The heart of the journey of awakening is moving from the pain of separation to the joy of oneness.
I would like to offer some practical approaches and tools for doing just that.
The first one is for individuals and the other two are for two people. This could be a couple, friends, or family members.
The first method involves gratitude and self inquiry:
1. Focus on your breath without trying to control it.
2. On your exhalation, feel a sense of release.
3. On your inhalation, feel yourself naturally receiving fresh, pure life energy, and deeply feel your gratitude for this incredible gift.
4. Ask, “Who I am grateful to? Where is that one right now?” Make sure not to look for or settle for, an answer in your mind, in words or concepts. But rather feel into your heart until the answer comes to you as a direct experience.
5. Deeply feel your gratitude, focusing it toward That which has revealed itself in response to your question.
6. Now ask, “Who is grateful? Where is that one right now?” Again look in your heart, not your mind, for the answer.
7. Alternate between the questions as long as it’s enjoyable; then just rest in gratitude.
I especially enjoy doing this practice when I’m floating on my back in the ocean or on a lake. I do some of my deepest letting go in those moments. Quite often, I break out in spontaneous laughter.
The second method is gazing. When two people gaze into each other’s eyes with intention to see beyond the veils into the reality of the One who is truly in front of them, this is extremely powerful. Layers of separation are quickly dissolved in the light of awareness.
My first spiritual teacher called gazing The Looking Thing and had us do it for hours on end. It’s been a core part of my awakening journey ever since then.
In romantic relationships, gazing is especially important. It is a powerful way to dissolve projections and keep the relationship fresh and alive.
A third way to get free of the illusion of separation is vulnerability. If I am protecting, hiding/withholding out of fear or shame, then I am trapped in the illusion that there is something wrong with me and there is someone else out there whom I need to impress.
When I am able to be vulnerable about the things I’ve been afraid to share, I free myself from the illusion of being separate and move into true union.
Vulnerability is essential in a romantic relationship dedicated to awakening. It can, also, be very freeing to practice vulnerability with friends, family members, and, when appropriate, even in business relationships.
Like so many of us, I developed a strong habit of hiding my pain and fears when I was very young. It’s taken me a long time to shift this habit. Just in the past year, I’ve dared to be much more vulnerable and I feel more free than ever before.
I encourage all of you to pick at least one of these three practices and explore how it impacts your journey from separation into Oneness.