The journey of transformation has many sides. There are many days when we are awake to, and enjoying a heightened sense of freedom and life. Unrestrained by the ego life blossoms to reveal vast fields of beauty and wonder that have existed in hibernation, and in hiding.
The journey’s trajectory is cyclical. This often comes as a surprise. On the ascent it is difficult to imagine the darkness of ego, or other limited forms of self holding our lives. But the times of change, which are often experienced as challenges and suffering, are inevitable. There is balance in all things, and so awakening must be followed by moments of ‘sleep’. All growth is followed by decay.
On my own journey, I am constantly experiencing new levels of awareness that allow me to experience a greater amount of joy and freedom. And yet, there are still days, or sometimes just moments, when suffering arises after the ego is sparked by some trigger. People who know me, often have difficulty believing me. But, what I am seeing is that as awareness develops, so do the moments of darkness become more intense. The mind, the ego, wanting to hold-on, attempts to create massive amounts of fear. So the darkness becomes truly menacing as great fiery demons of the mind rear up in their futile grasps for power. Why else would the mind play up so, if it was not afraid of losing the battle with the awakened self. Violence of any kind, including that of the mind against us, is a reflection of its diminishing power.
Increasingly though, I am able to see my own suffering as being that of the mind and not of the self. When we are asleep to the mind, when we identify with it completely, this waking can take weeks, months, or even years. I find it useful to remind myself, “I am not my thoughts”. These moments of darkness, times of doubt and temptation are tests, tests to see if we are still awake or whether we have slipped back into unconsciousness.
I will write more about the test, as I know we all experience these times. And it is in these times of struggle that the voice of a friend is most welcome. I am blessed to have great friends who, consciously or not, are able to remind me to wake up. You can be that friend for another also. This is one of the true purposes of the human life, and of community. To support each other in the journey back to living in conscious awareness.