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Enlightenment - a myth or a real possibility & phases of an initiation

The concept of the arrival of the "golden" age is referred to more and more, the age of Light, enlightenment and peace, and I often get the impression that many people think that one morning the dawn will break and we will all be enlightened and suddenly live in peace. The reality is that many are already living in that golden age, and many will never wake up to see that dawn. The path to enlightenment is a path that each of us must walk alone, without anyone holding our hand, and it is a path that goes through deep darkness.



If we haven't experienced our own darkness, those hidden parts of our psyche, our shadows, and if we haven't healed deep wounds, we won't be able to recognize the Light even when it appears in front of our noses. Only when each of us individually goes through our own process and enters the golden age alone, we can begin to live in the collective of the enlightened and in peace with ourselves and each other.

In order to enter that new, golden age, we have to let go of everything we were before in order to grow new skin And this process is not easy and simple at all, and most will not be able to go through it completely. The next phase we are entering as humanity and as individuals requires from us to go through a serious initiation.


What do I mean under the concept Initiation?


Initiation means a beginning. Every beginning implies the end of something that existed before, a small death of a piece of identity or a phase of life. Every initiation carries with it emotions of fear, anger, helplessness, which can overwhelm us if we do not surrender to their intensity in a safe ceremonial environment. When we are able to let go of the intensity of the emotions we feel in the process of initiation, we build a sense of security within ourselves that we can survive all of life's tests and challenges. Although initiations and ceremonies often take place in an environment of people who support each other, these experiences only prepare us for the real initiation that awaits us in the circle of our loved ones, family and community. Even if we go through very powerful processes, initiations and ceremonies separated from society, we will not be able to contribute to society and community unless we return to the circle of our loved ones and offer the gifts of our experiences to them. Homecoming is one of the most important parts of integrating the extraordinary experience of initiation into everyday life. Only when one of our loved ones becomes a witness to our transformation, only then does our reintegration into society in our new skin begin.



Initiation involves four general phases: Awakening, Great Departure, Tests and Enlightenment. Understanding these steps helps us map our current location on this transformative journey and prepares us for what is yet to come.


Awakening

This is a phase that most often finds us in our stale, predictable and "safe" everyday life. Most often, something happens that suddenly opens our eyes, shakes us up and nothing is the same anymore - we get seriously ill, our partner leaves us, we get fired, institutions lock us inside our four walls, an earthquake shakes us and we lose the roof over our heads. Although this experience seriously shakes us up, we often hold on tightly to what was and who we were, to the "old normal" because of fear of the unknown, fear of what might happen if we let go of all the old skin at once when it was so comfortable and good for us.


These are moments in which we as individuals and collectives are extremely vulnerable, and the industry readily offers us "solutions" for all these crises under the guise of a promise that we can still keep what was before and can remain what we were before even in a new phase of life. We often fall for that trick, but time quickly shows us that this magical solution was only temporary. If we don't step into the next phase, we remain trapped in the vicious cycle of the madness of a consumer society that profits from our emotional instability in this important initiation phase.


Great departure

At this stage, we realize that the old skin isn't worth that much to cling to so tightly anyway. If we enter this phase unconsciously, life will take away everything that is important to us, and we will be stripped down to the very essence. We are left without social status, job, marriage, house. Sometimes only metaphorically, and often literally. Everything that does not make sense ceases to exist. So we realize that even though we have a job, there is not much satisfaction in it. Even though we are married, that marriage doesn't make much sense. We have a house, but we don't have a home.


But if we enter this phase consciously, we begin to understand that we are not our job, that we are not our illness, or that we are no longer an adolescent in our 40s. Hallelujah!!! Then all previous structures begin to fall apart and we face loss.



In this phase, we leave work, relationship, marriage, house, social circles. We finally begin to realize that we are no longer who we were. We throw away our old clothes and are temporarily "naked" while exploring something new. When the next step presents itself to us, we put on new clothes and adjust to a new identity. However, it often happens that even though we have let go of our previous identity and seem to be comfortable with the current one, we often look back to the past, to what was. If we do not complete this phase, the phase of the Great Departure, we get stuck in our own shadows. Our unhealed parts begin to dominate our lives and we seduce ourselves with what we are not instead of discovering what we could be. As a result, we become boring, both to ourselves and to others in our endless search for our true Self. A miracle will not happen if we wait for it in safety. In order for the sea to open in front of us, we need to enter the water at least up to our noses, and not wait for it to open while we are safely on the shore. Many people get stuck in this phase, moving from one job to another, from one relationship to another, from one training or a method to another without entering the next phase - tests.


Tests

Almost immediately after our Great Departure, we enter the phase of Tests, where we discover our emotions and face our demons. Most often, we have three tests waiting for us, and sometimes more. Each of the tasks we need to complete help us release one of the seven toxic emotions – anger, greed, lust, laziness, envy, gluttony and pride. These tests also purify us. All our emotions rise to the surface, all the demons seem to have escaped from their cages. We are often tempted to be angry with ourselves and others, to crave what we think we should have, to be lazy, to eat whatever is in front of us. At this stage we also begin to see ourselves as travelers on the journey of life who do not know where they are or where they are going, but trust that something is leading them.



In this phase, we turn our old identities, beliefs, behaviors, roles, responsibilities into compost and food for a new life. We become men and women with a mission. We let go of all worries about whether we are ready for the next phase of our lives. We admit to ourselves that although we may not be fully prepared, we are still ready to step into the unknown.


Now we are able to see that the Awakening from the beginning actually saved our lives, no matter how dramatic it was. It opened our eyes to what kind of life we ​​should really be living, instead of fooling ourselves with what was, and wasn't in alignment with our life mission and calling. Now we are also able to act. We are capable of starting our own epic journey to face all the monsters and demons that lurk within us and come back victorious or not come back at all.


Enlightenment

Resurrection occurs to us in this stage after the limitations of our old identity have died. We accept who we were in the past and all the important lessons that came from those past experiences. We open ourselves to what we could become. In this phase, we become a whole that is no longer defined by the sum of its parts, nor by our past experiences or relationships, nor even by the past of our family and ancestors.


For this phase to be authentic and complete, we must return with blessings / boons for others. This is a phase that is not just about me. We will know that we have not truly gone through the initiation if we have come back with insights about our own lives only. This does not mean that we now preach to everyone about our great discoveries or that we have to write a successful book about our dangerous journeys. The need to announce our experience to everyone is an indication that we are stuck in the stage of the Great Departure because after the stage of Enlightenment we have no need to convince anyone of anything, but we will be happy to share the experience if someone asks us.


The gift of the enlightenment phase is the second awakening and discovery of the undying self.


References

Inspired by my own experience of initiation, holding space for the initiations of others and ancient shamanic wisdom from the book Illumination – The Shaman's Way of Healing by Alberto Villoldo.



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