Sometimes, all we need for knowledge to transform into wisdom is a simple moment, a morsel of understanding frozen in a few words, thoughts or actions.
As holder of space in sharing circles around the globe, I spend hours dissecting and putting back together the conscious living philosophies of this age. There is a thirst for meaning that is rarely sated, only fed by the whirling explorations of conversation. Delivered via the mouth of one of my dear friends and teachers from her own teacher back in India, this little question is the simplest, juiciest phrase that has come to me recently. Whether I'm deciding where to shop for dinner, or making a choice between professional opportunities, I ask: "Am I choosing to stay in ignorance, or am I keeping myself aware? Am I closing, or am I opening?"
When we act out of fear, we promote the long sleep of our soul. While we may be more comfortable sticking with what is known - in other words, what is safe - we often miss valuable lessons that are offered by the alternatives. Of course, there can be value in the routine and the repetition, the grounding offered by the Known. But sometimes we fail to give ourselves permission to even see the other options. It took me a long time to allow myself to recognise a path other than the one I had been fed by school, family and society since I was a small girl. When I left my city job in London, over seven years ago, I knew nothing of what was ahead, other than I had started to slowly die inside where I was. As I boarded the one-way ticket to Mexico, my heart beat with fear and my eyes filled with tears. As the journey progressed, I uncovered a strength I did not know I had.
Often our choices are based on what our conditioned mind tells us is the right thing to do. A picture formed by decades of education, religion, societal beliefs and ancestral values, passed on to us in a myriad of ways. We watch a film instead of writing that poem. We say yes to plans that don't work for us, because we are nervous about what people will think. We stick with the career we chose when we left school, for years after years, because choosing another is just too much.
The thing is, it is so easy to follow the route that we know. It is so inviting to do what is easy. While it is important to maintain honor and respect for others in our actions, the world benefits most from our life-work when we are resonating to the tune of our hearts. In other words, our dharma, 'right action,' is often a path guided by love, even though it might be the more difficult choice. Pushing through my fear of leaving and listening to the whispers of my heart stripped layers and layers of nescience from my being. Underneath lay a shining flame of spirit, waiting for renewal, a spirit I had glimpsed but had never fully appreciated.
The magic arrives when we actively choose to awaken.
So. Can you step into the unknown? Can you trust in love? Can you listen to the rhythms of your heart and how it beats through your world? There is always a choice.
Is it promoting your sleep. Or is it helping you to awaken?