Course Notes – Introduction

Welcome to this course in spiritual awakening. This course is a journey of self discovery. Its purpose it to help you gain greater understanding of who you are, in particular to uncover the spiritual aspects of your nature. Spiritual awakening is not about becoming better, higher or holier, it is about becoming more rounded and complete.

This course takes you through a process of Spiritual awakening. It is intended as a beginning, in that it does not offer or promise complete self realisation or enlightenment, because that is not within anyone’s gift. But it will help you to know yourself, increase your understanding of the world and provide you with the tools for continuous growth through daily life. It aims to
– establish within you the understanding of spiritual growth so that you can bring it into your daily life
– develop your spiritual connection so that life becomes more intuitive and guided
– provide tools and techniques which will help and support your growth.

The nature of this course is to awaken you to what is already within, increasing your awareness and experience of your spiritual self. This awareness is felt through the physical body, the emotions and the mind. The course therefore aims to train these physical, emotional and mental aspects through the use of Chi Kung and Meditation. The spiritual nature cannot be trained, it is already complete and whole. All the course can do is change your perception and increase your awareness of Spirit and your own spiritual nature.

This course is about direct experience of who you are. It is experiential, because experience transcends all boundaries. It does not matter what names we use or what beliefs we have the experience of wholeness is the same for all of us. We may describe the experience differently, we may use different means to get there, but the experience is always the same. It is an experience of oneness and there can be only one experience of that unity. It does not matter whether you follow a particular religion, belief system, or have no beliefs at all, the experience is always the same. Therefore through direct experience this course aims to transcend all separation, to literally go beyond belief.

Your spiritual nature is peaceful, joyful and loving and this course is based on an approach which reflects these qualities. From a spiritual perspective you are already perfect, if you can completely open yourself to that experience then this course is already complete.

Benefits
This course is a step on the path to spiritual fulfilment, complete self realisation. Self realisation aims to remove all limitations and barriers to the achievement of life’s goals. This course is a start towards that goal and offers benefits along the way.
The benefits of this course include:
– a stronger, more vibrant physical body
– an open creative mind
– improved awareness and acceptance of the world around you
– stillness and peace inside
– improved health and vitality
– greater understanding and purpose in life
– a deeper spiritual connection

The Spiritual Journey
“The beginning of all things are weak and tender.
We must therefore be clear-sighted in beginnings.” Michel De Montaigne

Introduction
This is the start of a spiritual journey. Before we start, we pause awhile and prepare ourselves. This is the purpose of this introduction, it is the pause before the start, the inhalation of breath. It is the moment of anticipation and the practical preparation for the journey ahead.
We should be clear in our mind why we are taking this journey. It is unlikely that we are here by accident. Something has brought us to this point and given us the desire to undertake this journey. At this point it may be just a hope or a desire for something better, a different way of living that is more fulfilling. We have probably come to a time in our life when we say “There must be something better than this.” For each of us the goals and objectives will be different. We all arrive here at different places and move forward in different ways. There is no single set of objectives for this course and what each of us learn will differ.
Pause a while, take a few moments, right now, to consider the objective. Just for a second there is a fleeting glimpse of what might be. We can almost feel it, touch it, because the end is already there. This journey is not like any other we have ever taken. We are seeking something that we already have, it is already inside us. We do not have to travel to get there, all we need to do is to reveal what we already have. Yet as we pause, it is almost there, just a moment, a glimpse, away. If we hold onto that moment then the journey is complete.
This is a journey of self discovery, we seek to discover what has become hidden from us. We seek to understand our human nature so that we can remove the veils that hide our spiritual nature.
There are two main parts to this journey. The first is the establishment of a process of change in our life, from where we are to where we want to be. The second is awareness of our spiritual nature, to know that side of our self which has been hidden from view.
This course aims to de-mystify spiritual growth, to the extent that it no longer seems strange, esoteric or unusual to be seeking spiritual awareness. The aim is to make spiritual awareness consciously part of everyday life, not because it makes us a better person but because it leads to a happier more fulfilled existence. Spiritual awareness is intrinsically mysterious because we are dealing with something we don’t understand. Because it is hard to understand it is often veiled in mysterious terms, to help and inspire people. Yet this mystery can make it seem strange. Spiritual growth is not strange or mysterious, nor is it only for a select group of people. Spiritual growth is normal and the object of life itself.
The process of spiritual growth, the continuous change and awareness of spiritual self is rewarding. It will bring a sense of happiness, of peace, of joy. It will bring focus and purpose to our life and it brings complete self knowledge. We can also choose the qualities of the journey. What aims to find a sense of joy and love, should be joyous and loving in its execution. As we pause we choose the path we want to take.

