One never travels the path alone nor discovers they have been the first to arrive at the peaks along the way.
For seekers wanting to wake up–the big question is, “How do I do that?” For those who have awakened there is great discussion about the best way of teaching others how to reach this state. This is the subject of endless debates with people usually siding for a process that has worked for them. In the West, it seems that waking up has been billed as some sort of exotic enterprise that requires one to chant, wear funny clothes and participate in Eastern rituals. Some believe yogis have a corner on the market while others believe you must become a whiz-bang Zen meditation expert. The truth is, awakening is a perfectly natural process and there are many ways to do it. Source doesn’t keep anybody asleep any longer than necessary.
Source is in everybody and everything. All things live and move and have their being in Source. There is no such thing as existing outside of Source. Because of this, almost any path, even no path at all, has the potential to lead one to God realization–if one sincerely desires it. The benefits of joining or following a recognized spiritual path includes the benefits of participating in a community that shares similar views, rules, expectations, meanings and experiences. Ken Wilber describes a process of similarities between almost all spiritual paths–including:
- Spirit, by whatever name, exists.
- Spirit, although existing “out there,” is found “in here,” or revealed within to the open heart and mind.
- Most of us don’t realize this Spirit within, however, because we are living in a world of sin, separation, or duality-that is, we are living in a fallen, illusory, or fragmented state.
- There is a way out of this fallen state (of sin or illusion or disharmony), there is a Path to our liberation.
- If we follow this Path to its conclusion, the result is a Rebirth or Enlightenment, a direct experience of Spirit within and without, a Supreme Liberation, which
- marks the end of sin and suffering, and
- manifests in social action of mercy and compassion on behalf of all sentient beings.
While some people experience spontaneous awakenings, most go thorough a process of seeking and searching that continually expands the seeker’s perspective until a tipping point is reached where Source has the upper hand of the ego-personality. The seven stages listed above not only outlines the similarities between spiritual paths–but suggests a pathway individuals may follow to their awakening. No one can say how long this process will take. As long as the ego is the preferred locus of control, Source does not presume otherwise. The process can be accelerated as one learns how to access the wisdom of the body and, in faith, surrender the will to Source’s control–even before Source grants an awakening.
At the nonphysical level we are all awake–but Source does not awaken the awareness of every physical being until it is time to do so. Thus, no matter the path, the seeker must be willing to assume and exercise responsibility over their journey. The surest way to kill or stall an awakening is to set aside or sublimate one’s sense of personal responsibility to some expert, sage, or religious authority past or present. Almost all pathways are sufficient in the beginning but not all are equally helpful beyond stage four–in fact, many pathways have little or nothing to offer beyond stage four. This does not mean a seeker must leave a pathway because it offers few options beyond a certain stage–but one must be willing to courageously expand their boundaries even if others do not understand.
Unless one is very fortunate, it is very likely that most will discover that they have grown well beyond most people they known and members of the group. If they wish to continue their journey towards awakening, they must be willing to either leave the group or stay on the “down low” while their development continues. Sadly, remaining in a group you have outgrown is jarring for all concerned. If your expansion has made you more inclusive it will be painful for you to listen to group members belittle those outside of the tribe. It will also be painful for group members to witness your unwillingness to join them in things you formerly enjoyed. It is very possible to love deeply all people in the very group you must leave in order to advance spiritually.
The higher one climbs on the path, the more narrow it becomes and the fewer companions one will have on the journey. Source, as always, is your trusted friend and guide towards the summits. One never travels the path alone nor discovers they have been the first to arrive at the peaks along the way.