Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Book Introduction

I am including the introduction for the book.  It has been stripped down from 12 pages to seven.  I have sought to keep it as short as I can while still giving a sense of the direction and content of the book.


Inside of you lies a pathway to your higher being,  a self that is more  connected to the world around you than you may be presently aware. This path is ultimately one that serves to bring the many parts of the self into a greater unity, a process that most often leads to the irrefutable awareness that we are all interconnected in a fundamental way, and that the energy and awareness now operating within is also without.  This pathway leads to self knowing, not just about ones own self  but about the world around you. 
Awakening is most often a reordering process that goes to the deepest levels of you. How it proceeds is more the result of who you are, and how you have grown, as you have come to this place of awakening. Patterns will be different, beliefs will differ, a few things will be the same or common, and here is where the conversation begins. 
Through the work in this book I will be pointing out those things which have best served my awakening, that have moved me from one point of belief into a more conscious understanding of what was at work at the time.  We are like blind spiders who weave a web of energy based on how we feel at the time, a kind of sum total of all of our beliefs and feelings going out into this little invisible thread.  We then turn around and look at all of the things that this web has attracted and shake our fists at it.  We proclaim how unfair this web of life is, all without the realization that it was we who had been weaving it all along. It is this sort of realization that can help fuel a giant leap in your own process of awakening, for as enlightened as some would like to say you become once kundalini hits, you still maintain the material that was brought forward into your new life, and the benefit of awakening will only be as good as your own willingness to become a responsible and active participant in it. 
My awakening was one that was nothing short of revolutionary, an answer to a very big question that I had been asking my whole life, a question that was much broader than many others I may have been asking, but are, I feel, universal, incredibly loaded, and central to a significant return to ones Essential Self or Nature.
This is the urge, the desire to reach beyond one’s own known bounds, to understand why we are here and what our purpose is.  Its so broad that is can be seen or expressed in myriad ways, none of them even closely related to any religion, practice, or dogma of any kind.  Conversely, because of its breadth, it can fit perfectly within any religion, philosophy or belief, too.  What we find to be divine has existed prior to any religion that was subsequently wrapped around it, and it will keep on even after the need for those things ceases in their present form. This urge is so basic that the divine can be felt in what happens to a person when they reach deep states of fulfillment. The thrill of getting a new job can have more divine energy bound up in it than many religious ceremonies do. The divine is in everything, is not bounded by belief or dogma, and is hence everywhere around us. Awakenings most often bring a sudden sense of this realization….it was there all along, quietly waiting.  Fulfillment is the key ingredient.  Divinity leads us to this sense of experiencing this, and this, I would argue, is the whole reason for all of our searches, questions, and yearnings.  The problem to my mind is that we have so cordoned off vast tracks of human experience through distortive beliefs that we live lives that are a shadow of what they could be. Being a shadow, its hard to imagine how it could ever be anything different.
I have decided to come forward with my experience because of how different it was from most awakenings, or what is most generally accepted or understood as an awakening. I do this also because we are now witnessing more of these events in what can only be described as a landslide event world wide.  I feel that we need to continually broaden the discussion, and continue even now to keep asking questions, examining and keeping our understandings current with what is happening in our environment.  I do this because I suspect that many more will experience it as I have.
On the one hand, old texts can provide some valuable insight into aspects of the experience, but they can also add some distortive influences as well, since the world of a thousand years ago is very different from where we are now. The world of a thousand years ago reflected a much more paternalistic approach to seeing and understanding the world, and the issue and understanding of personal power was very different.  These values and beliefs have had wide ranging ramifications for those people at that time.   Some will say some aspects never change in regards to spirituality, but what they miss is the fact that the blinders we wear within a given time are the elements that also inform or misinform our spiritual experience and day to day lives, two aspects that aren’t separate from one another.
