Everyone and their dog is claiming to be ‘awakened’ these days
The word has almost become meaningless through overuse
If you want to know
How ‘awakened’ you really are
(Not my favourite thing to say,
But you catch my drift)
Or at least how integrated that awakening is
With your relative life and behaviour
And how it is reflected in the way you treat people
Or at least to what extent you practise what you preach
Don’t talk to your followers or students
Don’t talk to your readers or those who only know you through your beautiful words
Don’t talk to your fellow ‘awakened’ ones
(They may only agree with you)
Talk to your parents
Someone who doesn’t treat you like a god or a guru, an expert or even a teacher
Someone who knows and sees you in your private and unguarded moments
Away from the spotlight.
Someone who sees all your human faults and failings
Yet forgives you for them
Someone who doesn’t buy into your stories.
Ask them how they experience you, day to day.
Do you listen deeply to them?
Do you receive feedback without attacking them and making them feel wrong?
Can you truly meet them in their pain and longing? Or do you try to fix and change them, and prove to them that you have all the answers?
Do you preach and teach, and try to convince them of how awakened you are?
When they give you feedback, do you invalidate their experience by saying things like “that’s just your ego talking” or “it’s all your projection”?
If you are really interested in truth, my friends, beyond your fabulous story of your own unsurpassed awakening, you will listen deeply to their feedback, and take it all in. You may not always agree with them, but that’s not the point. It’s not about you! Listen.
I have learned more over the past few years from simply listening deeply to my partner, my brother, my mother, my father, my intimate friends, to those who don’t always agree with me, than anything else.
You can’t learn this from books. The highest spiritual teachings can’t touch it. It is the highest form of yoga. It is true devotion.
Listening deeply will crush, awaken and humble you so absolutely that you lose every single story about yourself, including that one. And you will discover unimaginable rest within yourself, and life will become a celebration of intimacy and deep connection.
I used to think that awakening was an event. I used to think it was all about ‘me’. Now I realise it is contact.
The greatest challenge is not to be awakened – that’s the easy part – it is to discover what it means to be fully human. And to learn how to listen without prejudice, meeting the ‘other’ as yourself.
We are all so very human.