Spiritual Awakening, Growth, and Enlightenment/what to do
Dear Expert. I take the chance and ask what you've been suggested: What am I here to do? Thank you very much.
I suggest doing the freedom practice below - each time you do it you will get a little bit clearer around what you are here to do.
If you have any questions, email me at jdreaver at aol dot com.
The Freedom Practice Revisited
With the three steps of the freedom practice you learn to make the shift in perception, in the way you see, that is at the heart of this book. Here they are again:
The beauty of the freedom practice is that there is nothing you actually have to “do”—no special meditation, yoga, body movement, diet, or ritual. You just have to take a few deep, conscious breaths to ground yourself in the present moment, and then ask yourself two questions.
Deep, slow breathing helps smooth out the energy of anxiety, or any other emotional disturbance you may be experiencing. Feeling the aliveness in your body and the energy around helps you become one with the moment.
Being anchored in presence like this temporarily silences the voice in your head, the self-doubt, the endless questioning of yourself. You cannot really think and be supremely present.
So whenever any conflict, upset, or suffering arises in you, you’ve got to be present with it. Eventually, you learn to welcome it because it is showing you where you’re not yet free. The more you welcome, the more your heart opens. I write about this subtle and challenging art of welcoming your suffering in a few pages.
Once you are present with your suffering, you ask the first question of the freedom practice: “What’s the story I’m telling myself here?”
Then you identify the thought or story behind your suffering, as in I am angry, envious, jealous, bored, upset, or confused, or I don’t feel safe at all. Then you look at how the story, like the emotional reaction it triggered, comes and goes in your awareness, but you, the watching, the seeing, are always here.
The difference between the freedom practice as I present it here, and when I wrote about it in End Your Story, Begin Your Life, is that in the earlier book, I just had people “notice” the story they were telling themselves.
But asking the question, “What’s the story I’m telling myself?” has proven to be a much more powerful and effective approach. When you get people asking and inquiring into what they are actually, in this moment, doing—or, more accurately, “thinking”—it can stop them in their tracks and produce a real shift in consciousness.
As you see the story, and when you are ready, ask yourself the second question, which has the potential to plunge you into the realization of freedom:
If you are feeling depressed, you ask: “Just who is this ‘me’ who’s depressed?”
Or if you’re not sure you can deal with a situation, and are anxious, you ask: “Who is this ‘I’ who is afraid he/she can’t handle this?”
Or if you don’t trust your partner, or other people because you have a history of betrayal, you ask: “Who is this ‘I’ that doesn’t trust?”
Or if the rent is due, and you are afraid you won’t be able to pay it, you ask: “Who is this ‘I,’ this ‘me’ that’s afraid of not having the rent?
As you try to locate the actual source of this “I” or “me” thought—the ego, the story-teller—you take yourself to be, you may have to look deep into your past, into some childhood trauma of abandonment, abuse, or betrayal. You may have to face some aspect of your past—some old “demon”—and acknowledge to yourself that while it was real then, it is not real now.
But no matter how deeply you inquire or probe into the depths of yourself, you will have to eventually acknowledge the truth: “you,” as a psychological/emotional identity, do not exist!
“You,” this “I” or “me” you’ve taken yourself to be all your life—the ego, the story-teller—are no more real than the “stories” you tell!
This is the essence of the nondual awakening to freedom. Nothing between your ears is fundamentally real because it, like the emotional reactions your “story” triggers in the body, comes and goes, shifts and changes,
Yet you, as the awareness who sees or experiences what’s arising in your body/mind, are always here! When this is realized, what else is there to do but breathe and relax into the clear, spacious awareness or presence—the beautiful human being—you are?
Seeing this most fundamental of truths—that everything you are aware of comes and goes—has to happen again, and again, and again, as many times as needed, day in and day out, whenever there’s the slightest trace of conflict in you.
Each time you see it you become a little bit freer, and more established in the present moment. Then you see your situation with new eyes, and are inspired to take fresh action, maybe around a new affirmation, a conscious “story” you have chosen for yourself—or maybe you don’t have to do anything right now, and can just relax and enjoy the moment.
You went from upset and suffering to being present with it, through breathing consciously and facing what you are feeling. Then, through inquiry, you asked the two questions that produced a shift in you, and brought you into the openness phase, where you are fully present, seeing everything clearly, with your heart open, ready for the next thing, whatever that may be.