It seems like more and more people are having experiences ‘waking up’ from their version of a mundane reality and deciding, on a whim, to integrate into a more holistic version of themselves.
I’m one of them.
But what is this ‘awakening’ business, really?
There is definitely a ‘conscious’ culture, slowly but surely, bubbling up into mainstream society. These days it seems that there are as many yoga teachers as there are corporate nine-to-fivers, as many vegetarians as there are meat-packers, and as many spiritual gurus as there are psychiatrists. People are starting to question the very nature of their existence at fundamental levels. It’s a trend that’s hard to ignore.
Unfortunately, there is also a rift—a chasm, really—forming between those who are ‘awake’ or ‘conscious’ and those that are still ‘asleep’ and plugged into the matrix that is contemporary Western spiritual society.
I see a lot of inauthenticity and hypocrisy on the part of the ‘awakened’ (granted, the only reason I can see it ‘out there’ is because I see it in myself, which makes me qualified to speak about it). There are yoga teachers who worship their body and cast judgment on others who don’t have a practice, vegetarians who are so picky about what they eat and turn their noses up at those who don’t cater to the same regimen, spiritual gurus who are more in it for the fame and glory than actually practicing the principles they teach.
Now, don’t confuse my name-calling to mean that there aren’t truly loving and authentic consciously evolving people out there, because I believe there are; however, I feel like so many of us are falling for the trap of a higher vision for our lives without really examining the process that brought us to the realization in the first place.
All of these discrepancies that show up in the Western version of spirituality and higher consciousness are simply reflections of personal and cultural shadows that too many of us are afraid to investigate within ourselves. We end up projecting all of our crap ‘out there’ onto others because deep down, we know that we aren’t really perfect, we aren’t really self-realized, or enlightened, or as ‘awake’ as we hope the mask we wear shows us to be.
No matter how much we practice yoga, or eat green, or investigate higher truths, a lot of us are still unconsciously stuck in the worn-out paradigm and end up dragging along our baggage with us into our new, more ‘conscious’ existence, effectively spiritualizing and strengthening those aspects of ourselves we are trying to change in the first place.
There’s the kicker—a lot of us are ‘trying to change’ instead of being at the cause of transforming ourselves and the world. To ‘try’ something invites insecurity and failure, instead of simply being with something and flowing with the experience. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The harder we ‘try’ to do something, the more quickly our success rate approaches zero. Life begins to transform when we straddle the edge of our comfort zone, when we step out of our pre-determined box of existence and push forward into unknown territory with cause and conviction.
So again, what is this ‘awakening’ business?
Is it turning into just another business model or lifestyle choice—a way for people to make a living, or fit in to some new trend, and keep wearing their masks?
Or, is it actually a movement that is going to transform the way we view ourselves and the world?
Where are you asking the hard questions about your life and the choices you’re making? Are you actually putting in the honest effort to make a difference? Where are you judging others, or yourself for that matter? Where can you be figuratively slapped to wake up to whatever dirty, nasty little secrets, habits or grievances you have toward yourself and others?
If you don’t do it, and you’re on this path, I can guarantee God, or Spirit or whatever label you’d like to use, will do it for you. In the end, the only person you can transform is yourself, and it doesn’t matter how anyone else is being or what they’re doing.
And the best part?
When you transform yourself, you transform our fractal universe in some way, because you are in the world and the world is in you.
Kevin Matthews is a certified yoga teacher, a field instructor for at-risk youth in wilderness therapy, and a philosopher of conscious evolution. He lives in Denver, CO.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel