Written by Matthew Bate, 17th of July, 2018
In Part 1 of this series about the Process of Awakening we spoke about how humanity is suffering from a primary cultural wound, a wound which then manifests into all of the suffering and fragmentation we see in our lives and in the world. This primary wound being a split between our head and body, causing a disembodied state which disconnects us from our inner female pole of consciousness, dividing and fragmenting our very being and distorting the way we experience and perceive the world. This distortion occurs primarily by shifting us from a state of ‘feeling’ the world, being anchored deeply in each present moment and attuned to the wholeness and inter-connectedness of nature, to one of ‘thinking’ and intellectualising our way through the world, falsely seeing ourselves as separate from each other and from nature.
We also wrote about how on top of this, humanity is suffering from what embodiment expert Philip Shepherd calls ‘whole-blindness’. Whole-blindness is a state of limited awareness that becomes entrenched when one is disembodied, and is characterised by one believing that they are separate from and independent of nature, and one literally becomes blind to the fact that they are a part of a much greater web of relationships whereby nothing stands alone from anything else. (For a much more in depth explanation of this please checkout Philip Shepherds book ‘Radical Wholeness‘.)
In this article we wish to talk expand on the next stages that generally occur once one becomes aware of their fragmented internal state and begins the process of embodiment.
The initial stages of the process of awakening
The process of awakening is also a multilayered process and therefore defining it based on just one perspective can be very limiting, in saying this, I will do my best to help the reader understand this process based on my own personal experiences.
One thing that I can say for certain, is that the awakening process is not a process of reaching complete bliss or nirvana as some may be led to believe. One may have experiences like these along the way, in particular an increase of peace, grounded self confidence, and joy, however the reality is that it can be (especially in the early stages) a highly destructive and messy process, whereby everything one has ever believed and understood is (out of necessity) broken down, in order to be rearranged and rebuilt on a new foundation of unwavering truth and authenticity.
I will also add that I certainly do not claim to be enlightened or fully awake, I am simply on my journey, and I most definitely do not judge any stage of the awakening journey as being “better” or “worse” than any other stage. My personal preference and internal drive is to pursue the path to awakening, but that is not everybody’s preference and path – and there is nothing wrong with that.
The first stage of the awakening in my experience, is where one begins to see the heavy influence over one’s psyche and mind that has been generated by one’s society and culture. An effect that could be likened to the influence a hypnotist has over a participant at a hypnotist stage show, whereby the participant is under the influence of a powerful hypnotic spell that controls their subconscious mind. This hypnotised trance placed upon us by our culture can be likened to a type of induced sleep, which is a major reason why reviving ourselves from this hypnotised state is described as an ‘awakening’.
The 1997 movie ‘The Truman show’ starring Jim Carrey depicts the awakening process beautifully. For much of the movie Carrey’s character ‘Truman Burbank’ has been heavily hypnotised by the culture of the fake world he lives in. He lives a mechanical life whereby he thinks he is in control of is decisions and impulses, however nearly everything he does has been deliberately conditioned into him. The creators of the Truman show hypnotise and brainwash him from birth using a clever combination of external influences such as the education system, mainstream media, his inner circle of friends and family, as well as using fear and shame as useful tools to ensure he never wants to leave the town. They also induce into Truman (using a mixture of deliberately created childhood traumas and fears) a form of Stockholm syndrome, which is where a captive becomes so familiar with their captivity that (despite being held captive) are too afraid to leave.
In the early stages of the awakening one begins to see how we have been influenced by the forces in our western culture in a very similar fashion as Truman Burbank, and how our lives and daily decisions are very mechanical and predictable. Just about every thought we have, every decision we make, and every action we take is not truly based upon free will, but instead are heavily influenced by the insidious and pervasive influence of external forces, implanting suggestions into our minds from a very young age. This is where we begin to question and scrutinise everything, from our every thought, decision, and action, to every thing that is told to us by the culture in which we are raised. Essentially, we begin to become me self aware and begin to observe/witness ourselves more effectively.
“Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.” G.I. Gurdjieff
This stage is characterised by an increase in one’s ability to look at the world around them from a place of objectivity, rather than just blind acceptance of what one has been told. This can awaken one to political, corporate, scientific, and/or religious corruption, human, environmental and animal exploitation, as well as lies and distorted truths about human history and human origins. This however is a very precipitous and delicate stage, and one can easily choose to go back to into their hypnotised sleep, or (to reference the movie ‘The Matrix’) to take the ‘blue pill’ and have the spells of their culture pulled back down over their eyes. One may choose to go back into the illusory comforts of mechanical life.
The delicate nature of this stage arises from the fact that as the very foundations and framework of how we view and perceive the world are challenged and rattled, it can make us feel extremely uneasy, afraid, and uncertain. This is largely because of the phenomena known as ‘cognitive dissonance’, which is a psychological term used to describe the deeply uncomfortable feelings that arise when we are presented with information that directly conflicts with and challenges our long held and steadfast beliefs.
