Insights from The Deep

7 Stages of Awakening

The 7 Stages of Awakening - By Shara Gardner

I am so glad you clicked on the link that brought you here. Recently, I have been updating and upgrading my spiritual practice, my life goals, and my business model. Yes, after 15 years of doing my business the same way, I decided it was time for a shift. Not new products, but a new philosophy. In order to clean the slate and adopt a fresh perspective I needed to become new again, myself. This is where my title came from, and the photos are pictures of my water bottles for the past month. Step by step, the intentions I have set have brought me to a new level of understanding of myself, but also of the world around me.

Maybe this process can assist you, no matter where you are on your awakening journey — because we don’t just follow the road and suddenly arrive. We arrive in stages and often have to backtrack to see we might have missed some parts along the way. In doing my Water Blessing Renewal Process I learned vastly more than I knew after 15 years of creating blessings. 

SO here we go... I hope you will accept the guidance I was shown by my spirit mentors who pushed me onto the path of renewal.

Stage One - Self Worth - Using I am Awake & Mystic Symbols
After decades of knowing who I thought I was, I learned I am only a fraction of that. Self worth is an edgy topic. We cannot just tell ourselves to love and value all we see in the mirror or what the mirrors around us show us of ourselves. Some things are not especially lovable or worthwhile when viewed through our scrutinizing eyes. So we need to approach the development of self worth and self love in stages. For this stage, I chose my original Heart OM symbol that I personally drew and deeply cherish. That is my heart and it can be yours too, because it speaks from ancient wisdom, cosmic origins, and focuses on the love that develops when we realize we are an infinite container in a small earthly package. All the gifts in the larger container create a vast fabric of reality,and are contained in the open heart surrounding the universal wisdom of OM. If nothing else brings me to a full realization of All that I AM, it is the words I also chose. "I AM Enough" I used that combination for about a week until I really understood the impact of valuing myself on a much higher caliber. Loving myself and the fullness of my own gifts, I found a sense of peace I had been looking for — I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel on self love. I AM Enough, and I AM a drop that contains the ocean. I have value to myself and others. This powerful insight opened me up for the next stage.

Stage Two - Earth Awareness - Healing Energy & Mystic Symbols
With the visceral reminder of my place in universal consciousness, I realized, although I focus a lot of attention on water and water loving, I hadn’t refreshed my personal browser in my mind and heart, and had actually drifted into a more selective path. Seeking a wide place in the road, I delved into earth magic and earth spirits again and learned so much more than I believed I knew before. Using the path of the witch or earth-based Goddess cultures, I began a full month-long attunement to the moon and the cycle of creation as related to light and dark. I rekindled old feelings of the triad or triskele — Mother, Maiden, Crone or Father, Son and Holy Spirit, or Body, Mind and Spirit. However you might recognize the 3 pillars of power in life, with that symbol, I reached deeply in myself and into the earth in order to reboot that wisdom. I also used the power of the four directions and earth elements to bring myself close to the earth again. The Pentacle gave me long arms to surround the earth in a hug, long legs to stand firmly on the planet,  and a tall pointy head with which to funnel cosmic wisdom into my earth body. By the way, the pointy witch hat that is frequently associated with witchcraft, is simply the top point of the pentagram, the very sacred funnel that brings us life, wisdom, and connection.

Stage Three -  Ancient Wisdom - Sacred Symbols & Peace Within
We benefit greatly by learning our creation stories and accepting the wisdom of our ancestors, our elders, and our cosmic pantheon. The Flower of Life reminds us of our infinite connection to all life and all knowledge. Allowing that flower to bloom within AGAIN, (I had forgotten how magnificent it feels) I was instantly transported to an internal feeling of confidence, support, and connection with everything I see and everything I don’t see. OM, in a different form helped me settle the overwhelming power into my body while the spiral helped me to remember the way we learn (or re-learn). It happens in a spiral. What we know is surrounded by new possibilities, that is again surrounded by more new possibilities, and so forth. In each turn of the wheel, we bring what we knew into another tier while we attune to the new resonance of earthly and universal wisdom. When we learned as a child to listen to our elders, it wasn’t out of obedience. It was so that we might value the old along with the new. The spiral of life always delivers us to a new creation, and where that landed for me was in the Third Chakra. By this time, I realized I was not only on a refresher course in awakening, but also a chakra balancing process. Delighted by this stage, I lingered for a few weeks.

