Spiritual awakening: Toward a new entity Part 1
This is the first of 7 talks about awakening: towards new self (2), new mind (2), new life (2) and new world.
Awakening is not adding something divine to what you are but simply removing what you think you are.
1) A new identity away from our egocentric one:
When we experience spiritual awakening, one common sign is that our inner life changes. There’s a shift in how we feel inside. This shift changes us so profoundly that, we feel as if we have a new and less egocentric identity....as if we have been somewhat reborn.
It may not even be a noticeable symptom or sign of spiritual awakening, except in retrospect.
In sudden spiritual awakening the shift can be so abrupt and dramatic that many people can pinpoint the exact moment it occurs. In cases of gradual spiritual awakening, this identity shift happens very slowly, as the old egocentric self-system is gradually remolded into a different form more connected to others living beings and the world in general.
In this section we’ll examine the inner changes and signs of spiritual awakening that contribute to this overall sense of becoming a different person.
2) Quietness of the mind:
With spiritual awakening/enlightenment come dramatic reductions of the inner noise of our thought-chatter. In our normal state, this constant mind-made stream is made of thoughts, emotions, imageries, past, future, desire, hatred, worries, daydreams, etc. ...up to 200,000/day! This steam only stops when our attention is absorbed by a specific task such as work. This thought-chatter is such a normal part of our daily life that we’re immersed in it and identified with it. We don’t even realize it’s there, and we certainly don’t realize how powerfully it affects us. We are, as Zen says, “day sleep walker” or “thinking zombie”.
It gives ongoing flow of negative thoughts and emotions. It disconnects us from the essence of our being, constantly reinforces our ego-centered identity, and strengthens our sense of separateness.
Consider this: How often you are thinking that you are thinking? Almost never except while meditating.
3) Transcendence of Separation & New sense of Connection with the outside world.
In spiritual awakening and enlightenment, the sense of a separated “me” and the world fades away.
We no longer feel that we’re “here” looking out at a world that seems to be “there.”
We no longer observe from a distance — we’re part of the flow of the world.
Separation dissolves then into interconnection and we sense that all things are connected to each other and we’re connected to all things.
This sense of connection manifests itself in different ways and at different degrees of intensity as one of the signs of spiritual awakening. At the most basic level, a person may feel more connected to other human beings, other living beings in general, to Nature or even to the whole world and Universe. This sense of connection to the spiritual force that pervades already inside the whole universe and that forms the essence of our being may occur at higher intensities of wakefulness and is one of the main signs of spiritual awakening.
In other words, we may not just be aware of this spiritual force but also we are connected to it and experience its beneficial effects.
We give to this immaterial and spiritual force many names such as God, Gods, universal consciousness, energy and so on.
At a still higher intensity of spiritual wakefulness, a sense of connection may intensify into a sense of what Zen calls “oneness of all things”. They are not anymore one entity that is you within the world but rather this entity is the world. This sense of separation may dissolve away to the extent that there’s no distinction at all between us and what we perceive and experience from the world. With spiritual awakening, people may feel that they exist only as one part of a global space-time made of material and immaterial entities. Without these entities, they will not exist.
Zen Buddhism summarizes very well this by saying: “There is nothing in the Universe that is not in you and there is nothing in you that is not part of the Universe.”