I was asleep and now I’m awake – a snapshot of my spiritual awakening

Spiritual Awakening
Spiritual Awakening

Sharing a snapshot of my journey of spiritual awakening — When and how it started and what’s the outcome. 

November 12, 2012, it was a pleasant Monday evening, around 6 pm — I remember I was at the terrace, walking, talking on the phone and my elder brother came to me. He wanted to invite me for some event that was happening the next day. He didn’t disclose much about it, he just said he wanted me and our parents to be there. I said okay… reluctantly (the only comforting idea being that my parents were also going to be there). Later that night, however, I got to know that our parents weren’t available the next day (wedding season) — Listening to this I also felt like backing out. I anyway didn’t feel like going and now that my parents were also not going, I felt stuck. I did end up going however, for whatever reason, and I am glad I did because had I not gone there, I wouldn’t be where and how I am right now and I love where and how I am right now!

The next day my brother and I got to the venue around 6.45 pm (the event was from 7 pm to 9.30 pm); We parked our car and were walking towards the building, it was an auditorium. There was lots of hustle-bustle around that area — cars dropping people off at the main porch, cars parking, groups of people loitering around, chatting, sharing laughs. Upon climbing the main stairs to the entrance of the building, we were welcomed by a very excited and energetic group of people. They were welcoming everyone with a huge smile and I noticed that and it felt strange. I had never been welcomed like that by strangers — with such enthusiasm!

Anyway, we did the formalities and entered the main hall, there must be about 600 people there. The hall was buzzing with chatter. We navigated our way to some vacant seats towards the end of the auditorium where I sat down casually, leaning back as if I’d gone there for a movie, the only difference being that I was waiting for this to end before it even began.

At 7 pm sharp this gentleman came on stage and welcomed us. He went on to introduce himself and then he said something after which nothing was the same for me. 

He made a request. His request was for us to be present that night, for that time. To be present by keeping aside the “little voice” inside our heads. I heard that and I thought to myself, “What? What little voice is he talking about?”. And as soon as I thought that he said, “you must be thinking, ‘What little voice is he talking about?’, That’s exactly one I’m talking about, the one which said this to you” 

That’s when I got completely hooked. I sat up straight and I listened to him keenly. I wondered how this random person knew about this little voice of mine; The little voice that, up till that moment, even I wasn’t aware of! I was perplexed and fascinated at the same time.

He went on to describe how we would be/act that night if we don’t keep it aside. He said we would just sit there and make judgements, comments, make remarks about whatever was going to be said or shared. We typically would agree/disagree, state things as right/wrong, judge people’s appearances, their language, their way of speaking, etc etc. The nature of that little voice is usually that, if we let it be. 

He then gave us a choice; He said we could either let the little voice do what it does normally and be engaged with it/ourselves OR we can keep it aside, just for a couple of hours, and listen to what was going to be said/shared with intent, outside of our mind.

That’s when I got a taste of this insanely powerful machine (the mind). First, I didn’t know about this voice in my head; then I got aware of its incessant presence, and then finally I was told that we can, by choice, put it aside?! Choose not to listen to it?! WOW! My mind was blown away!

It’s shocking that before that moment, I hadn’t heard this voice in me, maybe I did but I was never aware of it. I thought it was me. I never distinguished myself from it. That is the day I became aware/conscious of this little voice and its nature. That’s the day I distinguished myself from the “little voice” inside my head.

Since then I have been obsessed with studying myself and my mind — how it works, why I do what I do, what makes me, me? etc. Since then, I have been committed to study it, control it, to master it. (it = the mind)

“You either control your mind or it controls you.” 

Napoleon Hill

Funny thing is, the more I got to know about myself, the more I got to know about others too — How humans, in general, operate, what drives them, etc. — at the end of the day, we all have the same machinery. This altered the way I am with people. I am able to understand better, communicate better, and overall have better relationships.

In retrospect, earlier (before November 12, 2012) it seems as if, my life was running on autopilot. I wasn’t an active participant I would say. Life was happening TO me. I was at the EFFECT of it. I don’t quite remember how I was living my life before that moment, what drove me, why I did what I did, BUT I know how and why of everything that followed.

From that day on, I have taken the driver’s seat. I have started CREATING my life. I am at the source of it, the CAUSE of it, leading my life. From a thermometer, I have become a thermostat. I have taken the responsibility for everything that is happening in my life (how I feel, all the results, every life situation, good and bad). I have started introspecting. I have become aware of myself, my power, my shortcomings, my limiting beliefs, and so on and so forth. 

It is an extremely powerful feeling to be responsible for your own life. Because when you’re responsible, you can do something about it. The ball is in your court. Otherwise there will always be an excuse, someone else, something else or some situation to blame. We can either have excuses or results. Not both! And the choice is always ours.

Not to discount anything, it is a journey and it takes time and inner-work to live like this. That day in November 2012 was just the tip of the iceberg but that set me on the journey of self-awareness. Now till 2020, I have attended multiple training programs, read various books, consumed countless videos, and most importantly spent A LOT of time introspecting, analysing myself, my ways of being.

Like everything else we want to be good at, this kind of thinking/living/acting requires practice. We have been conditioned to operate in a certain way. To think and do a certain way. To live a certain way. The longer we’ve lived like that, the longer it takes to rewire the brain. It is a conscious activity to unlearn how one has been operating, unlearning ways of being/living that don’t work for us, unlearning limiting beliefs, and then learn how we want to operate. 

You can’t pour in a full cup.

“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” 

Bruce Lee

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”  

Mark Twain

Rewiring the brain is like building muscle — you go to the gym, you put in the work to build that. Put in consistent effort. And that’s how one learns this new way of living. First unlearn, then learn.

It has been a heck of a journey for me since that night. I feel like I was born the second time in November, 2012 — Only difference being — I was aware of the birth this time. There is a clear before and after post that night and nothing was the same. 

I feel like all the inner-work since then has been compounding and I’m just getting started. I am not saying I know it all now, not at all. I resonate with what Albert Einstein said: 

 “The more I learn the more I realise how much I don’t know.”

I still continue to learn/unlearn about myself, human beings, and life, in general, each day. There’s A LOT to learn and I’m a life-long learner. I don’t think this learning/unlearning is ever going to stop and I don’t want it to stop. I am committed to growing/expanding myself and getting better each day.

All I can say is I was asleep and now I am awake! ?

Thank you for reading this.

** If you wish to know how I keep my “little voice” aside, read this — 6 Ways To Stay Present In The Moment 

I wish you all the power to accomplish whatever you have set your mind to.

Love, 
Tojo

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