I’m struck by how many of the awakening experiences I’ve recently read that were filled with deep challenges. The link to an interview with Byron Katie over at Suffering is Optional, for example. It lead me to Suzanne Segal’s excerpt from her book “Collision with the Infinite“.
What is more notable here is that she had some framework for understanding her experience but rejected it out of hand. This is the trickster, the ego at it’s finest. The ego does not fear death of the body. It can last past that. What it fears deeply is loss of itself, threats to it’s own continued existence. That was the seat of her fear, the loss of identity. Adyashanti calls this the BBQ. Many people struggle with the final letting go. As Adya observes, some who awaken struggle for a little while afterwards as well. Even though the ego has “died” – really its simply an idea that is seen through – there is what I call ego shrapnel, remaining habits of mind that must also be seen through.
It illustrates the value of access to decent teachings. And also of doing the work in advance of waking. All of this makes the whole process much smoother. As I mention in 10 Steps to Enlightenment, there are 10 steps or aspects to the process. Anything we skip along the way is something we just have to deal with later. There may not always seem to be value to the practice. Or there may seem to be an awfully big onion to peel.
In the end though, all we are doing is preparing. It is not the individual who awakes. The individual cannot even conceive it. It is beyond mind. We simply prepare the ground as best we can to allow the Self when the Self comes knocking.
It’s doing a lot of knocking these days.