The consciousness progression is as follows:
- Sleeping child. You accept the values given you by society and your parents, negative or positive, without real question. Not responsible for your own survival and maintenance. Hold others responsible for your emotions, feelings, and results.
- Sleeping Adult. You earn your own living, take responsibility for your life and maintenance, but still accept the rules of consensus reality as they have been offered to you. Very dualistic thought–often highly politicized, and “they” are less human than “you.”
These first two steps are probably about 95% of humanity. You can be a good, successful, moral human being and the “Sleeping Adult” stage is the typical ambition. These people are still living “in the Matrix” so to speak. Most sexism, racism, classism, and so forth originates in the dualistic (“us versus them”) thought patterns in this arena.
The next stop is:
3) Awakened adult. This is a person who has begun to examine the beliefs and attitudes with which they were programmed in childhood. Realizes that all social rules and perceptual filters are built atop our most basic survival programming, and has begun to deconstruct these edifices, searching for their True Self, rejecting the mask. This is the last position that has practical value within consensus reality. Such people are often successful inventors, leaders, create new industries, break performance barriers because they know they are artificial.
This, in my opinion, is the state to which we should all aspire. Such people are not afraid of looking into their own hearts, which means they can both love themselves deeply, and accept the existence of their own flaws. Because they have taken responsibility for their lives, they are free to mould lives that are in alignment with their values. That means that either their lives match their values, or they adjust their values to match their circumstances. You won’t hear them whining and complaining about their existence, of lack of money, obesity, or loneliness. They will either invest that energy in actually taking action, or find the place within themselves where they can, in an act of power, embrace their circumstances.
Any moment you are complaining, you are not taking action. Every moment you are taking action, you have the opportunity to enter the “flow” state where you will find joy…and the doorway to transcendent joy. You are also operating at your very highest level. “Mastery” might well be defined as the ability to perform your chosen skill spontaneously, under pressure, in a flow state.
So not only are you happy, but if you have selected actions that actually will make a difference, you are on the most direct road to bringing your life, dreams and values into alignment. And the world doesn’t get any brighter than that.
The best way to “awaken” in this sense is, paradoxically, a daily ritual of some kind. Something that scrubs and focuses the mind and connects us with our animal selves. A meditation that slows our breathing or connects with our heartbeat will do this. So will a moving meditation like Tai Chi. By committing to doing in daily, in a single week we can get a snapshot of our lives.
- Define a “daily ritual” of thought, emotion, and physical action, such that you KNOW that if you did this, every day for a year, you would be on a different level in your life. For instance: meditation, goal-setting on paper, “Five Tibetans” and joint mobility.
- Set a specific time of day to perform it. Preferably before eating every day, mimicking the reality of our ancestors back thousands of generations: if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat.
- Keep a journal. Track your performance and progress.
- At the end of a week or month, look at the results. Did you do it? Yes? No? If yes, how often? If more than 80% of the time, GREAT! Now…examine what you were doing, and refine. Are you shifting emotions? Focusing your mind? Strengthening and nurturing the connection between mind and body? If you did this every day, would you become stronger and stronger? What are you learning about yourself? Every day you should do something, learn something, and have fun.
- If you did it less than 50% of the time: danger, Will Robinson. You have put your finger directly on an “energy leak” in your life. Fix this, right here, and the rest of your life will improve.
- Did you lie to yourself?
- Did you break promises to yourself?
- How did you distract yourself from your commitment to you?
- What voices in your head discouraged you from keeping your promise?
- How many reasons did you have to keep your promise? They were not numerous or important enough. Guaranteed. In life, we don’t do what we “should.” We do what we “must”. MAKE YOUR DAILY RITUAL A MUST.
- If you continue to avoid connecting with your heart, focusing your mind, and strengthening your body, where will you be in five years?
- If you get better every single day at connecting with your heart, focusing your mind, and strengthening your body…where will you be in five years?
There are any number of physical practices that can take you deeper into yourself, and Tai Chi is just one of them. Find one, and make is a centerpiece of your life. Don’t just be a “brain in a box”…you will be trapped by the rules and laws imposed by society. Your body exists in the “real” world to a far greater degree. Gravity and the laws of thermodynamics don’t care about your emotions, your beliefs or values or politics. You either act in accordance with them, or get smacked down pretty damned fast. And you WANT that. You want “short cycle” learning feedback systems.
This is the same as writing short stories: every short story contains the seed of everything you need to know to write a trilogy. And because you can finish one in a week (or a day!) you know rapidly if you understand all basic elements of your craft, as well as have the grit to actually finish and market your products. If you don’t, you then get to decide if the goal is worth the effort. If not…change your goal. If so, you get to gather the resources and allies to try again.
I’ve seen people postpone this painful knowledge for DECADES. In writing, the body, their finances, their relationships with others and self. There is nothing more pitiful than someone who, on their deathbed, realizes they’d been lying to themselves and it is too late to go back and try again.
Don’t let that happen. The “Awakened Adult” goal is your way out. Your “daily ritual” will tell you how you are progressing. If you take responsibility for all major arenas of your life, including your emotions, actions, and results, you are on this road. There is a unique freedom here.
It is the road less taken, but despite that sobering reality, you will not be alone.
You’ll have you, and that’s all you really need.
If this approach intrigues you, and Tai Chi could be part of your daily ritual, join us on the Firedance Tai Chi group!