Awakening to the Journey
At some point we realise that there must be something more, some purpose, some objective which is beyond our earthly seeking. This can be provoked by a time of great sadness, a time of loss, of loneliness and suffering. It usually takes some pain or difficulty to make us question where we are and what our life is all about. It is often so great a pain that we question everything that we have been working for and we realise that everything we have been seeking was of no real value. It was only of value while we held onto some illusion and once that illusion is gone our whole life is put into question.
For some, this can be the start of a great journey. A journey to discover themselves, who they really are and what has real and lasting value to them. For others it is a time to hide away, to lose themselves in the pain and the grief, to hide in bitterness and suffering. This pain re-opens all our fears about ourselves, we want to run away and hide, and some of us do. We hide in our loss and our bitterness, but this is also a time of great opportunity for growth. It is a time when we can throw off the shackles of our lives, the rules and the constraints we have put on ourselves and seek to discover the truth about life and about ourselves.
We start a journey of self discovery. We don’t know where to look or what we are looking for but we seek fulfilment, peace, joy, happiness and love. Not in a transitory way, we seek it in a permanent and fulfilling way. Everybody will search for something different, in different places and in different ways. But it is like a search for lost treasure, a treasure lost in our childhood. It is a search that can be fearful and exciting, it can be joyful and painful, but most of all it can be fun and it is always rewarding. It is a search for the lost treasure which is our spirit.
For some this journey can be hard, but it need not be so. How hard, or easy, this journey is depends on us and what we choose. If we can understand how to approach this search for treasure, what we need to do to find it and where to look, then perhaps it can easily be found.
There are many great teachers who will help to find the path and help the search, but the greatest teacher is inside. When we start to seek for something and don’t know where to look, we often need a teacher to help us, to point us in the right direction, but ultimately we know enough to search for ourselves. This self reliance is important, it is when the journey really starts.
Look on this journey of self discovery in a simple way, because simplicity is important in its success. This is a journey to understand and find ourselves. Whatever our path, our religious beliefs and our past experience, the discovery of ourselves is still the same.

Simplicity
In the beginning we need to understand the end. We need to know from the start that the spiritual journey is, in essence, simple. It helps to understand that the conclusion of the journey is joyful, loving and peaceful. If we understand these things then we can also know that the journey itself can be both simple and loving.
Do we need to suffer on the spiritual journey? There will almost certainly be some pain, but this is not the pain of spirituality but the pain of human existence. As we develop we come to recognise the pain of humanity and our own pain within that. This is the pain we let go as we grow. It is not the pain of the journey itself.
We all suffer. It is nature of humanity to suffer. We learn to deal with this suffering, to hide it from others and from ourselves. The spiritual journey makes conscious what has been unconscious. The pain we feel has always been there, but it is now no longer hidden. The pain we feel, represents not the journey or the target, but the pain we leave behind. The pain is the pain of being separate, as we journey we re-establish our universal links. This is why the journey must be twofold, an awareness of our humanity but also the awakening of our spiritual awareness, and the restoration of our connection.
This is the essential nature of the journey, awareness of our humanity and the re-establishment of our spiritual connection. The tools, techniques, exercises and knowledge are there only to achieve these two things. In themselves they are nothing. They have value only in as much as they help us to achieve our goal. They are not ends in themselves.
The two parts of the journey go hand in hand. Different paths lay different emphasis on technique and method, but in essence all paths are the same. Unless we know our humanity we cannot allow ourselves to reach our spirituality. If we do not explore our pretense, then spirituality can become a pretense too. To pretend to be holy, loving, peaceful and joyful, is not the same as being them as a consequence of spiritual awakening.
The qualities of Spirit are known to us already. We do not have to develop these qualities they are already ours. We do not have to force them upon ourselves, but let them become apparent. Humility is a quality of a spiritually awakened person, and we can make ourselves humble if we choose. But we do not need to pretend to be humble, because humility will be the natural way when we know who we are. The qualities of peace, love, joy, compassion are the by product of spiritual awareness. They are not qualities we have to create or force on ourselves. We will learn to feel these qualities, but they are already within us. We do not have to pretend to be spiritual, we are already.

Exercise – Pause Awhile
The world holds its breath, in anticipation. There is a pause before we move. This is a time of stillness, readiness and preparation. We touch, with anticipation, this journey and what it means for us. We touch, with excitement, the prospect of what this journey holds in store. We wait until we are ready to begin.
Sit quietly and contemplate where you are in your life right now. Be honest with yourself. Hold that image for a while, understanding your reasons for being here.
Stay quiet and contemplate what you desire, not as objectives but as a feeling of what your goal is like. How might life be. Be honest with yourself. Hold that feeling for a while so that it fills every cell of your body.
Open a brand new writing book. On the first page of the new book write down your feelings, whatever you choose to write. Let it all out, the reasons why you are here and the hopes and aspirations. A blank space waiting to be filled.

Exercise – Making Time
This course makes no specific demands on your time. The aim is that spiritual growth becomes a natural part of your life. However, if you want to create change in your life, away from the stresses and tensions, then this cannot happen unless you create space for that change to take place. We are so busy and tied up in what we are doing that although we want to change we have no opportunity to do so.
If we want to make change then the first thing to do is to stop being busy and create a space. Just a small space to start with is enough. This should be time by yourself, for yourself. Most of all it should be a time when you feel under no pressure to do anything, not even meditate. If you feel that you are forced to meditate in this time then it can become another stress. Instead treat it as a time and space for you.
Make it a time and space where you do nothing. Try not to be distracted by media; radio, television, newspapers or novels. Try to create a peaceful haven, subdued lighting, gentle music, relaxing aromas.

It is your time, it is for you. Its purpose is to create space in your life so that you can change. How you use this time is up to you. Here are a few suggestions:
– Contemplation of what you want to change and what you desire
– Meditation, finding inner peace and tranquillity, letting go of old patterns and embracing new
– writing, clearing your mind, letting it all out
– reading, self development or spiritually uplifting.

This time is a precious gift, an oasis in a busy life. It seems that life has no space or time to do anything until we stop. The very act of stopping and giving ourselves time away from our usual activity is a great creator of change in itself.
Use the time in a constructive way. It can be used to think about how to solve problems but try to avoid going over the story in your mind. Make sure you do not just use it to reinforce fears and worries. Creating a spiral of anxiety should be avoided. If you are going to use the time for contemplation do it in a positive way focusing on positive outcomes. If you find this impossible then use the time for other things.