For the past few years I have been exploring and teaching about a distinction that I speak about as the first and second surrender of spiritual awakening.
The first surrender is the utterly passive acceptance of all that is. The meditation practice of No Problem that I teach allows us to rest in that pristine space of profound contentment. Many of us have spent hours resting in that state of mind in which everything is perfect no matter how it is. It is a heaven of peaceful abidance in which we need nothing that is not already present; there is nothing to do and nowhere to be but here.
As we rest in this perfect place – both in practice, and in life – something mysterious, miraculous and magical begins to happen. We start to realize that the emptiness we are abiding in is not empty. The space in which we find ourselves is an ocean of consciousness in which currents of awakening constantly move and swirl opening into possibilities that can become the journey of a lifetime.
Our perception of these currents starts as subtle stirrings – little whispers of guidance and insight. It is like hearing a faint sound in the distance, a barely noticeable scent in the air, or an impossibly faint brush against our skin. As the currents of awakening pass through us they stir our soul to recognition of itself and its potential. These stirrings invite us into the miracle of perpetual awakening.
The second surrender involves allowing yourself to be captured by the currents of awakening and carried off into the spiritual adventure they offer. This movement of surrender is subtle. It’s not an activity of the will in any normal sense. You are not doing anything, you are simply allowing yourself to be swept away.
For this reason I often say that second surrender is like falling in love. There is a magical moment when you are with someone and you realize that you are falling in love. In that moment a choice needs to be made. That does not mean to imply that you have to do something. The decision that needs to be made is a choice between allowing the process of falling in love to continue, or stopping it.
The same is true of spiritual love. There is a moment when you feel your feet start to leave the ground, your head gets a little dizzy, and lighthearted bubbles of joy start to float through your body. You realize that you are being carried away. You are falling in love – not with a person – but with a spiritual destiny. The doorway to divine adventure has opened and a mysterious attractive force is pulling you toward it.
Whether we are talking about romantic love, or spiritual love the question remains the same.
Will you allow yourself to be taken?
On this Thanksgiving Day I am deeply grateful because I have been taken once again. I have lived a life filled with spiritual adventure and I am blessed beyond belief once more to feel my feet leaving the ground and my veins bubbling with joy.
What has captured me is an energetic awakening – an opening into a directly felt experience of connection with all of life. It is a sensual awakening to Oneness. My senses are opening up and I feel the world around me more and more vividly.
I am now sitting in my favorite coffee shop on Fourth Street in Philadelphia. I feel the atmosphere of this room on my skin – the melancholy and calm of a preholiday morning, the easy rapport between the baristas, and the isolated cones of focused concentration around each of the patrons. I am not just intellectually aware of all of this. I feel it on my skin, I breathe in through my lungs, and it tickles my heart.
The distinction between what I once called mind and what I once called body seems oddly irrelevant. Nothing exists exclusively as mind and nothing is limited to the body alone. Everything is sensual and awake at the same time. There is one multi-dimensional, deeply felt, fully embodied experience of being.
I want to be clear, the nature of my opening at this moment is not the important point. Because I am listening to the spiritual currents inside me the unfolding that is happening is perfect for me at this time. Some of you may resonant with my current opening, but more importantly any of us who listens to the stirrings of our own inner currents will be guided on a path that is perfect for us right now.
Now that is something to be grateful for!
We seem to have been equipped with the a perfect spiritual GPS system that will guide us through our awakening process as surely as a seed is guided into becoming a tree, or a baby always finds its way to adulthood.
I am grateful today because the path before me is open and clear.
The same currents of awakening are already inside you. There is nothing you need to do and nowhere you need to go to find them. Simply rest in the practice of perfect acceptance and they will appear. When their faint murmurings begin to stir in your soul don’t pull away, and don’t reach out to grab them.
Let them take you. Let them open the door and carry you away. Allow yourself the wonderful joy of falling in love, all over again, with the mystery that brought you here in the first place. I am so, so, so grateful to have a new opportunity to fall in love with divinity again. I wish the same for you on this Thanksgiving Day and forever.