Becoming "awake" involves seeing our confusion more clearly. Chogyam Trungpa
Opening the Aperture of the “I”
What does it mean to become “awake”? To awaken generally refers to and acknowledges our spiritual nature, observing our behavior, and bringing ourselves into alignment with Truth. But, how does one awaken when our perception is distorted by unexamined beliefs, habits, thoughts, and attachments? Who is the “I” that we refer to when we present ourselves to the world? How can we enhance our capacity to think, observe, explore and discover beyond the limits of our current perception and understanding?
Awakening begins with our willingness to not know, to question, and to be willing to step into the dreaded realm of uncertainty and not knowing. How can we learn to see what we’re not seeing, hear what we’re not hearing, and feel what we’re not feeling? In photography, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. Consider the possibility that by opening to the light of inner awareness we can illuminate and reflect on our own perception of self. It is the opening of our inner aperture that allows us to see, not only ourselves, but the world more clearly. Awakening is not a destination, it’s an ongoing process of seeing and embracing the unseen...
It is the individual who knows how little they know about themselves who stands the most reasonable chance of finding out something about themselves before they die. S. I. Hayakawa
While our formative and developmental years could be an enlightening time of exploration, curiosity, discovery, and liberation, they are more often than not a time of inculturation, indoctrination, and absorption of unexamined beliefs, assumptions, and ideas that lead to systemic separation, tribalism, and divisionism. Much of this identity shaping is handed down through our ancestors and transmits the fragmented, unintegrated familial and cultural traumas, and frozen undigested experiences from the past that are shaping our present and defining our future.
This intergenerational indoctrination leads to a relinquishing of our sovereignty and surrender of our agency to the “experts”: Doctors, politicians, priests, prophet panderers, gurus, and self-anointed reality TV celebrities/experts. We often allow them to do our deeper, or not so deep, thinking for us. All we have to do is agree or disagree and hold these truths as evident and voila, we have an identity-based in agreement reality. But, have we sold our soul in exchange for a false sense of belonging? Perhaps we are comforted in our blissful certainty and fundamentalism, but are we connected to the true nature and brilliance of reality?
Self criticism is built into our looking - not being enough has been built in over years through our family systems - it becomes part of the lens we look at life though. Thomas Hübl
One of the most common immobilizing and unexamined beliefs we hold is that we are “not enough” or somehow “inherently flawed”! Much of our behaviour is grounded in this underlying assumption that something is wrong. In psychology this is called the negativity bias, our proclivity to pay more attention to and remember the bad things that happen to us than the good. This is an evolutionary hand me down from our cave-dwelling ancestors when there was danger lurking behind every tree or bush. It has become habitual, but it is not indelible. Neurobiologist, Rick Hansen tells us that the amygdala, the alarm bell of our brain, “uses about two-thirds of its neurons to look for the bad news!” The single most important way to override this negativity bias is to pay attention to our self-talk, which shapes the lens through which we view the world. Awareness alone can free us from our patterns and open the lens of the heart. If we deepen our awareness of the negative thoughts and words through which we observe life, we can begin to shift our thoughts and words to ones of gratitude, and recognition of all the miracles, blessings, and wonder-filled happenings that surround our every moment.
If we move through our day with an open awareness of the many good things around us, we correct the brain's built-in negativity bias. Rick Hansen
Another piece of mental baggage that shapes our negativity bias is the ingrained Christian doctrine of Original Sin, promulgated by St. Augustine in the fourth century. It’s a good way to justify taxes, genocide, and subjection of the minds and bodies of the believers. But look at a newborn baby closely and you will experience innocence and Original Goodness. We are neither flawed nor sinful, we are simply a manifestation of the light of creation. Whole and perfect, exactly the way we are, and the way we aren’t, part of a magnificent evolutionary unfolding of life, living through us.
When we look at life through this lens and we open the aperture of our hearts we can transcend and transform our suffering into celebration, our pain into perception, our chasing after what we think will make us happy, and experience the true joy of just being! The story of “I” becomes fluid, flexible, resilient and adaptable, as we enter the realm of flow where time and space become a mellifluous river of unfolding presence and possibility… In this space our stories from the past become integrated, we live more in the present moment, and the light shining through us becomes a beacon of potential and possibility…
We hope you will join us in some of our upcoming courses, programs, and events to deepen this exploration of expanding the lens through which we see ourselves and the world… We invite you to join our upcoming FREE master class, where we will exploring some of the issues addressed in this month’s newsletter.
With love and blessings, Michael & The Well of Light Team
To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; not to realize that you do not understand is a defect. Lao Tzu