While we may seek an authority from outside to help us come to terms with a transcendental and life altering event, the ultimate authority, I have found, rests within.  The better we are able to bring our own inner resources to this experience, the better able we can apply an understanding of a phenomenon that is clearly changing, and may be different from others who have lived in the past.  We can work with old texts all day long to pluck out the applicable truths that we need most to be reminded of.  For myself and others, this has been the value of all writings whether contemporary or ancient.  The one element in this search that makes all the difference is awareness.  We don’t always have this, and when it comes to old ideas about how things are, we can easily gobble up the distortions or chaff along with the wheat.  Awareness, again, is key.
What I will share with you is the perspective and experience of someone who has been a careful observer of his own experience  who has been willing to question what has been taken for granted, a process that has resulted in greatly broadening my perspective, beliefs, and skill set.  Sometimes when we are lucky enough, this process can work well to point out what remains to work through. The reality here is that everything that you see is a reflection in some way of who you are inside.  I know this is counter to everything that the modern world seeks to teach, but there is most certainly a linkage that emerges in a more highlighted way in awakening that begins to reveal this connection.  We often tend to want to attribute this to miraculous phenomenon, but it is not.  It FEELS magical, and while it is good, I think we need to resist attributing this all to some “will of god” as we have done in the past.  It is this issue that touches upon some elements emerging in quantum physics, but in many ways we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. The ancients, though, have been saying these same things for millennia.
The goal of awakening is to bring heave to earth.  It is not to seek some better life in the afterlife.  It is to populate this world with the seed of this powerful force, which begins like a mustard seed. We limit the spread of this seed when we carry old notions about our selfhood.  Since awakening is not predicated on beliefs but about something far deeper, there is nothing to be feared over losing a belief or two.  This is where the rubber hits the road and it takes being brave and inquisitive even if it does put you at odds with consensus reality.  If consensus reality is so damned great, why do we have such a messed up world?  If religions are so great, why do we have so much violence born from repressed emotion?  Has anyone bothered to take five seconds to wonder why we have the problems we do? Religious leaders will continue to seek to keep old limiting beliefs installed in their followers while never once considering that those very same beliefs are causing very serious problems within.  Its madness, and those within the system will fight to the death as they have for centuries to keep this very wrongheaded thinking installed.
Belief can on its worst day be viral in nature, something that is installed with hardly any says-so on our part and will continue turning in us until the day we die.  It does no good to say that you know that the belief is good when you have never bothered to examine it closely enough to understand the broader effects it has had on you.
If you have not yet reached the place within awakening where your most cherished beliefs are being rethought, I  am a walking example that doing this does not lead to chaos within, or anarchy, at least not for long.
It’s as though we have locked a tiger in a cage, and in so doing, anytime it is let out, it goes on a rampage.  We never bother to ask WHY the tiger is on a rampage and then seek to get to the core of that behavior.  If we did, we might find it has more to do with just how unnatural it is to keep the tiger penned up in the first place. We never consider that it is possible that our divinity lies deeper within this caged tiger and if we were to heal the divisions within it, we would set free the deeper spiritual compass that we are all born with.
Our knowledge base is never static, no matter how much we may want to rely upon the traditions of the past to suggest that this is so.  We are like beings caught between wanting to lean on the safety and certainty of the past while being catapulted into the future.  It is here, in our present, that we can take what we have learned from the past and continue to question in the present with the realization that in that sifting process we will naturally tend to innovate, and create anew.
I have been given a great gift in my life .  I have been shown quite clearly, in others as well as myself,  that we tend to see what we want to see, that our own beliefs or inner biases limit what we experience in the world.  This gift was at first achieved at great cost to me in my personal life, but has shown the depth to which we can as human beings be blinded by the truth that is all around us.  This is an important lesson even in the midst of awakening, and it can lead to more honest appraisals of yourself which is necessary the deeper you go into your own shadow work. 
Even in the midst of such a transformative process like awakening, we can still remain limited in these ways, deluded even by those half-noted blinders that have been with us for so long that we have hardly given them a second look.  This gift has served as a daily reminder for me to always look beyond the obvious or accepted notions of what we believe is real, to do my level best not to take anything on faith, but to always examine it and ask myself what it is I could be missing.  This thinking requires us to be very honest with ourselves and it draws upon the power of the depths in helping us to remake ourselves.  We can see the glitch in others very easily, but it becomes much harder when we turn it on ourselves.  This is where some humility helps immensely!  In the end, all of this is not about changing the world, but about changing my own self so that it can make its appointment with the infinite.
