A really good question was directed to me during a recent newspaper interview for my book release – The Responsive Universe, Meditations and Daily Life Practices.

The question was: How do you define an “Awakening”?

I actually found that this question was difficult to fully answer – especially with the questioning party awaiting a comprehendible answer. During the interview I tried to find words to describe such an experience and few words were available to capture the sublime energy that surrounds such an event.

I did a little research on the subject and found that there are varying definitions and varying degrees of awakenings depending on the person and situation. An awakening is basically a spiritual arousing that includes the complete dissolution of one’s identity as a separate self with no trace of the ego driven mind remaining to govern our actions. In Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, he describes his awakening as a jarring event that immediately stripped his ego away to the point that he was somewhat disconnected from his previous self (false-self)  and even reality as he used to see it – a complete departure from the “ordinary world” we live in. That is an intense awakening!

Then there are awakenings that come in waves or as epiphanies that are more subtle and palatable to the human consciousness. These types of awakenings tend to evolve over time into something authentic. Though the ego is not entirely dissolved, there is a new shift in perspective and energy that over time is self-actualized.

I have read that for many to experience such an event there needs to be intense suffering or some sort of traumatic experience that may spur or trigger such an event. I have seen documentation that NDE (Near Death Experiences) or even deep meditation can trigger such an event. In my book, I even theorize that spiritual legends like Jesus, Mohammad and Buddha underwent awakenings – later to be interpreted as their specific culture found fit.

I experienced an awakening about 12 years ago on a cold November day at the beach. It had been about six months since my wife and I buried our full term still-born boy and I was struggling with depression, dependency, lack of faith and shallow self-esteem. I remember the day vividly as I was sitting on the beach pondering my life. My awakening was subtle but also an immediate realization of a reality different from what I always believed to be true. I like to call this different reality a “True Reality”, sans of ego. For a moment, I was egoless and felt an energy and existence that transcended any previous experience. I would have other awakenings months later including one while driving out in the country. Waking up from my ordinary life and seeing how things fit together has propelled me forward to fulfillment. It was like getting a download from the Universe. The knowledge and wisdom I gained wrote the Responsive Universe. I did not study this stuff – it came to me in an awakening. This quality of knowing is like seeing 20/20 for the first time. This vision, the awareness, and the feelings sound like they would be jarring and intense, but my awakenings felt like a pleasant windfall. I immediately knew how to act and react to challenges and stress. I had a new openness and clarity with life. Things were brighter and clearer. Even my most challenging problems seem to be palatable. I guess the best way to explain my awakening is to imagine living under a veil of clouds your entire life. You suspect that there is something warm and positive behind those clouds because on certain days you can feel the warmth permeating from behind the grey. Then imagine one day the sun parts from the clouds and warmth and light shower down on you for the first time EVER. It is an amazing feeling!

The problem was, the static of life would return and quickly close off this new found world. Fear and ego would quickly return to smudge out this new found light. Through meditation and mindfulness, I am able to return to the light but it takes effort and though everyday gets easier, it is an uphill climb. I wrote the Responsive Universe in an effort to share this knowledge and even create a simple path for others to follow. I penned Nine Mandalas (chapters) that in effect shed light on a path less trodden that will lead to a shift in perspective – I live in the Responsive Universe everyday and my life has completely transformed into something so much more authentic. The gifts are there for everyone, we just need to awaken to the possibility that…. anything is possible…

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

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