If you have a rude awakening, you have a severe shock when you discover the truth of a situation.
– from The Free Dictionary
An awakening process can be a rude awakening.
Some parts of the awakening process is what our personality likes. It aligns with what our personality likes and wants. For instance, an early and temporary transcendence gives us a taste of freedom from trauma, pain, and hurt.
Other parts may be more difficult for our personality. They can challenge or clash with habitual patterns our mind initially created to stay safe. These include but are not limited to:
Disillusionment. Awakening includes disillusionment and especially disillusionment about what awakening is and what “we” get out of it. We may hope for a state of eternal peace and bliss, and what it’s really about is awakening to and as that which already allows any experience and state, including sadness, anger, and pain.
Awakening to the shadow. Awakening means awakening to everything, including our own very human pain, trauma, and hurt. At some point, this comes to the surface with an invitation to question the unquestioned stories holding the hurt in place, feel the unfelt feelings and emotions, and love all of it as it is including any reactions we have towards it.
Most people have a lot of misconceptions about awakening or enlightenment. This is partly inevitable since awakening is a change of the context of our experience rather than a change within our experience, and most of us are only familiar with the latter until there is an initial opening or awakening. These misconceptions are also partly encouraged and perpetuated by some spiritual traditions and teachers, either for strategic reasons (which I happen to not agree with) or because they don’t know better.
It’s difficult to know in advance how much of the trauma is healed or cleared up by the initial awakening, or any practices we engage with before or after the initial awakening. It’s also difficult to know how much is there in the first place. A lot of it is “collective” trauma passed on through the generations and by our culture, and some may also be due to epigenetics. I was certainly surprised by the amount of pain and trauma that surfaced for me.
What do I mean when I say that awakening is a shift in the context of our experience? It’s because an awakening is an awakening to – and then as – what experience happens within and as. This is sometimes labeled awareness, presence, Spirit or something similar, although any label will make it seem more discrete and like an object than it is. Content of experience doesn’t have to change at all, although it often does as a side effect of this shift in context.
- awakening process = awakening to everything
- awakening to that which everything happens within and as (aka “awareness” etc.)
- awakening to disillusionment – also about awakening, what it is about
- awakening to shadow, unprocessed material, traumas etc. – anything unquestioned (stories), unloved, unfelt (sensations, emotions)
- can be experienced as a rude awakening, at times, and also necessary
Some of what we awaken from and to is what our personality likes. It aligns with what our personality likes and wants.
- temporary transcendence