Ep. 209: Ripening and the Inevitability of Our Awakening

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We’ve all been there, wondering why it’s taking so long to make progress on our life’s soul journey. Wondering if we’re doing enough to expedite our healing. Wondering if we should do more, do it more intensely, do it more frequently…or do something different altogether. 


Feeling discouraged or disheartened that progress seems so far away.


We might feel impatience – urgently wanting to get to our goals, feeling an undertone of anxiety that we don’t want to carry for years to come.


I was on a silent retreat earlier in May, feeling some guilt for not having had the most devoted practice these past few months. I felt so behind on where I wanted to be on my spiritual path and in how that was translating into my day-to-day life.


I was essentially sitting there, wondering what more I could do to expedite things.


Overnight ship it. Same-day delivery on my enlightenment, please!


But then one of my teachers said that the process of awakening is not one of striving and grasping, but rather one of ripening.


That blew my mind! Ripening?


It makes sense that we need to be reminded of this – and may not really trust it – because in modern industrialized society, we’re so focused on instant results. But this isn’t how it works – not inside us or in nature.


Ideally, we can take a more nurturing approach to our path, using patience and self-compassion.


And trust in the process.


I hate that freaking phrase. But it’s true. Often.


Related, another thing we can notice is if there is some impatience/urgency in our practice, this often indicates we have an idea that everything will be so much better “over there.” 


As if our suffering will just go away once we’ve “reached” that next level. But that’s not how it is, right? 


If we’re feeling unloved or unworthy, for example, we can still feel these challenging feelings “over there” because we’ve also carried with us these limiting core beliefs, the root cause of much of our suffering (whatever it may be).


When we notice this impatience, we can gently remind ourselves that being present is the best way to ease that suffering, instead of telling ourselves that our suffering will only ease if we reach a certain stage of practice or progress.


All we have to create a different future is right now, and being fully present with the now.


We can also look to the four Dharma Seals to guide us with this. These are like “signature stamps” of Buddhist teachings. I go into all 4 on the podcast, but here we’ll focus on the two that are most related.


One is the first Dharma Seal which emphasizes the importance of being present in the here and now (addressing that impatience we just mentioned). Encouraging staying in the present moment also reflects that this is a lifetime practice, and it’s not about getting to the “end.” It’s not being future-oriented, but rather knowing the path IS the process in the Now.


When we allow ourselves to focus and be with the present moment, it can become a type of container for us to notice, accept, transform, and move forward more naturally.


Another is the fourth Dharma Seal, which speaks directly to the “ripening” we’re jamming on this week. It emphasizes that we can’t “make” anything happen. 


Our awakening is a gradual process of growth and transformation. Our spiritual practice is nurtured and benefits from us allowing it to mature without impatience or striving – naturally.


Like a fruit.


And if we try to pluck it too early, it’s not right! (unless it’s green plantains, IMO 😉


When we begin to see this and understand that the ultimate nature of our path is a lifelong process, it can be anxiety-inducing. We think, “Wow…I’ve got such a long way to go.”


But the flip side of this is that when we commit to our practice, our enlightenment is nothing short of inevitable. And I don’t know about you, but hearing that makes me feel much more relaxed.


Inevitable awakening. Inevitable.


So another thing we can do here is to trust in the inevitably to help release the striving. To let trust define our path instead of control.


We nurture our practice like a garden, watering the seeds of mindfulness, compassion and wisdom within us. Doing this consistently will inevitably lead to our awakening.


Thank f*cking Goddess.

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that the ripening of our practice isn’t always linear or predictable. There may be periods of stagnation or challenge, moments of doubt or confusion. Don’t panic or get judgy. This is normal!


Even when this happens, our practice will continue to ripen in its own way, shaping us, healing, and deepening our understanding of ourselves and the world.

You will learn:

// Why your awakening is inevitable (isn’t that great news?!)

// The downside of impatience and striving for a quick-fix approach

// How to stop grasping for growth on our spiritual path and allow it to naturally “ripen”

// The importance of being led by trust vs control

// Signs we’re trying to force our awakening instead of letting it take the time it needs

// The Four Dharma Seals 



// Episode 126: How to Know if You’re Making Spiritual Progress


// Episode 204: What if This Is as Good as it Gets.


// Episode 208: The Sit Spot Practice – When It’s Hard to Meditate


// I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a review on the Rebel Buddhist Podcast on iTunes by clicking here  


// If you want to dive deeper into this Soul-level work and create a life of more freedom, adventure and purpose, head over to JoinFreedomSchool.com. It’s got everything you need in one place to build a foundation for a lifetime of self-exploration and freedom. 


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