Module 1 - Introduction to Spiritual Awareness
There is only one place to begin any journey – and developing spiritual awareness, like life, is a journey. The place to start is where you are right now. Begin with the recognition that you already know the answers you are seeking. We already have all the knowledge we need inside us, but most of us have forgotten we have this information and part of spiritual awareness is gradually accessing our higher self and our own inner knowledge.
Start by understanding the apparent paradox that you are alone on this journey and yet you are one with everything and everyone else in the universe. Acknowledge that you are a divine being, part of All That Is, created in the image of God – whatever you may consider him, her or it to be. Know that it is all that has gone on in your life before this moment that has brought you to where you are now, that there is a purpose for everything.
Rejoice in every obstacle you have faced in your lifetime, and bless it as the gift and opportunity it certainly has been to enable you to grow – that’s a difficult one sometimes of course as it is not always easy to see the positive lesson that we have learnt from a bad experience.
Remember that the only thing that stands between you and your goals, your heart’s desires, your greatest wishes, fulfillment – is YOU... and your fears!
Commit to face life in the truth that every moment is an opportunity to create a new reality – now, and in every moment – based on the unlimited possibilities of what can be, not on your fears of what has happened in the past. Know that your successes and your happiness are limited only by what you believe is possible, and that the range of possibilities is only restricted by your limited human understanding. And trust that the universe will show you the answers when you are open to receive them.
Now perhaps some of these ideas are new to you, perhaps you want to reject them as nonsense, as impossible. That’s great! Firstly, you don’t have to accept anything – in this course or elsewhere in life – that doesn’t resonate with you. You can accept or reject any ideas you choose. However, suppose you suspend your judgement for a while and accept that there might be something in these ideas, even if it’s not clear right now what or how or why? As you continue your journey of spiritual awakening and self-discovery, you may find some of those things that made no sense at the time begin to seem possible – and perhaps even probable.
What is important, however, is that you apply yourself to the subject with an open mind, and an open heart. Rejecting everything out of hand just because it doesn’t make sense now will not lead to spiritual understanding.
Have you ever read a book and there is one section that you read over and over again but it still didn’t make sense to you? Then, one day, you read it and that section made perfect sense and you wondered how you didn’t see it before? Perhaps initially it was because you weren’t ready to take in that information and then it was the right time for you to do so.
Everyone’s path is different, so don’t assume that what works for someone else will necessarily work for you, or vice versa. You will need to find for yourself those things that work for you and those that don’t. You will also find the speed of the journey and the timing of events in everyone’s lives will vary. It is important not to give yourself a hard time just because events are not unfolding as quickly as you think they should, or that your experiences are different from someone else’s.
Spiritual awakening is about getting in touch with our higher consciousness. It means letting go of old beliefs and fears, releasing old ways of being, and doing, and thinking – ways with which we may have been comfortable for most of our lives, but which no longer serve us. It means accepting responsibility for our lives and accepting the power we already have; and by this we mean not power over others but power over ourselves.
Be aware that it is not an intellectual exercise though obviously your mind (your mental body) is involved. However, the mind can be a barrier to our spiritual development. We must experience our lives, not contemplate them. You will need to start looking deep within yourself to find those things that are keeping you in the past. You will need to face up to your fears before you can let them go and move on. It will certainly get uncomfortable at times. Remember, there is no growth without risk; and any spiritual journey is about growth – in love, understanding, trust and compassion.
You are perfect just the way you are. However, if you wish to grow in love and in light you need to be prepared to put yourself into situations that will stretch you, when you may feel uncomfortable. The fact is, these situations are only unpalatable to you, not to anyone else. There will be times when you need to face up to some apparently unpleasant truths. There is nothing to be gained by trying to deceive yourself. Taking the easy option does not lead to spiritual growth, it just means you keep being presented with the same lessons over and over again until you figure it out. So, are you ready to take a risk, to take yourself on?
There are no gurus, no teachers and pupils. Each of us is our own guru; and we are all both teacher and pupil. Just as we teach, so we learn; the two go hand in hand. Just as the only way for us to receive is to give; the only way to be loved is to give our love; the only way to gain forgiveness is to forgive. And we must also remember to love, honour, respect and forgive ourselves as well as others.
It can be difficult to make this journey of self-discovery and enlightenment alone. It can be hard enough anyway, so you might wish to make the journey with a special friend (or friends). Whatever you decide, enjoy it. Once you start the journey – and the fact that you’re reading this now suggests you’ve already begun – you will not want to stop. You will find that, despite the discomfort you will almost certainly feel from time to time, you will want to keep up the momentum. And remember, true friends are those who tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, so choose your friends carefully.
Remember, it’s a journey. Enjoy the travelling. And don’t forget to smell the roses on the way!
Exercise (approx. 15 minutes)
This exercise will help you think about what you want to achieve from the course and where you are right now. Before you start, however, if you have not already done so we recommend you read or listen to ‘Preparing for the Exercises’ which talks you through how to prepare your quiet space.
Prepare your quiet space and ensure you have your exercise book and pen or pencil to hand. Make yourself comfortable and take four or five deep breaths, paying attention as the breath comes in and goes out, allowing your shoulders to relax and with the intention to quieten your mind with each breath.
Take your time over this exercise. It will help you gain some clarity about what it is you want to get out of doing this course as well as from life, and your commitment to seeking it. There are no right or wrong answers, so be honest with yourself.
First of all, write down what spiritual awareness means to you.
Then, to help you think about it more deeply, write the following questions in your notebook and take time to answer them. You can do them one at a time or write down all of the questions and then come back and answer them.
You may find some of them a bit stretching, there may be some you can’t answer or you are not happy with the answer you have given. Don’t worry you can return to these at any time and update or amend them. However, do not limit yourself to just the questions we have given you, they are to help you stretch rather than restrict your thinking. Other questions may come to you, make a note as you think of them and answer those too. Here are our questions to you:
- What is it you’re seeking? Are you clear about what it is and what it is not?
- How did you get to where you are now? What are the main obstacles or lessons you have been presented with that you have had to overcome in your life? Is there a pattern to these?
- Why are you seeking spiritual awareness? What difference do you anticipate it may make to your life?
- How will you know when you get there? What will it look like or feel like to you?
- How much do you desire it? What are you prepared to do to achieve it? In order to achieve it, what are you prepared to give up and what are you not prepared to give up?
- How much time and effort are you prepared to spend on this venture?
When you have finished you might find it helpful to share your thoughts and any insights you have gained on our Facebook page. Although it is a closed group you might want to be cautious about sharing anything too personal.