Approach to Awakening
Please see my overview on What is Awakening to provide context for the ways I can help you with your meditation and path.
My approach to awakening makes use out of anything and everything that is meaningful and useful, and relies on intuition – yours and my own. However, I find it incredibly helpful to have reference points for experience, techniques, and reliable ways of exploring experience. Below you’ll find a brief exploration of three primary areas I can help you awakening in life:
- Cultivating qualities of awakening in practice and daily life
- Cultivate capacities and formal practices, like meditation
- Engaging and deepening into your life: The Five Gateways of Awakening
- Working with big shift experiences
Again, this is not prescriptive. Wherever you find yourself in life, I’m happy to help you out. You don’t need to work with me in all of these areas, although if that’s of interest, I welcome you to explore the rest of the site (ebooks, courses) and consider mentoring sessions.
Cultivating Qualities of Awakening – In Practice and in Daily Life
While traditions of awakening often make a big deal out of big shift experiences and realizations, they also speak of inseparable qualities of reality – of our actual lived experience, each day – that we can explicitly tap into, touch, and cultivate. In doing so we embrace our full human experience, taking our lives as practice, and embodying awakening beyond a meditation cushion. Examples:
- Open and receptive
- Mysterious (Paradoxical)
What is life asking of you right now?
It’s common to find that you are intuitively drawn or feeling the need to work with a particular quality explicitly in your practice and in life. You are moved by either curiosity, the feeling of something missing in your attention and presence, or simply a recurring pain point that manifests in your life (work, relationships most commonly).
I personally find it most helpful to look directly into life to see what it is asking of me, and then cultivate a practice around it, which results in a much more engaged, meaningful experience with results I can feel.
In looking at your own life, I can help you hone in on what might flavor or quality might be helpful to explore, and to help you craft both a practice and way of engaging your daily life to help cultivate and explore this quality.
Cultivating Capacities and Formal Practices of Awakening (including meditation)
I have listed formal practice here separately, in part to emphasize that my experience is that formal practices like meditation are here to help us be more present and responsive to our life. In other words – meditation isn’t for meditation. It’s for living life. However, I have found formal practices like meditation to be invaluable and incredibly helpful in living my life.
As such, I’m here to support you in cultivating a formal practice of awakening, in particular meditation, but we can also work with any practice you are currently undertaking appropriate.
Engaging and Deepening into Your Life: The Five Gateways of Awakening
Because I believe awakening and practices of meditation our for living a more full life, I have created a simple model to help orient where you might like to focus your attention and energy in our work together, called The Five Gateways of Awakening:
- Life and the world
The goal here is to work with whatever seems most relevant and helpful in your life. You could be having challenging life experiences in one of these areas, maybe you’re just curious and want to explore, or maybe you tend to lean towards a few of these gateways and would like to experience more integration and wholeness. In working together, we’ll discover what’s most meaningful to you and your life.
By consciously working with each gateway and through looking at our practice and life from and through these gateways, our awakening and embodiment deepens and we become more fully present and responsive in our daily lives.
Working with big shift experiences
You might have an experienced a big shift in the way you experience yourself and life, or perhaps you’re interested such an experience. What’s interesting is that while big shift experiences sound incredibly desirable and life changing, fully understanding them and integrating their impact into our daily life is not always easy (I’d say usually not!).
I don’t have an agenda in pushing you or anyone to these type of experiences, but if it’s relevant, I’m happy to help you. Also, I find that just being alive, living life, many of us will experience these shifts whether we try to or not, but sometimes we’re not aware that they even occurred, which can sometimes be surprising or disorienting. Whatever your interest or need, I’m here to help.
Last, I find it helpful to remember that the path of awakening is a life-long, ever unfolding process and big shift experiences are simply moments along the path, as profound and meaningful as they might be. If anything, these experiences provide us momentum to look even more deeply into our lives.
What is a ‘big shift’ experience?
Often the biggest highlight in traditions of awakening and enlightenment, and referred to by many names: no-self, Self, non-duality, God, natural presence, buddha nature, Love (just to name a few). Sometimes more general terms are used like ‘waking up to your true nature.’ I am not saying that all of these refer to exactly the same realization or experience, but you get the sense that they are pointing to a radical shift in your identity, experience, and relationship to life.
There are many profound experiences described in the contemplative traditions, each with their own flavor, each pointing back to our experience and life itself. The descriptions of these experiences are not meant to be taken literally, but to spark a flame in us to awaken beyond words, beyond concepts, or to simply understand what we are already experiencing (which can oddly feel confusing at the same time as being elucidating!).
What do these really point to experientially? What is revealed? What do we learn about life, ourselves, and others? What are the implications in your life? The path doesn’t end here. It is the beginning reborn in each moment of your life.