As my own Awakening progresses, the emptiness I have realized about "myself" is pervading my new experience more fully. It continues to be more consistently in my awareness. What I used to consider as the labels that comprised me are simply fading away.
Before, my thoughts would be constantly recycling and renewing into new concepts of "who I am". The great fights, thoughts, and clever tricks my identity used to play are simply wearing out, I guess. Enough is enough as the inner silence becomes more prevalent and dominant in my constant experience.
A couple years ago, I guess I just hit the point of complete exhaustion with my self torturing thoughts, doubts, and regrets. This arose from my eight years being indoctrinated in the military and going to Iraq twice as a Hospital Corpsman. Talk about deeply embedded thought identities!
I didn't know it at the time, but looking back on early 2011 through 2012, a full awakening was really the only option. In a way, this awakening process has been a slow motion ego suicide away from duality. I was always curious where this process would take me.
Sure, I still have a personality, but this liberation into the presence of the here now has freed up an ocean of energy and interest in the world that I used to see as a grey and hopeless place. As I drift away from thoughts about the past or future, the expansive miracles of the world explode into my awareness. From the smallest mushrooms to the expanse of the countless galaxies, my experience is now an incredible one.
As my self torturing word thoughts go away, the world around me becomes less described, labelled and categorized with English words. Now it seems that all scenery and interactions exist as an unfolding interactive piece of art. It becomes a calm flowing of events.
My appreciation for my own past self's efforts to release my torture grows by the day as well. You should take a moment to appreciate any suffering that your past self has negotiated successfully. Don't be so hard on yourself if you still feel stuck in misery.
The awakening, or liberation process can only be done by you. It can be as easy or difficult as you wish. If you feel stuck, try something new. Look on Youtube for new spiritual teachers. Do anything to convince youself that this is an easy process, because it is. Be aware that it is perfectly fine to be on this path of awakening. I am fine as I have been crapped out the end of it! If I can navigate this process, you definitely can too!
I hear spiritual teachers talk often about "an invitation". In that spirit, I invite all of you reading this to look out at the world as it is. Without words, without labels or categories, without bias towards anything.
The Taoist Chuang Tzu said, "Show me the person who has forgotten words. That is the one I wish to talk to!" In this release, we can feel the unified field of consciousness which unfolds around and within everything.
I often read about awakening leading to a flowering of consciousness or an opening of the heart. This was my experience early in the process, but now there is a great return to the here now personal awareness. The balance of inside and outside will come if you choose to feel into it.
The process is a continuing release of self labels and labels about anything or anyone else. As we open to this new way of being, the outer world and inner "you" melt into a peaceful space.
I like to say that my "word thoughts" are going away completely. This is like traveling through a cave of awakening. At first, we have a small tunnel vision.
As I enter the still, open, and empty part of this cave, the echoes of my thoughts are becoming fainter and fainter. I don't even pay attention to them anymore. Releasing becomes much easier. The cave fades away altogether into present awareness. The cave and the mountain are one with each other. They are part of each other.
Realizing and believing the complete energetic unity in all things was only an early step. The release of all layers of the former me continues on. I believe it was a Zen quote I saw that went something like, "I don't wish to die until I am annihilated." That's one of my favorites, especially now that I see the annihilation gives way to an equalness about all things and beings.
These layers of former me are simply learned and ingrained beliefs about the "me". They were taught and instilled. I allowed it, I now realize, and that was fine. No big deal. It is as though the myriad thoughts of my life had programmed my body and consciousness to create this "me". This me seemed like it existed only to judge and suffer.
There was really nothing wrong with this. That experience increases the wonder of the awakening. It's like waking up from a terrible nightmare and all of a sudden real world problems are a comparative joke.
I didn't know there was another way of being until I was flung onto the spiritual path. I never really intended to wake up and didn't know what that meant until the process was well under way.
Adyashanti likes to say that a true spiritual awakening if fueled by a complete love and dedication to the search of truth. Looking back over the past couple of years, this was my own fuel. The truth is that when we empty ourselves of the labels and categories of "me", we find unity in our shared, pervasive emptiness.
The biggest hurdle may be convincing yourself that it is easy and that you deserve it. It is and you do!