The path of awakening...
When I started on the path of awakening, I wanted it more than anything. I wanted it because I was suffering. I’d hit my personal tolerance quota to grief and pain when my twin cut me off, as a result of which, I began to desperately question my previously held beliefs about the universe. I’d always been interested in spiritual things. I believed in an afterlife and that we planned our own lives for the experiences we wanted. I’d seen clearly why I attracted R to me, (see my story so far page), and since that realisation I’d trusted my soul’s inner guidance in regards to my twin. So now I was at a complete loss, because if I couldn’t trust my inner truth then surely the whole world had to be a lie? How could I feel this love as a living, breathing thing, if the surface evidence contradicted this truth?
I knew I could not go back to the person I’d been before I met my twin. It just wasn’t possible. I’d been placed on a path where there was nowhere left to hide. For a lesser love, it would have been easy to turn back; to avoid facing all my fears and dark places, but now I had no choice, because I’d experienced a connection so profound that my desire to be reunited overcame the terror of finally facing myself.
I began to seek awakening with all my heart. I needed to wake up so that I could inhabit once more the beautiful place I’d now been excluded from. I studied the whole of A Course in Miracles. I read Dark Night of The Soul by St John of The Cross, and many other great works. These books opened my eyes, and I devoured them with an incredible focus. In each line, each paragraph, I searched wholeheartedly for the one thing that would magically enlighten me, but I never quite found it. Then soon after, another book would turn up, and it always, without doubt, followed on perfectly from the one before, revealing a tiny bit more of the puzzle. My soul would swell with a new level of understanding, but still awakening eluded me, and still, I was suffering.
Here and now
My real breakthrough happened when I saw the whole ludicrousness of ‘seeking’ enlightenment. For well over a year, I’d done nothing but read and meditate. I didn’t go out, I stopped watching television, all that mattered to me was awakening. Until one day, it hit me that this search felt like a constant carrot being dangled in front of me; one that remained elusively out of reach. It no longer made sense that enlightenment was a destination that I had to get to, and that when I arrived all would be well. So the only alternative had to be that it was here and now, and that somehow I must be missing the point. I decided then and there to quit seeking and just let things be. I continued to read books that appealed to me but I no longer tried with such fervent intensity to pursue awakening.
A few days later, I began reading The Way of Mastery by the Shanti Christo foundation, which is very similar to A Course in Miracles but a much more relaxed read. In the book, it said that the reason so many of us fail to awaken, is because we have actually been trying to wake up the false self. It struck me immediately that this was exactly what I’d been doing. I identified my sense of self from the thoughts in my head and I’d spent over a year expecting nirvana to sweep through my mind and obliterate every fear and every self-doubt. I imagined awakening to mean the end of fear or negative emotions; a state where I would wander the world in bliss, finally free. But the whole point was not to magically transform the mind, but to see that I was not the mind.
I’d often heard it professed that we are already awake, and that we’ve just overlooked it. It seems like a ridiculous statement, but that’s exactly how it is. Our ‘awareness’ is overlooked by the constant streams of thoughts that arise in it; the thoughts that we have mistaken ourselves for. I found that I could become ‘aware’ of my awareness by staying very still and being alert to the sensation that under and between my thoughts was a sense of beingness; a sense of existing as the ‘I am.’ It came to me that the only reason the mind can think or the body exist is due to having something that it can arise in.
It’s fairly easy for us to understand how the layers of our false ego-selves were created, with social conditioning, individual storylines and upbringings etc., but it’s not so easy for us to let go of the idea that the voice in our head is us; even more so when streams of unconscious thoughts continue to rule us, resulting in reactive emotions. I found that as I began to sense more and more that this was the truth, my mind went in to overdrive, admonishing my faith in the soul and creating fearful thoughts that fooled me in to identifying with it again. However, I’d learnt that I could also use the mind consciously to figure things out, which meant that not every thought came from the ego self. The unconscious thinking was negative or repetitive, often goal-driven, and usually focused on the past or the future, whereas the conscious thinking arose in the present moment only, speaking pure, calm and loving thoughts, seeming to arise from a deeper, more authentic place. Nevertheless, I found it impossible to maintain a constant vigilance on my mind, and pretty soon I slipped back to becoming aware of my presence only a few times a day. Deep down, I was so caught up in the ‘story of me’ that I’d spent years creating, that it was hard to accept that it wasn’t the truth.
