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radical happinessAwakening is just the beginning. It is the most important turning point in our evolution because it marks the potential to live more purely as Essence in the world and less as ego. However, for most people the ego isn’t gone after awakening and can resurrect at times or operate surreptitiously. Ego-identification still occurs after awakening, but when it is happening it is usually recognized quickly, and so it doesn’t last long or have the power to cause suffering that it did before awakening. Most people’s egos are intact after awakening, but because there is a realization of who you really are, the ego is seen for what it is and recognized to be not who you are. When ego-identification happens, it’s more like you are watching yourself be identified, while you continue to be aware of yourself as Essence. There is a much greater capacity after awakening to not identify with the ego and to remain as Essence, which is an easeful experience of being in the flow that includes love easily flowing from you toward everyone and everything.

There are certain common experiences that occur after awakening, although everyone’s experience is individual. Nevertheless, nearly always the first stage after awakening is an experience of elation and spiritual inflation to some degree. The ego re-forms around “I am awake” and takes some pride and sense of superiority in that. This is a phase that nearly everyone passes through, and it is pretty apparent, if not to the newly awakened person, to those around him or her. There is often a tendency to talk about the awakening, to wonder who else is and is not awake, and to identify oneself as “awake” to others. An identity forms around being awake. This can be rather harmless, but if the person doesn’t realize the ego has taken on spiritual garb, then this phase can last for some time. Knowing that this is a normal stage can help you get through this phase more gracefully.

Another common experience is feeling lost, empty, directionless, and without motivation. This is actually the remaining ego’s experience of awakeness. The ego felt the same way when it touched into Essence before awakening, which is why it ran from it then. But now it can’t escape the reality: It is no longer in charge. Its goals are no longer primary; they no longer are the driving or shaping force in life. Something else is shaping life. Something else has taken the helm, and it doesn’t operate through the mind as the ego did. The awakened person has to learn to allow Essence to move him or her naturally and spontaneously (through the intuition and urges to act and speak), and the ego, just as before awakening, isn’t comfortable with that. A new way of being in the world has to be learned, as the egoic mind is no longer the guiding force.

It can take a while before this new way of being feels comfortable and is trusted, but going back to the egoic mind is generally not felt to be an option, although that does happen. Plenty of people awaken and then allow the egoic mind to continue to run the show, as if they had never awakened. In these cases, the person doesn’t feel much different after awakening as before, and this is very confusing. Depending on the amount of conditioning and woundedness that remain within the personal self, the ego can still be fairly compelling, especially in those aspects of life that need healing.

Whatever conditioning remains to be healed will come up after awakening because it’s time for all conditioning to be seen and released. This is rather disconcerting to those who assume that awakening means the end of conditioning and ego-identification. Awakening just makes it easier to see and heal the conditioning and not continue to identify with it, which only strengthens it. The potential for conditioning (and the egoic mind) to weaken and drop away increases tremendously after awakening because alignment with Essence allows the conditioning to be seen, accepted, understood, and healed rather than identified with. From Essence, it is possible to discover the mistaken beliefs that fuel conditioned behavior and negative feelings, and in this discovery, the conditioning is healed. As a result, evolution can progress very rapidly after awakening. So, if this is your experience, please understand that it is the right experience and what needs to be cleared away is being cleared away so that you can live more truly as Essence.

It often takes at least a couple of years, and often much more, to become more stabilized after an awakening. During that time, there is usually an unraveling of conditioning, as just mentioned. For many, it may also be a time of modifying the structures in their lives to fit Essence rather than the ego. Anything that is no longer aligned with Essence’s intentions for this life is likely to feel unpleasant and uncomfortable, and you are likely to be moved to change it. Many make enormous changes after awakening and others make none; it depends on how aligned with Essence your life before awakening was. If it was structured around your conditioning and the ego’s values, then it will have to change. This is one reason why some go back to the egoic mind even after awakening—it is an attempt to maintain the structures that no longer work. The person will probably only be able to do this for so long. It is difficult to have seen the truth and then walk away from where it’s calling you.
Gina Lake is a nondual spiritual teacher and the author of over twenty books about awakening to one’s true nature. She is also an intuitive and a channel with a master's degree in Counseling Psychology and over twenty-five years’ experience supporting people in their spiritual growth. The focus of her writing and teaching is on helping people be in the present moment and live the happy and fulfilled life that is possible and on shedding light on the ego and other programming that interferes with that. Her teachings are most similar to Eckhart Tolle's, Byron Katie's, Adyashanti's, A Course in Miracles, and other nondual teachings. In 2012, Jesus began dictating books through her, which she receives in the same way that Helen Shucman received A Course in Miracles. You can find out more about that process here. These teachings from Jesus are based on universal truth, not on any religion.
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