Integration of an awakening

When I was on the uphill part of my journey, chasing to see this elusive ‘awareness’ that all the spiritual books were talking about, I was focused only on that. I did not have any thoughts about how life would unfold after finding it.

It was a bit like when I was one of the women in the birth-preparation class, pregnant with my first child. We were all totally focused on the birth process. This was the big goal to reach. We did not think much about what life would be afterwards.

And then?

Then there was a newborn to take care of. Sleepless nights; much responsibility for a little baby but no experience yet; difficulties with nursing; the body healing from the ordeal of pregnancy and birth; an onslaught of well-meant but annoying advice from nearly everyone. And in my case, there was a sudden, severe onset of rheumatoid arthritis on top of it all.

Similar on the spiritual journey. On the uphill part, I was focused to find consciousness, awareness. Focused to find that place which Nisargadatta Maharaj was talking about in his book I Am That.

And then?

Somehow I did not worry about how life would unfold after finding that. I thought since the spiritual teachings which I read told repeatedly how important it was to wake up to awareness, I assumed that somehow this must be it. After reaching that goal, then somehow everything would fall in line and life would be wonderful or whatever.

Yeah…. , dream on!

On the one hand, life did become more wonderful with little miracles and synchronicities. Or I was in a mental place where I would notice synchronicities more.

But on the other hand, there was a good deal of integration to be done. More lessons and more tests.

The lessons were about the relationship between consciousness and the material world. Now that I knew that I was awareness, what did it mean to live that in everyday life? It was pointed out to me that the way how I treat others comes back to me (Golden Rule).

The tests revolved around topics such as: How calm could I stay in the middle of challenging circumstances? How well could I manage my thoughts and stay away from anger and grief regarding past disappointments?

To sum it up, awakening to the fact that we are awareness which is beyond the body and the mind, which embraces as well as permeates everything, and which is the only constant in a world of ever changing things, – this is important. Yes, very important. But it is not the end of the journey. It is more like an important milestone.

It is like a shift in perception, like that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. Or that the earth is round and not flat. And after this shift in perception, a new part on the journey starts. Like believing that the earth is round and not flat did enable people to not fear to fall off the edge of the earth when they went out too far (- old maps said about the edge of the flat earth , ‘here be dragons’). Instead they could sail out far and discover new continents.

Likewise, a new chapter in life started for me after awakening.

Insights and integration: what is an appropriate action?

I regard coming to see myself as awareness as the arrival on the metaphorical mountaintop of my spiritual journey. Afterwards the downhill part of the journey started.

I think of the downhill part as two strands. Strand A is about integration, that means  getting lessons, going through tests, and gaining some insights. It is also about developing intuition and courage, and about divine help and manifestation.

Strand B is about guidance to share and my resistance or surrender to it. Since this resistance vs surrender topic was huge for me, I present it as a separate strand. As a visualization for strand B, I chose a river. Resistance to the flow is like running in circles at the riverside. Surrender is like being in the river and going with the flow.

I have thought about how to structure this properly and come up with the decision that I will start with stories of strand A  roughly in the order in which they occurred in time,  and then I will mix in stories of strand B when they fit.

What is an appropriate action?

Around May 2012, I’ve had some events and also dreams around the question ‘What is an appropriate action?’

On the spiritual path, we are often told that we should do what Love would do. But here,  it can get difficult. What is it exactly that Love would have us do?

Regarding the time frame, these stories occurred during the time period on the mountaintop. But since the topic is about lessons, I place them here.

Rejected book recommendations

For example, I had come upon a website where someone wrote reviews about many of his favorite spiritual books. Through his site, I had found Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God  which had touched me deeply. So, I contacted him and thanked him for his book recommendations.

Then I thought since he was an avid reader, maybe he would like to know more great book titles. And so, I shared books which I had liked a lot, like Life of a Yogi  by Paramahansa Yogananda, Path to No-Self  by Bernadette Roberts, and ACIM.

But  he rejected every single one of these books. Then, he even admonished me not too read too much. He said that the path wasn’t about the books. But what really counted was the application in real life.

I agreed that it was about application in real life. But I was just starting on this spiritual journey and was hungry for reading. I devoured books in every free minute of my otherwise busy life. Imagine getting that admonishment not to read too much from someone who had published reviews of about hundred books on his own website! Why was it okay for him to read a lot, and why was it not okay for me to read a lot? I was a bit surprised to say the least.

After that event, I thought, ‘Was it an appropriate action to share my favorite book titles with him at all?’

It felt like the right and most loving thing to do. But shouldn’t my intuition have warned me that it was futile and not an appropriate action at all?

Last minute movie tickets

In another story, I had wished to see the movie The Intouchables.

At 6 pm, my husband checked the internet and found out that it would be shown at 7 pm right in our movie theater in our town.

So, we had dinner and then arrived at the cinema at 7 pm and got the last two tickets – and these were even two places just next to each other.

It all worked out perfectly. So, last minute decision to go and watch this movie obviously was an example of an  appropriate action.

The melon and the bus driver

Then I had a dream. I wanted to bring a watermelon to a bus driver. I remember running to the bus driver while carrying the heavy and big watermelon in my hands. It was awkward and exhausting for me, but I felt very determined to bring my gift to the bus driver.

The bus driver was about to drive away. But as he saw me, he got out of the bus in order to take my melon.

Suddenly his bus drove off all by itself without the bus driver in it.

I thought that the dream meant to tell me that even a well-meant action can have bad consequences. I saw it as a lesson that I should never be so sure that my well-meant actions will always be in alignment with what my Higher Self wanted me to do.

I felt reminded of a funny advertisement video (in German, 36 seconds) where an old lady is waiting at the bus stop. A young man comes up to her and assumes that she wants to cross the street. So, he grabs her arm and leads her across the street even though she protests. When she gets to the other side of the street, her bus arrives but she cannot enter the bus anymore because she is on the wrong side of the street. The young man, however, walks away, seemingly very content with himself about the good deed he has just done.

Now, what is an appropriate action? How come that people sometimes do harmful things even if it comes from a place of good intention? I had no answer. I was only made aware of the issue.


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).