Now is the Time to Awaken!
Now is the Time to Awaken! By Rev. Teresa Stuefloten
Now is the time to awaken!
The very first sutra of Patajali’s Yoga Sutra says “Atha Yoga Nushasanam.”
Now - Atha - Atha means now. Now is the time to awaken.
Now is the perfect time to awaken!
You can only awaken in the now, the eternal now.
You can’t awaken in the past, the past is gone.
You can’t awaken in the future. The future is yet to be and is not guaranteed in this lifetime.
You might be gone tomorrow.
If you don’t awaken now you’ll have to come back & start over as a little baby again, go all
through childhood again, and do it all over again!
Why not awaken now?
Patanjali, who lived sometime between the 2nd & 4th century BC, said the causes of suffering are:
• Forgetting who you really are
• Living from the ego
• Clinging to pleasure & pain
• Fearing death
Before awakening we think we are living a life of freedom, a life of choice. But are we
We have the illusion that we are making choices in how we live our life.
But what we are really doing is living in reaction.
We are not acting out of true free choice, we are reacting based on past experience.
Why do we do what we do?
We have wants based in past experiences where we did not get what we wanted.
It all starts in childhood.
Maybe someone was mean to us. They teased us. They didn’t let us play. They bullied us.
Maybe we didn’t feel pretty enough. We were too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short…
Maybe the teacher called on us & we didn’t know the answer. We didn’t feel smart enough.
Maybe our parents were strict. They put us down, made us feel small, not good enough.
Maybe we were poor. We wanted things our parents couldn’t afford. We felt less than, or we felt deprived.
Our emotions get set off by experiences that make us feel the same as we felt in a past experience. These past experiences set up a tendency in us to react in a certain way. We react based on feeling unworthy, unloved, not good enough.
Each time we have an experience that sets off emotions in us the groove gets deeper and deeper and we become more and more likely to react in the same way in the future.
Is this true freedom? Think about it.
Before we awaken we don’t know the truth of who we are. We may have head knowledge, but we don’t truly know it for ourselves. We do not have the experience of who we are. We may have read about it. We may have heard about it. But it is not transformative. It is not the same as experiencing awakening for ourselves.
We have read or heard that we are a Divine Expression. We have heard that it is all one. But we haven’t experienced it for ourselves.
Personal experience is necessary for awakening.
The Buddha was asked:
“What are you? Are you a God?”
The Buddha said, “No.”
“Are you an angel?” “No.”
“Are you a Saint?” “No.”
“Then what are you?”
The Buddha said “I am awake.”
The Sanskrit root Budhimeans “to awake”, “to know.”
That’s what we truly want, to know for ourselves.
Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew, Ishua in Aramaic, was awake.
He said “The Father and I are one.” He knew he was one with God, his creator. He had the experience of oneness for himself. He was a knower, not a believer. From this experience of oneness he was able to teach, to heal, to perform miracles. And he said “All that I do, you can do also.”
But first we have to have the experience of oneness for our selves. We have to awaken.
And what better time than now? Now is the time to awaken. Atha yoga nushasanam. Atha, now!
How do we have the experience for ourselves? How do we awaken?
• #1 is to meditate. Meditate daily.
• Commit to a time each day to meditate. The body gets used to a scheduled time & will begin to go into meditation at that time, making it easier to meditate.
• Start with 5 minutes and expand. A minimum of 20-30 minutes is ideal.
• Commit to 5 minutes, but sit longer if you can. It takes the mind time to settle down. At first there are lots of thoughts and a little meditation in-between the thoughts. As your mind wanders, when you realize you are thinking, you bring your attention back to meditation. As you stick with it the periods of concentrated awareness & actual meditation will increase until there is a continuous stream of meditation.
• When the mind becomes still, inner wisdom opens and is revealed.
• Spend time in nature
• Lighten up, laugh, dance
• volunteer, connect with your community
• Practice gratitude
• Slow down
Eckhart Tolle said “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level. Spend time focused on becoming yourself fully.”
We are not someone who has a soul. We are the soul. Awakening is realizing that.
Deepak Chopra lists some signs of beginning to awaken:
1. Observing your Patterns. One of the first signs of awakening is noticing. You were on auto pilot before. The first step in growth is always awareness of the present moment followed by an impulse to change something.
2. Feeling a Sense of Connection - comes from shared humanity.
3. Letting go of Attachment (attachments are how you define yourself). Each belief is a veil, but once you become aware of the veil it becomes transparent.
4. Finding Inner Peace - you become unflappable - doesn’t mean things don’t go wrong in your life, but you aren’t on an emotional rollercoaster of anger, frustration, or despair. The Dalai Lama describes inner peace like stubbing his toe - he still experiences an emotional charge, but it is fleeting. Inner peace is like a magnifier of positive emotions and a wet blanket over negative emotions.
5. Increasing Intuition
6. Having Synchronicity - feeling that the Universe is conspiring to make something happen.
7. Increasing your Compassion - action inspired by your empathy, empathy literally means “to suffer with”. Self-compassion, self- kindness, a sense of common humanity, mindfulness
8. Removing the Fear of Death - Your own demise seems less tragic when you focus on living in the present & stop worrying so much about the future, or regrets of the past.
9. Increased Authenticity - With awakening comes confidence & a deep sense of self-worth, a real complete sense of satisfaction with who you are and the choices you make. … With the recognition that it is not your job to please others, to avoid stating unpopular opinions, or to tread gently around the way others choose to feel comes an energy that is attractive and feels secure to be around.
10. Flourishing - Awakened people have a level of well-being that seems more consistent, & a mind-body connection. People who are happier are also healthier.
Roy Eugene Davis, who recently made his transition, was a man who was definitely awake. He recommended using your creative imagination to envision what it would be like to be fully spiritually awake. How do you imagine you would be? What would your life be like if you were fully awake?
You know the saying “Fake it until you make it?” Well that’s the advice! Begin to act like a person who is spiritually awake!
Now is the time to awaken! Atha!
And so it is!