Thank you for being here...there is a reason you have taken a moment to read this blog. Maybe you have “it all” but can’t seem to stop searching, maybe life “should” feel good, yet you’re still hurting and don’t know why. Whatever it is, I’m glad to share openly with you. The fact is, all I’ve gone through has been so that I can help others, so that I can help you. .
This article is about my journey of spiritual awakening. I want to tell you about this because you may be exploring spirituality, even if you’re not sure what that means for you. You may feel confused by your spiritual experiences, or maybe you feel lost and are not even sure what you’re looking for. What I’ve discovered along my way is that having someone else who gets it, a person I could relate to, a person who related to me... was the most comforting and the most healing.
There has been a lot on my road to you. A lot I’ve gone through to get here, to get to the other side. As a twenty-something I wandered the world in search of me, trying to figure out why I am here, what is my purpose, what will make me whole.
Nothing worked. Nothing ever worked. My life did not work. One thing after another fell apart as I struggled to find some kind of identity, but it never felt like I had one. I just took on what I thought was right, I took on what I thought would get me to a “successful” and acceptable life. I tried. And it didn’t work.
Until it all finally changed. Until I woke up.
What does “spiritual awakening” even mean? It’s kind of this vague phrase that is hard to grasp. I suggest the reason for that is that the mind really cannot grasp it because it’s beyond the mind. A spiritual awakening is gaining connection with the Highest Self, with All That Is. It is realizing that there is nothing to worry about, realizing and fully understanding that you were always okay, always acceptable and you will always be okay and will always be acceptable.
Spiritual awakening can happen in very personal and individual ways. It can be brought on by honest seeking, deep pain, or extraordinary joy. There can be many levels to it, in other words, a person could experience many awakenings through their lives.
Here are the three most prominent experiences I went through,
One, I just KNEW things. I began to understand things that I had been trying to understand for years. It was like experiencing “downloads”, it wasn’t my knowledge, it wasn’t my small mind’s wisdom, it was beyond that.
When I listened to spiritual teachers that I had once found confusing, they suddenly made perfect sense. I clearly understood their teachings, they deeply resonated with me to the core of my being. It wasn’t studying anymore like I had for so long. It was simply KNOWING.
Second, my personality changed. Until that point, I had been an anxious, fearful woman. I had battled low self-worth and self-doubt. I never felt good enough and feared making mistakes because I thought they meant I was a failure. Well...that just...stopped.
I very quickly progressed into a confident, worry free, enthusiastic woman. Mistakes seemed silly because, no matter what, I was totally acceptable. I felt more than good enough, I knew that I was equal to all beings on earth, so why doubt myself?
Third, life as I had been living it no longer fit, I was a round peg in a square hole. I was called to be alone, to go on a voyage of silent self-discovery. I felt the yearning for nature, to walk in the woods, to connect with the organic world...that is where I felt most at home.
I began to wonder who I was, where the “I” that I’d known had gone, this new person was unfamiliar and, at times, overwhelming. Yet somehow, I knew that the previous “me” had not been me at all. I knew that this being I was becoming was authentically “me”. I knew what I needed to do, I saw what needed to change and no doubt stood in my way.
My job had to change, the way I had shown up in relationships had to change, the tv shows and music I listened to had to change and my whole life’s purpose became poignantly clear. And that is when I started my journey to you.
Out of it all, here is one key understanding that I want to share with you,
I finally understood why so many of us never felt good enough, why even success does not create fulfillment, why we can have everything and nothing at the same time...
I discovered that I didn’t want to feel emotional pain, but I also didn’t want to solve it because that felt too vulnerable. To dig below the surface and discover what is really driving us, what the problem really is takes courage. It takes bravery to face our own misgivings and willingness to let go. But who am I if I let go of this pain, of all the traumas, who will I be?
This is hard to imagine, because, really, who would you be if none of the pain mattered anymore? Who would you be if you didn’t worry about anything? Who would you be if you were no longer stressed or overwhelmed? Who would you be without anxiety, without self judgement, without self doubt? I couldn’t wrap my mind around that and so I avoided it, which is what so many of us do. We continue to live within the guise of pain because it’s simply all we know.
So how do we even begin to uncover what is really causing us suffering? What are those things that we are holding onto but must let go of?
Yoga can show you the way. What most people in the West don’t know about Yoga postures is that they are just ⅛ of the Yoga practice. They also don’t know that the purpose of the postures is self-discovery. Here is one amazingly simple way to begin your journey of self-actualization using a Yoga posture.
Choose a Yoga pose that is hard for you, that’s challenging. It doesn’t need to be a complicated one, but one that you have not been able to “master” (whatever that means!). For instance, Tree Pose (Verksasana).
As you are progressing into the pose, what are you thinking? Become very mindful of the thoughts, but don’t stop them. Sometimes we’ll begin to self-correct, I shouldn’t be thinking that, and then try to ignore the thought. This is the very first key that we are avoiding our suffering. Thought avoidance. I don’t want to be thinking that because it’s not okay so I’m going to push it away and pretend I’m thinking something more acceptable.
Another thought process you may run into is the I’m not good enough theme. Is my tree pose good enough? Does it look like hers? How can I get it to look like hers? Why am I so out of shape, why can’t I stretch like that? Maybe I can push it further and get my leg up there, too.
As you become more mindful of the thoughts that are popping up as you progress into or hold a posture, you will then be able to journal about them, which is an integral part of self-exploration. What you will probably discover is that it may be awfully hard to not fight these thoughts. It may be very hard to just allow yourself to acknowledge them without trying to change them. Yet, to truly change them, to authentically let this way of thinking go, we have to first acknowledge that it’s even there, we have to sit with the suffering, validate it, feel it and then move through it...not around it, not over or under it. Through it.
Yes, easier said than done, which is why we all need a guide. I have had many guides along my way, and I continue to seek out guides to help me progress. Spiritual awakening is not the end game, it is just the beginning. I continue to seek and grow every day. It would be silly of me to think I can do this in a vacuum. Of course, I do a lot of work in silence and in Yoga practice. But I also need the wisdom of others to help me.
My first guides were the great spiritual teachers of our time, Eckhart Tolle, Caroline Myss, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Jack Kornfield and more. Then I reached out to my friend, a Native American light-worker, who then became my guide. She was a vital part of my awakening. She guided me, validated me, and then directed me toward other sources of wisdom and growth.
She helped me find Adyashanti, Sadhguru, Esther Hicks, and several other great teachers. Then, as I continued forward, as I created Whole Health Collaborative, as I began to change all of those areas that needed transformation, I found another guide who understood the awakening and also how to create a successful therapy practice.
There is so much more I would love to share with you, and I will through many articles to come. Again, I’m glad you’re here, I’m grateful to have gotten the opportunity to share this with you. Yet, I’m even more thankful that you are on a journey of self-discovery. This is how we find fulfillment, create happiness, and how we can shine our light into the world.
Find out more about Sarah's powerful work as a psychotherapist based in the compassion of Yoga and Ayurveda.
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