People are amazing aren’t they? That’s part of the reason why we’re so excited to launch 1,000 Awakenings where we share inspiring stories from people all across the globe as they tell their stories of waking up and living a conscious life.
We’re starting in our backyard, where we spent the informative years of our youth growing up in the head of a holler. We trust that you’ll be inspired by Mark’s faith, his great capacity to love, and his story of spirituality in Appalachia. His is a story not widely represented, and we are honored to do that today.
Q. What does it mean to you to live an awakened life?
MARK: Basically, it means to be free. This world’s system has imprisoned us all with lies, we are led to believe that we are worthless, ugly, dirty, unloved, without hope, and basically without real meaning or purpose.
As a result we strive to become something, we strive to become better than, so that we can have the approval and praise of others. This is a futile quest that will only leave us burned out and feeling empty inside.
For me, spiritual awakening is a process by which I am being freed from all these lies. This awakening is opening my eyes to see the true beauty and glory in not only myself, but in everything and everyone .
Q. What put you on the path of awakening?
MARK: Maybe I’ve been on this path my whole life? I’ve always had a longing, a sleeping awareness if you will, that there should so much more to this life than what the system offers.
If I had to point to one moment in time when my awakening process become more intense, it would have been in my great darkness (the death of our youngest son). This loss sent me on a quest to find real answers about life, if there is purpose to it and what that purpose (If any) is.
Q. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone about deepening their connection to themselves and their spirituality?
MARK: In two words, “Be still.” Stop striving to become and know that you already are. Be willing to think outside the box and don’t be afraid to question everything.
Q. If you could wave a magic wand and everyone on planet earth would wake up with one quality or ability, what would that be?
MARK: To love unconditionally.
Q. What’s the biggest difference in yourself from your pre-awakened state and your current awakened state?
MARK: To now see that no one (including myself) is defined by the lies that they believe and so often portray, and to see them as they truly are (beautiful beings of light).
Q. What would constitute a perfect day to you?
MARK: A day without fear, shame or regrets.
Q. Do you have a favorite book you can recommend to readers?
MARK: There are so many. lol ….Anything by Richard Rohr, Dr. Baxter Kruger, Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, the Apostle Paul and many others. I look for theologians who dare to step outside the religious box, and who believe and teach that God is actually Love (“light with no darkness at all”).
Q. What’s the best way for folks to connect with you?
MARK: My personality is introverted, and I don’t like small talk, because it quickly bores me. lol… I’d rather talk face to face but can go other routes as long as the conversation leads into deeper places; places where love, intuition and a childlike (untainted) imagination are the guides, with no judging or condemning. I am on Facebook, like most people.