A guide to the seasons of spiritual awakening in the real world of a busy life
Which season is your soul in?
From the moment you start to awaken, you experience the seasons of your soul. Some of us easily wake up to who we truly are; some need a cup of coffee first. Which season of awakening are you experiencing? The autumn of seeking, the winter of suffering, the spring of seeing or the summer of self-realisation?
Here is a wisdom guide to spiritual awakening in the real world of a busy life.
Another washing machine week had me spinning. Student queries, staff calls and urgent emails shouting from my inbox, plumbers at the door to fix a geyser, auditors asking again for year-end tax decisions, endless power and water outages, parents needing financial help, supporting a friend going through a rough patch, more bad news in the news, the dog next door barking a high pitch yap-yap-yap-yap, the third spam phone call of the day… you know the feeling.
After the urgent tasks were handled, the yearning for silence and solitude was at a peak, so I packed my notebook, pen, water and jacket in my backpack and went for a walk.
“I wish I had the life of a monk,” my mind rambled; I’d heard this thought before many times. “I wish I could be free of this stress.”
I walked the hill in my estate, feeling the muscles in my legs burn, heart rate up; I began my meditation, aiming to reach a favorite bench to sit and tune in to wisdom.
It’s almost pointless trying to reach the clear waters of wisdom without first digging our well. And to dig a well, we need to get our hands dirty, which means being honest about what we’re really feeling and thinking. So instead of trying to be spiritual, I walked with my fear, anger and frustrations.
My Wisdom Well Meditation method is my way of staying sane in the insanity, finding calm in the storm and navigating life with as much wisdom as possible
Reaching my bench, shaded, in a pretty quiet space, I closed my eyes and continued to dig my Wisdom Well; now it was time to create a bucket, a question to send inwards. I’ll know the bucket has landed in the water of wisdom, with the felt sense of opening, more peace in the body. Once I feel peace, I’ll translate this peaceful openness into words (a skill that has taken many years to master). How often do you let your inner student meet your inner teacher? I hope my teachings inspire you to dig your Wisdom Well.
MIND: “Why are there some days when I feel I’m going backward in my spiritual growth? Peace and clarity disappear. There’s so much suffering and stress in the world; how do I keep the peace and clarity I find in meditation during a busy day?”
WISDOM: “You cannot keep peace and clarity because they are not things to hold onto; they are not separate from you. They are what you are. You are peace. You are clear seeing. The question is, rather, how do I forget who I am?”
MIND: “I am the peace. I am the clear seeing. Yes, I know this and I do forget. How do I forget who I am, especially when my life becomes demanding and stressful?”
WISDOM: “You forget who you are when you believe any thoughts that cause a closing.”
“The thought ‘my life’ does it feel open or closed intuitively, in your felt sense?”
MIND: “Thinking about ‘my life’ causes a subtle closing feeling.”
WISDOM: “The closing happens because the thought does not reflect the truth. It’s not your life. You are not a person who owns a possession called life. You are life. Not separate.”
“In sleep, you forget your waking self and believe you are a dreamed self. Whenever you believe a thought that causes a closing, you fall asleep a little to your real self. Believing this false thought results in the closing of your being and seeing, the closing of your I. Opening is awakening, opening the eyes and the I.”
MIND: “I am life. Yes, that opens.”
The seeing landed. I reflected on how easily thoughts build walls and wisdom always has a way of dissolving the walls, so I invited more insight.
WISDOM: “Follow the call to wake up to the truth of your being. See with your true eyes as the true I, then bring that clear seeing and being into daily life. Rediscover each challenge, face each and ask, ‘how does wisdom see this?’ Don’t assume anything. Find out. Question thoughts that cause even the most subtle closing.”
“Its eyes open or eyes closed, I open, or I closed. Awakening is opening that which seems closed. In full awakeness, you see that what you truly are could never be closed. You never lose the dreamer in the dream; it only appears so.”
“Being asleep and awakening are natural; they are seasons of the soul.”
