“Silence is a source of great strength” ~ Lao Tzu.
True “spiritual awakening” doesn’t come from reading that daily spiritual message which arrives on our WhatsApp or by praying, or even by participating regularly in “greater good” or charitable activities.
Spiritual Awakening comes when we go through a life-changing event that impacts our core and leaves us shaken and stirred. It could be a loss of a relationship, severe health issues, a staggering financial loss, or a traumatic event that makes waking up everyday difficult.
It happened to me. The details are too personal to share on a blog, lol, but suffice it to say that it was a BAD period in my life.
My spiritual advisor told me that I had two choices when dealing with my personal crisis – I could “awaken” myself spiritually or feel sorry for myself.
I chose to awaken!
His advice was simple: cut emotional ties, trim the fat (as in friends, family, possessions, attachments), and find solace in solitude. He told me to “Use solitude to connect with God and the Universe”.
Simple? So NOT simple!
It was process. And a painful one at that. It was a process during which I questioned my entire existence – from my lifestyle and financial goals to all the activities I was engaged in.
It required me to examine and reexamine my beliefs, my value systems, and yes, my relationships – family and friends.
The meaning of life eluded me.
“Find solitude” was the direction given by my spiritual advisor.
But how the hell do we find solitude when every single second, we are bombarded by ~ 30-35 seconds?
How does anyone get things accomplished when fielding the ~30,000 thoughts that intrude, all day, every day?
When I asked my spiritual advisor those very questions, “Just Breathe” was his answer.
“Breathe? I already breathe. Am I not alive?” I responded.
“Count your breaths,” he clarified, then proceeded to teach me how.
“Inhale sharply with your nose and exhale from your mouth. That’s 1. Do 100 without stopping. And if you lose count, start over!”
It took forever. I’d lose myself in thoughts within seconds – barely reaching 10 on most days. It took time (as does anything worth doing). Finally I was able to count to 25 without losing track, then 50, and at one point even 100.
Intruding thoughts have a way of disappearing completely when you have to focus on such a simple task – breathing and counting at the same time.
The next step was learning to move forward – putting the anger and the grief behind, eliminating activities and relationships that were simply “fillers”, and spending even more time in solitude.
Free time was spent just “being”.
Now it is three years later.
Sure, I still talk more than I should. But it is less than I used to, so that’s progress. 🙂
I am back on social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, & Facebook but I choose not to engage in living room politics and demonstrate self-righteousness over events that I have no direct control over. [And I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy to bite my tongue.]
God awaits me in silence. All I have to do is shut up and listen!