10 Nov Seeking spiritual freedom
How harnessing inner freedom can truly change your life
It’s 1am; you’re tired, moody and restless and sleep just seems completely unachievable tonight. Simply because you can’t seem to switch off your mind. That relentless voice inside your head appears smugly content to over-analyse every detail of your life, even down to the very last calorie you consumed today. “Oh, don’t mind me,” your mind taunts, “I’m just here to keep you company tonight.”
Yep, we’ve all been there. Dodging sleep to endure the onslaught of meddling thoughts that an overactive mind can create. There’s no doubt that sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. The mind is a unit of psychological and emotional processes that can truly become overwhelming when you pay too much attention to it. It’s quite absurd to comprehend that the mind is never (EVER) quiet. It’s always talking, always filtering through your actions, inactions and reactions to the external world. But that doesn’t mean that your mind is always truthful either – in fact it takes great pleasure in directing you toward negativity! And this is where we introduce you to the term spiritual awakening.
Michael Singer – author of the world-renowned book The Untethered Soul – acknowledges that the little voice inside your head can be the primary damaging barrier when it comes to your happiness. “How would you feel if someone outside started talking to you the way your inner voice does?” he asks in his truth-seeking novel. Well that’s an excellent question! The most obvious rule in friendship is to disassociate yourself from negative people, but that can be quite a difficult task when the negativity is residing within you. Self-realisation and awakening your spiritual freedom all begins with overcoming the personal thought patterns that create spiritual blockages. Singer importantly notes that, “There is nothing more important to true growth than realising that you are not the voice of your mind – you are the one who hears it.”
I am a strong believer that it’s always better to feel too much rather than feel too little, but how do we differentiate between the thoughts and emotions that benefit us positively rather than negatively? In Singer’s Twelve-Step Guide to Spiritual Awakening he explores the process of transcending the personal self and awakening to spiritual freedom. This article is definitely worth a read, particularly if you haven’t gotten round to marvelling over The Untethered Soul. As explained in the article, your mind has an overall conceptual model of what makes you feel okay, and then attempts for the external world to match this model. Sadly, if it was that easy then we would all be happy Larry’s one hundred per cent of the time. The fact is we cannot control the experiences and emotions we will encounter through life. Grief, loss, confusion, suffering; any of these negative feelings will trouble us at some stage or another. But attempting to define how the outside world needs to be in order for you to be happy is not a practical path to happiness. This is where Singer advises to not participate in the mind’s struggle to be okay. Remember that little voice inside your head we were talking about earlier? Well by switching off from that voice you are letting go of the part of you that finds a reason not to be happy! “You have to transcend the personal, and as you do you will naturally awaken to the higher aspects of your being. In the end, enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do,” Singer explains in The Untethered Soul.
It’s all well and good to be told to accept all that life throws at you – be it positive or negative. But actually putting this theory into practice is far more difficult. “Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realisation that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself,” Singer says. Since the fundamental foundation of traditional yoga is to transcend the limitations of the mind, hitting the mat is the perfect place to practice spiritual awakening. Meditation is an important tool when encouraging self-awareness and allows you to channel your inner freedom. You are free to be happy. You are free to choose happiness as your only path. You are free to remove yourself from the illusion of the ego mind. You are free to lead a conscious experience as your true self.