Awakening. It’s been around for eons. Some are living it, some are baffled by it, lots of people feel drawn to it. I first became aware of being on a journey of awakening in 2005, age 38. Yet, only recently did I see my own trajectory clearly for the first time.
To my surprise, I noticed that my experiences seemed to organise themselves into multiple “levels” of exploration. Each widening the perspective of mind, heart, and spirit. Now, this isn’t new, but what felt new was the fact that I ‘sensed’ the characteristics for each level.
How peculiar! My curiosity had been awoken. With the help of my friend and divine collaborator, Jeff Vander Clute, I decided to take a closer look.
The first characteristics of awakening to show up were: curiosity, experimentation, discipline, realisation, and mastery. Interestingly, when we looked at my experiences over the past 10+ years, they slotted in nicely with these characteristics. Who knew! We named the initial five phases: Awakening Curiosity, Awakening Experience, Awakening Insight, Awakening Realisation, and Awakening Mastery. Each name points to the focus and outcome for that phase.
The learning that followed this discovery includes knowing where my expertise is of best use, plus a better understanding of how to support someone depending on where they are along their journey.
Reflecting on this newfound clarity, I came to see that a new tool had been born, ‘Phases of Awakening’ – a guide for seekers and finders along their spiritual journey.
The scope here today is to describe the initial two phases, but first a little something about seekers and finders.
…Seeker or Finder?
We often think of spiritual people as ‘seekers’. To me, there’s something beyond seeker – there’s also the ‘finder’.
Some people consider seeker and finder to be the same thing.
I don’t. In my experience, seekers look for answers externally, finders look for answers internally.
This distinction points to a difference in how information is processed, utilised, and understood. How the seeker and finder engage and participate, and how they seek out information.
In terms of any awakening (expansion of awareness, new discovery, new learning…), the first nudge often comes from the outside. Our tendency is to look for answers externally. At least in the beginning. Then, further along our journey, we shift to look for, and discover, answers internally. What’s exciting is that changing from seeker to finder involves a shift in paradigm as inner resources come online and our understanding of who we are gives us access to new dimensions.
Interestingly, when Jeff and I mapped the resonance and the aliveness for ‘seeker’ and ‘finder’ using Resonance Mapping, we noticed that seeker spans across the first three phases (Awakening Curiosity, Awakening Experience, and Awakening Insight). While finder shows up in the 4th and 5th phase (Awakening Realisation and Awakening Mastery).
Reflecting on my own experiences, I see clearly how I was looking for answers externally up until a certain point, then things started to shift and I discovered that I had access to answers within.
Another interesting dynamic that is related to seeker/finder is whether we think of ourselves as victims or creators, i.e. if we perceive that things are happening to us or if we are in charge.
Victim vs. Creator or Effect vs. Cause
Is your perception that things happen to you, and that you get stuck in drama and in story? Or, do you operate from a knowing that we are each responsible for how we act and react in any given situation?
If we get stuck in or thrive by drama, we oscillate and alternate between three different roles: victim, persecutor, and rescuer. This social model is explained in Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle. Here we’re powerless and at effect rather than at cause, and we’re driven by external events and circumstances.
An alternative is the Empowerment Dynamic, created by David Emerald. Here the roles are those of creator, challenger, and coach, instead of victim, persecutor, and rescuer. Here, there’s no blame or shame, instead, this model offers a life of purpose, power, and compassion toward self and others.
Similar to the paradigm of seeker and finder, the dynamic and perspective of victim (at effect) and creator (at cause) also helps to shape our understanding of each phase. It’s important not to lose oneself in the labels ‘victim’ and ‘creator’, instead focus on the underlying energy of being at cause or being at effect.
To get a better sense of what’s at play, I looked at the resonance for ‘victim/effect’ and ‘creator/cause’. Not surprising, victim/effect spans across the first three phases (Awakening Curiosity, Awakening Experience, and Awakening Insight), and creator/cause shows up in the 4th and 5th phase (Awakening Realisation and Awakening Mastery).
Once again, reflecting on my own experiences, I see how I was ‘driven by’ drama (being at effect), in different shapes and sizes. Until a certain point, then things started to change and I let that go. I became aware of being at cause. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a ‘good story’, I do, but I no longer get embedded in it.
