“The real truths of life are never entirely new to you because there is a level deep down within you where you already know all things.” – Eckhart Tolle
Awakening is an incredible journey of self-discovery and personal transformation. It starts with finding the source of truth, wisdom, and love that exists deep within ourselves, and is a process that changes us and our lives forever.
Many of us are being called to undergo this journey because we are ready. This is especially true for those in middle age, undergoing the big changes inherent to this stage of life. We sense, deep down inside us, that there is something much greater than what we’ve been experiencing. Our intuition is nagging us that there is a greater truth than what we are being fed from all sides in a world that seems to have gone mad.
But the journey of awakening doesn’t just happen on its own. I’ve discovered there is a 5-step path that anyone ready to awaken will take on this transformative process.
If you are like I was, and feel that pull toward something much greater from yourself and your life, then you are ready to answer this call. Let’s look at the 5-step path of awakening.
STEP 1: WANT TRUTH
We all have a deep-rooted need to seek out the light of truth. But what we learn from sources like school, media, or leaders can make us feel dissatisfied by the time we reach midlife. At some point we’ll probably feel like something crucial is missing.
I was approaching the age of 40. By almost any measure, life was good for me. Yet I suspected I was missing out on something big. I just wasn’t sure what it was. As much as I tried, this nagging feeling wouldn’t go away. I tried for years to relieve it through distractions: television, social media, sports, politics, food, shopping. Nothing stopped the sense that there was a greater truth I was not experiencing. This led me to feel highly dissatisfied and even desperate.
Do you really want to awaken to truth? It will require that you become willing to question the assumptions you’ve formed over the years, and that you’re constantly being fed from all sides. It will also require that you face yourself with unwavering courage and honesty. For many of us, this only comes when we have suffered long enough and are desperate for it.
STEP 2: SEEK TRUTH
Wanting it is a start, but that isn’t enough. Next we must seek it out. But where?
For me, those traditional sources for truth were becoming increasingly unsatisfactory. Media, experts, leaders in government and elsewhere. Everywhere I looked left me feeling that there was something more “out there”. So I searched and searched.
To effectively seek truth means to stop searching in the places you’ve been looking for years. Keep looking in all the same places and you’re just going to get the same unsatisfying results.
It’s time to look elsewhere, somewhere much closer to home.
STEP 3: SEE TRUTH
There are two types of truth: outer and inner. The first half of life is filled with the outer kind: from schools, media, and leaders of all types. But all along, there is a hidden inner kind of truth. My awakening began with the discovery of a very powerful source within myself, and that we all have.
Connecting to it is truly extraordinary. I discovered there is an incredible source of truth, wisdom, and love that’s been within me all along. I’d never found it before because I was too busy searching everywhere else to hear it. But with mind quiet and being fully present, I could experience the intuitive “Aha!” moment of epiphany that is the realization of inner truth.
To see your inner truth, look within. Doing so requires you to quiet your mind enough and it will be presented to you. There are methods that help with this, including meditation, yoga, quiet reflections in nature, and tarot. Find one that appeals to you and make a committed regular practice of using it.
The more you do, the more you will awaken to the greater truth that exists within yourself.
STEP 4: ALIGN TO TRUTH
As we make a regular practice of experiencing inner truth we become increasingly compelled to align our lives to it. There is a strong urgency to change our lives to live by what we have discovered within ourselves.
The more of the inner truth you discover, the more your perspective will change. Expect plenty of cognitive dissonance, as the many beliefs, attitudes, and values you’ve taken for granted come into question. This can be highly destabilizing at times, as you learn to adjust to seeing yourself and your life from a more deeply personal and intuitive perspective.
Keep a positive attitude and surround yourself with good people who support your growth. Don’t fear periods of confusion; follow your heart. As your values and attitudes become more fully realized, you will become stronger, wiser, more authentic, and more powerful.
STEP 5: LIVE TRUTH
Alignment to inner truth is a life-long process. As layers of truth are revealed to us, day by day, we take small actions that calibrate our lives to match.
To live by our truth we must engage with life daily, and avoid the trappings of going on autopilot. We all fall into a rut sometimes, and tune out with TV, social media, or our other distraction of choice. These are the temptations of going back to sleep, and turning away from the source within. But once we’ve discovered our deep inner truth, distractions will not satisfy us as they once did.
Awakening is not living some kind of perfect life, and there is no finish line where you become some kind of “awakened” saint or guru. It is the ongoing process of living true to your true self.
Frank Kwiatkowski is the author of Rise & Shine: A Guide for Experiencing Your Midlife Awakening. To learn more, please visit www.RiseAndShineGuide.com.