It's very rare that people experience a sudden and spontaneous spiritual awakening. It's, in fact, rare that people have any spiritual experiences at all. Spirituality is something we pick up from other people. We read about it or hear someone talk about it.
Books and spiritual teachings are not enough to bring about a transformation, no matter how good they are. Something else is needed. Eckhart Tolle claims that sudden awakening from out of nowhere is possible, but for most of us the “peace that passes all understanding” is nothing but a concept. Eckhart was deeply depressed for many years before his awakening but a deep depression is not enough either to bring about the awakening. Millions of people suffer from very deep depressions without waking up.
So, what can we do?
Eckhart writes in A New Earth that his book “can only awaken those who are ready”. Maybe those who are “not ready” should begin somewhere else. What do you think?
Many people learn how to meditate, how to observe the thoughts and how to defuse them, how to bring mindfulness into everyday situations and to return to the now again and again. Many people learn how to deal with muscular tension, restlessness and resistance in mindfulness meditation classes all over the world. This is a more useful method, I think, compared to waiting for a sudden awakening or reading about it. It doesn't bring about an immediate spiritual "Big Bang Awakening" but for sure, it will gradually bring about change.
The Buddhists say that meditation is like a boat. It can take you to the other side of the river but once you're there, you don’t need it anymore. Well, there are many different kinds of meditation. There are many different kinds of boats. However, some people say that, in fact, there is no river to cross. They say that the river is an illusion.
It is not easy to be a human being, that's for sure. And in the same time, it is. You don’t have to do anything or accomplish anything to be what you are.