By Scott Hilburn
Early on in your spiritual journey, did you find yourself to be extreme with the changes you were trying to make? I know I did. I even went as far as to renounce all pleasures. You might laugh to know how it went down for me. Picture this: I’m 23 years old, standing in a room packed wall to wall full of seekers; I had just chopped off my blonde shoulder length curly hair and stood there with a completely bald head. “I’m never going to date again or see my family, and I’m completely okay with never having fun again. I’m dedicating my life for service to humanity,” I exclaimed, pumping my fist high in the air. Shortly after that I sold all my belongings, packed a few boxes and moved to a full-time spiritual community miles away from my life as I knew it. This is what I now recognize as a bit on the extreme side of change.
I look back on that time and know that I needed a highly concentrated form of change. You see, I was tired of living my life stuck in a paradigm that wasn’t truly serving me; I’m imagining you can relate. Prior to that phase I lived my life unaware with my head down and my spirit retracted. I identified with my emotional pain and truly thought I was the sum total of my past experiences. I hated the world and believed the world hated me. It was a perpetuating cycle. I hated the world for hating me and judged the world for judging me. It’s just what I knew and what I was taught.
In my late teens I began to rebel against all social structures: authority, rules, school, etc. I started to find temporary forms of fulfilment that gave me instant gratitifaction: Drugs, sex, partying, money, traveling, etc. The thing is I had such a deep void and pain inside myself and these temporary experiences were just my temporary escape. Over time with consistent use of these I dug myself into a deeper hole than when I started. It became this awkward dance of ‘one step forward, two steps back.’ I dug myself so deep into this that it seemingly couldn’t have gotten any worse. It was at my worse that I had a spontaneous breakthrough which I now call my ‘Conscious Spiritual Awakening’. A crashing awareness hit me that shook every part of my being and left one single question orbiting my mind: Who AM I? I knew there is so much more to life than what I have been living. I quickly fell, like a skydiver out of a metaphorical airplane into a rabbit hole of spiritual and personal growth. I got a teacher, a mentor, started a self-development class and I applied myself relentlessly. In the matter of just one year I completely updated the person I was and I kept going on that path. 11 years later, this has become the basis of what I now teach in my retreats and how I coach my clients. Here’s what I want you to know, transformation, evolution of Self and growth comes in many different forms and paths. We find and are lead to what we need on our journey. Your path will be unique to you, and may unfold in very different ways than mine.
Soon after that good ole ‘Conscious Spiritual Awakening’ I started to discover that mental discipline and spiritual practices was the antidote to the instant gratification I had learned. I was taught to meditate, concentrate, visualize and interpret my reality in a more truthful way through daily affirmations and embodied practices. Over time, my previous internal dance became more like two steps forward with an occasional one step back. I started making massive progress with these daily exercises and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this. If we want to be different, we have to do different things! For me, it was like I was an athlete training in the gym but for my inner world. With every exercise I began to experience greater fulfillment and freedom. My mind became disciplined and strong and my perspectives and beliefs were shifting effortlessly as I was awakening to a greater reality. The bedrock of these practices taught me through experience that in fact there was more to this life. The new reality morphed into a deeper level of personal responsibility and I realized, holy moly, ‘I AM the one I have been waiting for!’ The Real Self is the one I’ve been waiting for this whole time. The question became: how can I align with the Real Self continually and break free from the illusions of who I thought I was?
What was my greatest learning? We get to choose what we place our attention on. All of us have that right. We have a mind, and our mind has a purpose. Our thoughts have a purpose. With our free will we can choose or not choose our thoughts and that sum total of our thoughts, and the thoughts we feed attention to create our life. Most people are thinking the same thoughts over and over and creating the same outer life and reinforcing the outer identity based on the outer world. The thing is, we are not our outer identity, we are not our thoughts, we are not the body, we are the thinker, and beyond that we are the Real Self. The Real Self is the most Divine Self.
Our attention is the key. When we focus on the higher Self, we are knocking on the higher mind, and eventually the door will open. So how do we actualize this? Here’s my step-by-step process:
- Meditate! Meditative Practices that get us to Still our mind, calm or quiet the mind is so very important. If our mind is full of thoughts it’s harder to bring our awareness to the Real Self that is above those thoughts. Be still and know the Real Self.
- Focus the attention! Specifically focus on the Divine and the Real Self. The more we honor everything as a part of the Divine, from the Divine, or as Divine, the more we experience our Divine Self.
- And lastly, LET GO! Let go of old patterns and stored emotions that no longer serve you. Most people are operating from old programming from childhood just like I was. The masses operate not just from childhood but from what we’re taught by society, past traumas, past relationships and experiences. This unconsciously limits our present experiences. When we identify with our past pains, or operate from old thinking patterns that are not in alignment with the Real Self we do not get to experience our greatness as the Real Self. Therefore when we let go of patterns, and heal tramas, etc we create space for the Real Self to shine through.
To connect with the Real Self does not mean we need neglect the physical world, the body or our lifetime. Awakening to the Real Self does not mean we can not be human. Being Human is why we are here. We are here to experience this Earth to understand our Self as Creators, as Divine. We learn and grow our human consciousness to be in alignment with the Divine Consciousness. Honestly the more I align with my Higher Self, the more Alive I feel.
By far one of the greatest practices I have found is a ancient yogic practice of Kundalini Yoga. In my experience of practicing and facilitating It builds a super highway to the Real Self. Kundalini Yoga is a practice that includes Yogic Postures, Meditation, Breathwork, Physical Exercises, Deep Relaxation, Mantra and Mudra. This Kundalini Practice enhances the health of the whole body, strengthens the nervous system so that we can stay calmer under stress or pressure, and that we can handle more energy. There are many opportunities to push past our limit or our edge and in those moments we shed old mental patterns, old blocks and our mind and heart opens to the Divine, the Real Self. Now at this point we have this awareness and connection, we have strengthened our Will power from doing the work through practice, that we can now direct this Divine Energy and Awareness throughout the rest of our consciousness, the channels are now clear so the energy can move easily, and then we can express this energy in through our body, which our nervous system the wires in the body can now handle more energy, and we can express this energy through our presence and through all of our creations. We are literally grounding our Higher Self, Grounding the Divine Energy into our Body and into the earth. We are Merging the Infinite Self with the Finite Self.
If you feel ready and called to deep dive into connecting with your Higher Self I would like to invite you to a spiritual retreat in Chicago Area September 2nd-5th, 2021 in a Castle called “Return to Spirit.” During this immersive 4-day retreat we will focus on connecting with our Highest Self through utilizing many techniques and practices along with Nature on a 360 acre property along Rock River. Practices and activities include Kundalini Yoga, Meditation, Breathwork, Connection Practices, Self-Reflection, Sweat Lodge, Sound Baths, Nature Excursions, Mindset Techniques, Ice Baths, Healthy Food, and More. This will be an activation of Spirit with in us. There is no experience or flexibility required just an open mind. More info you can read on the website: www.amrityogacollective.com/returntospirit
With over a decade of immersive study and teaching, Scott Hilburn’s passion is to aid others to become free of old patterns and conditioning, to be truly authentic, and to live life with an awareness of one’s purpose and mission while in connection with Divine Consciousness. Scott is a full-time teacher and leader of Retreats, Workshops, and Private Coaching offering Kundalini Yoga, Divine Masculine Immersions, Couples Work, and Akashic Reading Integration Spiritual Work for anyone wanting to Elevate and Connect with their Highest Self. www.AmritYogaCollective.com, IG@scott-hilburn.