

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  27. So enjoyed reading this. Very helpful on understanding my own spiritual growth and awakening.

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  28. I soooo agree! I spent years studying spiritual & consciousness "theory" and had a hard time incorporating it all into my life.
    The second I took a fully experiential approach to it, things started opening up like crazy.

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    1. Hello Les,
      That was very moving reading and arrived at the most opportune time. After years of meditation (traditional and for the past 5 years Holosync)and self searching, it is beginning to fully dawn on me what this means in an experiential way. I have wondered what is in store and what this might mean having believed for the past 52 years that reality is all that the mind produces.
      It has been a gradual and sometimes painful evolution, pain caused by resistance to what is of course. I was only asking myself this morning what will happen how will i live my life now. Your answer is very clear, sit with it and enjoy the ride.
      Thank you x

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  29. Renee Dwarkadas13 March 2013 at 05:11

    It's so well written.....when a truck passes...hear it go....so Madam 33 is not to be judged....only part I disagree with...everyone is as correct as I.....

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  30. I am sitting in my garden.

    I said today, maybe I can enjoy this process- a lot of the fear is gone.

    I was worried a lot about where the motivation will come from- as this felt so strange.

    I feel you have to get used to it.

    I also feel the motivation will come from intuition- eventually- as you go deeper into the silence.

    But to lose all the ground under your feet is quite something.

    I don't know what I want anymore. Things that interested me- don't anymore.

    Who am I now. As I get comfortable with "not knowing."

    This feels so weird, but peaceful- I just have to get used to it.

    A period of adjustment.

    What to do next- I have no idea!!

    I take one day at a time, and do what's infront of me.

    It's like drifting......


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  31. Love this... I've often heard people imply that true awakening can only come through the experience of a traumatic event. This has never rung completely true to me for a few reasons... 1) I know too many people who just seem to naturally have much less attachment to ego or have awakened gradually, 2) I have met many people who have been through a traumatic awakening but seem to re-attach to the idea of being awake, being "more conscious" than others, unaware of the egoic nature of this attachment, and 3) My vision is that the world is capable of shifting to a new level of consciousness without a cataclysmic event... thus requiring the majority of us to awaken gradually, naturally, sitting in our spiritual garden. Thankfully what draws many of us down this path is exposure to others that have awoken and that momentum is growing!
    Best, and thank you for sharing your experience... Lisa

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  32. Thank you, this advice suits me and my situation at present very well, it feels right. I had felt I should rush around and learn more but what you have said is just so true, I need to just be for a while.

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