It used to be that Enlightenment was for the few elites and brave ones able to meditate ten hours a day for twenty years on a mountaintop.
Blessedly, times have changed. From the influx of Eastern and Shamanic traditions into the West to the revival of our Western mystical roots along with the development of the virtual world, we now have access to all of the world’s major spiritual traditions and the opportunity to study with great teachers from these traditions from the comfort of our own homes. Add to the mix the invaluable contribution of Western psychology and developmental studies in the last century applied through various therapeutic modalities and we can truly say that we are at a point in time where we have all we need to access the Holy Grail of Enlightenment.
We literally can shop for enlightenment from our home computer and while the enlightenment virtual market is a wild world, with some discernment and a fair degree of spiritual maturity, it is actually possible today to find our way to Liberation than it ever was before. We are experiencing a “democratization of enlightenment” on a global level.
When you’ve had an awakening experience, everything changes, and nothing changes.
On the one hand, life’s business goes on as usual; as we say in Zen, “before enlightenment chop wood carry water, after enlightenment chop wood carry water.” On the other hand, after enlightenment, your vision of reality and of yourself can never be the same. Chopping wood will never potentially feel the same, even if all you’ve had is a mere glimpse of your True nature at a peak moment of sheer clarity. When your mind, body and psyche actually can refer to this experience of timeless time and placeless place where you felt One with the seamless coat of the indomitable Love that beats at the core of all things, something in you has changed forever.
Of course, you will fall back to your old identification as a separate entity distinct from all other seemingly Separate Selves, but somewhere deep inside, your sense of being alienated from others has been utterly shattered. Even when the most exalted feelings of the experience have faded away, you still know who you truly are.
After my first awakening experience, I went through a long and dry period of disheartenment and demotivation. I was at a loss; what was I to do with this realization? What good did it do to know that I AM PURE LOVE if I couldn’t actually be a better person? If I still got angry and snapped at my daughters or when I couldn’t find a solution for the agonizing pain in the world? The feedback I had from my traditional Zen training was essentially that my view wasn’t clear enough and that I needed to clarify and stabilize my realization. That certainly was true; true, but partial.
Years later, when I encountered the Unique Self Teachings, for the first time in my life I heard a narrative that both embraced the genuineness of my realization while offering a path forward . . . where both my need to deepen my access to the Ground of Being (called the True Self) and my urge to become and emerge as my Unique Self was recognized, encouraged and welcome.
What the Unique Self Teachings suggest is that when anyone has a True Self experience, they are not only tapping into the Ground of Being that is One with all that is.
They are also experiencing the Unique Taste of their own unique personal enlightenment. In other words, while there is only one True Self, there are as many unique perspectives of that True Self as there are Unique Selves having a True Self experience.
The Unique Self experience is the experience of the Universe having a “you” experience in that very moment when you are acting from your True Self consciousness, living as you. To become more and more able to let the Universe sing its unique “Claire song” is what it means to emerge as Claire’s Unique Self. This is hard work because in order to do this, I must to loosen the grip of my False Self and to ease the contractions of that mistaken identity through constant realignment, focus and devotion to True Self consciousness such that my access to it becomes more reliable and solid. This consolidation is the work of any serious spiritual tradition.
What the Unique Self Teaching is adding to this view is this: it is just the beginning. You’ve just awakened to your True Self and now, from that Ground of Being where you tap into the reality of who you truly are, you now have a unique obligation to grow up and show up into ever fuller expression of your essence. And the beautiful thing is that from this place of uniqueness you no longer feel helpless because you can’t fix all the pain in the world. From there, you can tap into your unique gifts and learn how to deploy these gifts in service of healing the world. Not from a place of overwhelm or “not enoughness” but from a deep sense of unique obligation that honors each being’s singularity and complementarity.
This is the work Barbara and I are doing with Unique Self Emergence Process. Your journey begins by engaging in powerful practices that focus on loosening the grip of your Separate Self consciousness and create the conditions for your True Self awakening. From there we facilitate your Unique Self emergence while stabilizing your capacity to rest into True Self. We love this work and see it is as our unique contribution to evolving consciousness and alleviating suffering in the world.