The real purpose of practicing yoga is to invite the realization and revelation of spiritual awakening. This is awakening to the True Self–the REAL You. It is awakening to the treasure you are and to the gift you are here to give to the world (Vacillation IV – W. B. Yeats).
Real yoga, or spiritual yoga, is a journey of revelation and process. The way of revelation is not something you can achieve. It is a revelation through Grace.
The journey of yoga as shared here is a journey of progressive awakening. I share with you below 21 signs indicative of progress on the journey.
I will share these aspects of real yoga and awakening over the next several articles. To begin with, let me list these 21 signs that I will explore. Please note that these 21 Signs of Gradual Spiritual Awakening are not linear. I list them as they have arrived here.
However, all are interrelated.
NOTE – This is a progressive article. When I have added one of the 21 signs to this unfolding, the word showing the sign will have a link attached.
21 Signs of Spiritual Awakening Process
Trust in the Process
If there were one word that I would encourage you to explore as a personal mantra, it would be the word, “Trust.”
There is no real progress on the spiritual journey without the willingness to trust that the Universe has your back—which it does. This is the practice of learning to trust the creative potential seeded inside you that Creation intends you to bloom into.
Through the influence of family, tribe, culture, and in my case religion, they teach you to mistrust your own magnificence. Western culture through media and never-ending advertising assures us we are never enough.
I invite the willingness to trust in what appears to be a strange invitation from the Master Jesus when he says:-
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3
When Jesus uses the word “converted” he wasn’t inviting you to convert to another religion.
He is inviting you to convert from someone who lives and believes in separation as opposed to someone who KNOWS they are at one with Creation.
This invitation to conversion is also the meaning of the word “atonement” which is the direct experience of AT-ONE-MENT. Atonement has nothing to do with the feelings of guilt.
Trust as a Little Child
The invitation to “become as a little child,” is not an invitation to regress to a state of infantile awareness.
It is an invitation to return to trusting life as small children do before they have the shades of the prison-house thrown around them (William Wordsworth) .
Another word for trust is faith.
However, most hierarchical religions have turned faith into blind faith with the blind leading the blind. True faith is not adherence to a scripture or creed but trusting the invisible Presence within you that animates your life.
Trust and faith are more about your willingness to explore your FEELING connection to this force or inner presence.
To FEEL the force means you alchemize the dark star of personal separation into the KNOWING of the astonishing Light of your own Being.
Feel the Force Luke—Obe One Kenobi to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
In learning to trust you learn the Universe has your back despite appearances to the contrary.
Trust as Letting Go
Trust is letting go and letting Love.
Most of us have learned to mistrust, “This thing called Love.” However, most of us have never explored the fullness of the journey that is the Return to Love (Marianne Williamson)
It helps if you have been around, or are around someone, who KNOWS or glimpsed the fullness of the journey and lives from this revelation of Love. They have only one real intention that becomes the ardent wish of their heart.
Hafiz the Sufi mystic says it this way.
I wish that when you are lonely or in darkness that I could show you the astonishing light of your own being.—Hafiz of Shiraz
In this world of time and space there is much loneliness and darkness.
Authorized in Trust
Only a mystic is authorized to guide you into the Light and the delight of your own Being. They are authorized by grace.
A mystic is not a believer. A mystic is a KNOWER. They KNOW and trust the astonishing light of their own Being.
The mystic is not out to convert you to a system of belief. Their interest is in pointing to the mystery beyond belief. Mystics are not logic choppers. They KNOW the limitation of words.
They especially KNOW the paradoxical power of silence.
Within each of us there is a silence, a silence as vast as the universe. And when we experience that silence, we remember who we are. ― Gunilla Norris
Trust means you acknowledge that you do not KNOW what Love is in the fullest sense of that word but that you desire to KNOW.
This is a real challenge because it means you have to take a walk into the unknown.
It is far more comfortable to belong to a group dynamic who do not KNOW but at least have an illusory sense of certainty through power of numbers.
Take the 1st step into the unknown through some practice of meditation, prayer or contemplation. It has to be an inner journey into the silence and stillness that speaks. (Eckhart Tolle)
SIGN NO 3 – The Language of Paradox (Posting 12th November 2019)
Speaking from personal experience, one of the key aspects of progressive spiritual awakening is your increasing level of creativity and levels of excitement and enthusiasm.
This is because you are wakening to union with Creation that designed you to express through you. The result is you expand into this allowing and through self-emptying Creation pours through you.
This is the promise of the Master Jesus when he declares:-
I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly—John 10:10 KJV
This is not more life through increased material success but more life as living from Presence.
It is from this FELT union with Presence that you live as a pouring forth of Creation. It is the movement of Love in service to the highest good.
Creativity expands to the degree you trust and will get out of the way. Creativity happens. It is a drawing forth from within.
This is the true meaning of the word ‘education’ which means, “To draw out.” This is a real university education because you are being in-formed by the Universe.
Freedom to be Creative
One of my all-time favourite books is Creativity—Unleashing the Forces Within by Osho. It was such a wonderful book that I gave it away.
Creativity is the fragrance of freedom—Osho.
This is freedom from the overthinking personal mind that thinks it is creative when it is only a dynamic of the past.
Creativity happens when you are empty of the personal self so that the Universal Self can express the fullness of Creation.
This requires trust, which is foundational for living the spiritual life.
Genuine creativity is supported through the practice of witness consciousness whereby you observe the antics of the Madman in the Cave of Your Skull—the ego.
The sense of the personal self does not want you to awaken because in awakening is its death into life. This is not your death but your rebirth into Presence.
This is the invitation from all mystics of all traditions who KNOW what real creativity is. They say to you:-
Die before you die so you KNOW there is no death.
This is the psychological death of the sense of the separate self that you think you are.
