Did you know that the experience of an awakening can fade? That to maintain a sense of aliveness, perspective, and peace one must actively cultivate it?
I had an awakening over the span of a little over a year. Today, I still possess the greater perspective I realized during that time, but life has, you know, gone back to life. I have now realized that to reap the benefits of a radical shift in perspective, it takes work, man! Like, the dirty stuff that everyone tells us: meditation, writing, a choice to seek and find joy in life, an integrated gratitude practice. Seriously — you have to do the thing every day.
I did, until I didn’t. For two years, I traveled around the world seeking and experiencing spiritual awakening. I didn’t know I had already found it, but in the meantime, I practiced meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and spiritual exploration in Japan, Indonesia, India, Nepal, and the US, among others. I lived a beautiful nomadic existence, and amidst challenge, I experienced peace. My last period of dedicated focus to my meditation practice was during the month of December 2017, when I was at teacher training in India. My meditation was deep and beautiful, and for many weeks after, I would meditate on my own for twenty minutes a day. I would emerge from these sessions in complete bliss, experiencing the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of meditation plus the pride in having autonomously practiced.
And then it faded away. I went back to the US, worried about money, eventually moved into a regular apartment, got another corporate job, and got caught up in the doldrums of life. I stopped meditating regularly on my own. Here and there, sure, maybe once every other week. I can feel the negative effects in my mind and soul. Thoughts run through my skull like butterflies on a sweet flower bush, fluttering in, out, around, through, on. Without meditation, I feel spiritually depleted and lost. I want the consistent brightness back.
The good news is that everything is within my control to change! I can choose to begin meditating any time I want. I can change my life circumstances to better align with what’s meaningful and nourishing for me. I can choose to look at the bright side of life!
I want to experience an awakening every single day. I want to appreciate the smell of flowers and coffee. I want to force myself to engage daily in the healthy habits that I know make my life brighter and more peaceful: meditating, writing, remembering I might die tomorrow, feeling gratitude.
Guess what? It’s now. I’m writing now (win!), I can write down three things for which I am grateful, and then I can close this laptop down and meditate for five minutes.
I’m grateful for the human capability to experience perspective.
I’m grateful for the seemingly simple of life: music, coffee, red wine, the breath in my chest.
I’m grateful for possibility and the freedom to create my life.