(by Arjuna Ardagh and Jonathan Robinson)
The deepest, most unconscious and limiting beliefs that you and I hold are about who we are: about our own identity. Who you think you are is the foundation of everything else in your life. We know that from our ordinary human experience. When you feel great about yourself, or when you are in love or get a lot of appreciation, then doesn’t life flows more easily. When you are feeling low, guilty, or you have just been criticized, then what happens? We have noticed that good things don’t flow quite so well, and even if they do, we don’t feel so open to receiving anyway.
And so it is that we all try to feel better about ourselves, and shift from a negative self image to a positive one. Its called improving your self-esteem. But many times we find out that it’s a slippery slope, and we may even discover that positive beliefs about yourself can be just as limiting as negative ones were.
Today, many many people from all walks of life are dipping into another dimension of who we all are. Beyond the thoughts we have about our bodies, or our finances or our relationships, beyond even our name and our history, and beyond even all thoughts and feelings, there is who is experience this very moment. Here, now, as these words are being read. Who is reading them?
Lets take a moment right now, in the middle of this blog post, to investigate for real. You are reading words now, right? Hieroglyphics on a white screen? And they are seen, yes? Seen by whom? The eyes send signals to the brain so the words can be read by you. What is that you? You can probably also hear sounds, yes? Who hears them? When we investigate this question, we first come to find all kinds of thoughts and concepts about identity. Memories. Ideas. Things we have read or understood. And then beyond all that, there is silence. There is consciousness that has no limits, no beginning and no end. So many people are coming to taste that dimension of themselves which is free. We call that a moment of awakening. Once it has been tasted, it is accessible any time, any place, because it is not an experience which comes and goes, it is the awareness common to all experience. You don’t need a special teaching to have access to this, you don’t need twenty years of practice, because it is now known to be who you are.
For thousands of years, we have been led to believe that it’s necessary to make a choice between thriving in the world in a material way, in relationships or finances, and knowing your true nature: awakening. Today we are finding out that not only is this not true, but actually the very contrary is actually the case. The more you relax into presence, the more your gifts actually manifest, and the more you allow your gifts to manifest and give your gifts, the more easy spaciousness becomes.
You’d be amazed how many really prominent people, who we all admire, people who have made enormous impact in the world, found their gift from out of that spaciousness. John Gray, for example, who wrote Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, spent 9 years in intensive meditation retreat before he wrote his first book. Jack Canfield was interested in awakening long before he started to teach success. Lynne Twist, who has raised more than 2 billion dollars to end hunger, started her career with a deep exploration of herself. People like these, and thousands more like them, all began their career as spiritual aspirants, but out of that spiritual aspiration, and out of resting in awakening, their gifts manifested.
People often think of awakening as something that happens at church or when meditating. However, the true thrivers we have been investigating are people who do not only taste that awakening in one compartment of their lives, but for whom it has become a thread that helps with every aspect of their life, whether it be parenting, finances, health. The more you have awakening as an undercurrent in different areas of life, the more you’ll feel like you’re thriving.
There’s a really big difference between having a moment of awakening, which you can call a spiritual experience, and living your life from awakening, which is actually the fruit of a fully examined life. The great visionary, Ken Wilber, differentiates between states and traits. A ‘state’ is something you drop into now and then as a little flash. A ‘trait’ becomes an abiding quality in your life.
In our default state of consciousness, we try to avoid unpleasant experiences, and grasp to pleasant ones. But when your life becomes about awakening, it doesn’t really matter if something goes the way you want or not, because you always can learn from it, you can always be present in it. Therefore, it’s easier to thrive since every moment gives you an opportunity to be present and in touch with a source of your life.
As this unnecessary split between awakening and material well-being is now being broken down, not only are we discovering that awakening is the foundation for a life well lived: we are discovering that when people really focus deeply on what they’re good at, that awakening becomes a natural by-product.
For example, very few people know that Steve Jobs, the founder of what is now the most valuable company in America, started out his career by going to India and meditating. The whole idea of his computer company came out of his spiritual search.
When you start to awaken to your true nature, you start to bring out other people’s true nature as well, and they become attracted to you. The taste of awakening attracts people who want to work with you, help you and support you. And the net experience of that is you feel extremely abundant.
We continue with our series of classes this Thursday, September 22nd, at 6pm Pacific Time. Our guests are Sally Kempton and Genpo Roshi. Please register here for the series. You will get a link to a page where you can listen to the class live, and have free access to the replay for 24 hours.