Become a Secret Agent of Global Awakening

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Back in the late 80’s, Jacquelyn Small wrote a fantastic book called Transformers. It was a revolutionary book that influenced me more than anything else I can remember at the time. This was long before Eckhart Tolle came out with The Power of Now, long before Byron Katie developed The Work, and long before Satsang became popular. And in that wonderful book, there’s one particularly wonderful sentence that stands out among the rest.

“You don’t have to be ‘perfectly enlightened’ in order to be an agent of enlightening.”

It’s really worth savoring the taste of that statement like a good wine. Sip it. Let it linger on your taste buds for a few moments. That little sentence dispels so many myths and so many reasons we give ourselves to hold back our true gifts.

The old model, which has dominated the discourse around awakening for so long, is that you must go to an “enlightened master” (almost always a man) to get “de troot.” Through this dynamic, we not only set another human being up on a pedestal, but we also blind ourselves to our own wisdompeople

Thich Nhat Hanh came up with another gem that I also love.

“These days, the sangha is the teacher.”

Sangha means community, the meeting among friends. These days, awakening is not a top-down affair. It happens in mutuality. It happens in friends meeting friends.

So here’s one simple, loving, creative way that you could be a secret agent of awakening starting today. It’s incredibly simple, and I doubt that anyone will even notice that you’re doing it. For about half an hour, maybe during a lunch or a car ride or something, speak about, and ask questions about, what’s true in the present moment. Don’t tell anyone you’re doing it, just do it.

So the conversation might go something like this:

“I was thinking about going to France next Summer, but I don’t know what’s going on with the exchange rate with the dollar.”
Hmmmyeahthe rate does go up and down.” you say. “Look out the window for a moment. Look at the colors on that tree. It looks like just one color, but it’s actually lots of different shades of brown, all dancing together.”

Be careful not to do this in a preachy way. Don’t make someone feel like they’re wrong for talking about concepts or the past or the future. And don’t be rude. If you need to briefly acknowledge what the other person said, then do so. But for half an hour, keep bringing the attention back to the now: to colors, sounds, tastes, and even the feelings in your body. Here are a few interesting questions you can ask about the present moment:

“How do you feel right now?”

“How does your sandwich/coffee/wine/dessert taste?”

“Oh, look at that picture/tree/dog/baby.”

“I have an interesting sensation tight now in my belly/knee/throat/whole body.”

You get the idea. This is just one of countless ways to be a secret agent of awakening. Not through being a teacher or a preacher or a seeker or having anything to sell, but just through your simple presence, bringing everyone’s attention back to where the real goodies are.

I’m going to offer a free tele-seminar this Thursday, November 4th, at 6pm PST. During the seminar, I’m going to share with you this way, plus five other ways, to become a secret agent of awakening. If you can’t make the live event, register anyway, and you can use the play page to listen to the replay.


See you then, I hope!


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16 Responses to “Become a Secret Agent of Global Awakening”

  1. Al Farthing November 2, 2010 at 8:43 am // Reply

    Excellent post — I read most of Small’s books way back when—along with Stan Grof she presented remarkable insights from Holotropic Breath work, as well as superb insights on the addiction process and recovery.
    The work of the Transpersonal theorists and therapists throughout the closing decades of the past century are still vitally current, and regeretfully — somewhat forgotten.
    They were giants of progress in making the insights of depth psycholgy available to billions of people all over the planet, and might be thought of as the ancestors of the worthy teachers that are contributing so richly in this day and age to the quest for truth, wisdom, love and beauty.


  2. rafhara November 2, 2010 at 10:23 am // Reply

    I like this post so so much, Arjuna. And it is an answer to a question I wanted to address to you and Gay regarding the conscious Men Manifesto. I just tell you briefly, so that you know, what I wanted to ask you or share with you as a woman, concerning the manifesto. Don’t feel urged to answer, because it seems to me that you already answered, I am amazed, thank you so much. When I heard the TeleSeminar with the 4 of you, I was so touched in hearing and perceiving what you men are about to bring forward. In the same time, that all what you write is resonating deeply, something is not meeting my innermost core directly. I was looking inside of me what that is: I found the fact that the feminine is still suppressed TODAY, daily by all of us. So it seems to me that in one way it should be written in the present form and every man should be consciously admit, that he is still doing it today in very subtle forms (women do also). Then the question came up.
    How would that look like if a man would be conscious that he IS still suppressing the Divine feminine and if he stays daily present to this truth without moving? Could it be that it would look like you describe in your latest blog? What you are describing, gives me such a sense of freedom, of honoring, of invitation I just drink it in and I am blossoming, right now in the midst of fall. Thank you Arjuna.


  3. Nicole November 2, 2010 at 10:36 am // Reply

    Heh–I keep doing this with my boyfriend, but he keeps switching the conversation back to whatever abstract thing or worldly event he’s thinking about. I can’t fight that tide for long. Eventually, I just sigh and join him.


  4. Erika Harris November 2, 2010 at 11:16 am // Reply

    At. One. Ment.

    This is simply breathtaking… the countless ways I keep running into this beckoning to try radical and extreme experiments of Practiced Presence. Arjuna, what you have asked of us in this gorgeous post:

    “For about half an hour, maybe during a lunch or a car ride or something, speak about, and ask questions about, what’s true in the present moment.”

