This article is written for Evolving Beings by guest author Jim Tolles of Spiritual Awakening Process.
There’s no doubt that we live in extraordinary times. Many old structures are falling apart, and people are being cast into places of doubt and uncertainty. This has, as it has for a good part of history, created a crucible for spiritual awakening. It’s the sad truth that people don’t look to spirit until they’re up against a wall. Sometimes it takes a physical accident to shatter someone’s illusions about the world along with their body.
Yes, this is a tough time, but we’ve created tough shells. So the tools being used to open us are directly in proportion to the forces we’ve exerted to keep ourselves in these shells. And then we come out. For a moment, you touch what is real. It can be a realization about the need for change. It can be a moment of intense bliss. It can be a lot of things depending on the person and what they need. And then off you go down the spiritual path seeking…something.
The Never-Ending Path of the Spiritual Seeker
It all starts out harmlessly enough. You need information. You need a new construct. You need to re-construct your life in accordance to this new awareness. So you seek out teachers, teachings, retreats, spiritual communities, and more. It can be a whirlwind time. Or if you’re not coming to the spiritual path after an awakening, this is simply where you’re drawn. You fill up your life with these wonderful spiritual-type things and experiences. For those of you who haven’t had an awakening experience, you may be wondering, “When is mine coming?” For those of you who have had one, you may be wondering, “When will I get that experience back?”
It’s all very deceptive. The subtle spiritual ego has gotten in the way. The true spiritual ego knows what it is and that it is a temporary contrivance. But oftentimes in our spiritual paths, we create an ego identity built up around spiritual experiences, friends, and activities. It’s all the old ego functions in new gift wrap. But because it’s shiny and neat, we think that we’re actually following the path when we’ve diverged from it.
Returning to the Source, Returning to You
Much of Western society is caught up in the notion that something you need is out there. You don’t know where it is exactly, but it’s out there. When you have it, you’ll be happy and fulfilled. At first, many of us put that fulfillment and happiness in a job or in romantic relationships. But just about all of us who have had both suddenly realize that those things aren’t what we thought they would be. It becomes very disappointing. But because we’re so caught up in our programming, we continue to seek outwardly. We go from relationship to relationship or from job to job. And yet, we are never finding what we want.
Subsequently, this same mentality happens to many spiritual seekers. The act of seeking is to put the goal of what you truly want at some other point of time and in a different experience than the one you’re having now. But the truth of spirituality is that we already have everything in this moment. So putting your awakening in the hands of a guru in India or a retreat in Northern California will ultimately disappoint you. Those things and experiences can be wonderful, but they’re not what the spiritual path is about. Spiritual finding starts by returning to you.
You Are Already Complete
As a spiritual teacher, I talk a lot about process and clearing out old issues. These are helpful. They’re tools to teach the ego that it’s okay to let go. Because when the ego lets go, you are timeless and complete.
In the letting go of control and fear and every other thing that we’re holding onto, we come into the fullness of the moment. This is spiritual finding. No meditation, mindful movement class, retreat, yoga intensive, or whatever can give this to you. You could find it there, and maybe you did find an amazing moment like it in one of these activities. But you already have this awakening in you. So you can have it at 3am feeding a crying baby. You can have it getting yelled at by your boss at work. You can have it waiting for the train. You can have it sitting in rush hour traffic. Your spiritual awakening and your ability to find Truth is always in you 24-7.
Becoming a Spiritual Finder and the Power of Choice
Of course, when you come to this realization, your whole life changes…again. You may indeed go do “spiritual” things, but now, it’s because of choice. You no longer think that you’ll find something. You are doing it because it’s what you choose to do. This is a very powerful place.
You also will be able to see the spirituality in all things. In these moments, the arbitrary definition of such-and-such is spiritual and such-and-such is not spiritual will be revealed for the true absurdity it is. Because you’ll feel how interconnected everything is. You’ll feel the Truth and Beauty in all things.
For the dejected spiritual seeker, it may be hard to read some of these words. You’ve probably spent a lot of time and money in trying to achieve a spiritual experience. But the gift of the present moment is that you can always awaken right now. The past no longer exists. So choose to awaken now. Choose to let go. And if you are sincere and the universe aligns with this, you can become a spiritual finder.
About the Author
Jim Tolles is a spiritual teacher, healer, and writer. He draws upon the beauty and truth in multiple spiritual and religious traditions and helps people come into their embodied awakening. Jim blogs regularly at Spiritual Awakening Process. You can also find him under the screen name IveFoundit on Twitter and Stumbleupon.