Most of us start out on our chosen path because we had some kind of Awakening experience. As if we were magically lifted up and out of the mire of our inner turmoil, the Awakening stage is the honeymoon of our HeartPath journey. Since everything unfolds so naturally in an authentic awakening, there is really no practice necessary in this stage. Waves of gratitude fill our days and nights, we effortlessly see God/Goddess in everyone and our attachments decrease so fully that we think we’ll never crave a glass of wine, a new relationship or correct someone ever again!
For most of us our beautiful liftoff does level out and it is necessary to stretch our wings and start flapping to maintain something close to our initial altitude. Yes, our previous issues, attachments and aversions begin to rear their ugly heads again. To fully detach from them we adopt practices. On the HeartPath these issues are known as samskaras– imprints or impressions left behind on the mind from previous experiences. Attachment to samskaras is the cause of karma or current life experiences. The HeartPath practices of intention setting, symbolic tracking, inquiry and Kundalini initiations are designed to clear these samskaras and fix our awareness on the transpersonal Heart; that ever present space between “mind states” .
The process of detaching from the samskaras is called tapasya- burning. Since few yoga students or meditators are schooled in how to tolerate Kundalini’s burning of our samskaras, this can be very uncomfortable. Many of us are familiar with our everyday surface samskaras: impatience with our kids or partner, intolerance for the non-yogis among us, even judgments we have toward ourselves. But once a true awakening has been launched, the flood gates open and our Samskara Game Lords come out in full force. As Kundalini rises and spreads her divine light through our chakras- energy centers- she awakens us to the deepest shadows of our being and their true influence on all of our relationships. The shock of coming out of the initial bliss of awakening and into this stage of self realization causes many of us to temporarily abandon our resolve for freedom and coast back into a life of attachment to our limited beliefs and behaviors and aversion to the very meditative practices and connections that facilitated our awakening in the first place.
Depending on the intensity of our longing, for most of us this is the “longest” stage in the awakening process. Even if we have abandoned the cushion or yoga mat, Kundalini will continue to subtly guide us into “tracking events” where we will be exposed to the Heart’s light over and over again. Random encounters with fellow students or teachers, stumbling upon books, movies or websites about the spiritual path, heart opening contacts with animals and children are all guiding events for surrender to the tapasya process. As our little flame is kindled over and over, we adopt an attitude of surrender and willingly participate in the purification. This is when we really take flight!
As we surrender the ego to this stage of awakening, a humbling event for sure, our inner longing for the sustained love and joy we experienced in the beginning grows brighter. Like building a fire- the fire of the Heart- we first start with little acts of surrender – committing to a regular meditation or yoga practice. In time we add more practices like regular journaling, contemplation and tracking of our own actions in review of life events- until our conscious awareness is consumed by the Heart’s direction. Immersion in the Heart calls for full surrender to the fire and absolute willingness for the burning of all our samskaras. This stage, like all the others, only arises when the student is ready.
Like gold being pulled from the goldsmith’s fire, the after glow of tapasya yields prolonged states of freedom, love and conscious awareness of the dreamlike nature of life and death. As our “time” in the fire dwindles, realization of our own divinity dawns quite naturally. Our obsession with fixing ourselves and others shifts to an acceptance, even a loving, of what simply is- Life. Instead of working for change, we see life is about serving and rejoicing in the small changes that naturally return us to the Heart. Now that our inner obstacles have been consumed in love’s fire, there is less time spent thinking about our life; thus creating less attachments or samskaras. More awareness is guided to tracking the inner and outer signs and clues that effortlessly guide us and others, whether they see them or not.
Jesus the Christed One, said: Be Like Little Children. Without the weight of our samskaras, the dross of our golden being, we see this life through a pure 24 carat lens. The “world” returns to its original play or dream like phenomenon that we all lived in as children. Though we continue to engage with our adult responsibilities, that return to childlike awareness is suffused with bliss and wisdom. Wisdom that constantly reminds us that the Heart knows our path and bliss as we willingly follow it. There is nothing to do and no one to save. Everyone is walking the path to the Heart at their own pace.
Aren’t we blessed to walk with them?