Awakening to spiritual consciousness, realization and self-mastery has always contained within it many potential challenges. Some are fun, some are a real pain in the butt. In the end however the skills developed in learning to move through them are the very skills that we used to move further.
A friend once told me a story: he had taken it upon himself to help a butterfly get out of the cocoon that it seemed to be struggling with. Having a good heart he helped to remove some of the trappings that were keeping the butterfly in. Then he went about his day. It was only a few days later when we related the story that he realized that the very muscles developed when the butterfly broke apart it’s cocoon were the ones which were required to fly. In essence he had killed the butterfly.
A similar thread exist in all struggles. There is always the opportunity to develop our strengths and these strengths allow us to explore higher and vaster realms of ourselves. This article will address several areas that are usually encountered at one stage or another on the path to self-realization.
There is the struggle of moving from the societal collective stream of consciousness, to one of an explorer, branching out to new areas and searching new depths. New paradigms usually go through a process. First there is disbelief, then ridicule, then perhaps reluctant acceptance, and finally it will be accepted as norm. As explorers we are usually exploring aspects outside of the norm, perhaps in the realm of disbelief and ridicule. Moving away from a majority consciousness will often require that we work through a certain amount of energetic and emotional resistance – both from within and without. This new direction can be supported by understanding that regardless of doubt and regardless of confusion a way still exists. The essence of effort is that it is and will find a way given time. Creating a sanctuary both in the physical reality and in our own selves will provide us with the support that we initially need to push out from the collective flow. In time we will develop enough of our own momentum and inner strength to be able to maintain our direction regardless of the flow of the collective stream.
“The greatest sanctuary of all is a disciplined and focused mind.”
There is the struggle of moving from programmed patterns of being into conscious awareness. Patterns of emotion and being have within them a very strong inertia. It is this stream of consciousness that we are meeting when we first make the decision to be aware. Be gentle. Awareness in itself is a powerful step and it is often confronting to observe the inner working of the self.
“Awareness gives us options.”
There is the struggle of moving from consciousness into directing the creation of reality. Awareness alone affects a change but not necessarily the change that we wish. We must understand what we are seeking and direct our consciousness toward the reality that we desire. In a moment of consciousness everything floats for a moment. In this space we can guide our minds to realize that the consciousness we seek exists here and now.
“Energy goes where attention flows. Realize your desires and they will become apparent.”
There is the struggle of doubt. Imagine trying to see the night sky through a brick wall. This is often the experience when we first attempt to connect with new consciousness. In time we may see just one star, but perhaps so faintly that it is easy to dismiss. Doubt can prevent us from ever looking again, however if we continue to look we will eventually realize that there is in fact a brick wall obscuring our vision. With further enquiry we will discover methods to take out bricks, perhaps one by one at first, but eventually many bricks at a time. One day we will gaze unhindered at the full night sky. We will acknowledge that the presence of doubt told no true account of what did indeed lie beyond.
“Argue for your limitations and sure enough you’ll have them.” R. Bach
There is the struggle of pride. The “master’s trap” has always been pride. The more “advanced” we become, the more understanding we gain, the more our ego believes that it is better, “higher” and more worthy of respect and praise. It is a game. The real power of pride comes from knowing that we can bow our heads to the true quest: the quest for realization and self-mastery. The massive trip of false pride gives us the opportunity to find humility, to know that it exists regardless and to be open to learning and growing. In time a glowing and genuine pride is realized, it is one which is honorable to our “highest” self.
“With a beginner’s mind, see things as they are.”
There is the struggle to understanding how to systematically connect with powerful spiritual experiences on a daily basis. Big shifts occur when we have our first powerful spiritual experiences. We often perceive them as dramatic simply because relative to our usual everyday life they are. In time we may wish for our spiritual experience to become the norm, rather than the exception. When we integrate spirit into our everyday life then everyday life becomes spiritual. “Profound” will have different meaning for different people. For some the stillness and silence they receive from simple meditations will be regarded as profound, for others astral projection or meeting their higher self is what is sought. When spirituality becomes truly important in our lives then we will find that not a moment goes by that we do not seek to be aware, observe consciousness and integrate our spiritual practice. We thirst for more and more knowledge, we question, we study and we teach. Then one day we realize that many of the things that we once sought have already happened.
“Before we are seekers mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. When we seek understanding mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers. When we have understanding then mountains are mountains and rivers and rivers.”