Have you ever wondered what a truly spiritually awakened life looks like? To begin with, when you awaken, you see with clarity – you’re able to reject the socially sanctioned beliefs and traditions that don’t serve you, and forgive flaws in others and yourself. Your capacity for love expands infinitely, and you begin to see divinity in every living being. And you’re liberated, too, from all the people, possessions, and habits that drag you down instead of building you up. So says Dr. Wayne W. Dyer in his book - The Power of Awakening. Mindfulness Practices and Spiritual Tools to Transform Your Life, published in 2020.
The three most powerful points I took from the book were;
Live like tomorrow may never come – because one day it won’t.
Accessing your higher self is the path to authentic freedom. Find your higher self by banishing doubt, being a witness, and silencing self-talk.
You are the universe, and the universe is you. Visualization lets you tap into the universe’s positive energy.
Your thoughts can transform your life.
Think of something that’s missing from your life. Maybe it’s a fulfilling romantic partnership, artistic success, or financial stability. Whatever it is, think of three obstacles that stand between you and your desire. Do you have three obstacles in mind? Good. But there’s something you should know: they’re all wrong!
There’s only one obstacle that can prevent you from achieving your desires, and it’s the very thought that obstacles exist. That’s how powerful your thoughts are. Stop thinking that there are obstacles standing in your way, and you’ll simply stop encountering them.
Why are your thoughts so powerful? Well, for one thing, thought transcends form. If you’re in the United States but you long to be in Paris, there’s no need to board a plane. You can simply think yourself there.
This may sound extreme and highly improbable, what with the physical limitations and geographic realities that prevent you from teleporting yourself from Chicago to Montmartre.
But the reality you create with your thoughts is just as valid as physical reality. Once you’ve awakened, you’ll realize that most people put far too much importance on meaningless physical limits. Our thoughts are boundless, and what we can achieve through the power of thought is boundless, too.
Perhaps you’re still feeling skeptical about the power of thought. Well, consider this: Apart from the present moment, the whole universe only exists in thought. The Big Bang, the sinking of the Titanic, last week – none of these have any material reality.
The same logic applies to the future. Besides the present moment, your life up until now and your life to come are pure, unadulterated thought. And you’re in complete control of your thoughts – meaning you’re in complete control of your life. You can choose not to think about the past in terms of regret, bitterness, or anger. You can choose not to think about the future with worries or negativity. You can choose to center your thoughts on becoming fully present in the here and now.
Stop thinking that obstacles stand in your way, and they won’t. Stop thinking that physical limitations matter, and they won’t. Stop thinking that you’re defined by your past, and you won’t be. That’s how powerful your thoughts can be.
Live like tomorrow may never come – because one day it won’t.
We’re often exhorted to “live in the now,” but there’s one group of people who are far more likely than any other to live out that advice: people who nearly had their “now” snatched away from them.
That’s right, people who’ve had near-death experiences are far more likely to embrace the present moment. And it makes perfect sense – if you’ve come close to losing your life, then you stop taking the time you have left for granted.
But short of surviving a near-fatal bus crash or making a miraculous recovery from a terminal illness, how can you adopt this mindset? Thankfully, there’s a shortcut to living in the now: embracing the possibility of death.
Accepting the idea that you will, one day, die allows you to live in and savor the present. Many of us resist thinking about our own deaths – it’s a subject that can feel too sad, painful, or final to contemplate. But here’s a secret: when you die, you don’t cease to exist, even if your physical form does. Your thoughts, feelings, and essence all exist independently of your physical body. You are multidimensional; death simply means leaving one dimension, the physical, behind.
Does this all sound a bit woo-woo to you? Before you dismiss the idea, consider that you’ll spend about one-third of your life outside your physical form – asleep. And every time you dream, you leave your body behind and enter the realm of pure thought.
Once you arrive at the understanding that death is nothing to be afraid of, try and make your death a part of your life. Simulate a near-death experience by visualizing your own funeral or imagining that you’ve succumbed to a horrible illness. Or take up meditation. Many traditional meditation exercises ask you to imagine yourself as a corpse. By mimicking death, you mimic the idea that your consciousness continues outside of your physical body.
Getting comfortable with death allows you to live each day as if it's your last. You learn to find beauty in the things that you might ordinarily find ugly or irritating. You realize, too, that many of the things you think are important, like professional success, money, or status, are only fleeting. Paradoxically, contemplating your death allows you to live a more awakened, fully realized life.
Accessing your higher self is the path to authentic freedom.
When life feels hard, stressful, and confining, it’s natural to crave a feeling of freedom. But did you know that there are two kinds of freedom – and only one of them is worth pursuing? The first is what the author calls counterfeit freedom. This freedom is propped up by substances like alcohol, or emotions like approval. And as soon as these props are removed, the feeling of freedom goes along with them. The only way to maintain it? Chase down more of whatever gave you that feeling in the first place.
The second is authentic freedom. Authentic freedom leaves you feeling satisfied instead of hungry for more. It’s the feeling that comes from being perfectly connected with your higher self. It is awakening itself.