Most who have gone through the challenge of awakening find themselves utilizing just about any resource they can in order to get through the more challenging parts of the process. Often this has meant that there are teachers, but these can just as easily be found in books that happen to pop off the shelves at just the right time. Because the process of awakening is so reflective in nature, we often seem to need something that will aid us in coming to grips with our own inner wounds and hurdles that are before us, a process that seems very much to be looking outward but that ultimately resolves back into the self.  It is true that in awakenings you will receive just the right thing that you need in perfect timing, be it a friend who offers a book, a conversation, or the meeting of a teacher who embodies the skills that you will need to learn to get through the next phase of the journey. 
Just as I was beginning to question my own experience and what others were saying about it, I found that this act of intention served to accelerate events in my own life concerning kundalini.  I subsequently met Alison Neville, a gifted intuitive who has lived with kundalini since she was a small child.  Her perspective and her concepts in the beginning helped me to see things in a new light, and she was a continual source of compassion and help through what would become a very challenging process. I would not be where I am today were it not for her generous assistance. Her kindness and compassion was the catalytic force that helped me to take those first substantive steps out of my old world view, out of what had become my own spiritual cage. At a time when I did not feel safe in my process, she was the only voice of understanding.  Many of her ideas have been folded into the pages of this book and I owe her a great debt for how selfless and kind she has been.  She has served as a model for how awakenings ought to be treated in our contemporary society.  I have benefitted greatly from her wisdom and insight.
My experience was not born out of the eastern path, and as a result, I have a different view in some ways, and I feel that by not being involved or invested in certain viewpoints I have been more free to relay this experience with a fresh voice.  Much of what I espouse is a reliance on your own experience while utilizing the new tools now available to you. We have changed very much from the days when monks had the luxury of living in a community of like-minded people, in ashrams meditating, and seeking to awaken kundalini. Our inputs are very different, and we cannot always live a life of silent contemplation or find the support of a larger community that will give us the time to work through the thorny issues that remain within us.  Many of us do this on the fly in an environment that is far more complex then it has ever been.  While we may begin an awakening while still having a foot in our old lives, and while we may change our lifestyles to better suit the needs that an awakening offers, we still need a way that helps to serve the person on the street since this is the very type of person who is now answering the call of awakening in the greatest numbers today. What was once a phenomenon that usually occurred at mid life is now emerging in very young adults.
 I know enough from some of the literature that I stand at odds with what much of it says.  There is talk of ego death, about the false self, that this world is an illusion. I know where these notions come from, and in my own path have seen that these things do not add up.  After ego death, there is still a sense of self, of the individual still remaining, so quite naturally I have to point out the obvious.  The self we have used prior to awakening is now seen as somehow false, yet it remains as an important part of navigating duality. Perhaps it is just as possible that the consciousness that has created this world found that it needed to create agents of itself that could identify itself as separate just in order to survive, and so our arrangement could be a very practical solution to the reality so created.     Instead of seeing the self as false, I have been working to learn a new balance between all aspects of the self, a new synthesis of being that makes sense for me here in this world. Saying that something is false is like saying the elephant in the room does not exist or is somehow unimportant.  If the world is a creation, rather than illusion, then we can learn to create in a new way.   It is my experience that you can shift so far into the realm of non-duality that nothing here makes much sense. You can reach a place where your two selves become disengaged, what Krishnamurti described as a "de-clutched state."  What I do know is that the energies which have moved in me have been creative in their essence and I use that as my guiding principle.  Likewise, there is this tendency to eschew many of things that are physical, and much of this strikes me as a kind of collective self loathing at work as well as an avoidance of the more prickly issues still remaining.  
