Awakening in the city

As I write this I feel far from awake, physically awake. I returned on an overnight flight from Chile and I am now on a train heading up to Darlington. Yet despite the fact I have been traveling now for over 24 hours, I feel awake in a different sense. Sounds are sharper, lights are brighter, I notice people, I found a lost ticket (not mine) and I made jokes whilst a buying coffee. I am alive and connected to my environment. This is what is known as a mild awakening experience. It’s a step towards a feeling of oneness and connection with everything.

There are three stages of awakening. The first is what I am describing, simply being engaged with your environment. The second is when the world becomes really sharp; you are in a state of ‘mindfulness’. As you witness what’s around you, you are in the moment in a kind of state of ‘being in love’ with everything. The final stage, is when you lose track of yourself, you feel at one with everything. You have a sense of divine love coursing through you, connecting you to everything that is. You are the universal energy and it is you. I’m unlikely to be feeling the latter in the middle of Kings Cross station, but why not?

I have been feeling the latter a lot in the past few weeks. I have been in the privileged position of being in some of the most beautiful nature in the world, surrounded by mountains in Pirque in Chile. Time slipped by without me noticing, I watched the sun setting most evenings and felt as if I was at one with the reddening sky. Animals reacted to me defiantly lizards approached my hands without fear. I couldn’t see where I ended and everything else began. There was no chicken or egg, everything was one. Timeless.

I have been doing lots of research on awakening experiences and the link between them and intuition for my next book. It seems that most awakenings happen when in nature. It’s easy to understand why, as often when we are in nature we slow down, when in the city it is often impossible to take great notice of where you are simply from the volume of fast moving bodies that surround you.

Having stepped out of the UK for a few weeks, you get that sense of being disconnected from your own culture. You become the observer for a while, as your own vibration has changed. I have slowed down and I am vibrating more in frequency with the Chilean culture and the nature I was in. We all know this feeling; a person from the country can spot someone from the city simply due to the speed their energy is vibrating at. It takes us a while to as we say ‘unwind’.

Having lived in London for twenty years and only in the past year moved back to the country, I have noticed how ‘asleep’ London feels. But never more so than this morning, the very heart of most of the people I saw seemed closed. The light in the eyes that normally burns so brightly was out. When I lived in London, getting out into the country seemed like such a hassle. London has an M25 moat running around it and if you want to get out by public transport, you need to book in advance to make it affordable. So often, unless you have purpose, you don’t bother leaving and if you have purpose, you’re too busy to be spending time needed in nature to feel it. I believe that you have to be out in the trees, the mountains and the water, to reconnect with yourself, life and with the universal energy. You just need to be able to really see the sky; the expanse of that itself can cause an awakening experience.

In all of this I had a big but simple realisation this morning; I have ended up furious every time I have had to travel in London with my Dog. I couldn’t understand how people could look at her, and yet not see her and almost step on her. Some people react in the ‘oh how cute a Dog’ way, but to most she is simply invisible. Trying to get across London with her is stressful. I now understand that she is part of nature, and when you are asleep to life, you can’t see nature. Within nature is all the most beauty that can make you feel connected with life. If you are unconnected to this nature you don’t see beauty. No wonder people jump in front of tube trains. I believe that being disconnected causes the kind of ‘asleep’ that can lead to coma!

I’m not against the city, I miss living in London in many ways, so I am not being a reformed ‘smoker’ here, nagging everyone else to give up. What I am doing I hope is giving a reminder from my position of privilege having just come back from Chile, to remind you to take the time to connect with who you are and expand that into the world around you. Awaking experience ‘light’ can happen in London. I remember sitting on the grass in Leicester Square when I worked for Haagen Dazs, feeling completely in love with everything, people walking past me smiled at me and I felt joyous. Well, ok, this could have been caused by a sugar rush, I ate a lot of ice-cream at the time.

When we don’t see nature we end up not being able to see ourselves. This is why when you are surrounded by people in the city, you can feel so alone. As humans, we really do stop being able to see each other. We don’t see that the old, pregnant or disabled need a seat. We don’t move out of the way when we are blocking the pavement.

We become numb to life. Awakening isn’t just about some spiritual enlightenment or a shift of consciousness, it’s about choosing life and being alive in that choice.