Are there symptoms of awakening? Does awaking relate to specific experiences or perceptions? Is there a way to tell if you are awakening, or is it all just an elaborate shell game?
Many outstanding teachers tell us awakening is real. It doesn’t appear to be sleight-of-hand trickery, but is there any concrete way to know for sure?
“Spiritual awakening is the most essential thing in a man’s life, and it is the sole purpose of being.” ― Kahlil Gibran
Is Your Awakening Just A Mind Game?
“To awaken, one must realize that one is in a state of sleep, a state of self-hypnosis. And, in order to realize that one is indeed in a state of sleep, one must fully recognize and understand the nature of the forces, which operate to keep one in the state of sleep, or hypnosis. It is absurd to think that this can be done by seeking information from the very source in which you induce the hypnosis.” — George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
“You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number of grains of sand. The path that you are to take is endless, and you will die before you have truly awakened.” ― Jorge Luis Borges
This is Your Awakening
Does your current spiritual practice change your perception? Does it make it possible for you to see and move beyond ordinary states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping? Can your practice produce an immediate “Eureka” experience? Do you have a way of measuring your incremental growth? If you can’t answer yes the above, it’s time to make some changes. If it’s not creating positive changes in your awareness, it’s likely just a psychological mind game.
Here’s another way to tell if you are on the path of awakening. Awakening involves our hearts, and as we become more awake, we can open the “virtues of the spirit.” These virtues are not goals; they are the gifts of our nature. These gifts are available to each of the nine basic personality types. So, each personality has its “own” path and own set of challenges.
What exactly is your awakening, and how can we measure it? The symptoms of awakening differ for everyone because everyone starts in a different place; everyone has a unique set of spiritual gifts. Each is a gateway to the virtues of the spirit. The spirit’s virtues are gratitude, love, appreciation, serenity, joyfulness, happiness, thankfulness, blissfulness, and mindfulness. When we open these virtues, we open our hearts, and one of the unintended side effects is the growth of conscience.
Many people desire the experience defined above but don’t know to find it. So, it is often a choice between two different paths, spirituality in Western traditions and Eastern traditions. These are the two primary paths that one may travel. If you want to awaken, you must pick the right one. And if you select the wrong one, don’t be afraid to change it. Next, we’ll look at these two paths.
Spirituality in Western Traditions
The Western traditions are the Semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (1). These religions are not new constructs; these systems are the rebranding of Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Persian mystery religions.
These mythologies focus on doctrine and the afterlife. Doctrines are laws, rules, and guidelines that tell us what we should value and believe. These religious systems do not concern themselves with exploring or developing awareness or consciousness. Their main concern is controlling your mind and keeping you a paying customer. They do not want to think or grow. Now, this does sound like a mind game. What do you think?
The symptoms of organized religion are the demonstration of faith and belief in things they cannot prove. For example, these demonstrations manifest as talking in unknown languages, falling when prompted by the pastor or leader. It’s about pretending you have an imaginary friend. There aren’t any processes or measurable techniques. It is all based on self-hypnosis and the submission to groupthink manipulation.
Spiritual Awakening in Eastern Traditions
The focus of most Eastern Traditions is on personal development. These Eastern traditions include Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Animistic Indigenous traditions. Many Eastern traditions are the storehouses of ancient knowledge we call “spiritual technologies.” It is these traditions that have guarded the processes we call spiritual technologies.
This is Your Awakening Toolbox
“An intellectual understanding that is not backed by experiential knowledge can lead to mind games and deceptive states.” ― Sadhguru, Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy
The catalog of methods for developing and exploring consciousness is what we call Spiritual Technologies. They are processes that can alter, change, or expand our awareness. Some of these methods open doorways to higher states of consciousness.
These processes come from eons of research by cultures around the world. We use the term spiritual exploration to describe these powerful methods.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning process. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. Several of these methods produce measurable changes in our physiology. These physiological markers differ from normal waking, sleeping, and dreaming states.
Spiritual exploration is not about faith or belief in a religion. They are processes that anyone can use. All you do is follow a process. We like to think of it just like baking a cake. When you want to bake a delicious cake, you follow a recipe. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The processes of spiritual exploration are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods. We divide these tools into four major categories:
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Modalities for Healing
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools, but these analytical processes are vital to our spiritual quest. Their use enhances our ability to use common sense and logic. These tools improve observational skills and help us identify the roadblocks that get in the way.
We recommend you incorporate emotional checks in all of these processes. Keeping your feeling in check helps us think more clearly.
These tools help us think more clearly and make better decisions, which helps us avoid many of our path’s everyday obstacles. This group’s primary tools are Logical Reasoning, Comparative Analysis, and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice, but these methods help anyone seeking the truth. We encourage our participants to create a reminder on their smartphones to review these tools every month. It’s essential to keep them fresh in our minds, and that’s when they become helpful in spotting ploys and deception.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning, which summarizes the essential use of logic in language. It shows how people misuse language to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next is spotting logical fallacies. This module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the truth-seekers axioms, ties everything together by contrasting how science and mythology differ in their approaches to presenting the truth.
Comparative Analysis is a systematic approach to comparative religious study based on the scientific model. It is a method of comparing ideas and beliefs from different worldviews, and it is another tool we recommend for the new spiritual explorer.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a cognitive science tool that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. The best authors and researchers write in easily understandable language so the layperson can understand it, while it is deep enough for any clinician. It makes the Enneagram a powerful system available to almost everyone.
You will find modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others is a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram. It has nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate personality profile. The scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will help you understand the source of our “personal power.”
When you say spiritual practice, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration.
Meditation is a mind hack that often uses mantras, sutras, and affirmations as tools. These mental devices open doorways of consciousness. You could easily categorize them as awareness expansion tools, the same with Yoga since it contains a range of meditative processes.
Seated meditation is the heart of the spiritual practice for many people. Meditation is an essential tool for exploring consciousness. Seated meditation includes everything from a primary two-step method, Mindfulness Meditation and Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). This modality also has advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali.
Moving meditation is an action with a heightened level of awareness. To perform an activity while simultaneously holding a meditative state involves a high level of mind-body coordination and skill. This modality improves mind and body connection. In turn, this has a positive effect on our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. Grounding techniques focus on our connection with nature, such as Sun Gazing, Forest Bathing, and Tree Grounding.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This category has a diverse mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group includes the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation, lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory (learning how to learn).
Another essential tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows; it’s your personal life coach. This modality also includes exercises like automatic writing and exploring memories. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list them separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first technology for exploring consciousness. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures, and it serves as evidence of the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a crucial element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey.
A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
The Shamanic Journey has been renamed or rebranded in Western cultures. They do this to make it more marketable. You will see it marketed as “guided meditation” or “creative visualization.”
Modalities for Healing
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet, which comes from Indonesia, and Reiki and Shiatsu come from Japan. We teach Vedic medicine, along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group. Because to help others, we must be in optimal health. Our overall health and wellness affect every aspect of life.
Using any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. They find it an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
Sadly, many people do not want to become awake. They don’t want to know what lies beyond the five senses. So they are happy to live a life of delusion. But there is another path. If you want to know, then start practicing the spiritual technologies above. These processes will lead to your awakening. Find someone to teach you one of the spiritual technologies.
You have two different choices. The authentic path of spiritual exploration is not a mind game. It is quite a contrast from organized religion and faith and belief as a shell game.
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(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia