Awakening is not a path for the faint of heart.
You will be humbled. Oh yes. Brought to your knees. Many, many times.
What you thought you knew will occasionally dissolve into nothingness.
Your most brilliant insights, your astonishing expertise, your life’s work, it can all crumble to the ground.
Sometimes without warning.
You will be asked to begin again, and again, and again.
(Did I say, this is not a path for the faint of heart?)
Oh yes, you will touch the bliss and joy of existence, for sure!
You will laugh at the simplicity of things, some days, of course!
But you will also be asked to confront your deepest fears, face the darkness and the night within, go to the places where the unloved creatures dwell.
You will step into pockets of grief you never knew were there.
You will cry a billion tears for the lost and abandoned children, within and without.
You will rage to the sky, to your parents, to all the teachers who failed you, to the lies you were fed, to the ones who never showed up when you needed them the most.
You will tremble with fear some days.
Some days the ground will open up and swallow you and spit you back out.
Sometimes you will think you’ve reached the end of the path, and then you will find yourself back at the damn beginning.
Sometimes you will feel like giving up.
Sometimes you will feel like you’ve made no progress at all.
Sometimes you will curse the day you started out on this journey.
But you are healing.
Yes, you are.
You are thawing, undoing billions of years of karma. Fear-based conditioning is melting away, and you are meeting life in the raw.
You are returning to nature, to the Garden, to the wild, where you were conceived.
It’s not always easy. It’s not always peaceful.
It’s not always the spirituality you were sold.
It’s not always love and light and joy and positivity and pure undisturbed Awareness.
(These are only dreams for frightened children.)
No, it’s an authentic awakening. You are a warrior of realness now, tired of the bullshit and the false promises, weeping and raging and laughing your way into the terrible, wonderful wholeness that you are.
All your old dreams have crumbled, but you have not.
The voices of fear and shame and doubt may still be with you, but you are bigger than them now.
You have days where you feel tiny, yes, but you have days where you can hold the whole damn Universe in the palm of your hand.
You have gone insane to be normal, you have cracked to be whole, you have traded the old security for a life of adventure, and given up the sad old dogmas for the thrill of not knowing.
You are finding safety in the darkest places, and beauty in the loneliest places, and love in the places you thought had been forsaken by love.
You are never abandoned by life, friend, for you are life, and even when you fall to the ground, you are completely supported by unknowable forces.
And so what. So what! You fall! You bruise yourself. You feel ashamed for a while. You weep out the old dream. So what! You cry out the expectation and you turn to face the reality and it is never, never as bad as you’d feared.
You pick yourself up, you dust yourself off, you get back on the path, and you walk on.
You never left the path, if truth be told.
For the path never left... you.
For the path forms itself under your very feet, in every Now, with each step that you take or do not take, rejoicing in your unique journey, celebrating you exactly as you are today, bowing to your failures as well as your victories.
So, begin again, friend.
And walk on.
A freer way of understanding is to grasp what we’ve been asked to know and hold it for a moment at a distance.
Vikram Zutshi In Conversation With Evan Thompson This article was first published at the Sutra Journal…
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