When you first become awakened and become conscious of the spiritual world, that you are connected to all else, that your thoughts are not known only to you; you’ve crossed a threshold and there is no going back. You suddenly realize that you have been living a life that is not in alignment with your new reality. You’ve been working to make a living, keep up with the neighbors, get a ahead, save for retirement. You’ve thought things in your head that were selfish and un-kind and now you feel embarrassed that a whole world of spirit beings and angels may have been listening. You’ve cheated, lied and manipulated without worry about the karmic consequences. Upon awakening you find yourself with a whole new list of regrets and things to worry about, feel bad about and beat yourself up over. This is the first conflict you must face in your new awkened state.
For me, I had some adjustments to make, some people to apologize to, some to forgive including myself. I had to acknowledge that I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. I had to give up self-loathing and resolve to live differently going forward. I started to live in alignment with my new knowing. I practiced kindness, I stopped using curse words, I silenced negative thoughts when they arose in my head and I considered my intention in every action.
My awakening shift came after reading Gary Zukav’s book, The Seat of the Soul. In that book, Gary explains that if you participate in an intention you also participate in the outcome. What this means is that Karmically if you lend your energy, time or resources to something with a positive outcome you receive the karma of that positive outcome. However if you lend your resources to a project or activity that has a dubious, unkind or negative outcome, you share in that karma as well. Even if you are unaware of the intention, if you participated, you share karmically in the outcome. Now, it is very important for me to know what the intention is before joining in any activity or contributing financially to any cause. Staying out of karmic debt is my top priority these days.
The second hurdle is figuring out who you are, as a spiritual being. But for most of us we skip this guestion and move on to the third which is, why am I here, what am I supposed to do in the world? We want to jump into our new awakened life with both feet, head first.
It can be very ungrounding to suddenly become awakened. You may litterally feel like you are floating. You will crave new information and look for the “high” that you felt in that first opening, the first download, the first experience of awakening. If you are like me, you’ll buy out the spiritual section at the bookstore. You might even watch, The Secret. You’ll want to quit your mundane job in order to save humanity. And manifest the life you’ve always wanted, a big house with a meditation deck overlooking the ocean view and a plug-in car in the driveway. Yes! Before you tell your boss you’ve become enlightened and convince yourself the angels will provide for you, let me share a Zen proverb for your consideration, Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water, stop for tea and repeat.
That’s right, enlightened or not we still have to do the tasks that sustain life on this planet. We are here in the Earth School after all, to have an earthly experience. Where ever you find yourself working, you are there for a reason. You can certainly contemplate it over tea but don’t stop chopping wood and carrying water. The late great Arthur Ashe is quoted as saying, “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” I tell you, the doorman of your building could be enlightened. And if he is, he will open the door for you and greet your soul differently than the one who is not enlightened. He is doing what he can, where he is and it is making an impact as well as receiving a paycheck to sustain his earthly life.
So now that we’ve established that you should continue to chop wood and carry water let’s get back to the real question you should be pondering, which is, “Who am I?” Ask yourself this question over and over again, the universe will show you. You may not like the answer but start journaling every answer that comes. Once you’ve journaled it, let it go. And ask the question again. It’s like peeling back an onion. Who you are is deep and layered, and it might make you cry.
If you really want to know what you are supposed to do in the world, keep chopping wood and carrying water. When you break for tea, ask yourself, Who Am I? Then repeat. When you get impatient, sign up for an Enlightenment Intensive retreat.