So, it is now one day shy of a week since my awakening experience, and what an interesting week it has been. If you read my first article, “The Awakening Experience”, you would have some idea of how profound the experience really was. Staying awake, however, feels like an entirely different ball game. It can take some time to adjust to the awakened state, as the ego plays tricks on you to keep itself alive. And, boy, has my ego been having a field day.
The awakened spiritual teachers often speak of the process of oscillation. This is where you find yourself swinging between the states of conscious awakeness and unconscious awakeness. Conscious awakeness is the desired state, while unconscious awakeness is when you are caught in the grip of your thoughts and emotions. Anything that is keeping you from fully experiencing the presence in this moment is within the realm of unconscious awakeness. The truth is that everyone is awake, but only some people are aware of that fact. One of the greatest tools in staying awake for extended periods is focusing on the now, present moment awareness. I am well aware of that truth, however, I have been experiencing certain obstacles to being fully present in each moment.
Being present in the moment requires an acceptance of what is happening right now. That does not mean you have to accept the entire life situation that you find yourself in. It merely means that your focus is on this moment that you are experiencing right now as you read this word – not 10 minutes from now, or any past or future moment in time. All that exists is this very moment. If you can accept this moment exactly as it is, you are already well on your way to experiencing conscious awakeness.
Acceptance of the present moment has been my main go-to technique this past week to bring myself back to the awakened state when I find my mind and emotions have taken over. However, I mentioned earlier that my ego has been having a field day with this process, so let me explain why. One of the challenges to being present in the moment is the characters resistance to what is. The character refers to the character I am playing in this life. It is not my true self, the true essence of me, of oneness. It is identification with the character that stops us from experiencing our true self, a.k.a being in the awakened state. The ego is a feature of the character. It is not a characteristic of my true essence. That becomes clear when I am in the awakened state. I have experienced moments of beautiful, divine bliss when I am not identifying with the ego and the Faine character. Those are the moments I want more of. Those are the moments of timeless, thoughtless truth and pure connection with oneness. Perfection!
In a moment of conscious clarity this morning while drinking my tea and feeling the sun on my back, I realised just how the ego has been sinking its hooks in, the game it has been playing to keep itself relevant. In order to accept this moment exactly as it is, you have to let go of all resistance to what is occurring right now. I have heard this a million times, but somehow the message only really seemed to take hold last night while watching an Eckhart Tolle YouTube video. So I consciously began to observe my resistance and it quickly brought me back to conscious awakeness. A brilliant step in the right direction. I was so relieved. This morning, however, I realised that the game the ego has been playing is to make it seem like I am accepting the moment by resisting the resistance of the Faine character. What?! Yup, it took a moment to make sense of that realisation for me too. Ultimately, the ego was trying to convince me that two negatives make a positive, which we all know is impossible. So I was caught in the trap of believing I was accepting this moment as it is, meanwhile I was actually just resisting the resistance I was feeling toward whatever challenge my mind was focusing on in that moment, attached to whichever life situation was prominent at the time. It was through my body that this realisation became clear.
Every time I experience any resistance to a life situation, I can feel it tightening and twisting in my solar plexus. Sometimes to the point of making me feel nauseous, negatively affecting my breathing and overall experience in my body. It’s a very visceral experience. What I did not realise before, however, was that the sensation in my solar plexus was the resistance to the life situation, rather than being caused by the life situation itself. Every life situation is inherently neutral and does not carry positive or negative emotions. We are the ones who place a belief of positive or negative, good or bad, on each life situation we experience, which then determines our thoughts and emotions toward a specific life situation.
As an example, one of the life situations I have been grappling with is that of not earning as much money as I need to or would like to. A common challenge that most people experience, right? So, nothing out of the ordinary. When I think about money and finances I can feel the familiar twisting and tightening in my solar plexus. That twisting and tightening is actually my body’s resistance to my financial situation. It’s my subconscious belief that this “should not” be my financial experience. “Should” and “should not”, one of the greatest causes of discomfort and resistance to what is. “I should not be single, alone, on my own.” “I should work harder.” “I should exercise more and eat healthier.” “I should not be so angry, reactive, (insert “negative” emotion here).” We all have our “should’s” and “should nots” that we believe about ourselves and our life situations. I am no exception. Well, to put it more accurately, the Faine character is no exception.
So I had this resistance to my financial situation, which is fairly normal as experiences go, but then, in all my egos wisdom, it decided that if it starts to resist the resistance to the financial situation it might be able to trick my true self into believing it was doing everything it could to bring me back into the awakened state. All that happened, though, was that the awakened state remained elusive. The ego was trying to keep itself alive by making the Faine character believe that it was working so incredibly hard to get back to awakened consciousness by saying it is accepting the moment while the body was actually resisting the resistance the ego had created, resisting the sensation in the solar plexus. This lead the character to believe that the awakened state is much harder to get back to than it originally thought.
The Faine character and the ego were playing a wild game of deception, while presence was watching this charade with detached observation. The ego plays many games which draw the character in, subtly perpetuating its importance and, ultimately, its existence, which in this case also sustained the tightening and twisting in my solar plexus. As soon as I saw what was really going on, my solar plexus relaxed and released, unknotting and untying itself from itself. I could feel my solar plexus thanking me. It seems it had been waiting for that moment for a long while. With that, I became more present and comfortable in the moment. I experienced more clarity and peace, more divine bliss, for a few moments longer.
I now realise the true value of asking myself, “What am I resisting right now?” As with me, the answer might astound you when you realise what is holding you back from experiencing conscious awakeness in this very moment. Now all I need to do is remember to ask myself that key question every time I find myself getting sucked back into old, egoic ways. The answer to staying consciously awake is so simple, yet appears to be so complex in the experience of this moment. The beauty of it, though, is that everyone can experience conscious awakeness if they want to, if they are drawn to it. The guidance of a spiritual teacher, mentor and other awakened beings has been the greatest key in my personal experience. My wish is for everyone to have the experience and to wake up to their true self, their true essence. It is a phenomenal experience which is well worth sharing.