We have long lived under the ego-self and its claims of doership. Thoughts and emotions arise naturally from various stimuli and ego calls them mine. “I feel sad,” we say. Or “I’ve been thinking.” In fact, these are simply happening and we’re noticing.
Some people like artists culture a deeper sense of being to connect to creativity and intuition. They may speak of the muse or inspiration moving through them.
Similarly, spiritual seekers try to culture a deeper sense of being. As their perception refines, they notice that thoughts and emotions simply arise, mostly without their input.
As we step more deeply into being, we slowly disentangle from doership. With Self Realization the core falls away, but it still takes time to unwind the shrapnel.
During this process, (and it can start before awakening) there is a major shift in what drives us to action – depending on how identified with doership we’ve been. With the ego, our actions are driven by trained shoulds and musts, unmet needs, reactivity, and desires. Much of that arises subconsciously but as the mind likes to explain everything, it makes up a story about it. We end up with a story about everything. Some of it is laughably ridiculous when it becomes conscious as it developed when we were young children.
After awakening and the shift in sense of doership, there is a progressive winding down of many of our old drivers. The depth of this will depend on how much has already been unloaded. But it will wind down over a number of years, often through direct life experiences. We see a response coming up, realize it’s not appropriate, and resolve it so it doesn’t come up again. Life becomes conscious rather than mind driven.
As the old drivers fall away, we open the door for the deeper flow to move through us. However, this is deeper than the signals we’re used to. It’s also nothing the personal can lay claim to if there is still an impulse to control.
As a result, there can be a fallow period where we seem to lose motivation. Natural things like eating and sleeping still take place, along with responsibilities. But our old life may lose its charm. Some goals and long-held dreams may fall away.
This is just a transition period. The form it takes will depend on what we have to unload. For example, I had a lot of baggage around being “the provider.” My old work fell away, but I continued to try to revive it in some form. In retrospect I can see I also had conceptual barriers to what I was being called to do. It happened anyway while I was fussing over the old form. (laughs)
It’s also useful to know that awakening is a major priority for nature. While we may not recognize it, the process is deeply supported and celebrated. For example, in spite of my career falling away, I lived comfortably. Having been used to (falsely) seeing myself in control, there was some struggle with that. But it was always fine, even if income didn’t come from usual sources. As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi once said, the money will come from wherever it is.
Also, the flow doesn’t mean personal desires and preferences end. Not in the slightest. But extraneous things fall away and what remains gets much clearer and cleaner. They join with the deeper flow of life as we work for wholeness rather than avoidance.
“…united are their minds while full of desires. For you I make use of the integrated expression of knowledge. By virtue of unitedness and by means of that which remains to be united, I perform action to generate wholeness of life.“
— Rig Veda, excerpt from the closing
Then life flows, what we need simply arises, and the quality of life gets better and better.