by Matt Cooksey
You started out life as a tiny giant.
What you now think of as your higher self or spirit was all there was.
You were undivided, joyful, spontaneous and loving. Learning was easy. You had no trouble with self-expression. Even your mind moved in harmony with your soul.
Unencumbered by a psychological self, you were a force of nature.
But as you grew physically your sense of self diminished. The current path of human development predominantly sees tiny giants transformed into big babies.
Waking Up is a series of earthquakes that strike at the heart of your sense of insufficiency. A succession of spiritual shockwaves that pierce the calcified psychological self and liberate you from the grip of an encultured identity.
It's not so much about evolving as realising that you are the evolutionary impulse itself. Waking Up is the progressive wearing away of the psychological bubble wrap that keeps you feeling separate from the world around you.
Giving up the notion of a me, to which you've become very attached, is certainly not for everyone. But more people than ever are feeling the impulse to Wake Up. To return to the kind of intimacy with life you knew as a child.
It's all going to be OK, even if it's not
The march towards true human maturity is gathering momentum. Which is extremely good news since our species faces a range of crises that cannot be solved by the minds that created them.
We face a beautiful impasse. To evolve or to die into our own infinite hands. And as perilous as that could sound, there's really nothing to fear.
Part of the joy of Waking Up, is a kinesthetic knowledge that what you really are is the source of all life forms, of every planet and the entire Universe. Immediately the stakes that frighten us half to death collectively and individually, diminish. The creative possibilities explode. Solutions appear where none could be found.
Waking Up is an act of self-love so profound it encompasses all beings.
And it starts by understanding how you; eternity lost consciousness in the first place.
Living in Wonderland
As a child small miracles unfolded almost daily. Your humanity flowered. Blurry eyesight sharpened into 20:20 vision. Your blob-like body developed the musculoskeletal networks that enabled you to sit, stand and walk.
You were becoming an exquisite vehicle with which existence could explore itself.
And of all these new abilities, the gift of language was perhaps the most profound. At not even two years old, you learned to skilfully slice and dice the world into pieces you could grasp with your mind.
What once had been a singular throbbing homogenous mass of amazingness, burst into an array of wondrous objects like trees, cars, flowers, beach, love, table, city, anger and of course, poop.
Although rainbows never actually did separate from the sky, you gleefully learned about clouds, water, sun, sky and rainbows as if they had. Winnie the Pooh taught you everything you needed to know about bees, honey, hives and an inability to delay gratification!
And your mind loved it's new job. Categorizing. Comparing. Grouping. Separating. Segmenting.
How your mind left you feeling separate from life
But trouble was brewing. The instrument was starting to take over and you were the next one for the chop!
Everywhere you looked your mind defined, dissected and divided in a nanosecond. It became compulsive. Accelerating at precisely the moment you were becoming inquisitive about your self.
You became so good at carving the world up, you lost sight of the underlying whole from which it all sprung.
As your mind turned inwards to survey your vast interior, it couldn't compute what it saw. Eager to serve you it did what minds do best. When it found you to be indescribable it innocently broke you into pieces too.
I have legs. I get angry. I have a dad. I can see. I'm a girl. I'm loved. I hate eggs. I'm scared of dogs.
It snapped millions of selfies and formed these snapshots into a mental model of yourself.
And whether your self-concept turned out like a beautifully curated Pinterest board or better resembled a jumbled, disintegrated horror story, one truth remained.
Your selfie, was not your SELF.
For a mind that could only understand this by comparing it to that, a selfie was the closest it could get to helping you know yourself.
Buried under a billion selfies
As the years went by your identity only thickened. Devouring the narratives people around you were only too happy to supply. Parents, teachers, religious leaders, politicians and the media started taking pictures of you whether you wanted them or not. They added their filters, lenses and stickers. They snapped away indiscriminately, capturing you with greasy hair, an angry expression and your finger up your nose.
You're lazy. You're talented. You're overweight. You're disorganised. You're clever. You're successful. You're middle class. You're liberal. You're gay.
An encultured identity wrapped itself around your celestial core, until only a fraction of your brilliance could escape.
Wholeness began to feel incomplete. And they called it maturity.
The tiny giant. Eternal and infinite. So colossal she has no beginning or end, was left feeling rather small.
Your identity began to cloud the light through which you once saw the world, leaving you increasingly out of step with reality. And as your awareness dimmed, the wonderland you once inhabited started to look more like a wasteland.
