There is an old story in the Buddhist tradition: Someone saw the Buddha sitting under a tree, deep in meditation. Awestruck, he asked, "Are you a god?" "No, I'm not a god." "Are you an angel?" "No,” replied the Buddha. "You must be a spirit then?" "No, I'm not a spirit," said the Buddha. "Then what are you?" "I'm awake."
Is humanity awakening? To answer this, we need to look at what we mean by awakening. Spiritual
traditions speak of awakening to the unifying consciousness that is within and transcends our bodies and the physical world. Practices from these teachings help to free the mind and increase awareness of the true nature of who we are. From this perspective, we are more awake the more we are experiencing the infinite source of life within and around ourselves, everyone and everything and the more we are aligned and unified with the divine.
We also can look at awakening from the perspective of our relationships with people, animals, plants and the Earth. To the degree that we are focused only on ourselves, we are asleep to our connectedness and interdependence with the web of life. Waking up from this slumber, we become more inclusive, tolerant and empathic. When we are more awake, we are motivated to take compassionate action to relieve suffering in the world.
Looked at in these two ways, we can see strong currents of ‘waking up’ flowing through the human family at this time. Spiritual teachers and teachings that were limited to isolated regions of the planet, now travel the world spreading their seeds. Sacred Photo © Andres Rodriguez / photoxpress We all have a hand in creating the community where we want to live. Please support the businesses that support us… and be sure to mention you saw them in Natural Awakenings. It is the support of our wonderful advertisers that makes it possible to provide this resource to you each month. texts, as well as the writings, audio and video recordings of spiritual teachers are easily available. Millions of people, who otherwise would not have sought out spiritual practices, are motivated by their increased availability. While many see a danger of watering down or distorting very subtle wisdom transmissions, there is no doubt a positive impact upon millions of people being exposed, opened and perhaps awakened by these messages.
There is a continuously growing movement of people who are engaged with compassionate communication for conflict resolution and cooperative and nonhierarchical organization building. There also is a growing number of individuals working to preserve our ecology, recognizing that we need an awakening of a large segment of humanity to preserve the diverse species that are interdependent upon one another and to help restore our ecosystem. These activities instill and support the awakening of our organic, psychic and spiritual connectedness and interdependence. It behooves us to ask what we can do to foster the natural evolution of human consciousness awakening.
There are thousands of powerful and practical ways to awaken to the infinite source of life within while supporting the mutual awakening of humanity. Here are just two:
1. Choose an issue about which you are passionate. Meditate and clear your mind for 30 minutes. Then write a letter from your heart and mind to a newspaper or government official.
2. Participate in a vigil or demonstration for peace and justice. During the vigil, practice keeping your attention on the timeless presence of being-ness in all things. So, awakening at this time in the evolution of humanity means doing this together
Action for peace, justice and ecological sustainability is vital work that needs to be fed by the awareness of the life force (also experienced as love) that is at the heart of creation. This awareness comes with inner-focused work. Similarly, while meditation and spiritual practices foster inner awakening, it takes involvement with the world to shake us out of the (often comfortable) illusion of isolated existence. When we open to the depths of our being while engaging with the many beings that make up the universe, we awaken to our part in what is unfolding.
Alan Levin is a psychotherapist working with individuals and couples. He also teaches groups and individuals an integration of mindfulness meditation, life-energy yoga and shamanism, which he calls Earthing – Spiritual Practices for Life on Earth. He has an office in Nyack and also meets with clients via Skype. He can be contacted at 271-3623 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit SacredRiverHealing.org.