By Dr. Steve
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Awakening: Questioning or Examining?
truth is that all of us attain the greatest success and happiness possible in this life
whenever we use our native
capacities to their greatest extent.
-Dr. Smiley Blanton
what is it that we have become disconnected from within ourselves? What is it that we are
seeking to awaken, seeking to become [re]connected to again?
part of my own searching, I have befriended many people throughout the years. Friends who
have walked their own path. Friends who know the pain of being disconnected from their
lifes journey. Friends who have found their way back.
have tried to tap into the wisdom that lives within them. Wisdom born out of their own
trials and tribulations. Wisdom born out of the lessons taught when we surrender our
willful, ego-based solutions for the solutions that are born from our soul.
such friend is a mentor of mine, good ol Marty. Marty has worked in half-way houses
for over twenty-five years. Believe me when I tell you, Marty has seen it all, whether it
be the trials and tribulations of his own journey or the wrestling matches others have
engaged in trying to discover how to [re]connect to their own journey.
on in my own searching, I had a discussion with Marty about this step, Awakening the Soul.
We were both at a weekend retreat and had taken a walk in the woods. We came upon a small
lake, so we sat down and talked about some ideas I had been chewing on.
was chewing on a blade of grass, mindlessly tossing pebbles into the lake when he turned
to me and said, Youre absolutely right. There is an awakening that we all must
experience. Whatever you call that which awakens is merely a matter of semantics.
think of it as my true authentic self. I believe its the part of me that has lived
and will continue to live throughout eternity. Its the part of me that is tapped
into the collective unconscious of our universe.
What! I sensed a familiar cloud of frustration and confusion coming over me.
cautioned me, Try not to listen to me with your head. Listen for a moment with your
heart. Listen with your minds eye, watch where my words take you. Pay attention to
the images evoked by what I am telling you. Most importantly, be patient.
true authentic self or soul or whatever it is that you want to call it, well I think of it
as a quality of myself, ummm, how can I say this, a quality of myself that lives deep
beneath the complexity of my personality.
paused for a moment and watched me. He gently placed a hand on my shoulder, trying to
reassure me. He told me to close my eyes as I listened, only paying attention to my
breathing. Just let my words in. Watch how your body begins to embrace an idea long
before your mind does. Watch, learn, take notice of how your body reacts to what Im
saying. You see, thats where our awakening begins.
soul, well for me, how I understand it, my soul is the part of myself buried beneath
my belief system and attitudes. Those two little buddies of mine--my beliefs and
attitudes--are simply a lot of noise that goes on in my head, noise that most often drowns
out the voice through which my soul speaks to me. Quite simply, my soul is like a
reservoir, a reservoir of inner wisdom that guides my life.
was trying to digest all that he had just said. His words had been reassuring, yet at the
same time, I was even more confused by it all. I began nervously throwing rocks in the
Marty let me wrestle with all of what he had just said for at least a good half-hour. He
sat silently on a rock as the mist began to rise off the lake. The smell of late autumn
was in the air as we took in the afternoon sun.
I returned to him and said, You know, thats whats hardest for me. I see
how your life is the embodiment of having embraced the spirit of what you just said, yet,
I can barely make any sense out of it.
must have noticed the hurt etched in my face. He searched for something reassuring to say.
He gave me a kind look as he said, Thats just as it should be. We all wrestle
with trying to understand when what we only need
to be doing is embracing.
rule of thumb is if you find yourself struggling to understand, it only means youre
not ready to embrace some aspect of where you are in your journey. There is some fear or
some part of your will that is holding on for dear life.
do you mean by that? I asked. I had honestly never considered that I was holding
onto something I wasnt ready to let go of.
you see how your intellect, your insistence on understanding all thats not
immediately observable to you is merely a defense against embracing all thats not
immediately observable to you.
defense against embracing it? I was lost.
our fears, our insecurities. All those things that insist that we understand our path
before we can embrace it. All those things that insist that we understand in order for us
to connect to that path. All those things that insist that the limit of our understanding
must be defined by the limits of what we can perceive with our eyes or our mind.
chuckled to himself as he continued, Let me ask you, when youre a passenger in
a car, do you let the driver drive or are you constantly telling the driver what to do? In
fact, you dont have to tell me the answer to that question, I can only imagine what
self-conscious smile broke out on my face. Heh, should I just sit there in silence
if I know a better way?
lets see if you can get my point. The more you insist on understanding the ins and
outs of your lifes journey, the more youre like a back-seat driver in a car.
see, our soul is driving our lives. Were the ones that keep screwing the ride
up. We make the journey longer than it need be, choppier than it need be, more painful
than it need be. We may think we know a better direction to take but until we learn to tap
into our soul, were merely spinning our wheels.
Okay, I get your point. I dont need to figure out what all this means. But let me
ask you, what do you mean by tapping into my soul?
all need to learn how to access that little voice within ourselves. That little voice that
we can turn to when we need to know whatever choice we are about to make is for our higher
good? I questioned him.
higher good. Are we making choices that honor who we are or are we making choices to
appease our little gods?
know Im not supposed to try and understand all of this, but what do you mean by
gods? Oh thats just a saying I use. I simply mean the gods we pay so much honor to,
the gods for which we forsake the voice of our soul. Fear. Shame. Will. Ego. Control.
Prestige. Power. Self-aggrandizement. Ambivalence. Egocentricity. Caution. Taking the easy
way out. Insecurity. Those are all our little gods.
like anything else, awakening our soul boils
down to the choices we make?
shook his head in agreement as he said, Well, yea, I suppose so, in certain
respects. Honor ourselves or appease the little gods, yea thats a choice.
at the choices we have made throughout our lives, choices that have anesthetized our soul
through the use of drugs and alcohol, through the hopelessness of depression and the
anxiety from our fear, through the self-loathing of shame and self-alienation, and through
the pain of loneliness and despair. Anger and resentment may have so twisted our spirit
that we have ceased to believe our life can be any different.
how do people climb out of that hole of despair and discouragement? I wondered out
as you say, making a choice, a choice to awaken our soul is the antidote to becoming
disconnected from the true purpose of our lifes journey. A purpose that leaves us
connected to ourselves, our community of fellowship, and our higher power.
talked well into the night but finally the chill of the evening chased us inside. That
night I stayed up late pondering what we had discussed. There was a rush of excitement
that ran through my body. I didnt feel like I understood anything any better but I
felt like finally someone had given me something to sink my teeth into.
felt like I finally had some direction to focus my attention. I didnt know where it
would take me but I felt a little more grounded than I had been feeling up to that point.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.