I heard a speaker say one time that all the spiritual awakenings she had were immediately preceded by rude awakenings. Very perceptive. I do have to add in all honesty that her perceptiveness and articulativeness didn't save her. She relapsed and died a few years ago. Just goes to show that being articulate and perceptive does not keep you sober. She stopped working a daily program and that's what happened.
Anyway, the thing about rude awakenings is true for me too. The very first awakening - both rude and spiritual - was when the very first counselor I ever saw told me to get the book, Your Erroneous Zones." She said to read it and do what it said and I wouldn't need to see her any more. Since I was completely at my wits end and was completely physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted from trying but failing to meet my overwhelming responsibilities, I immediately set out to read it as fast as I could from beginning to end.
It was, in my opinion, a very badly written book. It also challenged my belief system. As I read it, I occasionally threw it against the wall. Finally the lights went on when I got nearly to the end of the book. Contrary to what I had believed, the author said that I wasn't responsible for absolutely everything - that I could ask for help. He also said that complaining did absolutely no good whatsoever. Instead, he said, I should take responsibility for myself and start trying to solve whatever problems I was having. Most importantly of all, he said, worrying about the future and feeling bad about the past was a complete waste of time. Life is only happening in the present and that's where I should be living.
I felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders and I felt as if I was capable of solving my problems. I wish I could tell you that everything went well from that moment. But it did not. Unfortunately, I did not have a mentor to talk to to help me put the principles into practice. The only thing I was able to do on my own was learn to center myself in the present by focusing on what I felt, saw and heard around me instead of focusing on my thoughts. I was able to be "present" most of the time which felt absolutely lovely. However, that didn't help me solve my problems.
I did ask for help - in fact, I demanded it. That didn't work at all and I was still left with the problems and now the people I demanded help from were pissed. Even so I had periods of absolute joy being present, which is definitely at the heart of spiritual awakening. I still have the skill of centering myself in the present no matter what is happening. I think that the present is where God is and the present is the only place I can get in contact.
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