- In autumn you seek freedom from the suffering of closedness and shed the leaves of falsely believed thoughts.
- In winter you suffer under the weight of closedness, the ice contraction of believing you are a separate dreamed character. This is an opportunity to cry out in your sleep, to wake up from the nightmare.
- In spring you become lucid, you start to remember that you are dreaming, that you are more than what you believed, you see glimpses of opening.
- In summer you are lucid, you know you are the openeness that never closes. That it is only a dreamed self that appears open and closed. You are awake as awareness whether there is a dream happening or not, you know who you truly are and have always been.
I took a few moments to contemplate the insight, to let my body feel and sense the clarity, to drink the water of wisdom feeling the open peace expanding. By mindfully seeking thoughts that open, everything is touched by wisdom. Is it work? Yes. But for me, freedom is worth it.
We can spend our days waking up or falling asleep, finding thoughts that help us open or keep us closed. We can build our Wisdom Wells.
SUMMARY OF THE SEASONS OF YOUR SOUL’S SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
These seasons can last minutes or months, follow any order and can be activated by consciously finding clear-seeing wisdom which opens the mind, heart and being.
Unlike in nature, the seasons of spiritual awakening can be as short as a few hours and change order; you could feel a glimpse of summer during meditation with deep peace and clear seeing, then get a phone call that throws you into deep winter. Every season asks us to awaken from the dream of a separate false self, to open to the openness of clear seeing and being.
SPIRITUAL AWAKENING AUTUMN – Seeking
- You’re experiencing an autumn when deeply questioning who you are and why you’re here.
- This is a time of shedding the leaves of belief, letting go of thoughts that close you, that cause you to fall asleep to who you are.
SPIRITUAL AWAKENING WINTER – Suffering
- You’re experiencing a winter when you’re feeling heavy and closed with painful contracted thoughts and feelings, closed seeing and being.
- This is a time of great opportunity to turn suffering into a sincere “yes” that triggers the spring of seeing clearly.
SPIRITUAL AWAKENING SPRING – Seeing
- When you open, like blossoms opening to the sunlight, you experience epiphanies and “AHA” moments of clear seeing being sprinkled into daily life.
- This is a time of illumination and potential confusion as you drift between being asleep and awake.
SPIRITUAL AWAKENING SUMMER – Self-Realisation
- When you awaken to the true self, you are free to experience the peace, love and happiness of true seeing and being.
- This is a time of stabilising self-realisation and embodying this openness as a lived expression.
Spiritual awakening is as natural as an apple tree moving from the leaf shedding of autumn to the hibernation of winter, the blossoming of spring and the fullness of summer. Your soul moves through cycles of growth.
You are not alone. Every soul endures the struggles of spiritual awakening. But ultimately, every soul is destined to awaken. There is no one spiritual path to awakening. For as many souls that exist, there are as many paths. Your path to spiritual awakening is unique to you, but it’s all a progression from closed eyes and I to open, from asleep to your true self to awake.
Some of us agreed to wake up early and then lovingly nudge our friends to wake up.
Colleen-Joy is a guide of guides. She helps natural coaches, facilitators, consultants and leaders become go-to wisdom-led Master Coaches who make a living making a difference. Colleen is a Master Coach MCC, author and global managing director who has taught over 35 000 in 60-plus countries and has been featured on many television shows, including two documentary features about her life story.
To be mentored by this real-world spiritual teacher and to learn how to build wisdom wells for yourself and others, visit www.colleen-joy.com
Author, spiritual teacher known for the ‘Wisdom Well Way’
Colleen has taught over 35 000 people in 60 countries, delivering over 4 000 classes and talks. Two documentary television features have been made about her life story and she’s been a regular expert television and press guest for over 20 years.
Colleen-Joy is an author and spiritual teacher best known for her Wisdom Well Way meditation method, which you can enrol for at http://wisdomwellway.com/
Colleen is also the managing director of internationally accredited InnerLifeSkills Master Coach Certification programmes at http://innerlifeskillscourses.com/ Join her regular Zoom classes.