Tuesday, September 8, 2015


By Jon Dunnemann

Inner awakening can occur quickly and suddenly or it can take place gradually over a long period. I have experienced it more as the latter.

The very first time that I can recall experiencing any sort of religious or philosophical epiphany was on an occasion in which I was lying on my back in the infirmary at Holy Cross College with possible flu-like symptoms.

Maybe it was as a result of having to yield myself to the overwhelming effects of illness and experiencing how poor health can adversely impact one's ability to keep up with their studies.

"Burning the candlestick at both ends" by partying too much, going to the gym nearly every day to play basketball, and regularly lifting weights on off days was taking up to much time and exacting a heavy toll on my body. Finally, there I was laid out, flat on my back and surrendering to an overdue reflective state of mind. In that moment, for the first time, I began to sense a new and deeper perspective.

In what is still nearly indescribable, something alerted me to the reality that I was way out of alignment with what is affirming, blissful, ceaseless, vision-led and centered.

Whether what was being felt was coming from within or outside of me was not yet clear. Something that I couldn't put my hands on had eluded me for a long time and worse yet, may have contributed to my falling out of balance beyond the physical level. Rather, at a deeper soul-felt level. I have never forgotten that very unusual experience.

There have been times in which I have tried to return to the keen awareness that arose in me that day. The soft-light filled the room, the dust particles that seemed infinite, and everything else at the time seemed perfectly ordered in some strange way. There amidst the sounds of busy activity in the background was this constant and around the clock attention on everyone's part to providing me with compassionate and supportive care.

Did any of those elements of awareness represent the preconditions for experiencing the deepest perception of life in the moment? I didn't know then and admittedly, I am not sure that I know now. But, I am hope-filled, and now actively seeking spiritual understanding and wisdom.

What I do realize now, is that I left that infirmary somehow different from when I entered it. I'm not referring here to the lifting of my symptoms. No. At some point, while there in that infirmary I felt infused with 'spirit' on some level. It seems to have been a slow release acting dosage which ended up enlivening me and propelling me for the next two years of college through a period of unusually high productivity ultimately yielding far more favorable outcomes.

And then what?

Somewhere along the way, I must have taken another wrong turn, possibly blowing out one or more of my virtues, and then I ended up running of-track, broken again, lost, out there in the middle of Nowheresville. Once again, without answers.

I just hate it when that ends up happening. How about you? Yes, we all stumble at one time or another.

Part of this whole awakening thing seems to entail our stepping away from the familiar or being set apart from the ordinariness of common practices. For this to begin, you have to ultimately take a leap of faith. There comes a beaconing and for us to respond we must begin by moving away from our past.

Effectually and effectively we must then decide to actively go your own way!