What’s the difference between a spiritual awakening and being ‘woke’? Either way, it’s your duty in this lifetime not to sleep through all your possibilities!
Watch the video for more thoughts on this.
I recall the phrase Wake up! Rise and shine! from my childhood. My mother frequently called this, encouraging me to get out of bed when I would rather stay under the blankets. No duvets in those bygone days! So now I’m older (just a bit), I’m using Wake Up! Rise and Shine as the title for my new book (look out for an announcement later this Summer, when it will be available for all subscribers as a free ebook). But let me tell you why I think Wake Up! Rise and Shine should be a modern mantra for everyone on a spiritual path.
Are you awake?
Nowadays, we read media articles in which some celebrities are described as ‘woke’. This description means they are well informed and aware of political, cultural and social issues. The history of the phrase is embedded in Afro-American history – the great Hudie Ledbetter (aka Leadbelly) used it in a 1938 song about racial prejudice. In 1940, an official in United Mine Workers said: “Let me tell you, buddy. Waking up is a damn sight harder than going to sleep, but we’ll stay woke up longer.” More recently, the phrase became popular and entered general conversation after soul singer Eryka Badhu used ‘I stayed woke’ as a refrain in her 2008 song, Master Teacher.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary today defines ‘woke’ as ‘questioning the dominant paradigm, striving for something better.’ This is an intellectual and ideological position – we understand and engage with present-day problems surrounding racial prejudice, gender inequality, climate change and other socio-political issues.
I would definitely like more people to wake up in this sense! And, yes, it is harder than going to sleep. We would all like to stay under the blankets of our habitual ways of thinking and perceiving. After all, what can we as individuals do about the overarching (and often negative) issues that seem to have a life of their own? In recent times, many people have conscientiously joined forces, intending to demonstrate that groups of individuals can make a difference.
BUT… I want to draw your attention to another kind of waking up. It is not contrary to the visions of ‘woke’ community organisations. In fact, if you REALLY wake up, then all efforts to realign social and cultural norms towards more beautiful and harmonious human interactions will be empowered. But the power comes not from any ideology, or from ‘political correctness’, but from the Divine Source within Creation, which is within all humanity.
Another special memory I have from being very small was of my mother singing a lullaby – Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes. The singing of lullabies is an ancient practice and I’m sure mothers in all cultures still practice it, even if they wouldn’t stand up in public to sing.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato tells a story of the Soul’s journey, in which he describes how our Soul, on its way into a new incarnation, crosses the River Lethe – a river that encourages all who drink from it to forget its previous life. In this process, our Soul may also forget its purpose for this incarnation.
But, when we arrive in our new home, our parents will probably be very keen to encourage us to sleep! After all, they need their own opportunities for shut-eye. They need to maintain energy for dealing with the tiny newcomer who is disrupting their lifestyle.
A regular sleep pattern is necessary for good health. We humans tend to behave like many other Earth-bound mammals: we like to be active during daylight and sleep during the night, but the advent of artificial lighting has allowed us to extend our ‘day time’ well after night has fallen. We must be alert to the very important fact that our physical and mental wellbeing should be an adjunct to, not a replacement for, our spiritual health. We must be careful not to stay spiritually comatose! Meditation and inner exploration will allow our inner guides to offer the wisdom we need to stay on track for our Soul’s purpose in this lifetime. Daily meditation allows us to reconnect with the Divine sunshine we carry within. Sometimes we need to go on a very deep journey to uncover that hidden gold but, as I Ching frequently reminds us: “perseverance furthers”.
The second line in the lullaby my mother sang to me goes: Smiles await you when you rise. When we rise from spiritual slumbers we step into a joyous, smiling, delightful new perception. We understand that all the prejudice, inequality and planetary devastation is down to human disconnection from the Divine. When we re-establish our inner ‘kingdom’, we can rule our personal lives with grace, vitality and strength. Every time one person steps into this awakening, another notch in planetary and social health is registered, we are engaged in what kabbalists call tikkun olam – the healing of the world. We can make use of the alphabetical characters provided in The Shefa Method, in order to participate in this process.
As you can see, this character is shaped like a crucible, a container in which changes can evolve in a protective environment. Think of your meditation sessions as an opportunity to sit in the stillness and silence of the Divine, a golden sunshine that will permeate your mind and body. Every time you dip into this arena you will shed your outer habits of anxiety and fear. You will stop being overwhelmed by the daily news. You will know, directly, that the Divine qualities of Love, Wisdom and Power can be expressed through us – will allow us to solve the most difficult and pressing problems humanity is facing.
This ‘knowledge’, what the ancients called gnosis, is an awakening. When you open your eyes, you can face life with a smile. You will gradually come to understand the real purpose of your present incarnation, the contribution you can make personally to the whole world waking up.
A way back home
The original words of my mother’s lullaby date back several centuries, to a drama by Thomas Dekker, written in 1603. In 1918, Dekker’s poem was set to a melody by British composer, Peter Warlock (according to his Wikipedia entry he took that name because he was interested in ‘occult practices’). Pete Seeger included it on his album, Lullabies from Far and Wide in 1972.
The Beatles sang a version of Golden Slumbers with additional lyrics by Paul McCartney (John Denver and Neil Diamond also covered this version):
Once there was a way
To get back homeward
Once there was a way
To get back home
Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.
Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles await you when you rise
Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.
Paul McCartney added a melancholic aura to the song, with his new lines suggesting there is no way home: Once there was a way… But now, he implies, we had best not cry about the loss, we should take time out and go to sleep. We should remember, though, that Paul’s version was written in 1969, the year after the Beatles renounced their association with the Maharishi, who had taught them ‘the way to get back homeward’ – Transcendental Meditation.
Let me assure you, there is a way home. Then you will wake up and you will greet the world with smiles. As the Beatles sang in All You Need Is Love, when they were still meditating: “It’s easy!”
You can learn how to work with the great Archangels of the Tree of Life by enrolling on my new course, Accessing Angelic Realms, either as Self-Study or with personal supervision from me. During May, if you take up the FREE Shefa Method offer, you also receive a 50% Discount Voucher valid against Accessing Angelic Realms if you purchase during May 2021 (you can start the course itself whenever you wish).
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