The Main Obstacle to Awakening and What to Do About It
A wonderful question that many spiritual seekers have. “Does a change of this sort mean jumping off a cliff and losing everything? I’m scared of drama and terrified of irrevocable shifts.” Just last night at Satsang someone asked a very similar question. “Will abiding in this deep peace mean that the life I have worked so hard to create will fall apart?”
I think many people have deep questions like these. It is natural and maybe inevitable. The nature of the egoic separate self-identity we call “me” is actually created of fear. Much of this is repressed so we’re not aware of it. But as the door to awakening comes closer, we begin to become aware of the true nature of the ego, and that is fear. So this is a very deep and important question. And I’m happy to honor it.
Thank you for this question as its authenticity relates to many people who have the same question. This is a very deep and honest question. Just last night someone in Satsang asked this very same question. I thank you for expressing it. I feel your heart in this. So it also requires a deep and honest answer.
Yes, it does feel like we’re jumping off a cliff and risk losing everything. That is the initial fear of surrender. And, yes, we have to be willing to do that, to jump off this imaginary but very real feeling cliff and to risk losing everything, to surrender everything. That’s why it takes great courage. Eventually we just have to do it. Jump off the cliff, surrender absolutely everything.
This is not a place for careful, cautious stages. Surrender is a very bold move when the very nature of the separate self is fear. And it is. So the fear of doing this is natural and inevitable. The separate ego self identity is made entirely out of fear, fear of not surviving. And to surrender fully, we are saying, “Yes, even this. Even death.”
What We Lose and What We Gain
This all sounds like very bad news. It is what the ego is afraid of. The good news is we give up everything, we surrender everything, we lose everything, including ourself AND as a result, we GAIN everything. We have only really surrendered our attachment, an illusion. What we gain is reality. We gain the world. We gain relationships that were never possible before. We gain peace. We gain love. We gain a complete uninterrupted contentment, gratitude and joy. We gain freedom. We gain life. And we gain our True Self.
What we lose (illusion) pales in comparison to the unlimited magnitude of what we gain. So this news is very, very good. But you can only know this when you take the leap. My words are only encouragement if you take them that way. I’m saying, “Jump in. The water is fine. It’s wonderful.” But you have to jump. I can’t do that for you.
I know it’s terrifying to take that leap. Every awakened being has done this. And all have experienced this terror. It is part of the nature of waking up. And this terror is a big obstacle. Some never pass through it. In my case it was experience the terror and do it anyway. Not initially. I backed off many times. But finally, I took the leap. And then another. And then another. Eventually I realized this fear had no reality to it. I only realized this because I tested it again and again and what I feared never happened.
I gave up all my talent as an artist and creative person. The result turned out to be more talent and creativity than I ever imagined possible. I gave up my relationships or ever having a relationship ever again. The result was the flowering of all existing relationships and new relationships beyond anything I would have thought possible. Everything I gave up came back to me in abundance. How could I know this? I didn’t. I just surrendered.
I gave up a limited, vulnerable, separate self identity and realized This, the unlimited, infinite, beyond all possibility of identity. Nobody who has ever awakened to Truth said, “I wish I didn’t do that. Is it possible to return to illusion again?” No awakened being has ever said that. Nobody ever will.
It’s worth the leap. It’s worth all the struggle and seeking and suffering that helped to open this door. Even a single moment of this great presence is worth a thousand lifetimes. I know the fear, My Friend. And I know what happens when you leap anyway and discover for yourself what happens. Nobody has ever said all that went before was not worth This. Thank you for the wonderful question that so many also hold deep in their hearts.