Awakening can mean many things to different people. The word and its many variants are often used to describe different experiences, and there is more than one type of awakening.
Basically, awakening is a process that challenges and subverts your framework for understanding the nature of reality. During a stage of awakening, you shift your perspective on how you see the world. In doing so, you abandon an older, more limited framework for understanding the world and incorporate new concepts that you had previously ignored or rejected.
In this podcast we chat with Tiyana Maksimovich-Binno, a multifaceted, qualified Natural Therapist, Holistic Healer and Intuitive Energy Reader of the subtle energy blueprint, about the confusing topic of awakening. She explains the attributes of a genuine awakening and honestly shares her own awakening experience. During our conversation, Tiyana also discusses how awakening causes you to recognise that much of what you previously thought or understood was quite limited or partial.
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Awakening is related to, but distinct from, enlightenment. Enlightenment is a state of being in complete alignment with all that is. In enlightenment, you go beyond all duality, space and time, to eventually experience the fullness of the universe in both form and beyond form – or in Buddhist parlance, emptiness. This is a place of non-judgment, attachment or aversion where the paradoxes between relative and universal truths are understood and resolved. You are connected with all of life in the flow state of total and unconditional love. Enlightenment requires awakening, but awakening does not necessarily result in enlightenment.
Let’s explore the 4 key stages of awakening – each one may inform or lead to another.
The 4 Key Stages of Spiritual Awakening:
1. Awakening to the Constructed Characteristics of Society
For many people, awakening starts with the realisation that the world is a social construct. Many of the categories that you use to understand other people – such as gender, race, and sexual orientation – do not reflect anything “natural” or “essential.” Instead they are categories that you have, on a collective level, created out of language, and now form part of how you see the world. The constructed nature of these categories is not always readily apparent, however; they take on the appearance of being fixed and natural. As there is nothing essential or fixed about them, understanding how they have been constructed is a critical step in imagining and creating new ways of being in the world.
2. Awakening to the Conditioned Nature of the Mind
Your mind is conditioned and constructed. Built from layers of thoughts and beliefs about the nature of reality and what the world means, your mind is programmed to interpret the data that your physical senses provide you. But the truth is those programs are not necessarily accurate either, as your eyes and ears are not always telling you the truth of the world around you.
When spiritual teachers and seekers talk about being “awake,” they are referring to that moment when a person becomes aware of the ego – the chatty little voice in your head that likes to criticise, complain, put you down, put others down and generally create a lot of mischief. At this stage of “waking up”, you realise that you’re not that little voice and the ego isn’t entirely bad. In fact, having a healthy ego is necessary to live in this world, and its aim is to keep you safe. However, because the ego is driven by a lot of fear and judgment, it mostly ends up making you and others feel bad.
When people wake up to this stage, they become aware of how much that little voice has so many thoughts and beliefs about how the world should be. These beliefs are the things that the ego uses, telling you that you are not good enough, or that you will never make enough money, or that life is hard so of course, you’re never going to be successful. People who wake up to this aspect of the mind begin to realise how much they are driven by fear – fear of looking bad, fear of failure, fear of judgment from others, which contributes to much of our emotional grief.
Many people like myself reach this stage of awakening through meditation because it allows them to become acutely aware of how much chatter this little voice makes. One of the many benefits of a consistent practice of meditation is the opportunity to listen to your mind with less intensity, which allows you to step back and avoid getting caught up in its lies and machinations. You recognise that your thoughts are not reality. Your thoughts are an attempt to make sense of reality. More often than not, those thoughts are anxious and concerned with your security. Our minds are machines caught in interpretive overdrive, constantly trying to make sense of the world by generating meaning.
Tiana explains that when you awaken to the conditioned nature of the mind, you become aware of how little accuracy or truth most of your thoughts have. You recognise that many of your beliefs about the world are simply inherited. You notice that your patterned responses to people and events are mechanisms installed at an early age and that are running much of your mental life. As the conversation deepens, we share with you through our own client stories how many people stay at this stage, often for their entire lives, managing these aspects of the mind. We agree it’s a very powerful place to be – to see the workings of your mind and recognise that little voice that so powerfully, yet deceptively, shapes how you see and react to the world.
