So what really is an awakening? We tend to not truly understand the concept of awakening until we are actually going through it and have recognized the signs. It’s a soul piercing experience that tears everything you ever imagined apart, and reconstructs it into a whole new being. It’s facing your greatest fears and makes you rethink everything that you ever knew. It forces you to view every aspect of yourself that you tried to hide from not only the world, but yourself. Despite these horrifying possibilities, the aftereffects are worth it.
The best representation of an awakening experience, is the lotus flower. It sits quietly, but beautifully basking in the sun. We tend to see it only as a flower, but the lotus is often times represented as the journey we go through waking up. If we can continue to remind ourselves through the process that we are merely just flowers trying to bloom in the light of world, it will make the process a lot easier to handle. Otherwise, if you stay stuck in the fear and darkness of the process, you will not bloom to your full potential.
The lotus grows its roots in the muddy waters of streams and ponds. Imagine the mud much like the mental state before an awakening. When we are born, we are shaped and molded into what society wants us to be. As young children, we are molded by our parents and those around us. In school we are sculpted and molded into what society believes we should be. Society puts you into a box, where you are not able to expand and grow. Constructed religions, social media, beliefs and our own fueled egos, can prevent us from growing, and thus staying in the mud. In order to grow, you have to start disrobing yourself of these beliefs, illusions, and concepts that are pushed on us each and every day. Your biggest hurdle will be your own ego. Through ego, we experience fear, anger, suffering, and jealousy. These things are created out of our experiences and what we are told to believe to be true. But our experiences are merely based on illusions that were created by those who were structured by those before them. Even when you release the ego, there will still be times in your life where you will find yourself faced with dealing with ego again and again.
The ego is often times considered a bad thing, and though it is not great, it has helped you survive up until this point. When you allow ego to take hold, you are not really living life to the fullest, but living just to survive. You are allowing it to create decisions about your life that may not be life fulfilling. It is where you house your self esteem and your beliefs. It can create illusions about your reality that may not even necessarily be true to the reality that you are living in. But what does ego have to do with enlightenment, and how does it relate to the lotus?
When you start to go through the process and the changes that happen to you, you can compare them to when a lotus seed start to sprout. Imagine that it is you, mentally, leaving the ego, the mud, and having an “ego death”. An ego death is when you start separating yourself from ego. You realize that the things that you believed for so long, are not actually real at all, but illusion. Not saying that everything is illusion, but how you react and what you have believed, are merely just things that no longer apply once you start to have an ego death.
Once you realize that there is no place in your life for anger, fear and jealousy, as these are things that simply hold you back from being happy, the act of ego death is much easier. When you stay in a constant state of mind controlled by ego, you find that there any many things that block many possibilities in your life. Are you looking for a happy relationship? You must first release ego and release the feelings of being afraid, low self worth, and anger to past relationships. You want a better job? Instead of thinking of negative thoughts such as, the fear of starting over, the fear of being rejected, release yourself from ego and view it as a positive life experience. When you remove yourself from ego, more doorways start to open for you. Your own fear and beliefs are holding you back. It’s for you to decide when these things no longer have hold over you. After all, the lotus doesn’t fear leaving the mud, as it knows that its journey is upward.
As you begin to sprout and grow away from ego, you are faced with other trials and tribulations. Just as the lotus begins it’s way through the waters, you will also begin your way through the awakening and spiritual growth to reach the sun. You will face your shadow self at some point through this growth period. Your shadow self is the dark side of you that you do not like to admit to and try to hide. You will be forced to look at yourself in a whole new light. The shadow self is not negative, but in order to go through spiritual healing, which you will need to do in order to reach enlightenment, you will have to learn to understand the dark side of you, and learn how to embrace it. The shadow side of you most often comes out when you project your ideas or thoughts onto other people. You see, when you talk negatively about someone else, you are really speaking about yourself. When you catch yourself doing this, look inward and ask yourself, is this how I feel about me? If and when you’ve come to the realization that this is how you inwardly feel, no matter how difficult it is to look at, the next step in the process is to learn how to forgive yourself. By doing this you are healing and growing spiritually. You will find yourself thinking in different thought patterns once you start the healing process. Where once you would have been negative towards yourself and others, you will start to realize that you have become more patient and understanding, as well as forgiving. Your self-esteem will start to rise and you will feel less bogged down with negative emotions. The process itself can be very exhausting emotionally and physically, and thoughts of suicide and depression can occur. Keep in mind that this is just part of the process of moving forward, leaving the ego, and learning to love yourself.
I highly recommend that you find a way to release these outlets that will help you cope with these changes. As they can come quickly in waves, or at a slow steady pace, they can be overwhelming and affect your daily life. If at any point you do not feel like you can handle the experience you are going through, please seek a medical professional. They can prescribe you anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. By doing this, you are not throwing in the towel. You are just trying to make it easier on you and the process you are going through. Also seek someone whom you can trust to talk to. Whether it is a close friend or relative, or even a therapist or counselor. It is best to try to express yourself outward through words, rather than doing something you could potentially regret.
The healing process as a whole can take a long while. You will repeatedly be made to look back at past issues from your childhood or even adulthood that you thought to be healed from. There will be times when you are faced to look at the same situation as there will be different life lessons to be learned from every angle. Many of the different life lessons that you will be learning during the awakening process will be things like forgiveness, patience, understanding, and love. During the awakening process, you will also experience flashbacks of past lives. We carry with us into this life karma from past lives that we will be forced to look at in this life. They can be happy memories, or memories that need healing. They can range from, “oh well that makes sense as to why I do this!” to “wow, I cannot believe that happened. That’s so horrible.” They can show up as sudden irrational fears, or you will find that people in this life also shared past lives with you. You could have vivid dreams, or they can be a sudden flash in your mind when you are awake. I encourage you to write these down as it will help draw out more of these past lives and you will be able to more easily put the pieces together.
As you work your way through the water you will have gone through a great amount of spiritual growth. Just as the stems of a lotus, you will find that your inner strength has grown and does not break. You will find that once you become closer to the top and start living in the light, that you are more willing to accept the idea of positive thinking. Though even those who reach the top will still experience emotions and moments of ego, you will be able to quickly recognize these things and be able to mentally separate yourself from them, allowing more clear thinking.
When the lotus blossom has emerged from the muddy, murky waters, it is clean and pure. It has washed away all the mud through its travel to the light. As it blooms, its petals will be beautiful and untouched by mud. The blooming of a lotus represents the shedding of the layers and opening up to the light. It does not forget where it came from, and it is strong in its roots and stems. It doesn’t break and remains resilient through the push and pull of the water. You as well are like the lotus. You strive to better yourself by removing yourself from bad habits and mindsets. You do not give up and continue to grow in order to reach a higher level of consciousness. You, my love, are a flower. Do not give up before you have reached the sun, for once you get there, you will be able to bask in the light of the world, and share your beautiful journey with others.