Accelerated awakening?

 

If we seek awakening, we can take the traditional slow and steady approach, or we can try to accelerate it or take shortcuts. The slow approach may be “safer” than the apparent shortcuts although one is not inherently better than the other. And in either case, it’s good to look at our motivation.

Ways to accelerate awakening

We can have glimpses of what we are. Sometimes, this happens spontaneously without any apparent preparation, intention, or wish. We can also invite in these glimpses as a way to give us a taste of what awakening is. Some forms of inquiry, like the Big Mind process and the Headless Experiments, can give us a glimpse in a relatively short time and usually in a grounded way without the bells and whistles, and this can also give us more time to explore the different facets and dynamics around it.

Some also use psychoactive drugs, ideally under supervision of someone familiar with how to do it. Since this can come with side-effects, depending on the drug, I can’t recommend it and haven’t been drawn to try it for myself.

These glimpses can give us a taste of awakening and what we are, they can serve as a temporary guide (although can also be a bit misleading, especially as we add ideas to it), and they can – in that sense – accelerate awakening. As we dip into tastes of awakening through inquiry, we also get more familiar with what we are and it’s easier to notice it in daily life. And some forms of inquiry, like Living Inquiries, can help remove identifications and beliefs that typically prevent us from noticing what we are.

There is also the classic slow and steady approach to awakening. Here, we spend time with spiritual practices, with others on the path, and under guidance of someone familiar with the process. We spend time in prayer, meditation, body-centered practiced, and whatever other practices are available to us, and this provides a steady and gentle nurturing to the awakening process.

This more traditional approach is often seen as safer as it provides a lot of support and preparation work for the awakening which, in theory, makes it easier to function within the awakening if or when it happens. If done right, it also gives us a lot of benefits on the way in terms of grounding, healing, support, community, and so on. Of course, this all depends on the tradition, the community, the guide, and our fit with it and the fit with where we are in the process.

There is also the transmission or shaktipat approach. This may give a temporary spiritual opening or glimpse of awakening. Adyashanti describes this happening with retreat participants when he first started holding retreats (he stopped doing it since he found it less useful). This approach may also force the process and come with serious side-effects and challenges – sometimes because it happened a little too fast, and sometimes as the energy bangs up against blocks in our system. In some cases, energy transmissions may accelerate the process in a more balanced and integrated way.

And there is personal energy work, for instance through different forms of yoga. This can be a good way to nurture awakening, especially if combined with meditation and inquiry. As with the other approaches, it’s important to have good and experienced guidance.

These are all traditional approaches to awakening. Some cultures use psychoactive plants to offer glimpses or reality or shifts into it. Some traditions – especially in Asia but also other places – use shaktipat, inquiry, and/or personal energy work. And just about all traditions emphasize the more slow and steady approach, either on its own or in combination with the other approaches.

Personally, I have experience with all of these approaches with the exception of drugs. I have been mostly drawn to inquiry and the slow and steady classic approach. When it comes to energy transmissions, I have so far found only one that seems to be effective, predictable, and balanced, and that’s the awakening path built into being a Vortex Healing student.

Accelerated awakening and spiritual crises

An awakening process comes with different forms of challenges and sometimes spiritual crises. It’s tempting to say that the more accelerated paths come with more risk although I don’t really know. Challenges and spiritual crises seem to happen no matter which approach we take and whether our approach is slow and steady or more accelerated.

What I can say is that an accelerated path may also accelerate the crises (they may happen sooner rather than later). And a more slow and steady approach may allow us to prepare – in our mind, body, and energy system – for the different phases of the awakening process, which may make it a slightly smoother ride.

Mainly, there are no guarantees and we do what we are drawn to anyway.

Our motivation in wanting to accelerate awakening

Whether we seek awakening in the more traditional, slow, and steady way, or we seek a more accelerated path or shortcuts, it’s good to look at our motivation.

Typically, some of our motivations come from a sense of neediness, lack, and wanting to avoid suffering. There is nothing inherently wrong in this type of motivation. It can give us a drive that can be helpful for a while. At the same time, this type of motivation is inherently stressful and can drive us to make compulsive choices we otherwise wouldn’t have made.

Addressing the issues behind this slightly compulsive surface motivation – often some variation of neediness or lack – can reveal a deeper layer of motivation.

It may reveal a deeper, quiet and steady motivation that comes from – somewhere – knowing what we are.

Assumptions and context

I should mention that this view on awakening and ways to accelerate the process is based on an assumption that awakening is a natural, organic, and built-in process in all of us and – in the bigger picture – all beings. Everyone is on this path. For some, it may be far in the future and for others, it may happen now.

When it happens, there is a gradual preparation and build-up to it. It follows a similar process to a seed growing into a sapling, maturing into a tree, growing flowers, the flowers turn into a fruit, the fruit matures and eventually ripes and falls off the tree. In this analogy, the flowers may be early spiritual interests and perhaps practices, and the fruit is the awakening that ripes and matures over time.

We can support the ripening through practices and embodying it as best we can. As mentioned above, there are also other ways to accelerate this process. If we wish to accelerate this natural and organic process, it may be good to ask ourselves where that wish comes from and examine it. And it’s good to be aware that trying to accelerate, or even force, the process comes with some risks.

Finally, I want to mention that the awakening process tends to spontaneously accelerate at different parts of the process. It seems to have natural cycles of apparently slow phases and accelerated phases.

The bigger picture

Awakening is a natural and organic process. It’s what we are seeking itself, finding itself, noticing itself as all there is, and learning to live from and as it through this human being in the world.

