A person can struggle to fully awaken, if they’ve already had one or more smaller awakenings. Because they lock-on to that past experience – seeing it as a reference point, a goal, something to achieve, ‘get back again’ and maintain.
But this only takes them further from their perceived ‘goal’ of awakening.
Big awakening shifts are incredibly powerful – usually with many profound realisations, and weeks or months of walking around in a blissful and connected love state. It is inexplicably beautiful, but it can only last so long, because life has an even more beautiful way of making us face its truth…
Because nothing is permanent, and like all states and experiences, our apparent ‘awakening’ inevitably comes to an end, and we are thrown right back into ego and suffering, often in the form of a ‘dark night of the soul’. During this painful time, all our conditioning comes up to the surface to be healed, and the more we resist, the longer the dark night lasts.
We may go through many awakenings and subsequent dark nights during a lifetime, and this is life’s way of showing us that wholeness contains both the dark and the light, and everything is to be embraced. But of course, we are often not ready to face this truth, and the more powerful and blissful our awakening experience was, the more devastated we feel when we lose that feeling.
A voice might scream inside our heads with frustration and exhaustion, ‘I had it, but now I’ve lost it!’ And then the tears and self-pity flow, with more abundance than we ever knew possible.
We react, by trying to get back ‘there’ – to that awakened state, to that simple knowing of stillness and unconditional wholeness.
We seek that amazing past experience, because we mistakenly believe that it is how awakening should feel all the time – that awakening is a fixed emotional state. We want to get that taste of enlightenment back again, and we beat ourselves up for not being able to ‘maintain’ it.
In truth, we never ‘had’ anything, and we never ‘lost’ anything.
But it’s a very seductive and powerful trap, and the bigger our awakening bliss… the more easily we can fall for this trap, and the harder we fall.
So we keep on pounding our egos at the wall of illusion, endlessly seeking, in ever-growing suffering and frustration. We brutally reject ourselves for not being able to maintain our ‘spiritual’ identity, for not being good enough, for failing. Our dark nights can overwhelm and smother us with such intense self-hatred, that our past awakening experience seems like a distant candle of lost hope, flickering and fading in the gust of our desperation.
The more we seek what we thought we had, the further we take ourselves from recognizing that we already are it.
But there is another way – the way of self-compassion and acceptance – we can choose to stop seeking, give up the chase, let go of all our ideas and expectations about ourselves and awakening, cast aside our fears, and stand in fierce surrender to the absolute truth of life.
And when we fully surrender, it means we fully embrace and accept all aspects of ourselves, including our suffering. This is a radical act of self-love, and through this beautiful act of being, our suffering transcends into bittersweet pain, slowly losing its grip, until it dissolves completely in the power of our fearless acceptance of what is.
And then we truly wake up, to the reality that awakening is not about trying to live in bliss all the time. It’s about accepting every aspect of every moment as it arises, and right here, right in the heart of this moment, through our ultimate acceptance, we notice an effortless bliss, freedom and an end to our suffering. Pain is still present, but it is embraced and loved, just as much as more ‘desirable’ emotions. Everything is welcomed, invited, embraced and loved, in the wholeness that we are, by the wholeness that we are.
And then we see the perfection in all of it – the bigger our awakening bliss and the more deeply we experienced that unconditional love… the harder we fall and the more deeply we suffered afterwards. And in that painfully vast depth of feelings and emotions, we discover vastly richer and more beautiful expressions of life to embrace and love. And we know that we are blessed.
So we can allow ourselves to fall into our dark nights, plunging heart-first into the depths of who we are, knowing that if we truly surrender, we will discover all the love, acceptance and wholeness that we once thought we had, and once thought we’d lost.