Who is the person helping you to grow the most spiritually? Here is a story about my greatest spiritual teacher, someone that nobody knows about!
Spiritual Awakening- who decides when it’s the right timing to awake? Can we control the process of it? And can we make it happen intentionally?
Perhaps devotion to a spiritual practice will enlighten you. Or a life crisis that shakes normality out of your system and triggers your spiritual awakening. Or even better, a spiritual teacher who will be able to guide you with love and care, supporting you to evolve and progress.
In my case, none of the three scenarios above happened. But at the same time, there are elements from all of them that contributed to my spiritual awakening without me intentionally seeking for it.
Let me tell you how.
Am I devoted to one particular spiritual practice?
Zen is my path, that I’m sure. But it’s not a Zen practice where I commit myself to a strict meditation discipline, or go to a pagoda frequently and have a Zen monk to guide me. Further, I also learn from other spiritual traditions and incorporate their wisdom in my practice as well.
Zen is meditative. And living a meditative life in conscious awareness is my everyday practice. And for that, Life is truly my compass because it always brings me necessary situations that wake me up.
In the beginning, there was a reluctance, an inner resistance whenever I experienced a situation that I didn’t like. It took me years to realize that there is always a higher purpose and a lesson behind all circumstances that happened to me. Painful or not, a sense of meaning, a lesson is always hidden somewhere in the experience.
Have I experienced a life crisis that shakes normality out of me?
I’ve been through many life crisis over the years, but there is one life experience that awakens me the most. I wouldn’t call it a crisis though because it’s been going on for the past 10+ years.
You see, my mother is having Alzheimer. I’ve seen how her mental mind created all kind of illusionary realities that brought sufferings for herself and for our family. I’ve experienced many forms of her personality, or should I say personalities as I’ve felt that she has “died” many times psychologically.
Her many questions about the same thing within a minute taught me this: There exists only this moment!
This moment only! She wouldn’t remember what I just told her a minute ago. I have to constantly remind myself that for her, the most current past doesn’t exist. It would be useless to become irritate. Instead, I have to come back to conscious breathing and answer her again.
Sure, there were times where I simply don’t have more energy or patience. There were also times where I’ve felt so drained that I reacted negatively and made her sad. I then found myself breathing deeply so that I could calm down, and soothe her like I would comfort a two-year-old child.
She taught me what’s real, and what’s not. The illusory nature of a conditioned mind was the source of her suffering. Alzheimer “just” accentuates it.
The disease itself was and still is a spiritual vehicle for me where I learn how to free myself from my own conditioned beliefs and behavioural patterns.
Through her I’ve learned about the craziness of the world, but most importantly, the craziness of our inner sufferings. And her struggles forced me to wake up because it was the only way where I could stay sane and help her to transform her sufferings.
In short, my experiences with her for the past 10 years taught me all the spiritual wisdom that spiritual teachers have spoken about for centuries!
So no, I’ve not had a spiritual teacher who has been guiding me lovingly in my spiritual development. My most profound spiritual teacher is my mother, in her most difficult years going through different stages of the Alzheimer disease.
Who would have thought that?
I surely wouldn’t, and couldn’t. But as always, life knows best.
Like a flower that only blooms when the right conditions exist, I too know that the conditions for my spiritual awakening were also perfectly orchestrated by Life.
For that I’m grateful despite all the hardships.