What is Waking Up All About?
This article is the first of three that collectively address the question, “How do we learn to connect more deeply with ourselves, with each other and with our sense of purpose in life?
I address this question with a simple formula: Wake up, Grow up and Show up. If you can do all three, you will connect more deeply with yourself, you will attract into your life the type of people who add great value to your life, and you will give your world the gift of your incredible magnificence. This article addresses the first imperative: waking up. I address growing up
and showing up
in separate articles.
Waking up is about becoming more conscious, about learning to see the world as it really is. While most of the people on our planet today are not very awake, we are fortunate to live in an age where more and more people ARE waking up. And since you are reading this, you are probably one of them.
There are many ways of being “not awake.” Here are two biggies:
- Living in fantasy land: Instead of seeing your actual life, you see the stories you tell yourself about your life. Why? The stories are more pleasant. I don’t know about you, but my stories always have me as the smart one, the strong one, the hero. And since other people aren’t seeing the same version of reality as I am, conflict and disconnection ensues.
- Living in a cocoon: Instead of facing life, you withdraw into some isolated and usually numb space. Why? Safety primarily. If you hide yourself physically and especially emotionally, you believe you can’t be hurt. And since you’ve isolated yourself, the pain of loneliness endures.
The Case for Waking Up
It’s easy to see why some people are not awake. First, as was certainly the case with me, waking up is hard work. Plus, you have to give up these nice “benefits” of being asleep: a pleasant dream world to live in and/or a safe cocoon to hide in.
So why bother?
True, the real benefits are down the road, once you’ve Woken Up, Grown Up and Shown Up. But there are definitely some immediate benefits to be had:
- Feeling more alive. Delusions and cocoons are comfortable, but the real world is gloriously intense.
- Feeling more clear-headed. It’s like stepping out of a warm comfortable room into the brisk autumn breeze.
- Feeling more connected. Yep, that starts right away as you see yourself, your life and other people as they really are.
Waking up happens to different people at different stages in life. I have been working on waking up for over 25 years, and I am aware that much work still lies ahead of me. But don’t let me rain on your parade. Your path may be considerably quicker than mine; in fact, speeding up your journey is what this website is all about. And I want to add that I have found the hard work of waking up to also be a tremendous source of joy and excitement.
How to get started
There is no one-size-fits-all formula to the question of How Can I Wake Up, but here are a set of practices that have helped me and many others get started:
- Meditate instead of medicate. Learn to sit silently and look inward. Meditation is the single most important practice to adopt.
- Adopt a beginner’s mindset. In the expert’s mind, there are few possibilities, but in the beginner’s mind, there are many. Embrace the mystery.
- Notice your judgments of yourself and others and be willing to be curious about how those judgments serve you. Be especially curious about how you feel when you judge somebody else or are judged by someone else.
- Be courageous in your life. Adopt the principle that, “What I fear, I must face.”
- Be alert to what is happening in the moment. Especially notice the small coincidences and synchronicities that cross your path, things you’ve probably never noticed before..
- Slow down. This helps with everything else. Instead of rushing from one task to another, pause between them, check in with how you’re doing, set an intention for the next activity.
- Focus more on substance. Become clear about the substance of what you want and let go of how it is wrapped.
- Cultivate acceptance. The gifts you receive may come in very unexpected packages.
Waking Up is a deep, deep subject because it means “becoming more conscious” and, as you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of research, philosophizing and writing out there trying to understand what consciousness is, much less how to do “more” of it.
If you want to take a deep dive into understanding consciousness, take a look at Integral Theory
or just click on the Resources
tab and check out any of the articles in the Waking Up
Or, if you’re ready to learn more about the next phase, Growing Up
, click here.
I have been an analytical, left-brained computer programmer for over 50 years. 25 years ago I discovered that I had a heart that was much smarter than my brain. I started by studying Gestalt and in the years since have become very active in men’s work. After attending the Mankind Project’s New Warrior Training Adventure in 2001. Since that time I have helped initiate over 1,000 men into a more mature form of adult manhood.
I have been married to my partner for over 40 years and have raised three children. Although we suffered through many growing pains, my wife and I are very close to each other and to each of our children.
After attending just about every training that I could find, I started developing my own training about two years ago. The ConneXions Intensive Workshop is the ever-evolving result of my cumulative life experience.