1-Sentence-Summary: Journey Of Awakening explains the basics of meditation using ideas from multiple spiritual sources, including how to avoid the mental traps that make it difficult so you can practice frequently and make mindfulness, and the many benefits that come with it, part of your daily life.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Are you feeling disillusioned with your life, and you don’t know why? Maybe you’ve had a lot of success, but you don’t feel the fulfillment you expected to come with it. Many people experience this feeling in life and may start to search for solutions.
This was the case for Ram Dass, a psychology professor at Harvard University. His journey to become spiritually awakened took him all the way to the Himalayas. On this journey, he discovered that you need to look deep within yourself to find true fulfillment. The best way to find it is through meditation.
In The Journey of Awakening, Dass gives a comprehensive guide on how to start and solidify your own meditation practice. With his guidance, you will discover how to overcome doubts, fears, and your ego to finally find self-realization.
These are 3 of the best lessons the book teaches:
- Meditation can help you learn to live in the present and live with a clearer mind.
- To start, find a meditation practice that suits you and develop your concentration through evolving practice.
- You will experience ego traps on your way to fulfillment but push through them anyway.
Wake up! We’ve got to get going on this Journey of Awakening!
Lesson 1: Meditation is a useful tool that helps you stay grounded in the present and find clarity and balance in your life.
You know those moments when everything feels right in the world, and you’re free of self-conscious thought? This is flow. Flow can happen when you’re by yourself or with people that you are comfortable with and trust. Moments like these are the essence of what meditation is.
Unfortunately, most of our lives, we don’t live in this flow. Why? Because our egos trap us. Dass says our ego is a lot like a room made of our thoughts, and we see the world only through windows. Your ego wants you to think that your identity relies solely upon staying inside with comfortable and familiar things. But because you’re afraid to leave, your ego starts to be a prison.
The bummer is that flow exists only outside of this prison. But don’t worry, you don’t need to destroy your ego to escape; you can come and go whenever you want through meditation. Meditating helps you poke holes in the wall and realize that your thoughts aren’t reality.
Meditation helps you leave the daily thoughts you are trapped by and move outside where you can live your life fully present. You might start meditating for an ego-driven reason or even put in a half effort, thinking it won’t work.
But the beauty of the practice is that it leads to freedom from your ego as long as you don’t resist the change. The more you meditate, the more you will find deeper motives that make you want to continue your practice and even dive deeper. Soon the prison of your thoughts will come crashing down.
When you bring your mind to a place of awareness, you’ll start to realize that reality is only relative. You’ll forget the thoughts and feelings that were attached to you before and made your life harder. Soon you’ll see the world in an entirely new way.
Lesson 2: Find the best form of meditation for you and incorporate techniques that will help you concentrate and evolve your practice.
Meditation doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. A classic meditation would entail something like picturing a stream and watching thoughts float by like autumn leaves. It is key not to get frustrated with your active mind; just acknowledge thoughts and let them pass by for a few minutes.
For some people, this might work well. However, other people might start to get restless in one position, making it hard to focus. If this is you, try doing hatha yoga beforehand so you can get your body, spirit, and mind ready for meditation.
If you’re athletic and don’t want to sit still for long periods of time, you can try t’ai chi or karate. Additionally, singing or dancing is a good start for creative types. The most important thing is what your mind is doing, not your body.
Whatever the method, commit for at least two weeks. Your ego might make you not want to follow through, and this is when it’s time to discipline yourself. Soon you’ll be able to meditate anywhere, though a quiet place is best for beginners. Most people who are serious about meditation practice twice a day. You can begin with 20-minute practices but slowly work up to hour-long sessions.
As you continue, your concentration will improve. Another way to help improve concentration is by trying mindful breathing. Next time you are meditating, focus on your breath as it comes in and out of your nostrils. Take note of thoughts, but don’t judge them. This will help you learn not to let thoughts attach to your attention. By developing both mindfulness and concentration at the same time, you will finally find balance.
Lesson 3: You might run into ego traps, but if you really want freedom from your ego, you need to keep going.
As you continue to practice meditation, you might have a shift in your consciousness where you experience ecstasy. You could possibly even experience tingling or visions. If you do experience something like this, don’t chase it, just acknowledge it and let it go.
When you stop following the same old thought patterns, you’ll find an awakening. You might realize you can create your own world. You might be inclined to use this new power to change your environment— by attracting a mate, for example. But since this involves your ego, it will be a trap that will just hinder your progress.
Another trap you might come across is spiritual pride. Sometimes self-righteousness gets in the way of compassion. It’s also easy to make progress, like feeling more light-hearted and happy, then feel like you’ve reached liberation when you aren’t fully there. This can trap you into complacency when you should instead keep a perspective that you can continue to grow and learn.
However, the journey isn’t going to be easy. Your ego will likely resist change by instilling doubt. Maybe you are sick of waking early to meditate and want to sleep in, so you start to doubt your practice, your teacher, or yourself. But it’s important to make sure you keep going even when doubts arise.
The last challenge you might face is that once you’ve been fully awakened, you might be left feeling a little empty since things you used to enjoy don’t resonate as much anymore. Now every moment is so rich and beautiful that moments that used to stand out to you aren’t as exciting.
It takes a lot of strength to get through this part of your journey, but the author says that once you do, you will have access to the fulness of divinity.
Journey Of Awakening Review
I feel like meditation books are a dime a dozen these days, but Journey Of Awakening reminded me that I don’t care. I like learning all I can about meditation, and even repeating the basics is helping me solidify them. This book also went into some details of mindfulness that I hadn’t thought about before, which I was super happy about!
Who would I recommend the Journey Of Awakening summary to?
The 43-year-old mother of four who is stressed and needs a way to quickly unwind, the 17-year-old that struggles with anxiety and is curious to find out more about meditation, and anyone who wants to be more mindful and at peace with themselves.