All of these questions come from the ego. There is a certain irony involved in this in that the ego is asking questions about awakening when it does not want to wake up. The first place to look with this question in mind is at this fact that it is your ego which is leading the inquiry, so where is the duality that is always part of the ego? Your question assumes that there is something outside of you that is blocking the way. You can spend the rest of your lifetimes searching for what is outside you that needs to be moved without finding it. The obstacles are always within, not without. This is a trick question. Perhaps I could rephrase it. What are you placing in front of yourself to prevent your awakening? Now things become straight forward. I would turn this around by asking the following question, “What is more important to you than awakening?” If your answer is that nothing is more important to you, I will reply with, “Now tell me the truth.” If there was nothing that was more important to you than awakening we wouldn’t be having this conversation; you would be awake. The ego may be hiding from you what you value more highly than awakening, but more likely you are fully aware that other things are more important for you. It will be a while before your full focus is on awakening. Check back with me next week, or month, or year, or lifetime.
What is more important for you? Maybe it’s your relationship, or your children, or your career, or your home, or your dreams for heaven on earth, or your need for love or approval, or your need to be a part of the group, or your personal identity. Maybe it is your need to have a quest. If you awaken, there may be nothing left to search for. It is time to be honest with yourself. What is it that you value above awakening? Until you have satisfied that need, it will stand in your way. This is the block you have placed in front of you. I will say that whatever your ego mind is telling you about the importance of fulfilling this need is a lie. It is an excuse. It is fear based. This is never Spirit guided; it is always the voice of the ego. The ego will unfailingly come up with reasons, with excuses. It does its best work when it convinces you to be justified in following it, particularly if there is some sort of sacrifice involved. You believe that somebody else needs you. Your children or your family depend on you. Your workplace needs you.
Right now you are in one of three places. The first place you might find yourself in is one of recognizing that there are things you place more value on than awakening and don’t desire to switch your priorities at the present. A second place you might find yourself in is one of being really confused. You thought you wanted to wake up, but now you are not so sure. The third place is one of reaffirming that you really want to wake up, but realizing that you have some work in front of you to see what you have been placing in the way. If you are in the first position, I offer you congratulations on your honesty. Go after your dreams or continue carrying out your responsibilities and check back later if they leave you unfulfilled. If you are in either of the other two positions – it may be hard to distinguish between them – we will talk further.
I want to remind you of something we have mentioned before. There are just three simple steps to the awakening process. The first one is to have the awareness that at any moment you are listening to a voice, either that of the ego or that of Spirit. If you don’t realize you are listening to a voice, it can be assumed that you are hearing the voice of ego. That is the normal chatter inside your head and out in the world. Without being aware that you are always listening to one of two voices, you likely go on nonchalantly listening to that of the ego. When a voice enters saying that you want to awaken but ………….. (fill in the space with one or more of the various things we talked about in the second paragraph), that is ego’s voice. This first step is the hardest one. It is a constant training to be aware that at every moment each thought that enters your mind comes from either ego or Spirit. The default is to think that things are as they appear, that they are true and real, and that there is no other way to hold things. That is ground zero. You are to train yourself to take a step back and to examine each thought. Rather than simply accepting the thought as a true perception of the world, recognize that it comes from either ego or Spirit. At this step you are not even determining who you are listening to, just being aware that you are listening to a voice as opposed to observing “reality”. The heavy betting, however, is on your thoughts being dominated by ego.
Now comes step two, where you attempt to discern whose voice you are listening to. If you are serious about awakening, you are eternally vigilant; you are looking at each and every thought. It is most likely that the thought is from the ego, but ego has the ability to hide in Spirit’s clothes, to convince you that the right choice, the moral choice, the responsible choice is the one it is promoting. One of ego’s favorite games is to say that you have responsibilities to others that take precedence over your own desire to awaken, which perhaps is a little selfish. Spirit never asks for sacrifice. It knows that your own awakening is the greatest gift you could offer to anybody else. If ego cannot tempt you with earthly goals like special relationships, wealth, or reaching personal goals, self-sacrifice will often do the trick. However, your awakened self has so much more to offer your family, friends, and world than your puny ego-driven self that it would be a “crime” to deny it to others. Jesus said to teach others how to fish rather than just giving them a fish. You must learn how to fish before you can do that. The second step is the one where you discern which voice you are listening to. Be brutally honest with yourself. Are you absolutely sure you are hearing the voice of Spirit, or is it an ego game and trick?
If you want to awaken, and some thought or reason comes to you as to why you can’t do it now, you are listening to the voice of the ego. Spirit will never encourage you to maintain a false separation from yourself. What is it that your ego is manifesting in order to pull your attention away from waking up? Sometimes it might be health issue; other times it may be tasks that you feel compelled to undertake; friends or family may be tugging at your sleeve. This is not to say that awakening should come first; it is a reminder that if you are telling yourself that your ascension is the most important thing, the only important thing, in your life – nothing else will get in the way. If it does, you are not being honest with yourself. You are left in the dark; you are left in suffering and in a sense of failure. Since we have made it this far together, I must remind you that any choice other than to awaken is fear based, is grounded in untruth, and is a disservice to you. Again, the second step is only about noticing which voice you are listening to. You cannot go on to the third step without this awareness.
It is only with the third step that any action is suggested. Where you discern the voice of Spirit, you follow it. Where you ascertain it as the voice of ego, stop listening or ignore it. This takes practice. It requires discipline. The ego mind will go crazy and throw tantrums. It will litter your path with obstacles. Your ego mind thoughts stand in the way of your awakening. The obstacles will be specific to you. Though some will be shared, nobody else is presented with exactly the same obstructions. When you commit to Spirit you begin to relinquish these ways of the ego. Of course you won’t always succeed. Notice yourself following ego insanity. Release judgment; just watch. Come up here with Us and observe your crazy little ego self’s games. Nobody can just shut down the ego mind. Notice as quickly as you can the ways you have responded. Don’t feed the ego by beating yourself up. Whenever possible, join us in laughing at the folly. You will begin to sense the difference between the actor and the observer. The you that observes yourself acting in the world is not the you that acts. The awakening process is one of becoming aligned with the observer instead of the actor. You begin to realize that the actions do not matter, that what transpires in the world of illusion truly is of no importance. The observer is just watching. The unfed ego will slowly starve.
To return one last time to the original question – nothing stands in your way. There is no place you have to go. You, the observer, are home. All that there is to do is to notice what goes by in the world, you included. As you hear your true inner voice, the one we call Spirit, you will find it encouraging you to action in ways that you are totally aligned with. Your focus will just be in the acting. Results will not matter. The world doesn’t matter, but it is the only game to play while experiencing self in a body. Somewhere in the midst of this, with the grace of God, lies your full awakening. So stop pretending there are things standing in your way. Rise above it all and enjoy the show.