It was a strain to be estranged from yourself. Even if it was only happening in your mind.
As the enormity of what you really are tried to flow through your psychological self, the pressure built up. And the discomfort it created went by many names.
You were told that suffering, anguish, emotional pain, distress, torment and disease are just part of the human condition. As if you were born to suffer.
The search for a way out
This was an intolerable conclusion for your mind, which quickly began searching for a solution. It looked high and low for ways to make you happy, not realising that it's feverish search would only sow further dissatisfaction. The more your mind had you searching for the happiness you are out there in romantic relationships, career achievement and material success, the more confused you became.
With each new scheme came a period of hope. Your mind convinced that it's latest preoccupation might finally lead you to feel complete once again. But how could a selfie ever feel complete?
If a selfie could speak it might ask, why do I feel so flimsy?
And the minds around you only deepened the misunderstanding. You grew up in a society that was built on this misperception. Even the people raising you were unwittingly sowing the seeds of insanity within you. Inducting you into a false world that guaranteed suffering and perpetually dangled the carrot of a reprieve in the future (subject to various terms and conditions)
Even the old lady in the little shop on the corner propagated the story of human insufficiency.
You were surrounded by selfies seeking the grades, the approval, the looks, the power, or financial success they believed would achieve the impossible. To make a selfie feel complete. As you observed everyone around you madly trying to mine happiness from the environment, you had no choice but to start shoveling.
Endless ways to keep sleeping
And if at any point you began to see that the object of desire wasn't going to satisfy you, the culture was only too happy to offer an endless supply of hope-inducing alternatives. If a new house or a month in the Maldives wasn't going to do it, then you could try to make Partner or earn a PhD. Or you could reject more orthodox paths and finally find freedom by launching your own entrepreneurial venture
And if none of that worked, you could pursue a dizzying array of quasi-spiritual objects that promised to make you happy.
Learn the secret to manifesting your desires.
Discover your unique purpose.
Pursue enlightenment and never feel afraid again
Of course it was never wrong in some moralistic way to go after things. The error was simply in pursuing them as a means to make happiness that thinks it's not happy, happy.
So pervasive is the human illusion that even the effort to Wake Up becomes an obstacle to Waking Up. The mind simply assumes that happiness is contingent on an array of subtler objects like being of service, becoming worthy of God's love, eradicating painful emotions or meditating in the right way.
Even in its spiritual pursuits the mind cannot help but keep kicking the can of happiness down the road.
Your true nature was continually trying to unveil itself
But you never forgot your immensity entirely. An intuition that there's more to you and to life persisted through the sparkle in an old man's eyes. In the golden glow of an indescribable sunset. Or the birth of a child.
In moments like these your whole body remembered what it was like to be in wonderland. As your mind glimpsed the truth, it stopped processing and segmenting just long enough to send the shivers of your soul reverberating down your spine. Grace laid in wait for even the slightest gap in the remonstrations of your psychological self, to restore your vision.
But your selfie had an irresistible habit of thinking itself back into existence. As the sun finally set, neurons and synapses reflexively fired up your conceptual self again. Your mind behaving like autoplay on Netflix. Forever drowning out the silent hum of eternity.
And depending on whether your selfie liked or loathed it's voluminous collection of selfies, anguish returned to a greater or lesser extent.
Making the best of an insane world
You went on like this for years. Trying to make the best of your life while being awake enough to realise that something about the entire human project was off! And since you knew too much to participate fully in a game you knew at some level to be destructive, thick acrid layers of self-recrimination coagulated around your centre as people around you insisted you were the problem.
Eventually your infinite well of happiness was compressed so much it could no longer be contained by your psychological defenses. A fault line began developing in the foundations of your psychological self. As happiness continued to evade the grasp of a mind that was so desperate to hold onto it, the fracture reached a tipping point.
Whether it was the moment your partner announced they were leaving. The work project that fell through. Or the health crisis that blindsided you. As the ego project began to fail, your entire self-concept began to shake.
The descent into hell
As parts of the identity your mind had so carefully constructed broke loose, what would ultimately reveal itself to be a redemptive experience seemed nothing but destructive. Dark clouds of depression and anxiety gathered, blotting out even the dim light you'd used to navigate your fallacious world.
The descent into darkness was terrifying for a mind whose greatest fear was things falling apart. No one around you could understand why someone who had so much goodness in their life, could be so unhappy. Psychologists simply wanted to reboot your ego. Doctors reached for their prescription pads.
