Monday, October 31, 2011

Spiritual Awakening: The Quickest Way to Awaken Through Experience

It is said that there is nothing that can be done to achieve spiritual awakening - that it is something that is bestowed by grace. And yet it is suggested that we can prepare the ground for it to happen, by making ourselves available to it. My understanding of what this means is to try to live joyfully with as much awareness as possible in the present moment.

So we are told that the quickest way to spiritual awakening is to regularly use some of the many different meditation techniques that can help us to practise awareness. And to bring that awareness into every aspect of our lives.

I have heard time and again, from many different spiritual masters, that enlightenment is not something that can be achieved by doing - rather it is the ultimate stopping of doing that allows that quantum shift in consciousness to happen. Yet for most of us, we seem to have to try everything possible to make it happen before we reach a point where we can give up. And give up at such a deep level that a surrender happens and we allow our self, our identity, to dissolve into universal consciousness.

I have tried many different techniques to help me to live more in the present, with a relaxed awareness that seems to naturally bring more joy and pleasure in life. The most intense and powerful technique I've found for myself is Osho's Dynamic Meditation, which is a mix of intense activity and catharsis followed by silence and celebration.

Osho made the analogy that if you want a hyperactive child to sit still, the best way is to tire them out first, then they will sit still naturally. In the same way, our modern minds seem to need to "let it all out" before they will easily settle into a meditative state.

I have also had the luxury of participating in a number of silent retreats and vipassana retreats, and those were certainly beautiful experiences. Yet for me, they were more like a holiday from the world. For me to bring a meditative awareness into my daily life it works better to have a regular practise that is a part of my normal existence.

I saw a quote from Adyashanti in which he says that many people think that enlightenment is an altered state of consciousness. But, he says, enlightenment is the ultimate state of living in unaltered reality -- it is our egos which alter reality, based on all of the filters that we see the world through. So having an ego gives us an altered state of consciousness, and it takes us a lot of energy to maintain that sense of altered reality. Enlightenment is a relaxation into a pure experiencing of the way reality truly is.

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