A Model for Awakening

This Model of Awakening is a way of looking at various practices that support our ultimate liberation.  When approached consciously every experience in our lives can be a support for moving into greater and greater freedom from our “delusions” and past conditioning and traumas.  Different practices emphasize different aspects of becoming free.

In the awakening process our awareness goes from being stuck in duality and separation to an experience of infinite oneness and love.  It is our ego and our identification with it that keeps us limited and separate.  The aim of our sadhana or spiritual practice is to support our letting go of that attachment to ego.  Our identity has been described as a knot of delusions.  The things we think are important and if death occurs before the realization that they are not important, we are born again.  It is the dissolution or breaking or untying of that knot of delusion that is intended.


  1. The force or vector generated by the practice.

  2. The thickness of the ego/identity barrier.

  3. The permeability of the ego/identity barrier.


  1. The totality of the focus of awareness.

  2. Our ability to surrender our identity.

  3. Our ability to rest in open Stillness and be neutral or welcoming towards whatever arises.


1. Generating a strong force

Focused styles of Meditation:  (mantra, zen)


Tantric Awakening Work:   (erotic meditation)

Darkness Retreat


Journey Work:  (focus on breaking through duality, TOAD)


2. Reducing the egoic barrier

Self Inquiry styles of Meditation


Tantric Healing Work


Self Improvement Work

Shadow Work

Journey Work:  (focus on healing, iboga, MDMA for PTSD)

3. Softening the barrier

Bhakti Meditation Practices

Loving Compassion Practices

Heart Opening Practices


Tantric Ecstatic Work:  (m.o.r.e. sessions)


Journey Work:  (focus on discovery & growth, plant based substances)


note: Most practices impact more than one factor, but tend to have the strongest effect with one.

Note:  This is a brief discussion of the Model.  A more in depth exploration of the Model is in the paper "Spiritual Cross-Training".


Practices that tend to focus on breaking through the barrier of ego/identity are associated with the first factor in this model.  These practices tend to create a powerful concentration of our awareness that then penetrates or breaks through the confines of limited egoic thinking.  Any practice that generates a high level of concentrated attention is associated with this factor.

Practices that tend to focus on untying the knot of “delusion” or in reducing the number of delusions we identify with are associated with the second factor in this model.  These practices are about seeing through the delusion and letting go of the false, that which is not our true Self.  As we bring the light of awareness to these false beliefs we have about ourselves they naturally fall away.  Ultimately we can unhook from enough of our false ideas about our self that the barrier between self and Self becomes so thin we can move into our higher Self and the infinite.

Practices that tend to softened or dissolve the wall of ego are associated with the third factor in this model.  These practices tend to open the heart and generate a sense of connectedness with all of life.  As we open our hearts the shell that confines our awareness tend to get more permeable.  As we open more and more the shell gets more and more permeable.  Eventually enough of the shell dissolves that awareness is able to move through it to the infinite.

One of the benefits of having a model of awakening like this one is that we can see the role that different practices play in our movement into the infinite Light.  Often there is a synergetic effect by combining different practices.  When we have hit a block or a plateau with one practice or style of practice we can start to invest our time and energy into a completely different type of practice with a very productive outcome. 

The broader we build the base for our sadhana or spiritual practice, the easier it is to reach to the infinite heights.  This works a little like cross training does for physical athletics.  A runner may find great benefits from doing some yoga.  A mountain climber may find that training with weights improves their ability to climb.  Similarly, by including multiple practices in our spiritual work, we may find that we are more effective at everything we attempt.