Let’s use a metaphor to dig into this concept of higher self a little bit further. Imagine an old-fashioned stagecoach. There’s a woman sitting inside. She knows exactly where the carriage needs to go and the best way to get there. In this metaphor, the woman is your higher self, or spiritual guide, and the stagecoach is your body.
But even though the woman tells the stagecoach where to go, she’s not in sole charge. The coach is in the charge of a driver, representing your brain. And the driver controls five horses, representing your five physical senses. If everything goes smoothly, the driver listens to the woman in the coach, the horses obey the driver, and the coach moves effortlessly along the right spiritual path. In other words, your brain takes its cue from your higher self, and your body obediently follows.
Other times might not be as straightforward. The driver, your brain, might override your higher self with false logic. Or the horses, your senses, might get out of control. Then it doesn’t matter if your higher self is telling you not to look for freedom in that next glass of wine – your body has already veered off course.
Your intellect is important. And your senses are the prism through which you experience and savor the world. But to access authentic freedom, you need to listen to the guidance of your higher, spiritual self. So how do you tap into that inner voice?
Find your higher self by banishing doubt, being a witness, and silencing self-talk.
To achieve awakening and experience authentic freedom, you need to tune into the guidance of your higher self. The bad news? There’s a lot of noise from the outside world drowning that voice out. The good news? Once you find the right frequency, you’ll be able to hear it loud and clear.
To tap into your frequency, you just need to follow three simple steps.
The first step to finding your higher self is to get rid of doubt. You need to understand that the universe is filled with a divine guiding energy. Your actions want to be guided by that energy. But they’re also guided by your thoughts, and your thoughts are potent. When you approach something from a place of uncertainty, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy – if you doubt that you can do something, you’ll find you probably can’t. But eliminate doubt and your abilities will grow infinitely.
To banish doubt, try using regular affirmations, such as “I eliminate doubt from my life.” Or engage in the practice of dreaming while awake. Approach your waking life as if it were as limitless as a dream, and free yourself from doubt.
The second step toward accessing your higher self is to become a witness to your own life. When you see strangers in passing – whether they’re fighting, flirting, playing, or negotiating – you are an impartial observer. You notice their actions without becoming attached to them, and you recognize that their exchanges are ultimately inconsequential. Find a perspective from which you can be an impartial observer of your own life, even as you live it. Doing this will help you detach from stress and anxiety, rise above the temptation to be petty, and appreciate life’s beauty even in moments of pain, sadness, or irritation.
The third step to tuning in to your higher self is to silence your inner dialogue. Your higher self is a guiding voice that taps into the unerring wisdom of the universe. You need to be able to hear it. So cut out the mental noise. Don’t get stuck in spirals of self-talk, and don’t become attached to your thoughts. Your higher self’s voice will blossom in silence.
You are the universe, and the universe is you.
Do you think of yourself as an individual – a discrete body whose form has a distinct boundary? If you answered yes, perhaps it's time to think again. To begin with, you’re not a separate entity. You’re a teeming and miraculous mass of life-forms. If you were to look at yourself under a microscope, you’d see that your body is alive with cells, bacteria, and microbes, all working in harmony.
And just as your body is made up of interconnected life-forms, you are also a porous life-form, interconnected with all the other life-forms around you. If you can accept that you are always and intrinsically connected with the rest of the universe, it follows that in order to live in harmony with yourself, you need to live in harmony with the entire world. It sounds like a tall order. But it might be simpler than you think.
You can start by getting rid of any antagonism you feel toward others – which is also, when you think about it, antagonism toward yourself. The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, resist the urge to curse under your breath, and try accepting that this person is exactly where they need to be at this moment. Remind yourself that everyone is necessary and everyone is connected.
Next, set yourself the goal of only giving out love – no matter the situation you find yourself in. If your boss is demanding, respond with love. If a parking inspector writes you a ticket, respond with love. Anger, rudeness, and bitterness simply aren’t options for you. Over time, you may find that responding to difficult situations with nothing but love improves them. Then again, you may not. Changing the behavior of others is not the point of this exercise. The more you practice responding with love, the more you’ll realize that how your love is received is irrelevant. The only important thing is to send love out.
Another way to feel connected with those around you? Understand that everyone is a teacher. You have something to learn from everyone whose life brushes up against yours, whether that’s the person beside you on the bus or the old lady sitting on the park bench. Even the person blocking your way on the sidewalk is here to teach you to relax and slow down. You simply have to be open to receiving the lesson.
Visualization lets you tap into the universe’s positive energy.
Let’s say you want to improve your tennis serve. What do you do? You hit the court and practice serving. You hit hundreds, or even thousands, of serves. At the end, you might not be playing straight aces like Federer, but you will have built the skill and muscle memory to hit a solid serve. All that physical practice produces tangible results.
This principle can be applied mentally as well as physically, through visualization. Practice one thought as obsessively as a tennis pro practices his serve, and you’ll find that that thought will grow in power and intensity to create real results.
When it comes to building the life you want, visualization is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. But you need to practice it intently. If you’re hard up financially and want to lead a life of abundance, you can do that through visualization. But it can’t be a one-off. Don’t expect your situation to change after just a few minutes of daydreaming about living in a big house and driving a fancy car. If you want your visualization to work, you’ll need to invest time and energy.