Teetering on the edge
One day, I was thoroughly frustrated with the whole thing. Eighteen months had passed since my twin left and I felt that I’d been perpetually teetering on the edge of awakening, but never truly getting it. I knew I hadn’t ‘got it’ because I was still a slave to my unconscious mind. I held more faith in its cruel, incessant chatter, than I did in the still voice of my soul. Opening my laptop with an air of absolute defeat, I typed in, ‘Awaken now.’ What appeared on the screen was a link to a book by a man called Fred Davis. Reading the blurb and the reviews, I felt a growing sense of hope. Fred had devised a system to help people who understood awakening conceptually yet still hadn’t ‘got it.’ The book featured a typical session between Fred and one of his students with their dialogue clearly set out. In the exercise, Fred makes you look for a sense of self; to try and find where in the body you think ‘you’ exist as an individual person. And of course, I couldn’t find a ‘Genevieve.’ I found the idea of a Genevieve, a sort of mish mash of thoughts, storylines, and beliefs, but I knew that these things did not constitute a person.
Upon this realisation, I shifted into a very pure level of consciousness, where I experienced my beingness as a vastness so immense that I physically felt it swell and stretch. Somewhere far in the distance, I became aware of the ‘Genevieve’ character as a tiny dot, and the thought that came to me was, ‘My god, how on earth did I let this made-up character control me for so long? How did I not know the immensity of who I truly am?’ I remember crying in gratitude because I was so relieved to know I wasn’t that critical, self-sabotaging, fearful voice in my head. (Of course, with the realisation of being consciousness itself, came the recognition that it isn’t possible for there to be anything but one thing, which means that everyone we have ever met must also be ourself wearing a costume. I’ll go further in to this in another post because I understand that it sounds like a paradox as far as twin flames are concerned.)
Dreams can't exist without permanence
The unconscious voice in our heads has ruled so many of us for so long, but it can’t win forever, because we are either the permanence in which the temporary dream arises in, or we are the temporary contents of the dream; only the dream can’t exist without the permanence. It would be like trying to draw a picture but not having a piece of paper, or clouds appearing with no sky. There has to be a background to everything, and that eternal background of perfect stillness is who we are. It can be so hard to grasp at first, but think of it this way; what are the thoughts in our head but sentences? And what are the sentences formed of but words? And where did the words come from? They were taught to us along with their assigned meanings by other people that had simply been conditioned the very same way before us. All they did was to pass on what they’d been taught. So who were we before we were fed a language? As a baby we couldn’t think as we had no words to think with, but there was still a sense of existing. We still knew there was something there, and that something, was us.
When we get to the stage that we absolutely know who we are, no matter how convincing the ego voice is, then we’re finally free because we don’t give those thoughts a chance to take root. We dismiss them with complete faith that they are nothing but an illusion.
Do we want to stay asleep?
A lot of people aren’t ready to give the ego up yet, and the reason for this is because they haven’t entirely had enough of the illusion. They’re still convinced that they (as the ego voice) can make it work. Surely this time they’ll finally get to the place they want to go; where they feel they’ve arrived and can obtain that long sought after happiness? The problem is that the ego is clever but foolish. It actually thinks it has some control over the universe and its own personal fate, and it doesn’t want to give that delusion up. The question is; do we want to stay in the farce? Do we want to keep running around in clown suits but never really getting anywhere? Or do we want to live as the naked truth of who we are? This is the opportunity we have been given. This is why we met our twin, and why there has to be a runner stage. It is the only shock big enough for us to start questioning our previously held beliefs. It is an invitation to be free of suffering through suffering, because the immensity of the pain gives us no choice but to start looking for the truth.
And so, the Genevieve movie will continue, as will your own. I’ll still see my character’s destiny play out. But the difference is that instead of believing I am that character on the screen, I’ll know I’m just witnessing things through her, as a result of which, I’ll find myself both on the screen and sitting in the movie theatre at the same time, seeing it all play out from a safe (and non-suffering) distance.