If you know someone close to you who is going through an awakening, perhaps my words can serve as a reminder of what it is your loved one may need from you if they are to travel this path along with them.  The truth is, an awakening can shake the foundations of the person so awakened, and no part is untouched.  It is true that these events can test and shake relationships to their core. The other side of the coin is just as it can shake, so can it heal.  I know that it is very easy to discount what a person is experiencing as a result of an awakening because it may not be a part of your own personal experience, so I hope that you may realize just how key compassion is in the midst of such an experience.  Imagine how vulnerable a caterpillar might feel when they awaken to realize they are now a butterfly.
I hope to shed some light on some lesser known aspects of awakening that involve the role of synchronicities, which have been a feature of the experience for every person I have ever talked to who has gone through this. It hints at a powerful tool that we have at our disposal that can be developed to make life more pleasant and extremely efficient.  This discussion will lead into the seemingly unusual phenomenon of the quantum world where some important linkages will be made between how these effects can be seen working in your larger life as the synchronistic event.  It can lead to what I have learned to do, which is to ride the wave of this energy in such a way that I utilize these events to bring me just what I need in perfect timing. When you understand what is behind the phenomenon of synchronicity better, it will also inform your own process because all of this phenomenon is tied into some very basic principles that if mastered can serve to direct your life in a more realistic and meaningful way.
Part of this will be how I have observed consciousness as behaving both as particle and wave, and this can be an elegantly simple, and accurate way of relating to these powerful aspects of your awareness. Granted, it is only a model, but it has been my sense that it is one that helps me to simply and quickly navigate through my experience in a fashion that is less chaotic and more natural feeling.
In both a personal and archetypal way, what I observe in my own experience is what I would call the emergence of the divine feminine in a much more purposeful and powerful way.  My earliest experiences of awakening pointed this issue out and it has been a recurring theme that is persistent and telling.  I think in the collective, perhaps archetypal level, we are learning how to bring forth those qualities of the feminine which are most needed in this age.  It is no wonder then that feminine archetypes are beginning to populate many people's awakening experiences.  What is happening at the macro-scale is also happening on the individual level also as men learn how to become more sensitive and aware of their more feminine sides and as women discover the goddess that dwells within. The effect that this will have on our world will be huge.  Civilizations that have stopped warring enough to nurture themselves have had sudden accelerations of growth such as the Renaissance and Enlightenment. As cultures become more liberal in how they treat women, the culture has a corresponding benefit that is reaped. When you consider that there lies in each person a dual current of energy that can be described as being masculine and feminine, the importance for being able to give both a voice in our lives becomes obvious.  When I look back on the old spiritual traditions, I see a lacking presence of the feminine contribution.  To me, this has got to change.  It has to change because the consciousness of humankind can no longer afford to continue on the path that it is on without spiraling increasingly into the shadow side of what the masculine consciousness has and will continue to bring. Many of us do not even know how things could be different, so for those who embark on this journey, it will be one of curious adventure and openness to experiences that could be very different from what has been known and handed down for generations. For many cultures that are now beginning to wake up to this necessity for change, it very much has to do with seeking to find a balance within ourselves in the smallest and biggest of ways. It was not that long ago that in accord with prophecy, the men in the Lakota culture handed power to the women.  In this ceremony the women asked that this power be shared equally between BOTH sides of the equation. This is a sea-change kind of event, it it is one that I feel we must now begin to emulate in order to cease the constant swing from one extreme to the other and simply find balance. As this begins to happen, the question to me and others involved in this work is how can we best help to heal and usher in the feminine and give her a place of honor as she so rightly deserves? Lacking good models for just what the Goddess is or could be, we can open a doorway into the self that Carl Jung called the Collective Subconscious.   As those who awaken learn how to heal the feminine within through long-lost archetypes, we can begin to populate the world with the ancient knowledge that is so badly needed in a world that sometimes looks like it is teetering out of control from an over-emphasis upon masculine characteristics, values, and ideas.  
In life, everything is a progression.  Where I was in the beginning of my experience is different from where I am now.  All of life’s moments  are  snap shots along a spiraling path upward and outward.  This has been so in my journey as it has been with countless others.  This book is a snap shot.  There will be more to learn, to realize, and embody. We are all here to do the great work of realizing a wonderful secret, and a tantalizing mystery.

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