First, build a crystal-clear image of a life of plenty in your mind. Picture a life where opportunities, luck, and prosperity abound. Second, affirm that image every day by saying, “I deserve to ask for abundance and am significant enough to receive it.” Complete these two steps, and something wonderful will start to happen. You’ll tune in to all the opportunities for riches that already surround you. Remember, the world already contains everything you need. When you visualize wealth, you’re not asking for it to fall from the sky. You’re simply training your mind to find the possibilities that exist all around you.
Not convinced? In a study that asked unemployed individuals to visualize getting a new job, one participant, who’d previously earned a salary of $25,000, went on to find a job that paid $25,000. Another, who’d previously earned $250,000, found a job that paid – you guessed it – $250,000. Why did the second participant snag a higher-paid role? Because, having already earned this salary, they found it easy to visualize doing so again. Whatever you want, or need, exists for you to take. You simply have to train yourself to see it.
To embrace the present, give in to the ebb and flow of life.
Which substance is more powerful, rock or water? We think of rock as strong and immovable, whereas water is fluid and unresisting. But when a rock is placed in the middle of a stream, over many years the flow of water will smooth its edges and wear it down. Just because water flows doesn’t mean it isn’t potent. In fact, flow is the key to power.
It’s time to embrace your flow. Surrender to the universal forces around you, and you might be surprised to learn that in your surrender, you’ll find your own strength and energy. Becoming one with the flow of the universe means surrendering to the present moment. Yet, in Western society, we’re typically taught to struggle against the current. Instead of living in the here and now, we’re taught to focus on the next milestone – graduating college, getting a great job, getting married, having children, buying a house . . . .
Do you see the problem here? None of these milestones create true happiness. As soon as you reach one, the next is right there on the horizon. True happiness comes from existing in a state of flow. Everything you ever do and feel can only happen in the present. So remember the words of Carly Simon – “These are the good old days” – and don’t squander the present by obsessing over the future.
It’s time to stop striving for superficial goals and instead arrive in the now. Remember that mantra: Don’t strive. Arrive. Allow yourself simply to be, and you’ll open yourself up to the thousands of possibilities and opportunities that coexist with you. If there’s anything that can prevent you from being purely in the present moment, it’s you and your thoughts. Specifically, it’s your ego. You have no innate need to acquire possessions, to compete with others, or to want status. That’s your ego at work. And the voice that tells you you’re stressed, or anxious, or depressed? Your ego, again.
Remember: you exist in a perfect universe, where there is no stress, anxiety, or depression. There are only stressed, anxious, or depressed thoughts. Ignore your ego and surrender to your higher self, so that you can embrace and enter into the universal flow.
You must work every day to achieve or maintain your awakening.
Finally awakening to the world is a life-changing experience. You tune into your higher self in a way that allows you to perceive your life’s mission, opens your eyes to the abundance of opportunities around you, and leads you to authentic freedom. But awakening isn’t just a one-off event. Whether you’re still working toward it or you’ve awakened already, living an awakened life requires daily practice.
Here are some simple daily exercises you can use on your path to an awakened life. Number one: picture the thing that you want to materialize in your life. Maybe it’s romance, abundance, or connection. Return to that picture every day, sharpening it in your mind. Direct your internal focus to that picture, and use it as a foundation to send love out into the world. This exercise harnesses the power of visualization, which you’ll get better at over time. Soon, what you envision will appear in your life.
Two: carve out time for silence in your daily routine. The world is filled with noise. Silence gives you the space to connect with the voice of your higher self, and the voice of God. How you spend this silent time is up to you. You could meditate, pray, chant, or simply sit and be. Whatever you do, you are creating the opportunity to access voices that speak enlightenment to and through you.
Three: lighten your material load. The pursuit of possessions is at odds with the pursuit of awakening. If you’ve convinced yourself that material objects are important, you’ve lost sight of what truly matters. When you arrange your life around having more and more things, you no longer own your belongings – they own you. So take an inventory, and then give away anything you no longer use. Yes, this is charitable, but it also clears space in your own life for awakening.
Finally, four: spend your mental energy on things that please and inspire you. Remember, your thoughts create the world you live in. Thoughts that are laced with doubt, stress, or anxiety manifest those negative emotions in your life. So don’t attend to them; when these thoughts arrive, allow them to pass through your mind. Instead, actively seek out the pleasures that bring positive thoughts – things like uplifting music, inspiring nature, and excellent company. Enlightenment is a journey. Simple, daily practice will speed you toward your destination.
What I took from it.
An awakened life is within your reach. The universe has already provided you with all the skills, opportunities, and resources you need to achieve your spiritual awakening. Train your thoughts to tune into your higher self and the energy of the universe, and you will find whatever it is you’re looking for.
Embrace meditation . . . everywhere! Learning to meditate will allow you to still your mind, strengthen your powers of visualization, and create silence into which your higher self can speak. What’s more, once you’re an experienced meditator, you’ll find you can draw on your meditation practice anywhere you need calm and focus: in a high-pressure work meeting, on the tennis court, and even at a crowded cocktail party!