Awakening to Real Life occurs in direct proportion to waking up from our own sleeping nature -- a fact which brings us face to face with some of life's oldest and greatest spiritual mysteries.
The myth of the phoenix, the riddle of the sphinx, even the story of Christ's birth in a dimly lit stable of barnyard animals... all point to the existence of one nature dwelling in the midst of another; of two separate orders of being merged in one relationship -- one lower, one higher -- one asleep to itself, the other awake, above, and in charge of its lesser parts. This invisible state of self must be realized before its relationship can be reversed and the sleeper awakens to his or her indwelling spirit. To this end, we must learn to use each moment possible to awaken to ourselves instead of surrendering ourselves to our usual circle of dreams in which we alternate in appearance as either hero or villain.
The path before us is paved with pitfalls for the unwary, where what others would have us believe is true -- or otherwise tell us what we must do to awaken -- becomes itself a barrier and a part of the very limitation within ourselves that we set out to transcend. So let it be known that far more important to our inner success than coming upon these so-called secret "how-to" practices, or those who would teach them, is our own awakening awareness of our need to come awake. For though we may be (and often are) deceived, this divine need in us cannot be deceived. It is this awareness alone that remains our true friend and ally upon the path. Here is why:
As long as we are willing to remain within the emerging radiance of newly dawning awareness within us, this Light in the darkness of ourselves will not allow us to fall back to spiritual sleep. This higher self-awareness is the light force that facilitates the necessary reversal or "turning around" of the two distinct natures living within us. In its presence, the formerly active parts of our lower self are made passive, and the higher aspects of us are revealed and become active. With this one great principle and practice of the true path alive in our mind, we cannot go wrong. In its gentle and corrective light, even our spiritual "mistakes" will prove themselves eventually to be in our favor.
Which brings us to the exercise that, just as the Truth it reveals, is simplicity itself: Whenever we find ourselves confused, depressed, angry with someone, or upset with ourselves for whatever reasons, we must come wide awake and realize -- through our inner awareness -- that we suffer as we do because we are ruled in these moments by our own thoughts and feelings. We must see clearly that this self that dominates the moment may be doing all that it knows to do to "make the crooked places straight," but that as it is, it is just not enough. What we really need is a new and greater ruling power at work in our life than we know how to supply for ourselves. There must be no mistake about this understanding.
As the truth of our situation becomes clear -- that our experience is what we are, no more, no less -- we can begin simply to release ourselves, to let go of what we want and of how we think things should be. And, within this same internal movement, we can find a silent voice to call upon the Almighty with this simple request: Please step in and rule this moment.
This practicing of the presence of a power beyond our present self places us in a new relationship within ourselves. By working to remember ourselves and our God in this fashion, we agree to forget our former relationship with who we have been and its legion of impossible demands. In essence we agree to a new order within ourselves that is for us in a new way; we agree to have a new "first" within us. And as this inner agreement becomes established -- through our willingness to put God's life before all of our other concerns -- we will find that God, in turn, places us where troubles can no longer touch us.