The Forces that influence us
In the early stages of awakening, we begin to see how mechanical and programmed our behaviours, beliefs, choices and actions have really been. We begin to see how just about everything in our lives has been influenced by external forces. We are like sleep walkers, appearing to be awake and fully conscious, but it is not so.
Let’s look further at these external forces.
Our choices and beliefs are initially (and naturally) influenced by our inner circles of family, friends and the community we are raised in, however in western civilisations we are also particularly influenced by the education system, the economic and corporate system, religion, western medicine, as well as Hollywood and the mainstream media. In modern times social media has become a big influence on the human race (in particular the youth), however it is just a more effective method of how we were already being (and still are) programmed by the television and cinema screens. The early stages of the awakening are about becoming aware of and discerning towards these forces, and it is natural and (arguably necessary) to become disillusioned (and angry) with them.
A big danger in the early stages of the awakening is the fact that our western culture does not provide a safe and nurturing space for one to awaken within. Rather than support and encouragement, many people who begin awakening to and questioning the status quo of their culture are met with judgmental and “concerned” family and friends, who, from their still culturally conditioned and mechanical/asleep frameworks, may be convinced that the one awakening is going crazy or losing their minds. This lack of support and judgement, on top of the already deeply uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, can cause those who do not have strong resolve to consciously choose to close down their rapidly evolving awareness and to hide what they are experiencing from the world. People around the one awakening may even become angry and bitter towards them. This anger however, more often than not, arises from underlying fears, in particular the fear of change and the fear of being out of one’s comfort zone. This is because those who are afraid to grow and challenge themselves will not want others to grow and evolve either, because the one evolving and breaking free from the status quote shines a spotlight onto their inner fears and insecurities that they would prefer to hide from.
The other danger in the early stages of the awakening process is if we become overly angry with the world around us. Anger in the awakening process is natural as we begin to realise how suppressed, controlled, deceived, and manipulated we have been by external forces. However, it is important that our anger is properly processed and converted into a healthy resolve and conviction. If this does not occur then the anger can convert into bitterness and trigger a victim mindset, which in truth is just a mask for covering up unresolved hurts and traumas. This is where learning embodiment practices in order to ground and integrate stray internal energies is crucial. Unresolved and unprocessed anger and fears can also lead to a life of destructive addictions, such as my nearly 12 year battle with sleeping pills. This is largely because the pain of seeing the world for how it is, and from dealing with our inner traumas can become too much for some people.
If however one chooses to continue down the path of their awakening, accept the new information and level of awareness coming in, properly integrate and ground the arising emotions (including anger and fear), and not allow the criticism of people around them to rattle them too much, then they will begin feeling strong and irresistible urges to align their life with their new state of expanded awareness.
This is an exciting stage, but it is also where things can get even messier, for with a new state of awareness comes a new way of seeing things. It can be like having a shaded cloth removed from your eyes where you begin to see yourself and the world with a new clarity. However this clarity is often not nice or comfortable, for it forces one to see things as they actually are, rather than through a lens of wishful thinking, or through a lens conditioned by one’s culture.
The natural byproduct of this shift in terms of how we perceive the world (from wishful thinking to a sober and objective state), is that we begin to wake up to everything in our lives that had been previously built on the foundation of the inner male tyrant*, which is basically a foundation of lies. illusions of separateness, and self deception. We also begin to wake up to how disturbing some of the darkness within our world actually is, especially around topics of human trafficking, pedophilia, government/corporate corruption, lies and propaganda, environmental destruction, and the (hugely misunderstood) UFO and abduction phenomena,
We also begin to perceive the illusory nature of our ego – which includes our beliefs, identifications, titles, and ambitions that we once attached to so deeply. The reason this process can be extremely messy is because everything we once held onto in our lives can begin to self-destruct, which can lead to intense feelings of disillusionment, depression, confusion, and despair. From an outside perspective one might be forgiven for believing that a person going through this stage of awakening might be spiraling downwards and self imploding. It is true that they are self imploding, but not in a negative sense. The reality is that they are beginning to see the world with a clarity and soberness that they have never before experienced, realising how disconnected from wholeness they and humanity has become, and everything blocking the expression of their truest and most authentic selves is being broken down and melted away. In many ways this is similar to how a seed must first implode and self destruct from within, before a beautiful plant can emerge.
“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier.
Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretence.
It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” Adyashanti
*The Inner male tyrant relates to the inner male aspect of our being (who’s centre of awareness resides in the head), who, when disconnected from the inner female aspect of our being becomes a rampaging tyrant. This has nothing to do with gender, as both polarities (male and female) are inherent in both men and women.
Harmony, truth and authenticity
One of the most challenging aspects of the process of awakening is coming to grips with the fact that many of the decisions we have made in our lives, the paths we have chosen, and the relationships we have developed, have been built upon ego/conditioned based desires and ambitions, rather than representing our true authentic spirit. This can occur in pre-awakened life because when we are disconnected from our body (and our inner female pole of consciousness) and with our hearts closed down, we are also disconnected from our inner guidance and inner authority. Guidance that speaks to us through our feeling centres – in particular our instincts and intuition. This is one of the most challenging aspects of the awakening process for some, because admitting the false foundations that they have built their lives around can easily trigger too much inner pain to fully own and accept. Therefore they will justify their past actions to themselves rather than taking full ownership for them. What is crucial here is self forgiveness and self love.