    That splendid assignment leapt from my heart and into action three weeks ago, and manifest in the form of an online internet radio show dedicated to “full presence and deep listening.” It’s a call-in show that asks the grounding question: “WHAT WANTS TO BE SPOKEN RIGHT NOW?” It’s quite a vulnerable and thrilling place to be… there at the furthest edge of conversation, pushing its boundaries into communion… sacred witnessing.

    I have no precedent for this, and confess to being wildly nervous about the whole affair… holding space for something so counter-cultural… with, as yet, so few callers taking advantage of the space I am holding. It’s a different kind of hospitality, and if you and any of your readers should feel curious enough to take a peek at/listen to what I’m ineffectively describing here, I’d be immensely grateful. So, here’s how I am responding to the call to deepen our interaction with each other:

    Of course I’ve registered for Thursday’s call. Unfortunately I’m committed to a fundraiser at precisely the same time, and will have to listen to the call’s recording; but I do hope to engage live with you or others from this luminous community.

    Love galore,


  5. Jeanette November 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm // Reply

    Hi Ardjuna,

    Thank you for you teleconferences which have helped me so much. I just want to add about the subject of Enlightenment what I heard someone say. It was “Enlightenment cannot take place in the future or in the past but only in the Now moment”. Enlightenment can only happen now. What is your opinion of this?



  6. Lisa Patanella November 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm // Reply

    Thank you for the reminder. I am hearing so much about the importance of integrating spiritual concepts into our everyday living and the value in sharing awakening through the actual living of it. This article is a gentle reminder of how easy it can be for everyone to live an awakened life. Beautiful. And I love the title!


  7. Wendy November 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm // Reply

    The post was delightful and insightful in it’s delivery and thank you. But the words you are using Secret Agent, don’t resonate with me. I guess part of my lifework seems to be a place where bridges can be made to the people who don’t understand all this. And to not use words that tag certain places, as in the very words secret agent put your post into my spam box when it always otherwise shows up in my in box. For instance the word Secret is not even in the new paradigmm which is about the truth. Secret Agent and Spiritual Warrior kind of phrases set up old paradigm visons of fighting for the right or spys in discordant relationships, countries or crimes. What does any of that have to do with what You’re really talking about. So I would shed some light on it per this view as simply, what’s the point of these phrases? If it’s for humor, I can see it, but if we’re trying to open up the new paradigm then it’s going to have to be able to be seen in it’s purity as the way beyond divisions and old paradigm words that only distort the true meanings intended.
    Thank you for hearing me.
    Love and deep Gratitude for how much you have made a voice for the Awakening process and helped orient the grounded steps of presence in the new paradigm into natural life mastery and incresing freedom and Grace.


  8. david November 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm // Reply

    Simple, loving, genius. right here. right now. thanks arjuna. + <3


  9. david November 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm // Reply

    actually, changed my mind (it sure does change a lot, that mind). now i’m not so sure about this (in my case anyway) perhaps if i were an ekhart, katie or arjuna…..but..

    for me this tactic might just be another unconscious strategy of resistantce, avoiding my own stuff. maybe a bit of byron katie work would reveal that this could merely be a manipulative attempt to blame the other for their lack of presence, that they are responsible for my feelings of stuckness and lack of acceptance of life just as it is.

    maybe i should just stick to my own business and by seeing that “they” aren’t present, i’m seeing myself.

    maybe my job then is to simply see them, to feel them, to accept them exactly as they are, what they are doing, saying, thinking, sharing, where they are, and not be so frigging arrogant all the time thinking that any of that is any of my business…

    maybe that could be a better way to be a secret agent for awakening. for this little black duck anyway.

    thanks for the blog.

    helping Me to see me, and me to see Me.



  10. david November 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm // Reply

    yes this hit my spam box also.

    perhaps you could use less controversial subject header like:

    “become an enlightenment terrorist”

    d x


  11. Kae November 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm // Reply

    HaHa! I thought I was just changing the subject because I was determined to quell the negativity around me! The Field works in mysterious ways in my life… 😉 Namaste


  12. Diana Ravagli November 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm // Reply

    This is awesome Arjuna!

    Thank you so much for the invitation. YES! I sign up to be part of the awakening. I practice this as much as my aweareness allows me, although I’m unaware if I carry it out for 30min with someone; I’ve never timed my self, hahaha. Bringing aweareness to my awearness, lol, will be fun!

    I love the “secret” part; it gives it a flare of mistery (maybe it’s me look for the fun in it)and it invites humility in self, which is such a gift to one self and others.

    I’m really looking forward to the other 5!

    Thank you for all that you’re doing, Arjuna!!!



  13. Karin Oscarson November 5, 2010 at 2:41 pm // Reply

    Thank you Arjuna! Just what I needed these days when trying to find gentle and loving ways to help my boyfriend (and others) be more present. But… also… Is my wish to help (?) them not a sign of not being able to accept them as they are?? A wish coming from my ego wanting them to be more present because then I would enjoy their company more? Would be happy to have answers to this!
    Love /Karin


  14. Miha November 6, 2010 at 2:18 am // Reply

    Humans are enlightened at the moment of accepting the enlightened version of them self. We all know very well how this enlightened version acts and lives. So, the question is: “Are we doing it!”

    Thanks for this article!


  15. Uzma November 7, 2010 at 10:15 am // Reply

    Love this. Never thought of it like this. Thank u for a brilliant idea. Definitely gonna practice this


  16. Rene Remington November 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm // Reply

    I resonate with this at a deep level.


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