Surrender

Awakening can be a sudden and bewildering change that pushes a relentless process of clearing stored emotional material, ultimately with the light at the tunnel being a better more peaceful life with bliss as the centerpiece of this new level of attainment.

Right?

While the “rise” of awakening can be a very quick event, it instigates a transformative process that can be years in the making.  One of the big challenges among the many that come with awakening is how to BE in the world.  Most specifically, after awakening, how do you go on doing what you have always done?  So much is irrevocably changed within you; how you see, how you respond, how you interact with the world around you. Its a big shift that brings with it a lot of self examination about what it was you have been up to for all these years. Often you can be left feeling at odd ends about your work, your relationships, and how to move forward with awakening as the “new normal.”

Most importantly to bear in mind is that everything has changed. Trying to go back to the old way tends to repeat old patterns and methods.  This is a wonderful opportunity to be brave and leap into the breach, into the void of the future in a new way. I know as well as you do, that if you are going through awakening there is a new aspect being brought to bear.  This new “element” within the self is discovered while awakening.  It is itself the nonlinear, more feminine aspect within consciousness.  It is what I think of as a missing link in our own awareness and consciousness that sparks great change. You can see just how big a change it is because this unfolding of this part of you results in events happening differently. You are interfacing with reality in a different way, or perhaps I should say, in a much more efficient way than ever before.  Like what you think has a way of coming to pass very quickly.  We refer to this as synchronicity.  It is in fact a kind of “upgrade” to our own native ability to co-create with reality.  You create your reality. Now, though, its just a touch more seemingly magical because of this added and once missing element.

So the trick, I find, is to not try to go back to the old ways. You have been changed.  Period. Let the new filter into you and as a result of it, even though you are different from the masses, you will feel a flow and freedom as well as wonder joy and awe about this new life. And the more that you are able to anchor this sense of being within, the more it surrounds you in your life.  Slowly, or even quickly, your energy body is released, cleansed, of the hundreds of hitches that has gotten caught up in the co-creative cycling that is your karma. Letting it go clears the decks and makes thing easier in direct proportion to the mass of inner material released.  You are now better able to NOT know what the future holds, willing to ride the wave of bliss and maybe even find how perfect things happen when you are in this zone.  Trusting.  Happy.  A little breathless, intense sometimes, hard at other times, too, yes, but getting better and better.

But.  Sometimes you want to take what you may still love to do and adapt it to your new life. I can tell you that in my own experience, so much changes.  If you are a business owner like I have been, being able to steer the ship in a way that supports you in basic ways as well as all of the new ways can be a daunting task.  This is where listening to the force within will guide.  I was an artist in production. Nothing got done that I did not myself do. I worked 80 hour weeks and loved it, and yet I brought to the work a lot of issues that disapeared once awakening came along. I was left lost for about a year, bereft of creative juices, new ideas, or even the drive, the old fire in the belly.  Intuitively, I knew that the fire in the belly could be supplanted by a different kind of fire.  It would attract a different kind of client just as it would support my new life. Before I went in a very linear fashion, a rather rational approach to all of this. But post awakening, I saw a world of new opportunities for collaboration and leveraging my brand as well as my own creativity by working with others with similar interests as mine.  I found that instead of being so aggressive, I simply did what I had always done; let the work speak for itself and let the chips fall where they may.  If I needed someone to help market the work, someone would come along in perfect timing.  It has always happened this way.  I don’t go looking for resources, I am now attracting them magnetically. Less about money and more about having fun and enjoying life, I have opened the door to a world of possibility.  I simply say, “bring me the highest” and for the time and the place I am in, it almost always has. All of this requires me to step back and let the universe work its magic. This involves faith I think.

Along with this change is also what I experienced as my mind entering into a persistent state of stillness and quietude.  To get there, I had to ride some pretty serious waves of bliss for extended periods. This took place over about a two to three year period that culminated not in ego death, but in what I call ego rearrangement. Its important to understand that there is no such thing as ego death. Those who use it are trying to explain what feels like might be a death, but is in truth a gentle but tragic-feeling change that asks us to allow ego to drift into the background.  Once that is done enough, the self will feel immense relief as well as a number of new benefits to consciousness and how you feel on a day to day basis.  But for a time, there is also a kind of “spacey” quality to your mind.  I forgot things very quickly.  On the one hand, the chemistry behind this was important for letting go, but try getting through a day with a long list of things that need to be done.  I have found that I make written lists so that my bliss state remains without any feelings of tension or anxiety about missing something.  I can say, though, that there were many times when I was in that “daze” of the quiet mind that I would end up being in all the right places, a little embarrassed to realize that I had forgotten an appointment even though I was there at just the right time.  I found that the more I let go, the more flawless this worked. But it didn’t work every time.  I was not always in the perfect flow, so being able to set up a note system has been a nice way to remind me when I am soaring through the day.

