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  • What is spiritual awakening?
    For some of us, we reach a point in our life where we start to question who we are. This may happen because we have a glimpse of reality (transcendent experience), or perhaps we go through a very stressful or traumatic time that shakes us to our very core. We start to realise that we are not the person we thought we were. We then take a journey deeper and deeper inward to try and find out who we really are. During this process, we start to let go of identities, beliefs, ideas, concepts, and patterns, and heal old unprocessed emotions and trauma. We are transformed on every level. During the unfolding process, we have many realisations and experiences of our true nature, until one day it becomes our permanent way of being. ​
  • Why do I feel alone for no reason?
    There are many layers to the aloneness that we experience during the awakening path. Life will help to activate this deep and painful lesson by removing people from our life and teaching us how to be completely independent. Over time, we start to access an intense existential aloneness that cycles around, going deeper each time. This aloneness can be activated by life events, such as a loved one dying, but often arises with no particular trigger. It is aloneness for no particular reason. A deep, heart-breaking pain is experienced as the mind starts to realise the truth that it actually is alone - there are no other people there. Over time we adapt to this realisation and it is no longer painful.
  • Do I need a spiritual teacher/mentor?
    Everyone has a different awakening path and for some people, it involves a close relationship with a mentor/teacher. For others, it is more of an independent path as they have karmic lessons around developing autonomy and discernment. Regardless of your path, it can be very beneficial to have someone in your life that is further along on the awakening path, to check in with from time to time. It is easy for us to delude ourselves when we're lost in the trance of separation and this can keep us from progressing on the path. A good guide will be able to point out where you have blind spots, so you keep progressing forward.
  • How do I trust the awakening process?
    It is a big ask, trying to trust in the unknown. Learning how to trust the awakening path and the great mystery of who we are, is a process. If you have early childhood wounds around trust or spiritual trauma, such as trusting a dangerous spiritual teacher in the past, then it can be very beneficial to heal this trauma. In the meantime, choose your spiritual network carefully. You may be unconsciously attracted to people who are not healthy for you, while you still have these trauma imprints in your system. If a mentor or teacher is wanting you to move fast in any way then they may not be right for you. It takes time to earn trust and they should continually show you that they are trustworthy. The more you can heal underlying trust issues in your system, the easier it will be to surrender to awakening. Over time you will grow faith in the process so strong that you will be willing to give your life for it, and as an act of love, you will. When this time comes you will be ready, and your love for Truth will outweigh your fear of the unknown.
  • I feel like I'm not getting anywhere with awakening, how can I progress?
    When we haven't made any progress for a while, there is often something that needs to shift. We may need to try a new practice, tradition, teacher or therapist. We can also delay our process if we are scared to face a confronting truth about our life or we are unconsciously avoiding facing deep emotional pain. The more willing we are to sit in discomfort and face whatever life is trying to show us, the more we allow for the natural unfolding to continue.
  • What can I do about all the fear I'm feeling on the awakening path?
    There are many types of fear that you will face on the path, it may be fear around the changes that are happening, about how much you'll lose, or what your life will be like when you're awake. It's completely normal and understandable to have these fears and each one will need to be lovingly worked through. At some stage, you may start to feel existential fear and this will sound more like "I'm scared of not existing". Notice the natural tendency you may have to resist this intense emotion and instead gently lean into it (energetically) going slightly deeper each time you try. It can be helpful to remind ourselves that nothing bad is happening, a fear response is happening in the body due to the mind not being able to understand what is outside of itself. It can be beneficial to meditate on death and what it means to be eternal. This can often soothe existential fear.
  • How do I quieten my busy mind?
    The mind operates automatically in response to outward and inward stimuli that is occurring. We have very little control over what the mind says. From when you were born, the mind was conditioned on a personal and collective level. You were told who you were and how to operate in the world. You were also handed down genetic beliefs from your parents such as "life is unfair", or "I can never succeed". As bad things happen to you in life, and you're not able to emotionally process them for whatever reason, you hold onto that emotion in your system as well as any stories or beliefs that you created about that moment. All of this and more creates the reason why the mind is so busy. If you had a lot of early childhood trauma, your mind is likely to be busier than someone who didn't. This is because there is a lot of unprocessed emotions and thoughts still circulating in the system. To quieten the mind it is important to heal these childhood wounds, getting professional help if necessary. Starting a meditation practice can also be beneficial. Close your eyes and sit extremely still. Notice all the sounds you can hear, try not to label them, just hear them. Stretch your hearing as far as you can. You may start to notice you can hear a deep silence as well. Do this meditation for as long as you have time, ignoring any thoughts and just listening.
  • I hear teachers talking about Truth. What does this mean?
    Truth with a capital T, speaks to the truth of reality or absolute truth, which means it applies to everyone and everything, such as - we are made emptiness, we are formless. There is still truth that applies to people on a relative or personal level such as "I am John". It's true as far that what he's been named, but ultimately there is no person there - that would be the ultimate or absolute Truth. This Truth is what awakening teachers and many traditions are talking about and although it is expressed in slightly different ways, the underlying message is the same. So when a teacher is talking about Truth, they're (hopefully) not referring to their belief about what they think is true, but giving voice to the nature of reality from emptiness itself.