What this looks like is a process of exploration or even a play, and many have called it the play of life, existence, or the divine – Lila.

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Buddhist relics

 

The Heart Shrine Relic Tour was in Oslo this weekend, and I was fortunate enough to spend my morning there yesterday.

It’s also a good reminder to sort.

Are these really relics that appear in the ashes of advanced practitioners? Are they unique to these people?

Those are questions for science. If I did this type of research, it would be very interesting questions. Since I don’t – for now – I don’t pay much attention to it.

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What leads up to awakening

 

Some of the things that seem to often precede awakening…

  • Nothing at all. It comes out of the blue. The person may have no interest in religion or spirituality, and have done no spiritual practice. Although for many, there may be a great deal of psychological stress and a sense of being at the end of the rope before the shift, as happened with Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, and even me. (I was an atheist at the time of the initial awakening.) There is a ripeness there somewhere, in terms of being ready to give it all up – all identifications, all hope.
  • Intention. A clear and refined intention to know God, to know truth, to wake up. This may go along with practice and prayer or not.
  • Trying hard and failing. Trying hard to awaken through a range of practices, and thoroughly failing. Exhausting all possibilities.
  • Practice. Engaging in a range of practices that invite in a thinning of the veils. The “distance” between what is here and awakening gets smaller, although the final shift doesn’t happen through practice.
  • Shaktipat. An energy transfer that invites in awakening, such as diksha.

And finally grace. Grace is always what invites in the shift to awakening. Whatever a separate I can seem to do is not enough. It can prepare the ground, but that is all. As Baker Roshi said, awakening is an accident and practice makes us accident prone.

Also, is there really a “leading up to” awakening? The awakening is an awakening out of the stories of time and causality, and also the story of awakening not being here already. From here, there is no leading up to it, although there is also the freedom to use those stories as skillful means.

Dream: transmissions

 

 

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I am participating in a group receiving the Munay-Ki rites. It is led by a Tibetan Rinpoche, who is one of several Rinpoches seeing the effects of the rites as very helpful for themselves and anyone else open to receive them. (John Cleese is there as well, and I talk with him briefly.) The Rinpoche tells us that although we only have received one or two rites so far, the changes have taken place and are available for us to use. We are already released from old patterns, even if we haven’t quite noticed it yet, or trust it enough to live from it.

A friend told me about the Munay-Ki rites a couple of days ago. They are offered where I live, a new cycle start in a few weeks, and it comes from a tradition I have been interested in for a while (Four Winds Society, Alberto Villoldo, Inka shamanism), so I decided to participate. It is similar to shaktipat, energy transfer serving as a catalyst for awakening or healing, which I know works from my experience with Waking Down, Diksha and some other flavors of it. And the differences just makes it more interesting.

In their typical pragmatic and inclusive way, the Tibetan Rinpoches in the dream see the value of the Munay-Ki rites, and use them with their students and anyone else interested. My associations of John Cleese is of a slightly cynical person with a big heart, so him participating may mean that even cynical aspects of myself are on board with it. And the release from patterns may reflect something already happening for me, or something that may happen through the rites, or, most likely, both.

The terrain dream followed this one.

Shaktipat

 

In my (superficial) explorations of different traditions, I discovered that the general category that diksha falls under is called shaktipat, a transfer of energy which facilitates awakening.

It is used systematically, by many teachers, in the Indian traditions, and probably more or less systematically, sometimes even accidentally, by some teachers in many other traditions.

Shakti means energy and pat means touch, and it seems to typically be done through touch, by laying on of hands or even hugging (Amma), but it can also be transfered through gazing or even at a distance – either through an intentional transfer from the giver, or through intention and prayer from the recipient’s side.

Shaktipat and energy healing

There are of course several parallels between this and the (in the west) more familiar faith/energy healing.

In both cases, the “giver” functions as a catalyst for the energy (channeling or awakening it), and the energy itself functions as a catalyst for either healing or awakening. The energy works on and in the energy field of the recipient, allowing the physical and/or consciousness aspects to reorganize. Where energy healing facilitates healing, shaktipat facilitates awakening.

Diksha

What does seem somewhat new in diksha is its predictability and universality. It seems that just about anyone can go through the three week process to become a diksha giver, and that the process unfolds in generally the same way for the recipients, up until awakening to realized selflessness.

From what I hear, and experience myself, it also seems that the different diksha givers transmit their own flavor of the diksha, emphasizing different aspects of the awakening process (for instance endarkenment.)

Other traditions

Muktananda and Adi Da are known for their use of shaktipat, and it is also an important element in Waking Down (not surprisingly, since Saniel Bonder was a student of Adi Da.)

Amma seem to transfer a heart-awakening shaktipat through hugs.

There is a possibility that some Christians do something similar through laying on of hands, although I am not sure about that.

The Tibetans probably have it in their repertoire as well, as they seem to have a very comprehensive and inclusive toolbox.

And, as mentioned, some teachers in any tradition probably use it, either accidentally or more intentionally. Sometimes even by just being in the same room as their students.

Studies etc.

Especially in the west, there is a natural and healthy skepticism about both shaktipat and energy healing, and the only way to get some more clarity around it is to put it to the test through scientific studies (double-blind, using physiologically and psychological measures of changes) and also by trying it out personally.

It is also interesting to look at the different factors involved. Some of the effect does seem to be through the energy transfer, allowing the energy aspect of the recipient to change which in turn invites the physical and/or consciousness aspects to shift. The other aspects certainly include the expectation and receptivity of the recipient, which in itself can allow for significant shifts.