Now that we have ascertained “what spiritual awakening is”, you get the concept of the thought-dream movie that I believe most of humanity lives inside of.
Collectively we are asleep.
So… now what?
How do I wake up if I wanted to? What is a spiritual awakening? And what is this new reality?
What is reality?
I believe that reality is the experience of life when you are aware, awake, present and existing consciously in this very moment. This moment, this inhalation, this exhalation, this beat of your heart, reading this very word.
The here and now is the only thing that is real. This is not the experiences of your past and the hopes of your future. It is not the intellectualizing or romanticizing.
This is it.
Sit quietly with awareness and you will witness thoughts come and go, one after another, like basketballs on a flooded East Kentucky stream. With awareness, you will see that these thoughts are almost continuous. One, eliciting another and another over and over. In 2005 researchers found that the average person has 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, the majority of them being negative. Is it any surprise that so many people suffer from anxiety and depression?
How to find the gaps, and be mindful of the gaps
Once again sit quietly. Focus on your breath. Breathe in slowly, deeply, feel your ribs expand. Then breathe out slowly… completely. Squeeze out any stale air from the bottom of your lungs. Then, breathe in again. Once you have a good slow conscious inhale and exhale happening, start to observe your mind.
Notice the thoughts that float into your head.
Notice how easily you are distracted from your conscious breathing.
Notice the thoughts.
Notice the thoughts that stem from other thoughts that stem from other thoughts.
When it drifts, bring your consciousness back to the breathing. Each time you have new thoughts, notice the thoughts and then bring your consciousness to your breathing once more.
After a while you will begin to notice a space that exists between your thoughts.
Until this moment your thought-dream movie has been spliced together so seamlessly that you wouldn’t see the edges. Just like the frames of real film, when you slow your mind down, you will begin to see the gaps between the frames of your thoughts.
These gaps are the awakened state.
These gaps are reality.
These gaps are the present moment uninhibited by the weight of your thoughts, feelings, experiences and projections and they will be fleeting at first. Milliseconds perhaps.
If you practice noticing your thoughts and being “mindful” of the gaps, you can expand these gaps.
In doing this, you will expand your experience of reality.
Sit in a quiet place and practice. Your milliseconds of freedom from thought will expand to a whole second (trust me, this is a huge victory), eventually you can attain whole minutes or even hours. In my opinion, this is the work of a lifetime and the most rewarding adventure you can undertake for your Self.
How will this change my life?
What is the point of being mindful of my thoughts?
What is the benefit of living life in the gaps?
When you live inside the gaps, in the space between the thoughts, you are living inside the space of this very moment. In this space you get to see things exactly as they are. In these gaps you are completely, exquisitely conscious. The space of consciousness is also the space of peace, and in peace we can find true joy and freedom.
The alternative life is actually a life in an illusionary state! Most of us experience the world this way. In this illusionary state your 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts-per-day shape your reality. You actually have very little control over it. It happens unconsciously – even if it feels conscious.
When you live inside the gaps, you experience clarity and here you will begin to make the decisions that can move you (and the world) forward.
You will experience your life as fresh, joyful and fulfilling. Anything is possible in this space and you are at the helm.
If you have been living a life of quiet desperation, the gaps will give you the space to live confidently and with purpose. If you have been living small, the gaps will give you the space to stand up and fulfil your potential. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, loneliness or uncertainty, the gaps will give you the space to find genuine, wholehearted joy and deep love for yourself and for others.
This is the space where you create your life right now without the baggage from your past. These are the spoils of victory presented to the awakened mind.
Does that sound enticing?
If so, find a quiet place, even for just 5 minutes. Take a deep breath, notice your thoughts, look for the gaps, and start your own process of spiritual awakening.
At this very moment, your Self is screaming for it…
“Spiritual awakening is about liberating yourself from the prison that is the world of the mind and daring to be here as all that you are.”– Leonard Jacobson