Those who are willing to swallow their pride and move forward with humility and surrender, will desire to clear away anything in their lives, both outwardly and within, that has not spawned from a foundation of truth and authenticity. This is due to the fact that with an expanded awareness – a new sober and humble perspective of the world – and with one being more deeply connected in with the feeling centres of the body, one can no longer tolerate anything that is not truthful and sincere. This may mean a complete change of how one lives on many different levels.
This might entail living in a new area that one feels more aligned with, eating more wholesome foods, desiring a lifestyle with less intense stimulation (such as partying, nightclubs, violent movies, drama based news-feeds, relational conflicts etc.), a change of career, and surrounding oneself only with supportive and like-minded people. One can also begin to crave more and more solitude and personal space. In a nutshell, as one awakens their inner female energies, a deep yearning to live in harmony both outwardly and inwardly arises.
There is no right or wrong here in terms of how this harmony looks for each person, it is simply based on what each person feels is most aligned with their truth, and this can only arise from one’s embodied inner guidance. A trap one can fall into here is to attempt to harmonise their life based on the awakening process of someone else, such as a mentor, or a guru that they look up to and put on a pedestal. A crucial part of the awakening process is realise that there is no right or wrong, only experiences and lessons, and there are no cookie-cutter system or blueprint for how it should look. The Universe guides us all in its own magical and mysterious way, and the only voice we should be listening to is our own inner voice.
Challenges and initiations
As we work on ourselves and seek to align our lives and our actions with our truest spirit on every level, life will inevitably send us challenges. These challenges can come in every form, from illness, to financial and relationship hardship/breakdowns and so on. The seeker may be aghast that she is thrown such challenges for shouldn’t we be rewarded for attempting to evolve and grow?
This is where yet another shift in awareness is needed, for these are not just challenges but initiations. Life/the Universe/Spirit/God/Divine, whatever you want to call the Great Mystery, does not simply hand our awakening to us on a platter. It must be earned.
Initiations come in the form of challenges as their purpose is to test how committed to our awakening and how deep our faith in the Divine really is. The challenges/initiations will either break us down and demonstrate to us to us exactly where more inner work still needs to be done, or they will help us tap into an inner power we did not even realise we had. Catapulting us to a whole new level of self belief, knowledge, resolve, awareness, and connection to spirit than we even knew was possible.
When confronted with these challenges it can be very beneficial to remember Bruce Lee’s advice to “be like water”. This means to be in a state of complete surrender, adaptability, and flexibility, as well as being humble, trusting, and gracious. When we display these qualities even under the most intense pressure (which challenges bring) we demonstrate to the Universe/Divine that we are completely open and ready to anchor in a higher state of being. The trap here is to fall into victim consciousness and to blame others and the world for the suffering our challenges may cause us to endure. Generally, the reason we may fall into victim consciousness is because an old unresolved wound that had been laying within our shadow has been triggered. The choice we have here is to surrender to this pain or attempt to numb and avoid the pain. If we choose the latter, then the world we live in has many avoidance strategies available for us to choose from. Ranging from food, alcohol, sex, porn, social media, phone, and drug addictions, to overworking and constantly obsessing about the need to make money and build a career.
The other reason we may fall into victim consciousness is because we overestimated ourselves, falsely thinking ourselves to be more awake, aware, evolved, and less mechanical than we actually are. If this is the case then a challenge/initiation can come as a real shock and reality check – which exactly what it is designed to be.
What I have provided is just a template based on my own personal experience, and whilst each person’s awakening is distinct and unique, hopefully this template can provide some useful tips and check points to be on the look out for and can provide some clarity towards what is naturally a confusing and challenging process.
In terms of the challenging aspect of the awakening process, some may read this and wonder why would they want to go through so much effort and challenge, what is the reward? The reward is a breakaway from mechanical life, taking control of one’s thoughts, emotions and life direction, an awakening of one’s inner purpose, deeper clarity on why one is here and what their mission is, deep processing and healing of old wounds and conditioning, re-connection with one’s soul tribe, a more profound sense of peace and joy and a feeling of living in flow (especially as one becomes more embodied), and a much deeper connection with one’s soul’s voice and with the Universe. In my humble opinion, these outcomes are very tangible for anyone who is willing to strip back their ego and put in sincere effort, and are very worth fighting for.
“Awakening is possible only for those who seek it and want it, for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves for a very long time and very persistently in order to attain it.” G.I. Gurdjieff
In part 3 I wish to focus in more on the process of awakening from the perspective of one’s soul journey, which will look at the bigger picture beyond this physical realm in which we have incarnated. Lots of love, Matthew Bate