I was pleased to find that this state of mind was described by Zen monks as the goal of reaching samadhi.  It was a necessary precursor, they said.  This is often referred to in Buddhism and the Vedic tradition as the “empty head” or “no-head,” suggesting that the normal operations of the mind as a linear thinking rationalizing organ have been disrupted. In my own experience where I have carefully observed the chemistry at work in my body, I identified the chief compound involved in this surrender state as being primarily dopamine.  I arrived at this as a result of a lot of careful research and study into the effects of dopamine as well as opiates on the body, and all opiates have had an analogous enough effect as dopamine since the signature of bliss in the body is far more complex than any one compound- this includes hormones as well as oxytocin, and even small amounts of adrenaline in order to modify the spacey quality inherent in dopamine).J. Krishnamurti described that he went into a “declutched state” where his mind simply refused to work.  He would often forget names, would look at himself in the mirror and simply not recognize who it was that was there (this happened to me several times).  This state persisted for some time, and while it moderated later, he retained an aspect of it throughout his life. And I think that its a necessary state to have in order to deal with cosmic consciousness.  You simply cannot rationalize your way through your day and expect to get through in one piece.  Linear thought becomes the short-order cook in your life, very good for specific short-termed tasks, but terrible for the bigger stuff.  The Zen master Taisen Deshimuro explains that people who are rational and “mental” have a lot of trouble with awakening.  They have trouble just being a monk, too, but its because they  use the mind in a way that is no longer compatible with awakening. You just need to be much bigger than the narrow linear mind. You have to be bigger-hearted, more soulful, to navigate the energy in greater peace.

For as much as I like to be my own boss, awakening sparked in me an interest in working with others, so I have.  I have been able to bring to my work in teaching something that few teachers do.  School is still very much a mechanistic process.  Some of it is necessary in order to teach technique in art, for example.  You simply have to learn how to lay down paint well, or to know just how to move a tool across a surface in order to get a smooth surface in clay.  This is what dancers study for years, what ballerinas will repeat endlessly in order to train themselves to be the best they can be. Its important, but its only one side to the coin.  Along with this is the human soul that is part of our creative expression, and how we access creativity.  Instead of teaching through pressure and the fear of deadlines, I create an environment of freedom that includes personal responsibility to ones own work.  To be an artist, you cannot hope to succeed if you don’t have discipline within you as a choice instead of imposed from outside.  So doing this work, while very different from how I was trained, I have used and I have hoped that it will yield results for the hundreds of students whose lives that have transited my own through my work. As more and more students “come back” after graduation by asking to be ‘friended’ through Facebook or through other forms of social media, I see how what I do has been catching on.

Creativity goes crazy when it is stripped of fear and is instead infused with joy and wonder.  Something very special happens.  And I have been dedicated to supporting this way of teaching because I know how great it is to experience creativity in this more expansive way.  Each of us has genius inside of us.  I know you might not agree, but I have seen it when someone pokes their heads out of their own fear and desire to play it safe.

Another aspect of my teaching work has been to do group projects so that my students can realize a much broader range or scope to a finished work.  The result has been that we have made hundreds of pieces for an installation, larger-scale work that has grabbed a lot of attention by other students and faculty as well as the world at large.  By learning how to collaborate my students also learn how to work with each other in an interesting dynamic that involves give and take, as well as making choices and going with them.  They do less overthinking their choices while in the process and learn how to follow their instincts, an important non-rational aspect to creative work.  Ultimately, my hope is to empower my students so that they might develop greater confidence in themselves and use their experience with me as an example for something they want to do later in life.

Collaboration means inclusiveness.  If you find yourself hungry for working with groups of people as so many who awaken do, you might serve as an inspiring presence that suggests that while the way forward may not always be known, things have a way of working themselves out perfectly when we let go of expectation and just throw ourselves in projects with joy and enthusiasm.  It might be that your work sustains you but you find that it is not terribly rewarding.  I think you have two choices, either you find a way to work so that its more interesting, or you find something beyond your work that fills the bill for you.  Between my creative work and the five sites that I manage for it, my spiritual work and the three blogs I manage for those writings, along with my work teaching and being a father, I find that life is just packed. I am constantly tuning and fine tuning my inner work in order to harmonize with a life that continues to change and clarify.  Things change as they need to, and the timing always seems to be just right.  I know that when I say I go with the flow that it sounds like I am somehow inactive, it is less that I am inactive as I am at a deeper level very engaged in the river of my life in a way that does not involve the same level of physical manipulation needed.  I am simply not pushing the river as much, but finding ways to be “like water” (thank-you Bruce Lee) and to use the flow of my life in as harmonious a way as I can.  I’m human, so its not perfect, but in the imperfection lies an opportunity to know more about myself as long as I am willing to be honest with myself.

The answer to coping may not be in trying to do things the old way, but to navigate life in a new way.  This new way may require you to have faith, to not always know what the future holds but to find that the more you are able to suspect that a”bad” outcome one day is just setting you up for something not yet in your present. I recently had a pretty significant equipment failure, but instead of letting it get to me, I saw that there had been a series of these odd little glitches happening that made me feel like I wasn’t supposed to be doing the work I was doing.  For reasons I do not know yet, the work that I would have done had the failure not happened, probably wont be needed.  Thus, this has given me two additional days away from my production work in order to get ready for an open studio event.  I have learned that when I go with this flow, there is always something that comes along that shows me that had it gone differently, it would not have been “right” or that the flow of events were perfectly arranged in the way they were for certain other events to happen as they did.  Without the equipment failure, I would have missed something, or something important would likely not take place.  I don’t know what that is, but I have faith that everything is unfolding as it should.  In the old days, I would be banging my head against the wall.  The flow of events have been sufficient to put me where I need most to be.  And sometimes the right place is not something that I might even want or recognize as important at the time, but often winds up being significant in some important way.  So the job that you lose, which is seen as a tragedy, also means that you wind up taking off time and find yourself swimming in a pool with someone who is to be a major player in the next chapter in your life.  Had you not lost your job you would not be swimming in the pool at just that moment meeting your new contact in perfect timing. These things happen with great frequency the more we can open ourselves up to being available to them.

What you might lose, you also win.  There are compensations in this new life.  Limits tend to go out the door as you ask yourself, “What can’t I do?”  And that is just the spirit, right?

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