Drama and story doesn’t define us. Both are helpful for setting a context and creating a frame for a set of circumstances. The perspective we choose from then on – being at effect or being at cause – makes a world of difference.
5 Phases of Awakening
Beyond the seeker/finder paradigm and the effect/cause perspective, there’s a number of other attributes that we’ve sourced that help to describe each phase, such as purpose, participation, perception, process, and practice. It’s quite interesting to follow where what I exposed myself to early on along my journey, fit in.
There’s no recipe for how long each phase is. The pace, and the length of a phase, is governed by how much we ‘lean in’, how much we stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone and our horizon. When I compare my own journey with the different phases I can see that I have spent around three to five years in each, give or take.
This is the first time I’ve tried to capture the essence of each phase. My knowledge about them is still evolving and expanding. What I share here is in some sense ‘bare bones’, but hopefully wets your appetite.
As this is just a model, any practices listed are just a representation, examples from my own life. The list is far from exhaustive.
Phase #1: Awakening Curiosity
In the 1st phase, Awakening Curiosity, we’re Sleepers. We operate in the paradigm of looking for answers externally. Our participation is of a passive nature. It’s more of a passive acceptance, yet, there is the potential for curiosity. The process is unconscious, guided by our slumber-self. We might be somewhat curious about practices such as readings, horoscopes, and astrology charts. The perspective here is of being at the receiving end of life, where life is doing to us. Towards the end of this phase is when we begin to connect with the potential of that which we cannot see, hear, touch, and feel with our five senses.
I’ve always been curious, asking questions, pondering and reflecting on things. I was in this phase for a long time. From an early age, I was drawn to horoscopes and astrology charts, and I’ve always ‘known’ and believed that we are more than just the physical body. In my late twenties I had my first psychic reading. I still remember her name – Emily. At the time, the whole thing felt quite revolutionary as I found it extraordinary that she could know things about me without having ever met me before.
In 2003, I started to experience tingles, or pins and needles, in the palm of my hands. I ‘knew’ that it wasn’t anything physically wrong with me, yet, I couldn’t explain it. My grandmother passed away the same year and I had some experiences that were difficult to explain.
Phase #2: Awakening Experience
In the 2nd phase, Awakening Experience, we’re Seekers. We’re looking for answers externally but now there is an energy of imagination and experimentation present, and our participation is exploratory. Practices such as, for example, meditation, Reiki, Angels, crystals, channeling, automatic writing, spirit guides, and tarot cards enter the scene. This is where we start to understand the concept of duality, and where we become conscious that we are having an experience of separation, of a world of people and things that are beyond our control. The perspective here is still of being at the receiving end of life. Our seeker-self has woken up from its slumber and we’ve moved from passive to active as we know there is more.
During this phase I moved back to the UK (June 2005). In October 2006, I felt nudged (out of the blue) to start blogging. I was floored! I resisted the nudge, but kept ‘getting’ (knowing) what the title wanted to be, “Little Green Men and Tall Angelic Beings”. What??! Utterly confused, I didn’t know where to turn. I resisted some more. When I finally accepted the nudge, I picked up that I was to write about my spiritual journey. This is when I made a decision to consciously believe that it was possible that there’s more to this world than what we can see, hear, and touch. At the time I started blogging I didn’t believe I had anything to say…and, yet, three years later I had written many hundreds of blog posts. In October 2007, in part thanks to my blog, I was recommended by a reader to check out a site called Avanoo. I had been looking for a new platform for my blog but didn’t feel like any of the usual spaces were a fit. One of the connections I made through Avanoo is Jeff, whom I mentioned above. We’ve founded a company together, Sourcing The Way, a consultancy that helps leaders who desire a deeper fulfilment, who want to experience a sense of spiritual connection in their work.
To some extent this phase has been the most content and experience rich as the learning curve was steep. It’s like the floodgates were opened. Now, in 2018, looking back, I can see that the blog Little Green Men captures beautifully, and is a written testament to this phase.
In an upcoming post, I’ll share about the remaining three phases, Awakening Insight, Awakening Realisation, and Awakening Mastery. I hope to meet you there.
This post has been recorded and can be listened to here: https://soundcloud.com/user-65672695/ep1-seekers-finders-and-5-phases-of-awakening