One of the great journeys some of us choose to take in life is that towards Truth. I say that we choose, but that doesn’t always feel the case. Some days, choice feels more like a passion; other days like a compulsion and still other times it feels like pure hell or the great Trickster maneuvering us by some obscure plan. Still, at each juncture, we are at choice as to which path we follow: the path of our journey and our heart, or the path of doubt, fear, denial and ego.
Each of you, for your own diverse reasons, has taken steps on that journey towards Truth. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. You may call it something else, but Truth is at the core of your searching. You look for it in yourselves, in teachings and in the world around you. You have begun to question and remove layers of beliefs, judgments and armoring that have prevented you from seeing the Truth clearly. You have begun the process of accessing your real heart underneath these layers. This is where a part of your Truth lies - within your heart.
In Toltec and Tibetan traditions, among many others, the paths we walk through life present us with literally millions of opportunities for awakening, for removing the veils from our eyes to see the truth of our nature, the truth of ourselves and the world around us. These opportunities are everywhere! They are in a flower opening, a child laughing, watching sunsets and starry nights, a cup of tea and in painful experiences as easily as joyful ones.
Each of us has had openings into Truth - glimpses and awareness of the greater whole and the greater depth and meaning of life and of ourselves. Sometimes these glimpses open our hearts for more. At other times, fear and doubt arise to obscure the glimpse so that our ego feels safe and in control.
Thus we dance through life ~ learning, running, hiding, growing ~ as we journey down the path towards our death, the final gateway in this lifetime for Awakening, Enlightenment, Redemption, Ultimate Truth, God ~ whatever you choose to call it.
The understanding that awakening or enlightenment can come in any moment has many spiritual journeyers watching every moment. We pass through many deaths and many awakenings on this journey of life, and each of them is crucial to our advancement. If we are asleep, we will miss them. We have to be present to win.
This potential for awakening, for removing the blinders that hide our Truth, is the reason for this call to wake up. This is why we dig ever deeper into the mystery of ourselves, the Life that we are. This is why we open and enrich our daily experience with prayer and practices ~ so that we don’t miss the calls and opportunities to see more clearly and wake up to the Truth of ourselves.
One way to see more clearly is to actually look – because we can’t change what we can’t see. Every place and in every way that we run, that we close and block and armor, are places of information for us, opportunities for increased self-awareness.
Equally important are the ideas and desires we cling to, because their satisfaction also blocks our opening to even greater things. Indeed, our desires and aversions are some of our greatest advisors telling us, “Look here, there is an opportunity to wake up here.”
In order to ‘dig’ (and thus grow), we must ask ourselves questions and look inside for the answers. What ideas, beliefs or things do we cling so tightly to? What are we unwilling to look at? What do we crave? Where do we limit ourselves? What ideas do we cherish? What ideas do we ignore? What have we not accomplished in our lives? What have we not changed in ourselves to be or do or become more? What is stopping us? These are the questions to ponder, to dig into and answer for yourself.
In Buddhist philosophy there is the belief in clearing away as much attachment, grasping, fear and judgment as possible in life, so that when one dies there is less to cling to and bring into the next life. Buddhists believe that at death there is also a moment, a flash, wherein they can become awakened. If they are not attentive at death and miss that moment, then for Tibetans, they enter what is called the Bardos.
In the Bardo realms, their spirit passes through many stages representing the self-limiting ideas and beliefs still held when they died. These are often terrifying, their worst nightmares realized. These are also seductive, their basest passions realized. In both cases, if their spirit does not pass on and through the Bardos, holding onto the Truth as best they know it, they can get stuck in fears and passions that will determine their rebirth.
If they hold onto the light of their Truth, it is said their next rebirth will be most ‘fortuitous’ for them, placing them in a life situation that will enhance their awakening. If they get stuck, however, they are reborn into life situations designed to take them, once again, through the lessons they didn’t learn in the last life. Often these are even more challenging or seductive than before so that we can get really, really sick of them and change.
If you take that basic theme and imagine the process of life as the evolution of one’s spirit, we evolve in accordance with what we have been able to learn, clear up and let go of throughout our life. If you don’t believe you are a wonderful, worthy, amazing person – it’s a bit hard to believe that anyone would want you, love you or help you. It’s hard to believe you’re worthy of the Truth, God, relationships, and the good things in life. Every being alive is worthy, but sadly, not every person knows that yet…hence the work and the need to ‘dig’ more deeply for the Truth.
Each time we work through or let go of a limiting belief is like a mini death, and the opening afterwards like a mini birth. Each is a lesson. As we work on ourselves, as we clear out limiting thoughts and beliefs, we see that each is an opportunity to bring us closer to the Divine, to our Highest, to God, to the Truth or to our own inner wisdom - however we define it.
You are here, now, with your own unique lessons to be learned ~ and I mean unique! While there are many similarities and things that everyone learns, each one of us has our own very unique configuration to understand. It could be you have learned to love, but only your family; you have walked through your fears, but only in certain areas; you can open at home, but not at work, etc. There are levels and depths to each of us, which is again, why we ‘dig’.
In digging, we must always challenge the voice that says, “Enough! I’m done with this!” It may be right, and you are finished with that issue; or it may be your fear speaking; or it may be the ego simply struggling to stop you dead in your tracks so that it can stay in control. Your changing for the better often threatens the ‘status quo’ of the ego, and it will fight to be safe – as it defines safety.
The ways we learn ‘which is which’ (truly finished with an issue, only fear, or actually our ego in avoidance) are many, but the most obvious is whether the issue continues to enter your life, presenting more opportunities to be dealt with.
Another is to look honestly at yourself and your life and see how it’s going. Is the path before you opening up and easy, or is it continually blocked? Are you enjoying yourself? Are you being your best ‘you’? Are you manifesting your heart’s goals and dreams? How’s your energy level?
The one thing we can usually trust is that if we don’t dig deeper, if we don’t deal with the lessons and aspects of ourselves that are blocking us - they won’t go away! Ouch…and…thank goodness! They will present themselves over and over, in increasingly creative ways, until we either learn the lesson or die.
So, there’s that choice again, come full circle. Face life or hide from it? Face our fears, or run? Hold on tight, or open up? Deal with our poop, or lie in it? Choices made, moment by moment by moment.
What do you choose?
Diana Adkins is an Author, Teacher, Coach and Minister in the Toltec tradition where awareness, transformation and intent are masteries to aspire to. Her mission is to support people towards self-awareness, self-respect, clarity and truth.