The first process to be aware of is that of identification, which is really the cause of the imprisoning power of the mind. The human being when unconscious is always seeking to find themselves or to make themselves - to become. We tend to speak of this in terms of "discovering who we really are" or "becoming someone". This thinking is the natural result of a deeply ingrained misunderstanding that has yet to be sufficiently illuminated so as to nullify this unconscious tendency.
One may get the feeling from reading the above paragraph that I do not agree with the idea of creating the self or discovering ourselves, and this would be a partially correct observation. What I will say is that there comes a point in the process of spiritual unfoldment when we begin to transcend the self. And it is through this transcendence of the self that the true freeing process begins.
Because the tendency to define the self is largely unconscious in the individual, until insight into this process has been sufficient, this process blindly goes on in all aspects of our lives. We define ourselves by the structures of our lives, which is to say we define our selves by our jobs, our education, our lineage, our culture, ethnicity, our actions, our thoughts, our feelings, our memories, our bodies, and by our relationships and the roles we take in those relationships. The most imprisoning structure in our lives is often our relationships with others and our desire to meet the expectations of the people in our lives.
It is important to realize that most relationships are not present, which is to say, the relationships are entirely based on the past and therefore upon expectations. The people in our lives have defined us according to what they know of us and they have invested themselves in us according to those definitions that they have placed upon us. This means that most people DO NOT want you to change. The you that they know is the you that they are comfortable with. When a person does want you to change, it is generally a negative aspect of you that they wish you would improve to make them feel more comfortable with you, but they do not want you to radically change because then you would not be the person that they had invested themselves in, right?
But deep, radical change is naturally what spiritual insight brings about, and this is the sort of change that most people do not accept. Those who have had deep spiritual insight begin to see through the falseness of the self, the hypocrisy and the shallowness of the relationships they have, their perceptions, their wants and the desires, the things that most people make the center of their lives. A person who has had this sort of insight no longer wants to be a part of the mainstream and mundane. They are filled with inspiration and they want to fulfill that inspiration - to do otherwise would be spiritual suicide because the individual has already seen through the shallowness of the rat race, of politics, of power games, of base entertainment, empty conversation and distraction. And since most people are living to fit in or to feel comfortable, the very existence of a person with insight is a threat.
A person quickened by insight then becomes someone to put in check or someone to ignore. Almost without exception the people of your past will not be willing to update their view of you, and unless you accept this reality, you will be hurt by their expectations and begin to cave to those expectations and thereby betray your deepest inspiration and realization. Life becomes more hollow than you can imagine once you have seen the light and then turned your back to it. This is not really much of an option unless you want to suffer.
The single greatest hindrance to spiritual unfoldment, for most people, is the structures of their lives. Of the many structures an individual has in life, the expectations that others have of him or her is undoubtedly the most powerful limiter of unfoldment IF the unfolding individual (you) allows it. The easy way to move beyond those expectations is to see those relationships for what they are - prisons of comfort and stagnation.
Once we see through those relationships, it takes courage to move forward knowing that we may no longer receive the benefit of support that those relationships had afforded us if we continue to "change". Let's be honest, true spiritual unfoldment is not for the cowardly or the timid. It takes true courage to move forward knowing that you may be rejected by everyone that you know. Where does this courage come from, you may wonder. It is entirely derived from the inspiration and insight that brought about the desire to change in the first place.
If the desire to change is true, it is not really about change so much as it is about freeing oneself from the limited definitions that you have created or accepted to be you. The self is itself a set of definitions, associations and habitual patterns that were formulated intentionally if not ignorantly or unconsciously if not ignorantly, and those definitions, associations and patterns are now running our lives creating a roller-coaster of insecurity, instability and reactivity.
The self, as it is for the unrealized individual is truly The Matrix. It is both entertaining and soul crushing at the same time. It is entirely rooted in distraction and ignorance of the innate oneness that we all share, but are generally unaware of.
So how does one "take the red pill" and leave the matrix? Just as respectful disagreement enlightens a friendship, so does respectful disagreement within enlighten the individual. This disagreement is not with other people, but with the self itself. Disagree with the definitions, associations, feelings and sense of "who you are". Disagree with your self for it is not the real you, but is instead a falsehood that has effectively imprisoned the real you so long as you believe you are it. This is not to say that the self is a mistake for it is not. In its rightful place, the self serves an extremely important purpose in life that I would like to detail in my next blog post.
Thanks for reading and as always, if you have any questions or insights, please post them on my blog and I will be happy to address. Give us a share, won't you?