The oversimplification of awakening poses a great problem in our present world. After several thousand years, one would expect our understanding of spirituality to have grown, but unfortunately it seems instead to be getting increasingly superficial. One could say the understanding of awakening has been simplified on three basic levels. Firstly, there is no clarity as to what it really means to reach awakening. Secondly, the vision of awakening is too narrow, meaning it does not encompass its multidimensional nature or recognize that we need to awaken on several levels to become complete. Thirdly, it does not grasp how awakening affects our human nature and what the relationship is between realizing our pure nature and transforming psychologically. As we have given due attention to the first two shortcomings elsewhere, it is this last point that will be our main focus here.
Awakening gives us access to the light of the soul, but it does not automatically purify and heal our human self. Human beings are extremely complex psychologically. Expecting that someone’s psyche will become immediately purified through opening to one of the states of awakening is extremely naive. Such beliefs give rise to the common error of judging a path by the behavior of its followers. Although adepts of a particular path might give an indication of its energy, these matters are more complex and need to be seen in the higher context. For instance, a person can be engaged in deep meditation for many years and still display low tendencies even if this person has indeed moved to the awakened side of his or her inner self. Who is to blame? It might not necessarily be the fault of the path; sometimes it is not even the fault of that individual. The path to becoming complete is simply long and takes many turns, each of which touches on different aspects of our transformation.
Before we contemplate more deeply how awakened states affect our human nature, we need to have the correct vision as to what our human nature is, as well as acknowledging its positive function and purpose in the process of the actualization of our soul. The essence of the human is his sense of me. In order to survive in the world, that me has developed a very sophisticated psychological structure around itself which is linked to our body, mind and emotions. The combination of all those elements, tied to that particular sense of me and the continuity of memory, is what defines us as humans. The human can exist with or without the soul. A human without a soul is like being one half of our complete self. Most humans are exactly that – half-selves. Awakening is the first step in our evolution into reclaiming the other half of ourselves.
The problem is that many perceive the path to enlightenment as a means of getting away from their humanity; they wish to suppress their human sense of self because they see it as the cause of their suffering. But we cannot transform that which we negate or deny. Even if one does reach awakening with this attitude, no one can escape from being human, and having a negative relationship with our human identity will inevitably become yet another obstacle to its transformation. Hence, the first step is to see that being human is fundamentally positive and that no matter how deeply we move into the dimension of awakening, we will continue to exist on the human level. The spiritual path is not an escape but a journey into becoming whole, which includes becoming complete on the human level as well. The next step is for the human to become more conscious of himself and to recognize the need for change while actively engaging the intention to manifest this change. Without having the intention to change, one will never change. Our higher intention is the bridge to the transformation of the lower self.
Awakening does not automatically transform the negative aspects of our human nature, but when this awakening is real and integrated, it does have a profound impact on how we experience ourselves on the human level. Sometimes the event of awakening can manifest the simultaneous purification of our mind or emotions by the grace of the light of the soul touching our human existence. However, even though it is possible – in fact it always happens to a degree – the human can only be partially affected by the soul because there is still too much duality between me and I am. The human does not transform just because a higher state is awakened; it transforms as a result of its surrender into the soul. There is a price for purification and healing. This price is a combination of embodying our higher intention – to live in alignment with our true self – and surrendering to our light. The human has to die on some level; it has to give up its separate sense of self. Only then can the soul fully enter our existence.
People often speak about grace with the expectation that something external to them will solve their problems. The catch here is that no grace will enter or reach out to us unless we have come as close as possible to the verge of transformation. Only then do we actually become available to grace. We have been given our energy, consciousness, intelligence and heart in order to use these tools to become responsible for our reality and empower our individuality. There is no place for the weak on the spiritual path; they will fail in a similar way to how they fail in the natural world. Being weak is to refuse to be strong; it is to refuse to use one’s power, the resources given to us by the creator.
Jesus told a parable in which a father gave several coins to his sons and waited to see what they would do with them. The first son wanted to save his coins, so he buried them in the ground; the second son spent them all, and the last son invested his coins and multiplied them. The coins here are a symbol of all the resources given to us by existence – and it is our duty to multiply them. For instance, we have a mind with which to think, but most people do not think at all. What is happening in the head of most people is not thinking but gibberish: an incoherent, unintelligent flux of mental impressions about nothing really, just nonsense. This is merely a waste of the energy of the mind; it is not true thinking. In true thinking there is someone who thinks, the ruler of the mind. In the illusion of thinking, only the mind is thinking, bound by the inertia of its own unconsciousness. Those who think in this dimension are rare; they have accepted this gift of god and use their intelligence with purpose.
Coming back to our main subject: a true awakening constitutes the bridge between the human and the soul. However, it will not serve as the force of transformation unless the human chooses to cross that bridge through surrender. The surrender of the human should not be confused with wanting to eliminate or dissolve this part of our identity. Rather, it is to renounce experiencing our human existence outside of our soul. Our soul is the true host, the true owner and ruler of our existence. Unless her supremacy is established in the heart of each human being, she will remain isolated from her light; in the absence of light, the darkness cannot be dispelled. This is the deal: if you want transformation, you must surrender. You cannot reach freedom and be purified while keeping your ego intact. The ego has to agree to surrender, and the only way it will agree is through the awakening of true understanding, the recognition of truth. The essence of each ego, of that which needs to surrender, is fear. This fear has to be sacrificed on the altar of surrender. Fear and fearlessness cannot live in the same house of our complete self. Fearlessness is the nature of the soul; fear has to be given up.
The purpose of awakening, apart from opening us to the light of I am, is to create the proper space for the transformation of the human. When our personality remains full of impurities, insincerity, wounds and negativity, it will keep pulling us away from our soul. It is imperative that anyone who has experienced true awakening will recognize this next step, based on creating the correct relationship between his human and awakened nature. He must not be swayed by pride or arrogance caused by having a sense of spiritual attainment. Rather, he must, with complete honesty, identify the aspects of his being that still hide in darkness. Based on that recognition, he must activate the higher intention to pursue the principles of purity and integrity while becoming fully conscious that the only way for that purity to manifest is through submission to our higher self. It is merging with the soul which answers the question of how to transform our lower nature.
Suffering and negative tendencies of various kinds remain present after the event of awakening as long as our me and our soul remain split. That split needs to be dissolved through the surrender of the human into our divine self. Only the grace of our soul can relieve us from the pain of human existence.
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