We are a story-telling people, but it is important to understand the connection between our stories, our thoughts, and the emotional states that result—especially emotions that cause suffering like anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, blame, resentment, anger, and so on.

Making this connection is vital to freedom or liberation, and forms the basis of the inner, spiritual journey as we seek to discover who and what we really are beyond all our ideas about ourselves. Eventually, if we have the courage to journey deep enough and face our fears, we realize that we are in fact not our thoughts, beliefs, or stories. These—like the emotions they trigger—come and go, yet we, as the ever-present, conscious beings watching, witnessing, and experiencing life, are always here.

Understanding this is the essence of awakening, enlightenment, or self-realization. It happens through a perceptual shift, when we finally, after much self-inquiry, see the truth: that the “I,” the ego, the psychological and emotional “person” that we always believed we were only appears to exist, but we cannot actually find it anywhere! Like our beliefs and stories, it is not real, and never was.

This realization produces great and enduring relief, a freedom (as free as any of us can be) from all inner conflict, fear, and suffering. Such a gift! Our endless seeking for who “we” are comes to an end. We now know who we are.

And what do we know? Essentially, that there is no separation, that we are One with everything, and only this present moment—right here, right now—exists. Our true nature, in other words—our true “I,” or Self—is pure, spacious, timeless consciousness expressing through these bodies, minds, and personalities know as “us.”

As we allow this realization to sink in, it’s like breathing pure oxygen. We feel exhilarated, rejuvenated, and empowered. We’ve reconnected to pure existence itself, our true, authentic nature. Our emotional state is one of ease, harmony, and flow—and an immense gratitude for life.

Now the outer journey begins in earnest, learning to embody this presence, wisdom, and love that is ours, and using the power of thought, of story, to ponder, communicate, create and above all connect with others, with our community, in a deep, conscious, heartfelt way…


Jim Dreaver


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