3. Awakening to the Unseen Universe
When you begin to see beyond the veil, the “matrix” begins to reveal itself. Tiyana says that this is a phase of awakening that more and more people are finally experiencing. During this stage of awakening, you recognise that you are not solely your mind or your physical body. Instead, you begin to perceive the vastness of the unseen realms of the universe. This is an awakening to the realm of energy.
You are not only your mind and body. You are also energy. You have an energy field that surrounds you, and various energy centers known as chakras that are “located” at various places along the physical body. You have energetic connections to individuals and to unseen entities, such as spirit guides, including your own soul. This form of awakening can lead you to all manner of connections with psychics, intuitives, energy healers in this and past lives.
In this podcast, Tiyana and I chat about energy in the form of emotions. One of the key ways that you emit energy is by constantly putting out certain emotional energy to the rest of the world and coming into contact with other people’s emotional energy. Sometimes you experience emotional energy that isn’t directly your own, such as sadness or anger. We all know what it feels like to be in a room where the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. If you are in a crowded train and start to feel angry for no obvious reason, it might be because a number of people are putting out that same energy. It’s important to learn how to take care of your own auric field to avoid interacting with or blending with others’ fields and taking on their emotional energy.
4. Awakening to the Natural World
Awakenings to the realm of the unseen and divine energies are powerful. Both Tiyana and I candidly share part of our awakening journey and we want you to know that they are not the only forms of awakening that challenge your perceived reality of what it means to be human.
One of the most powerful moments in this podcast is when Tiyana draws your awareness to the natural world that you inhabit and how it is often under-appreciated for its capacity to elevate your consciousness.
Some humans develop a deep connection to the Earth and Mother Nature, whether through a connection to trees and plants, or through farming, or other forms of caring for and cultivating the animal kingdom. A paramount concern at this stage of awakening is the protection of the environment. There are some people such as “Shaman” that have had such powerful awakenings that they connect to the consciousness of the plant and animal kingdom itself, understanding and experiencing how different plants and animals perceive the world around them.
We wrap up the podcast by defining that at its core, the spiritual path is an awakening to our minds and the world we have constructed out of them, based on inaccurate beliefs. Our eyes and minds often deceive us when they tell us what the world looks like. It is possible to undo our mind’s conditioning and the world’s construction. It takes enormous dedication and persistence to experience each of these stages of awakening.
Along the way, it is critical to remember that awakening is a Divine process (not an event) and that each person’s path to awakening is unique to them. A key aspect of that process is that the more you learn, the less you need to impose your learning on others – humility becomes a key value.
Can I Get My Loved One to “Awaken”?
It’s important for you to understand that you cannot force another person to awaken. It happens when the mind is ready to accept and experience an aspect of reality that the person was unaware of or unable to acknowledge. We all can appreciate the resistance that comes when someone tries to convince you that they have the truth. Trust that each person is on their own path to awakening, whatever that looks like for them. Nor is the process ever really over because we are all living in this soup of mass consciousness. So, we have to remind ourselves again and again to commit to undoing the mind’s construction, that we are not what our minds and our senses tell us. There is always more to see and uncover about the ways we have constructed our world based on bias, discrimination and misguided beliefs. When you have actually awakened to our true nature as energy, then you can see the mind and our society as constructs and relate to them differently.
The most amazing place to be in is the reality when you can see clearly why the world is the way it is. We have made it this way, and it is our collective task to reframe and reshape the world to reflect our true nature as the highest form of energy there is: unconditional love.
For that to happen, we all need to wake up and to stay awake. We can’t wait to have Tiyana back on the “You Had It In You Along” podcast to support you on your awakening journey so that more and more of humanity can experience their own awakening.
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