The Table of Contents:
1 Getting Started on the Path 10
2 Awakening to Your Essential Self 20
3 Midlife Crisis and Discovering a New Perspective 26
4 Stage 1: Pre-Awakening 38
5 Requirements of the Seeker 47
6 Suggested Tools for Awakening 54
7 How to Use Tools for Awakening 69
8 Self-Discovery 81
9 Stage 2: The Descent/Ascent 93
10 Self-Transformation 112
11 Stage 3: The Ego’s Return 124
12 Self-Alignment 141
13 Stage 4: The Awakening Life 153
14 Suggestions for a Healthy Awakening Life 168
From the Introduction:
Midlife is a distinct stage of life, like childhood, adolescence, and old age. It’s also the only stage that has the word crisis naturally attached to it. Why? All life stages have their challenges, but those of middle age are particularly burdensome and consequential. There’s a lot at stake in midlife, and the way we deal with these struggles will affect the entire second half of our lives. We all know the kinds of behaviors that make up the midlife crisis cliché: having an affair, quitting a job, making extravagant purchases, or taking some other kind of drastic action to bring renewed meaning to life. These are all remarkably typical in midlife, and all reactions to the struggles we feel at this stage of our life journey.
The good news is that the solution to all your midlife struggles is very close to home. It’s all about discovering the incredible gift you have inside of you. That gift is a tremendously powerful, sacred source of immense truth, wisdom, and love buried deep inside your core, within your very essence. This source is your inner light and the purest version of who you really are. Your midlife struggles are the result of being disconnected from this source for too long and undeniable proof that you are ready to go within and find it.
Those who discover their true essential self experience an astonishing process called an awakening. This process cures your midlife crisis and transforms you from the inside out. By awakening, you gain an entirely new perspective on yourself and your life, shed outworn beliefs and attitudes, replace them with new, authentic ones, and gain full ownership of yourself and your life.
An awakening, when fully realized, is the most life-changing and exceptional experience you can have in your lifetime. Sadly, many don’t have one because they ignore the opportunity that midlife presents to them. They keep themselves distracted with things like television and social media, while missing out on the greatest personal breakthrough of their entire lives.
From Chapter 5, The Requirements of the Seeker:
While connecting to the source of truth and love within you is enlightening and literally wonderful, it is also not always easy or fun. This connection transforms you from the inside out, and the process brings serious demands on you and on those closest to you. Your beliefs, attitudes, and values will come into question; many of your long-held assumptions about yourself and your life will be shattered. An awakening is a metamorphosis, bringing unpredictable results and requiring widespread adjustments. As you begin the journey, now is the time for introspection and self-honesty.
Everything you require for your journey is already inside of you. From my experience, I’ve discovered eight personal attributes that are essential for a full and sustained awakening. Start with them now and return to them throughout your journey. Don’t ever worry about being perfect in any of these attributes. You will find your best is always enough.
The following list is organized as four pairs of related attributes:
• Desire and Commitment
• Honesty and Sincerity
• Patience and Discipline
• Courage and Humility
Desire and Commitment
Desire comes first, and the reason is simple: You won’t awaken if you don’t want to. You might assume we all want to be awakened to the truth, wisdom, and love inside of us. In reality, however, it’s much more convenient not to. Most people prefer to be asleep, taking comfort in their distractions, remaining disengaged from others, life, and the deep part of themselves.
You can express your desire at the outset of awakening by doing the little things: turning away from the distractions that keep you asleep, taking time to journal, and making the time and effort for greater mindfulness. You will need to keep the flame of desire strong to proceed on the awakening journey: when the benefits are slow to develop initially, during the times when the results feel unsatisfying, or when awakening brings obstacles and challenges.
Of course your level of desire doesn’t need to be 100 percent, twenty-four hours every day. That’s not realistic, and awakening won’t occur by expecting that much of yourself. That’s why commitment is so important. Commitment is desire with staying power. If you are fully committed, your level of desire can sometimes wane a bit without temptation to quit altogether.
