The Three Hardest Things to Give Up For Awakening

In truth there is one hardest thing to give up when you’re awakening — your ideas.

If we believe an idea to be a truth, it will always be a cloud over the open, expansiveness of our nature.

And that’s OK, because it will feel bad — to alert us to the fact we’re believing a cloud to be true, reliable and permanent.

‘Feeling bad’ or suffering can be very subtle. It can be the slight discomfort of not knowing. It can be the mild discombobulation when plans change. It can be the need to help another. It can be the frustration when someone doesn’t behave how you want them to.

All of these, and plenty more, are beautifully, perfectly here to tell us we’re lost in a dream of the mind. A dream of ideas taken as truths.

However there are three specific ideas that I wanted to highlight because they seem to be a few of the biggest ideas that create stumbling blocks to either beginning, or continuing, an awakening journey.

Idea #1 — The goal of a better life.

We’ve been trained into ‘do this so you’ll feel better / happier / more peaceful’. Therefore there’s an idea that I have to do something, apply something or get something in order to have a better life.

The question we’re asking of anything or anyone is — but will you make my life better?

This can be dressed up to greater or lesser extents but this is the fundamental question behind choices and behaviour.

And this is not wrong. There’s a good reason we ask ‘will you make my life better’. We know that a better life is available…somewhere…somehow… And so we’re on the lookout for what will help us have that.

The trouble is, a reliably better life isn’t found through the world out there. The world out there is inherently unstable, changeable and unpredictable. To ask it to reliably make my life better is an incredibly unfair request.

Drop the idea of needing to have a better life.

Idea #2 — The need for tangible results — now.

As well as being taught to look for a better life ‘out there’, we’re taught to do it fast. We’re taught to super-charge. To hack our way to things. To get incredible results fast.

And we’re taught that there are tangible actions I can do, in order to create these tangible results now.

So yes, that’s true.

But if you want reliable, long-lasting results, it requires easing off the doing and getting curious about your being. It requires a deeper exploration than the seemingly reliable ‘do X and it will cause Y’ (yes, seemingly reliable — have you ever followed a 5 steps to success programme only to find the success didn’t materialise. Look honestly).

And so to come into an exploration that has a very different form of doing (inquiring, noticing) with no immediate gratification of results.

It invites you to come on the journey with no clarity of next steps or pre-offered rewards. It invites you to simply be present with each moment as you walk it. Walking for the sake of walking. Not ‘in order to…’ anything.

Drop the idea of needing tangible results — now.

Idea #3 — The desire to ‘apply it’ to my work or ‘give this’ to someone else.

The third idea we’ve been taught, and that an awakening exploration invites you to drop, is the need to do something with this.

This is often talked about in terms of “How does this ‘thing’ you’re giving me have a ‘practical’ benefit?” For example:

How can I use this in my work to make me better at my job and get a promotion / pay rise / different job?

  • How can I use this in my work to make me better at my job and get a promotion / pay rise / different job?
  • How can I use this in my work to improve the service I provide?
  • How can I use this to get better work-life balance?
  • How can I apply this to my coaching / consultancy / conversations?
  • How can I use this to make them change?

i.e. How can I use this to make my life better? (See Idea #1!)

As well as being underpinned by Idea #1, all of these statements relating to ‘how can I use this’, start from the belief that the work, life and people out there are separate from me and have totally independent existence. That how they appear has nothing to do with this body-mind’s internal state or beliefs.

When in truth the seeming ‘wrongness’ of life ‘out there’ is inviting you to wake up, to look somewhere else for the feeling of a better life. To see that it is only ideas that lead to it appearing wrong or a problem in the first place.

In truth, the better life you’re looking for, is the feeling of your very own being.

Therefore the change ‘out there’ happens as a result of a change ‘in here’. That’s the place you must start. With you. The deeper you have an embodied knowing of this, the more easily the world shows up perfectly, and the more easily it changes in response to your requests.

So drop the idea of needing to apply this or give it to someone else.

Which of these have resonated for you?

Idea #1 — The goal of a better life.

Idea #2 — The need for tangible results — now.

Idea #3 — The desire to ‘apply it’ to my work or ‘give this’ to someone else.

Which are you ready to drop in order to remember the lasting and reliable better / happier / more peaceful life that you know in your heart is available?

Much love, Helen

PS The Complete Book of Awakening guides you on this journey to better / happier / more peaceful — of course with the invitation to drop ideas #1, #2 and #3 while you walk the path. Want to walk it? Buy the book on your local Amazon — The Complete Book of Awakening by Helen Amery and Sara Priestley.

  • Helen Amery
    My work involves exploring with people who are on the awakening and enlightenment journey. They’ve already seen a lot but they can also feel that their understanding is more conceptual than felt, and lived. They can feel that there is more to be seen and understood and yet they also don’t know how to ‘get at’ that. I focus on this shift from conceptual into the deeper, felt understanding of it.

    You can find me at

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