Initially we may flirt with spiritual opening, doing some meditation practices, reading spiritual or metaphysical literature, trying out different teachers and teachings, perhaps hoping that our spiritual experiences will make us happier or more successful, but when we go, or are compelled to go, beyond spiritual dilettantism and cultism, reaching the point where we don’t give a damn about being spiritually correct, and where spiritual opening is not an option but a fundamental need, we find that it is more of a sacrificial process than we bargained for, necessarily bringing us face to face with all that we have turned away from, risen above, or otherwise avoided in ourselves.
The self that is gung-ho about getting spiritual, that makes spiritual real estate out of moments of light, that defines itself through meditative practice and association with spiritual heavyweights, becomes, sooner or later, not only an object of awareness, but also just more fuel for the fire of Awakening — as eventually do all our apparent selves, all the “I’s” that together make us up.
This does not necessarily mean obliteration of our “I’s”, but rather enough of a ceasing to identify with them that there is little or no “I” — or convincingly separate self-sense — left to congratulate itself on having arrived spiritually. Spiritual awakening may seem like a very desirable bauble, a badge, a shining credential, for our usual sense of self, but is actually its ultimate nightmare, its final bummer.
The fantasy “I” has about attending its own funeral is just narcissism stoned on spiritual greed.
But there are no Oscars for awakening; there is no drama starring enlightened egoity or other impossibilities. Instead, there is freedom, freedom from self-obsessed subjectivity, freedom from identifying with anything in particular, freedom from selfing, freedom from dreaming that we are not dreaming, freedom from duality and nonduality, freedom to be.<<
~Excerpted from the book Divine Dynamite, by Robert Augustus Masters