I write books for two reasons.
One, there is a simple and easy way to release depression, anxiety and the unease of being.
And, two, because awakening is simple.
And what is awakening? Awakening is awakening out of the world of fear and sadness. Leonard Jacobson says, “To awaken simply means to awaken out of the world of the thinking mind into the world of the present moment.” Buddha said very simply: it is the end of suffering. It is finding the joy of being. It is a fundamental shift in consciousness which opens up the world. It is flow.
Some people take exception to using the word “simple” to describe the awakening process. I recognize that for most people who are trying to awaken, the process has not been easy, and I’m not trying to insult the people who are struggling with it.
If you look around at the resources available for awakening, you might get the idea that awakening is very difficult, or you have to meditate for decades, or you need specialized spiritual knowledge, or you need to understand theories of existence, and bliss and oneness, or you have to sign up with a tradition and ‘advance’ your way through the hierarchy or you need to understand the various “stages” of consciousness or solve zen koans, and so forth. You don’t have to do any of this, and from what I have seen, these can actually be obstacles to awakening for many.
Awakening is simple. It’s not simple for some only because of the effort they put into complicating it.
The Two Step Dance of Awakening – Awareness and Release
Here’s how you awaken:
First: Find a release technique which resonates with you. Try the Release technique I describe, or the Sedona Method, and EFT. Releasing helps free us of depression, anxiety, the past, and it’s an effective salve for awakening symptoms. (Some call these Kundalini symptoms).
Second: Find an awareness technique which resonates. All awareness techniques lead to Awareness Now. This is referred to with many different words: effortless meditation, being, natural being, being present, just as is, passive watchfulness, zazen, dyana, ch’an, zen, and many other Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Kaballah, Sufi, and Gnostic terms. Why complicate it? It is a passive watchfulness which is not of the mind but which can watch the mind and everything else.
It is utterly simple, here and now. When mind says, “is this all there is?”, that is it. In the utter ordinariness, the extraordinary will unfold.
Obstacles to Awakening
“The simplest cure is to feel free to block, so that one does not block at blocking. When one feels free to lock, the blocking [holding on] automatically eliminates itself….The principle here is, of course, the same as getting out of the contradiction of ‘trying to be spontaneous’ through accepting the ‘trying’ as spontaneous’ …” The Way of Zen, Allan Watts
The biggest obstacle is our own ideas. Awakening is waking up from the story of “me”; but it immediately merges into another story about advancing the “me” and then we are concerned about how successful we are at awakening. This resistance can show up in many ways. It shows up as the need to understand more before you can start, dismissal, ‘spiritualized’ ego, intellectual analysis and beliefs, or the clinging to particular concepts or techniques or traditions or disciplines like meditation or yoga or visualization or philosophizing or some new-age thing or enchantment with particular teachers or with the idea of awakening itself.
It can be the ego’s fear of awakening, which can show up as “My God, who will I be without emotions and desires?” or “How can I ever give up thinking?” or “I need to understand this fully” or “I am not ready for this” and so forth. It can show up as a clinging to every new fads, such as the Law of Attraction, or “masterminding” or visualizing…this is just stuff that we seek out desperately to change who we are.
All you have to do is to suss out obstacles is to notice them. Don’t think about them; don’t analyze them; don’t block—all of that is just more thinking. Perhaps this is why the Buddha warned not to believe anything anyone says, until it is experience.
The test for whether you are caught in an obstacle is very simple. Ask yourself how you feel compared to say three months ago. Do you feel more open, lighter, and joyful? This of course takes radical honesty to answer, and if you don’t think you can be radically honest with yourself, you’re in a good place. It’s a great start.
Your goal is not to experience some sort of big-bang transformation. Don’t worry about when enlightenment happens in linear time, or even if there really is such a thing. The goal is to get into the flow of awakening, so that it deepens on its own, effortlessly.
“You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” –Morpheus to Neo in the movie The Matrix
If you start this you will discover many things on your own. You will see the nature of effort for what it is. You will put in some effort in the beginning, but once you get into the flow of awakening, it will work on its own. You will see that it is about the releasing of effort.
You may go through some emotional turmoil; don’t worry, the releasing will help you and heal you. You will understand why it’s important to rely only on direct experience, and not on what you read or hear, even if it is from your favorite “spiritual” guide. You will see and laugh at frivolities of your own revelations and beliefs, and you will recognize the voice in the head as just a voice in the head. You will see why spirituality itself is an obstacle. You will see that all that you believe is irrational, and you will see why we don’t perceive reality as it is. And, with great relief, you will find that when you are able to get out of the way, Awareness does the job of awakening all by itself, much better than you can.
My experience with depression and anxiety was not easy. But releasing the anxiety and depression, once I found a natural method, was as easy as opening a fisted hand. It was difficult for me but it doesn’t have to be difficult for you.
My awakening experiences in the beginning were also difficult. But I found that releasing helps with letting go of concepts I had built around awakening, and then it was easy to get into the effortless flow of awakening. “I” do absolutely nothing except get out of the way.
This is the two-step dance of Awareness and Release.
Photo by Eddi 07