6 Steps and 3 Awakenings on the Spiritual Path
Step 1: The first awakening: the world of permanent change
Our whole life is a rush. We chase our desires and unfulfilled dreams. We are attracted by money, power, prestige, a wholesome, happy life. All this lies there hidden behind the powerful iron gate that is towering in front of us.
Spurred by our ambitions, we pursue various goals all through our lives. We aspire for something all the time, we always want to achieve something. This restless rush is instigated by our fear that we are still not what we want to be. We are never satisfied, we always want something else, we would like to be better, more beautiful, richer than we are at present.
That is how we pursue our goals until death, when we realize how meaningless the whole thing has been. But why are these goals meaningless, we begin to protest immediately. The protest is caused by the vary nature of the forms and shapes, as in their world every form and shape is subject to permanent change, birth and death. Whatever we attract to us, we are going to lose it, as everybody departs from this world empty-handed, all those who pursue their goals, live in the spell of past and future.
Our first awakening therefore shows us the real nature of the world, its constant change.
Step 2: The spiritual seeking
We, however, wish to find the security of permanence in our life. We would like to find what is beyond the world of constant change. In order to do so, we become spiritual seekers.
As a first step of spiritual seeking we start to look for enlightenment, Self-recognition in the world of shapes and forms (that is, outside ourselves) in the hope of thus reaching the state of permanent happiness. We intend to find a dogma, a great Master, an elevating spiritual experience that expands our Consciousness. If it is not found here on Earth, we will be looking for it in the other world, in the heaven of a religion.
We use the mind as a mean of spiritual search. It is through the mind that the Ego intends to understand what is beyond mind and forms. The mind in this way prepares the mental image of enlightenment, seeking, happiness etc.
The mental images are born through the comprehensive process of the mind. For comprehension, we also require information, so we shall gather bits of information like a busy ant. From books on religion and spirituality, lectures heard and conversations attended, we are attempting to screen information, ideas, opinions and experience necessary for them. The same takes place with spiritual experience. We assume that if we gather a sufficient amount of experience, as a result we will reach a certain point, we will increase their spirituality.
These mental images motivate us to make efforts at implementing the mental images at the level of daily life, to make these images the cornerstones of our life. Achieving spiritual objectives, however, affords only momentary satisfaction for us, so after achieving one specific goal, relentlessness returns, urging us to start working for new objectives. The mind produces new mental images, and seeking starts all over again.
Step 3: The second awakening: the stop
We then go on seeking, until we eventually become tired of the process, and finally recognize its true nature. That is when we arrive at our second awakening.
We stop and abandon spiritual seeking. We recognize that all the objectives we have so far been looking for outside ourselves, are only found within ourselves.
We will stop when we recognize the activities of the mind and refuse to follow it any longer. We realize that with the help of the mind we will not be able to surpass the mind. We will experience that stopping is the inactive moment of the mind, the silence between thoughts. In that silence, we will experience the Consciousness without forms, and recognize that we are in fact the Presence without thoughts. We then leave behind the spiritual seeker, with all the accumulated knowledge and lofty spiritual experience.
Step 4: The inner journey
We then embark on an inner journey that will take us beyond the Mind. Once we have started our journey, we leave the world behind and abandon everything that has hampered us in our progress. We give up unimportant things in order to be able to concentrate our attention exclusively on the important ones. That is possible by means of a major mental clean-up.
When we begin doing that clean-up in earnest, we will soon face the vast multitude of our thoughts, opinions, ideas and the emotions attached to all these.
After a period of time, we realize that we need to abandon all the unimportant things and trivialities, since these things will be found false in the light of our inner journey. Then we find ourselves all alone, and realize, that we still have not finished. We are still to shed the shadow that we believed to be ourselves.
Step 5: The third awakening: coming home
The third awaking is the awakening of the Conscience to its own existence through the form and shape that we formerly identified with ourselves. After the great clean up nothing remains but the empty space.
But if we examine that space closer, we find that it is full of Consciousness, which is the inner peace, quiet and tranquility. We then realize that we are at home. Whatever now happens in that internal space, we must experience that. We must experience whatever life has to offer, there and then in that specific moment. The next moment does not need to bear the burden of the experience of the previous moment.
Now the question arises whether it is really the end of our spiritual journey? The emptiness is now perfect, but we still need to make the last step in order to become credible spiritual helpers.
Step 6: Comeback
That step will take us to the point where our entire journey began. We return to the world of daily life. We, however, return in a state different from the one in which we departed, since we have undergone considerable changes during our journey. The Mind, the Ego and, together with it, selfishness vanished from ourselves. The emptiness, pulsating with life, and the Consciousness, awakened to its own existence, continue to stay with us. The most beautiful flower of this state of existence is our sympathy with others.
In this way the world will be entirely different for us. We no longer feel en urge to run away from it, and we do not submerge in the swamp of identifying with the world. We are now free from all that, and the world is now a new adventure for us. We abandon ourselves into the streams of Life, and we merge with the Universe. In the meanwhile, we help others in awakening and we share the joy of existence and sympathy with everyone we encounter during our spiritual journey.
~From the book: Frank M. Wanderer: The Revolution of Consciousness: Deconditioning the Programmed Mind
About the author
Frank M. Wanderer Ph.D. is a professor of psychology, a consciousness researcher and writer. Frank is the author of the books The Flames of Alertness: Discover the Power of Consciousness!,The Biggest Obstacle to Enlightenment: How to Escape from the Prison of Mind Games? andseveral books on consciousness. With a lifelong interest in the mystery of human existence, Frank’s work is to help others wake up from identification with our personal history and the illusory world of the forms and shapes, and to find our identity in what he calls “the Miracle”, the mystery of the Consciousness.
You can also follow his blog HERE
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.