You didn't realise that YOU were being broken open so that YOU could emerge from the psychological tangle that buried YOU in the first place. That this breakdown was leading you to a breakthrough.
As the tectonic plates of your personality collided your heartache rose higher up the richter scale. The shock waves emanating from your core so intense you were brought to your knees.
Whether surrender happened instantly or agonisingly slowly, eventually, disillusioned and out of schemes your mind finally stopped in it's analytical tracks. Suddenly there was space for a rapid expansion of your centre. The pressure that had built for years was suddenly relieved and the shaking stopped immediately.
Finding peace where you least expected it
As the dust began to settle, the most radiant sun you'd seen in years dawned inside you. Through the rubble of your self-concept shone wisdom, love, truth and clarity. As you basked in the light of eternity, your perceptions of the outer circumstances that caused the collapse transformed.
You sat peacefully in the ruins of the prized project that promised peace perpetually in the future. You had found wholeness by finally falling to pieces. It was a mind blowing experience that literally blew your mind.
You had begun to Wake Up!
Gradually your psychological operating system began to reboot. But on start up, it was immediately obvious something had changed. Having been liberated by something far vaster than itself, your mind was forced to revise its self-concept. It became fascinated by the mysterious redeeming force that had ushered in a peace that shouldn't have existed.
You sensed there was so much more to discover about your self just outside the boundaries of your thoughts and thinking. A you that didn't appear on any of your existing maps.
Instinctively you knew that the happiness you'd been seeking wasn't out there, it was in here. That there was an incandescent light shining improbably bright in the darkness of your unawareness.
Why your higher self seems to disappear when you most need it
Since then, moving with and within that light has become the central focus of your life.
Although you can be diverted, ultimately nothing's more important to you than being true to it.
Through the static of your everyday self you follow a signal that originates in your depths. What's communicating feels mysterious and familiar. It urges you this way and that. When the messages are clear you act in ways that feel like integrity. But sometimes emotional weather wreaks havoc with the reception.
Very often the life path your higher self urges you on is totally at odds with the vision your psychological self holds for you. So when you find the courage to act on some of your soul's more out there ideas, it stirs up a maelstrom of fear and internal conflict. The mental and emotional cacophony drowns out the signal from your higher self.
To the mind, it seems as if your soul conveniently disappears into the ether when things get gritty and real. The psychological self judges your higher self to be flakey and unreliable. In it's mistrusting way of relating the mind hemorrhages your life force in a dizzying array of analysis and fear. Not realising that its own machinations are causing the apparent blackout.
Which means that your moments of clarity are often followed by intense moments of self-doubt and disorientation. You take the leap of faith. The signal seems to drop out. Someone close to you makes an unsupportive comment and before you know it you're making spiritual and emotional u-turns that don't honour the underlying truth you intuited.
Old patterns of approval seeking repeat. Self-defeating habits spring back into existence. Attachment anxieties wreak havoc with your relationships. You cycle through painful reruns with partners, parents or friends. Money worries persist trapping you in work situations that are unfulfilling.
And then your mind steps back and says (to itself ironically) i told you this was a bad idea!
Finally, a GPS for your psyche
What your psychological self doesn't see in these moments is that like all objects, its entire existence is fabricated from it's own infinite essence. It's like ice on a frozen lake complaining about a lack of water.
This cycle of trust followed by mistrust, of surrender followed by holding on, is now the primary obstacle impeding a new level of consciousness from moving through you and as you. Your inability to dial down the psychological interference prevents your soul from returning each fear-fuelled aspect of your life situation to love. We will not find new solutions to old problems, collectively or individually until we can teach our minds to walk the non-linear path of the Universe without freaking out!
At Waking Up we equip your mind with a Spiritual GPS. So it can help rather than hinder your journey home. And minds LOVE nothing more than being useful. Even when it's knotted up in fear and sending you in circuitous loops, what your mind is really trying to do is to help. That's how all the categorising, separating and dividing got started in the first place!
We help your mind download the maps it needs to navigate outside the well worn peaks and valleys of the psyche it's been stalking for decades. We show your psychological self how to find the ping of existence even (and especially) when your emotional weather seems to scramble the signal.
And as your own mind starts delivering turn by turn instructions that lead you efficiently through the darkness. When what once continually led you astray, reliably guides you back to the bright lights of Wonderland, you begin to realise you're finally going all the way home.