Make the firm decision to awaken and commit to it. Give yourself a bare minimum amount of time to remain dedicated to the process, say a full year. By wholly committing yourself for this period, you enable your awakening to happen. I believe the rate of progress in awakening is directly proportional to your level of commitment.
Honesty and Sincerity
Remaining honest with yourself is paramount for the journey. As you intuitively access your Essential Self, much of what you have learned over many years will come into question. You will slowly discover that truth has multiple layers, and much of the small-t truth you currently accept will be challenged by the deeper capital-T Truth of your Essential Self. Having your beliefs confronted will feel strange at times but is essential for awakening.
Set the intention now to be honest with yourself throughout the process. This probably seems obvious, but isn’t as simple as you might think. When assumptions you’ve held for many years come into question, you will often find yourself unwittingly clinging to them because they’re so hard to let go of.
Over time you will develop an awareness of when you’re not being as honest as your ego would like you to believe. We’ll explore this much more, later in the book.
Sincerity is honesty from the heart. Discovering your Essential Self requires that you leave cynicism behind. Learn to be vulnerable with yourself and become willing to loosen the grip of your ego. Be genuine in your intentions and reflections and, as much as possible, allow your heart to guide you.
From Chapter 8, Self-Discovery:
We are constantly being subjected to powerful messages throughout our entire lives. Through a process called socialization, many influences all around us teach us about the world and ourselves. Socialization begins from infancy and never lets up. Initially, it is the values and beliefs of our upbringing from our parents and other family members. Soon after, socialization comes from friends, school, religion, peers, and many media influences such as television, movies, and advertising. Boys are taught to be tough, girls to play with dolls, and of course, everyone is taught to follow rules. These social influences strongly shape and mold the ways we think and behave as we grow up. Staying within cultural norms is highly encouraged, and straying from them is openly or subtly discouraged.
Socialization remains a powerful force on us as adults. It comes from all sorts of media, news, pop culture, advertising, peer groups, workplace culture, political or other types of leaders, and so on. By the time we’ve fully grown, we’re so accustomed to this conditioning, we don’t even notice it. The forces of socialization have been with us our entire lives in a constant barrage of subtle (and not-so-subtle) messages of what to think, how to behave, who to fear, what’s acceptable, and who we are. Growing up hasn’t been a process of learning to think for ourselves, but rather to learn not to. All the conditioning we’ve received throughout our lives becomes our Accepted Truth. Accepted Truth is all we’ve been taught and have accepted as the truth of ourselves, other people, and the world.
We rarely challenge our Accepted Truth because, frankly, we take it for granted. We mostly just assume what we’re taught is true, especially the lessons and values we learned as children. Even as adults we’re unaware of how the many pieces that make up our self-identity and worldview—the values, beliefs, and attitudes we’ve been taught since the very beginning—have come to us from others. Nearly all we know came from sources outside ourselves.
But what about what’s inside of us? Through awakening, we discover a source of truth that we hadn’t realized existed before. This source is incredibly pure, and the truth found there has a much more genuine, authentic quality. This Intuitive Truth comes from within our very essence; it is part of who we are. It’s no surprise, then, that Intuitive Truth feels so much more real than what we’ve been taught. Once we see it, our eyes are opened like never before.
Not surprisingly, discovery of a new, personal source of truth can cause some problems. We’ve built up a lifetime’s worth of understanding of the world, all from what we’ve been taught. And now we’ve discovered a type of truth that is more powerful and feels more real. We find that much of what we’ve learned our whole lives feels like small-t truth, and now we’re discovering deeper, capital-T Truth. All those years of conditioning are going to come into question. And when the two don’t agree, something has to give.
Accepted Truth is made of countless assumptions we’ve come to accept, perhaps for nearly all of our lives. They are about all sorts of issues, big and small, global, philosophical, political, cultural, and personal. With the discovery of Intuitive Truth, every one of these assumptions may be challenged. When the deeper truth of our Essential Self overrides our Accepted Truth, the results are both devastating and liberating.
Excerpts © 2019 Frank Kwiatkowski; All rights reserved.
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