I wish there was one simple recipe to guarantee an awakening that would look like a perfect chocolate soufflé. Maybe this: Start by carefully whipping up some awareness in a stainless steel bowl then gently fold in an open heart – add a dash of honesty and bake with love for 25 minutes. To keep your soufflé from falling, chill the batter as the oven pre-heats, don’t slam the oven door and don’t you dare over-bake it! What do you think?
I’m not a baker and have to admit to never, ever having tried making chocolate soufflés. I decided to read some recipes before writing this post with my clever idea to use an image of a perfect chocolate soufflé to represent awakenings and once I started reading, all sorts of lightbulbs went on. After reading several recipes with words and phrases like whisk until smooth, allow to cool slightly, beat until stiff but not dry, gently and quickly fold in and then bake until the soufflé is puffed and still slightly wet inside, I threw in the dish towel!
A perfect soufflé is NOT a good metaphor for an awakening. Now, an imperfect soufflé that has fallen and cracked a little, allowing all the chocolate to flow out still tastes as good and is more like the awakenings that I know – messy, but delicious nevertheless.
We all reach any awakening differently. Something makes us aware of a need to pay attention. Some might pay attention right away but often it takes a long time for that bothersome bit of awareness to become one of the ingredients of an awakening. Sometimes, other ingredients like pain, losses, prolonged depression, addiction or just timing are a necessary part of your recipe.
I read an article written by psychologist, Steve Taylor and he defines an ‘awakening experience’ as a temporary expansion and intensification of awareness that brings significant perceptual, affective and conceptual changes. I agree with this and remember the exact moment when my awareness turned into an awakening. I felt an immediate sense of relief and the realization of what I needed to do. At least for a moment, I didn’t feel any fear or anxiety, knowing that all would be well.
My awakening didn’t conform to any recipe that I know of or anyone else’s experience, and if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to replicate it again. If I return to my soufflé metaphor, mine would look more like brownies – definitely messy and since the baking took a few years, they’re not so soft inside but the rewards have been stunningly delicious and satisfying! My experience with awakenings has allowed me to accept them when they come, to pay attention when awareness presents itself and to let go of any need for that perfect soufflé.
Yum – I’m looking forward to more of these awakenings!
“Awakening is not a thing. It is not a goal, not a concept. It is not something to be attained. It is a metamorphosis. If the caterpillar thinks about the butterfly it is to become, saying ‘And then I shall have wings and antennae,’ there will never be a butterfly. The caterpillar must accept its own disappearance in its transformation. When the marvelous butterfly takes wing, nothing of the caterpillar remains.”
― Alejandro Jodorowsky