Waking from Sleep
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Waking from SleepIn search of authentic you.
From the standpoint of ordinary consciousness, separateness seems to be a basic part of the human condition. Most people experience themselves as egos trapped inside their own mind-space, observing a world which seems to be ‘out there’, on the other side of their heads.
But no matter how far into separateness we might fall, in a sense it’s never more than superficial. No matter how strong the ego becomes, it’s never more than a construct.
Everyone experiences moments when separateness temporarily fades, and we become part of the unity again. These are what I refer to as ‘awakening experiences.’ They frequently occur when we’re walking among natural surroundings, when we’re dancing or running, during or after sex, listening to or playing music. In these situations, the normal chattering of the ego – which is the normal fuel of the ego, maintaining it as a structure – becomes quiet, leading to a softening of its boundaries. Separateness dissolves and we’re afloat on the ocean of Being again, immersed in the glorious is-ness and aliveness of the world.
Tellingly, in these moments there is always an identity shift. We feel that we’ve become someone else, a deeper, more grounded self which seems more authentically you. The ego-self we identified with before seems like an imposter, a limited and shallow trickster who somehow deluded us into thinking it was our identity.
There are also many cases of extreme loss or intense turmoil, when all of the ego’s building blocks – its roles and attachments – are broken away. A person might be diagnosed with cancer and told they only have a few months left to live; an alcoholic might reach ‘rock bottom’ and be on the point of suicide; a person might become seriously disabled through injury or illness; or they might suffer from the trauma of bereavement, depression, the destruction of hopes and beliefs, and so on. In most cases, these forms of loss simply bring sadness and suffering. But for a minority of individuals, they can trigger a spiritual awakening. With all its scaffolding broken down, the normal ego-self dissolves away, and our deeper, truer self emerges in its place, like a butterfly from a caterpillar. The person feels re-born, like a different person inhabiting the same body, with a new sense of meaning and connection.
In all of these experiences, there is a sense of ‘coming home,’ back to our original oneness, the harmony which – both as an individual and as a species – we ‘fell’ away from. It was always there – it is always here. It’s just that our separate selves deluded us into thinking we were asleep.