Stage Four - Love & Gratitude - Mystic Symbols & Peace Within
Now I really understood what guidance I had been given. It was linked to, and guided by the chakras. Now I began working with the Chakra Ladder to help elevate me to a new awakening. For this stage, I selected the Earth Love symbol and the word, “Gratitude,” as my symbolic word to encompass love, compassion, and connections. Both the symbol and the word together, brought me to a deeper understanding of the sanctity of life, ALL LIFE, and my role as a receiver of the elements, as they pass through the filter of love and respect. Gratitude for fire, water, earth, and air keeps me alive and balanced and I encounter all aspects through my food and activities. The four directions keep me on-course, as I pass through the north (body issues, the feel of cold, damp, green, rocky); the east (airy, breezy, cerebral, fleeting, cloudy); the south (sweat, fever, hot, intensity, jagged, erratic, warmth); and the west (flowing body, wet, cold, warm, soothing, moving, floating, circulating). As I passed through each element and each direction, my heart expanded to include a renewed gratitude for these amazing physical bodies we use. I felt immense gratitude and love for the earth that supports us, and for the spiritual wisdom that surrounds us at all times, never leaving us, never giving up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. Gratitude continues to expand me every time I think of my journey through that cosmic mountain pass. Feeling all things at once, I felt like I was on the tallest mountain, feeling the freedom of the air that fills my lungs with life, observing the construction that allowed me to stay alive in these times.

Stage Five- Trust & Surrender - Mystic Symbols & Good Vibes
We learn, at a young age, to trust those who have our best interests at heart; and we also learn to surrender our care to them. As we mature, we naturally take over the process for ourselves. Except, sometimes we don’t take over as much as we could. This stage of awakening taught me the value of a voice and the ability to communicate my needs, wishes, and ideas to others. It taught me also, that not everyone can hear us even if we speak loudly or forcefully. But we have the opportunity to learn how to listen to ourselves and do for ourselves what we need to do. We learn to trust ourselves because we can speak. I chose the Hamsa symbol because it represents a vigilance that keeps me protected at all times so I don’t need to carry my fear or wear it on my sleeve. The Hamsa in the Mystic Symbols collection was created to represent protection for water, but I am water. I am, in fact, about 80% water, so it works just fine. Versions of this symbol have been around for thousands of years, and each generation either learns the secrets of protection or not because they are not always apparent. I learned the secret to living a “no fear” life is to tell the truth in all instances. Then there are no secrets to hide or protect. There is nothing out there to ambush me, or derail me. Hence, I have “No Worries!” I spent about a week with this stage and felt an upwelling of personal power when I used my voice for truth, spoke words of peace, love, and encouragement to all I encountered during this process. I saw how my gestures and words made a difference in the lives of others, but also in my life. Trusting myself, I surrender to the universe as my ultimate guide and spiritual master, knowing my gates open and close at my own discretion. 

Stage Six - Cause & Effect - Feng Shui Symbols & Buddha Nature
By the time I reached this level of re-awakening, I realized we often create our own messiness in life because we fail to seize opportunities for good fortune, double happiness, or abundance. I used my inner vision to see all the places where my personal sabotage had created unnecessary hardship. While in those dark places I felt I was a victim of “bad karma”, blaming unforeseen circumstances. Now, in this process, I came to realize (but on a much deeper level than the level of affirmations) that we do create exactly what we project. It is a harsh reality to think we might be responsible for the causes and effects in our lives. Sorry to say, cause and effect are intertwined and cannot be unwound. So I spent about 2 weeks on this stage checking my assumptions, my beliefs, my visions, and my difficulties. While I have the ability to create my life as I want it, I might not have been as careful in the past. Knowing what I know now, I can attract happiness and good fortune as easily as I can attract gloom and doom. It is all about how I create my karma. Heaven and hell prevails in our earthly understanding of cause and effect, but that removes us from the possibility of controlling either outcome. We can create heaven on earth when we create opportunities to invite the best into our lives through a collaboration of thoughts, deeds, and beliefs. He create hell the same way. In using my 6th chakra third eye power, I have been able to see how something might play out and I can make a course correction as needed or double up on my power of positive thinking to swing it the other way.

Stage Seven - Inner Peace & Joy - Mystic Symbols, Buddha Nature, Feng Shui
This level of exploration opened my mind to the knowledge of the universe, the balance of life, and the peace we can all invite into our realms. I had always used the Yin Yang as a prevailing “token” spiritual symbol, but it is so much deeper than a quick graphic recognition can provide. When we understand the wisdom behind balance, we quickly see how allowing some dark into the light, and some light into the dark brings ease and comfort in all circumstances. This stage came for me at a time of political upheaval when I was most effected by the apparent injustices all around us. But then I found that little dot of light, and it illuminated my soul to the place where I could understand the dark in a way I had not been able to allow before. The same occurred when I felt too righteous and then realized there is also that dot of darkness in my light. I own it and it brings me down a notch so I can assess life from a perspective of compassion. We all have dark and light, light and dark. And we all share the very same reality. The only thing we don’t share is our unique perspective. So you see life one way, and I see it differently. In allowing for differences, I actually glimpsed at the sameness in all of us. We all want love, life, wellness, support and connection. We just approach it in different ways. Breathing peace, I sense a new awakening with wider views, greater compassion, and a higher sense of gratitude.