It’s been about eighteen years since my teacher H.W.L. Poonja asked me to teach awakening in the West. At the beginning, when I first returned to Seattle in 1992, very few people would have a direct experience of being spaciousness, of being presence. At that time, most people were primarily identified with being “seekers.” They would project “enlightenment” onto a teacher or onto their own future, but it wasn’t accepted as part of their own now. During the last eighteen years things have changed dramatically. Not only in my experience, but others who spread awakening are reporting the same thing. I’ve heard from Eckhart Tolle, Michael Beckwith, Jean Houston, Ram Dass and hundreds of other teachers that we are together witnessing an epidemic of awakening all over the planet. It’s becoming easier and easier to relax back into your natural state and to know yourself to be limitless, the source of everything you experience.
One of the greatest potholes today to people living in this condition in their day-to-day life, is the sense of wanting to compare ourselves to historical figures and “spiritual heros” from the past. We see a statue of the Buddha sitting quietly, doing nothing. Or Quan-yin, or the master Jesus or Saint Francis of Assisi, and then we devalue the depth of our own realization because our heros look so much more advanced than we are. The first thing I want to do when I hear someone compare themselves with someone from the past is to remind us that our situation today is completely different. Buddha didn’t have children, a mortgage, or drive a car. Jesus didn’t have a cell phone, or change diapers. And above all, none of these historical figures were faced with a world in as much crisis as we are today. Although what is realized in a moment of awakening may be the same: spacious presence, unconditional love, silence, the embodiment of that presence is completely different today.
You and I were not born into a time where there is an invitation to sit quietly in a cave chanting the sound OM. You and I were not born with the same opportunity that Saint Francis of Assisi had to become a monk and leave the world behind. We are destined to be in relationship, to create, to participate in the world of business and finance, and above all, to contribute to the creation of a new kind of humanity.
What is happening today is not just a new wave of awakening, but an evolution in the nature of that awakening. The bar has been set much higher when the challenge is to rest deeply in yourself while also remaining fully in the world and participating.
We are seeing the birth pains of the emergence of a new kind of human being.
Please join me this Thursday at 6pm for a dialog with Dr. Marc Gafni, a rabbi and iconlastic teacher of Kabbalah and Evolutionary Spirituality. He is a core founder and faculty member of iEvolve Global Practice Community as well as director of the Integral Life Spiritual Center of Integral Life. He has written seven books, including the national bestseller Soul Prints, and The Mystery of Love, a Kabbalistic exploration of the relationship between the sexual, the erotic, and the sacred.
Marc is widely respected as an authority on the evolution of Awakening. It is bound to be a juicy conversation!