  • What is spiritual bypassing?
    It's an avoidance strategy to avoid the difficult parts of awakening or healing. It's when someone uses spiritual techniques or truths as a way to avoid facing something that they need to see or feel. Once you've learnt some spiritual lingo, the mind can then use it as an avoidance strategy. It can say something like, there's no such thing as enlightenment (which is ultimately true), so I don't need to work on awakening. It's using a spiritual truth to avoid progressing with awakening. Another example could be by saying to yourself, my true nature is whole and unbreakable, (which is ultimately true), so I don't need to go to my therapist anymore. It's trickier to spot than other avoidance strategies because there is often some truth to the justification. This is where a mentor or teacher can be of benefit to you, as they can point out where you are deceiving yourself.
  • I'm new to awakening, where do I start?
    Start by questioning everything. Go about your day but question everything you do. Why do I eat this cereal? Why do I drive to work this way? Why am I nice to this person that is cruel to me? Start with easy inquiries and then make it more challenging by questioning relationships. Why am I with my partner? Why do I talk to my parents? Why do I talk badly to myself? This process prompts you to become more conscious. You have shifted out of the auto-pilot mode that most people are in all their lives. Not only does this make you more conscious, but it also starts to teach you the basics of self-inquiry - which will be a useful technique on the awakening path. You may also see some areas of your life that need a shake-up. It may sound simple, but if done with enthusiasm and persistence, this process can be a game changer.
  • Why am I crying all the time during awakening?
    It is normal to cry a lot during awakening. The crying is a healing and purification process, helping layers of the illusion drop away. The heart is cleansed over and over, allowing for a deeper capacity of emotions to be felt. There is a lot to be sad about and awakening brings up everything that was buried to the surface - past traumas, feeling separate, yearning for home, inner child parts that felt unloved. You also start to have access to collective wounds and trauma. You cry for the state of the world, for the animals, for the endless suffering in general. Walls in the heart that have been put up for protection, start to dissolve. You cry so much that the heart is left raw, exposed, and vulnerable. That is where surrender can happen.
  • How do I do self-inquiry?
    Practice 1: Sit in meditation and once your mind has become quiet, ask the question - who am I? Wait quietly and attentively for the answer. If the mind tries to come up with an answer, then that is not it. You are looking for an experience of your true nature, not a verbal answer. The answer is the gap of silence before the mind starts talking. It may only be for a second and perhaps seem subtle, but if you keep repeating this practice, you will start to see the benefits. Practice 2: Try to locate the "I". When you notice a thought, such as, I'm always late for work, try to locate the one talking. Any time you hear an "I" "me" or "my" thought, try to find the separate entity that is having those thoughts. You are investigating to see if you can find any solid sense of self, any subject that is having these experiences. You may feel confused, disorientated or the mind may go silent. All of that is normal.
  • What are coping and avoidance strategies?
    We have all developed ways to move away from pain and get on with our life. This started as a child, and many of these strategies would have been taught to you by your caregivers (unconsciously). Although they once served you such as if you went through an abusive childhood, learning to be invisible kept you safe. As you go through an awakening, all of these strategies need to be surrendered. This is because they are keeping you from doing the very deep emotional work that is required to wake up. This usually happens quite slowly, bit by bit. Sometimes you'll only realise that one is gone in hindsight. Some examples of these strategies are: - laughing when you need to face a painful emotion - drinking alcohol, drug taking, overeating - distractions such as socialising or watching tv - telling jokes when a serious conversation is necessary - going to the mind instead of feeling into a painful emotion - minimising - telling ourselves that our situation is not that bad - focusing on the problems of the world or people around us instead of looking at our issues - denying what has happened or is happening to us, as it's too painful to face
  • I have realised I am emptiness/the One but I'm still not awake, why?
    We go through many different openings and realisations before we have the first permanent mind awakening (end of seeking). One of these realisations is that we know with every part of our being, that we are not the person, the "me". This is an important step on the journey, but there is more to go. It requires ongoing spiritual practice and healing for this realisation to become embodied. The emotional system, body, and nervous system go through a purification process. The mind is emptied of content as we work through the layers of conditioning. We are prepared on many levels for the huge transformation that is occurring.
  • Are there different stages to the spiritual awakening journey?
    We go through many different transitions and have deeper levels of realisation as we go through the spiritual awakening process. Three permanent shifts are the most significant: - When the mind awakens and realises it is emptiness which is the end of seeking and feels like a rebirth. This is where the egoic tendencies are no longer in control. - When the heart awakens and realises I am everything, sometimes called Unity Consciousness. - The final shift sometimes called no-self which is a body/gut awakening and is sometimes called enlightenment. This is the very end of the spiritual journey. It is easy to confuse earlier shifts that happen when we're seeking for one of these three permanent shifts, which is why it is important to check in with someone who is further along on the path than you. Although getting a taste of your true nature can happen in an instant, the spiritual awakening journey is a long and complex process.
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