It is the life that we all try to save, but in doing so keeps us imprisoned within the dimension of time and space.
The Master Jesus says it this way:-
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.- Matthew 16:25
What you lose in trying to save your personal life is the KNOWING of eternal life as your true nature and essence. This is a profound loss, although in truth you never lose this connection.
However, you do FEEL the loss of this connection that you create through your identification with the personal overthinking mind.
Do not judge creativity by standards applied to productivity and achievement. Measure creativity through the experience of flow, excitation, and loss of time. This requires that you return to feeling embodied.
Real creativity takes you out of time. It is not thinking about. It is being thought through. You become as a little child and you enter the Kingdom of expansive Presence. More to the point, you allow the Presence to enter you.
Creativity is not about whether it is good enough and certainly not about whether you are good enough. It is about your intention. Make it your intention to be a channel of Love’s unique expression as designed to come through you.
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. – Martha Graham Dancer
You need to be discriminating in how you share your creative expression. Treat this creative unfolding in the way you would treat the creativity of a small child. You make sure you are protective of its unfolding.
The Madman in the Cave of the Skull will stomp on your blooming creativity. Do not fight these judgments. This is like pouring oil on troubled waters. Witness these judgments that come.
If you resist these judgments, they will persist. This is the meaning of the strange Biblical instruction, “Resist not evil.”
In the Buddhist tradition, they call witnessing the antics of the overthinking personal mind detachment. Detachment is not the absence of feeling. It means the absence of over reactive emotional activity.
Practiced correctly detachment leads to a deepening sense of compassion for those caught up in the drama of the personal self and much less drama in your life.
The Power of Paradox
As you enter the revelatory power of paradox, you no longer take religious, spiritual or wisdom teachings literally.
You understand their inner metaphysical and mystical invitations. Therefore, the Master Jesus Christ speaks in parables.
It is why Zen Masters gives their students Zen koans such as-
What is the sound of one hand clapping—Zen koan?
The dualistic logic-chopping mind cannot answer this question. You can only answer such a question through the experience of revelation.
Paradox to the rational mind is illogical. For example, when you get comfortable with paradox, you will understand the Emptiness that is forever Full and the Thunder of Silence.
The logical mind will protest that either something is empty, or it is full and that there are degrees of emptiness and fullness in between. However, logically, there cannot be fullness and emptiness at the same time.
The mystic will smile. They have been to the Placeless Place where opposites meet. They invite you to:-
Trade logic for bewilderment – Rumi
The Language of Fundamentalism
By fundamentalism, I mean the individual unprepared to question the basic tenants of the religious and spiritual teachings they follow but who take such teachings as gospel.
The fundamentalist is not comfortable with paradox.
For the fundamentalist religious and spiritual teachings have to be certain. They cannot be black or white. They cannot be both at the same time.
Truth is beyond certain.
There is only one certain truth and that is, “God is Love.” (do not confuse with the statement “God is Loving”).
For example, the fundamentalist is unlikely to understand the paradoxical beauty of the statement by Rumi that says:-
The dewdrop is in the Ocean and the Ocean is in the dewdrop—Rumi.
Or from the father of yoga Patanjali:-
The self is in the Self through the self—Patanjali.
Or from the Master Jesus:-
I am in the Father and the Father is in me—John 14:11
The logical mind will declare that the Ocean cannot be in the dewdrop because the Ocean is vast and the dewdrop so small.
Logic can never grasp Truth. It will always reduce the truth to concepts of either this or that.
Metaphysically speaking, this is the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It didn’t just happen long ago in a Garden with a talking snake.
It is happening now in your life as you live from identification with the personal logic chopping mind that divides everything into opposites of good versus not so good.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.― Rumi.
This is the infinite field of Presence beyond the duality of right and wrong.
The Language of Metaphor
The Bible is a metaphorical map for understanding your mind and your relationship to the Divine Mind. Read it any other way and you miss its glorious invitation.
They read their Bible day and night. Where they read black, I read white—William Blake—English painter and mystic poet.
Reading the ‘black’ is reading the words without insight and without the grace experience of revelation (white). You can believe in ‘black’ but you have to go beyond belief into The Cloud of Unknowing to live from and within the Light (white).
When I was a child living in Northern Ireland, they taught me to read the Bible with an emphasis on the black and with an emphasis on feeling guilty. This was and still is, the blind leading the blind.
Story of the Journey of Spiritual Awakening
Another example of taking wisdom teachings literally rather than metaphorically or metaphysically is the Bible story of the Flight of the Jews from Egypt.
When you are in spiritual kindergarten, you interpret these stories literally. We take Egypt to mean a place in the Middle East. We associate the Pharaoh with pyramids. The desert and the Promised Land are some place you go to.
In this way, you miss the guidance that we intend this story to provide on the journey of spiritual awakening.
When you move beyond the literal interpretation, which most religious hierarchies do not want you to do you become your own authority in matters spiritual. They are out of a job and you are on the road to freedom.
Understanding the Story
The Biblical story of the Flight of the Jews from Egypt is your story. This is everyone’s story. It is the story of your personal identification with your overthinking mind. It is the journey of spiritual yoga.
This story is a great map of the journey of spiritual awakening, but you need to read it metaphysically rather than literally.
To get spiritual guidance from this story, you need to stop taking the story literally and explore it from a metaphysical point of view. You explore the following key aspects of this story.
- Red Sea
- Promised Land
- Return to Egypt
I will be adding a free Ebook as regards this story for those who would like to understand this story as a premier map of the journey of spiritual awakening.
In the meantime, if you wish to be informed when this will be available, I suggest that you join the Yoga Journey for Life Community.
To read more of the 21 Signs of Spiritual Awakening including:-
you will need to click the link to Page 2 of this exploration of the signs of spiritual awakening.
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