Research Paper By Jonathan Hermida
(Transformational Coaching, United States)
Coaching is becoming one of the Western world’s most valuable and accessible tools for spiritual awakening. People are awakening at an accelerated pace. The rapid growth of technology and the Internet has played a significant role in this. We have experienced a level of human ingenuity and advancement in the last 60 years that was unimaginable even a couple of decade’s prior. This evolution has interconnected us more than ever before. Yet even with all of this people remain unsatisfied and unhappy with themselves and with the role that they are playing in this life. Many people find themselves in jobs that are unfulfilling, in relationships that are unsatisfying, playing out the same old storyline over and over again with no resolution in sight.
The systems that have come to define our modern and civilized world are no longer serving. Suffering is rampant in a world that seemingly has an overabundance of resources at its disposal. Because people are questioning the very infrastructure in which they live, one that’s not providing them the joy and happiness that it originally sold them on, they are finding themselves on very unstable ground. Life structures and belief systems are crumbling away. It’s simply not working anymore. People are desperate for another way. Many are seeking more spiritual paths that provide the inner nourishment, authenticity and fulfillment that the old external structures could never come close to providing. But that also comes with a serving of fear. There is so much unknown in following such a path. How do I make money? What will people think of me? What will become of my life? These are only a few of the questions people start asking themselves.
It’s also clear that the old spiritual relationships of master and disciple and teacher and student aren’t very practical for the majority of people. The majority of the world’s populations live in large, metropolitan cities. Most people can’t and/or don’t want to escape into the mountains for a decade or spend significant amount of time away from their family or careers. They’ve also become untrustworthy of these “gurus” and teachers professing to have the solution to life’s ailments. How many of them have we all encountered in our life?
Ultimately people are looking for something much more accessible and transparent. They’re looking for something that can somehow marry their deepest inner yearnings with the reality of their day in and day out responsibilities. Like all supply and demand that exists in the natural world (check: evolution) a new way had to emerge from this desire.
And that new way is deep, transformational coaching. Deep coaching provides the very space and structure that people need as they begin to navigate this very new, very unknown and very incredible potential inside of them. It’s a relationship where they are the master’s of their ship, the co-creator’s of their life. They are at one the teacher and the student. There are many important points to realize in this process. So in order to understand how coaching can help, it’s important to first see what spiritual awakening actually means. We will then explore some of the challenges and obstacles that people encounter on the path. Lastly, we will see the role coaching can play in this extraordinary process. So like anything else, we start at the beginning.
What is Spiritual Awakening?
Spiritual Awakening is the process of waking up to the reality of who we really are. This is the very real handing over of power from the ego to the indwelling spirit. The ego is that part of us that makes us feel separate from our neighbor. It is that part of us that feeds off mental drama like comparing, judging, blaming and at it’s core fearing. It is that part of us that makes us feel as though we aren’t enough and therefore must find someone or something to make us whole or complete. Spirit is the wholeness, the reality of who we really are. It is the part of us that is never and can never be separate from anything or anyone. It is the common element that we all share, not just as human beings but as livings beings here on Earth. It is the proof that we are made in the “image” of God. God has never been the omniscient white, bearded father figure looking down at us from the heavens that has so often been portrayed in some traditions. God IS and always has been. God is the space within which everything in this Universe unfolds, from a black hole in the far reaches of outer space to our own individual consciousness. God is the oneness that underlies our experience here on Earth and all experiences everywhere.
How Did We Ever Become Separate From This?
How we became separate from this is something that has been written many times over throughout the millenniums. It’s in fact the metaphor of one of the most known stories of all time, that of Adam and Eve. Eve taking a bite out of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge has been said to be a metaphor for human’s deciding to experience life as separate and to identify with thought. The moment we identified with thought, can be seen as our “original sin” and to come back into unity with the Creator in our current form is the highest thing we can aspire to in life though our individual paths to this unity varies greatly.
There are 7 billion people on planet Earth and likewise there are 7 billion unique paths back to wholeness. Our goal as individual people is to access and connect with our own unique and individual path to that unity. That’s why whether you are a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist or are on a non-denominational spiritual path involving yoga, meditation, energy work, etc, does not really make a difference. These are all paths leading to the same destination. You will know when you are on the path that is for you. Discovering these very things within ourselves is what the deep coaching process can help unravel.
We have an endless amount of inner concepts, ideas, fears, projections and judgments that stand in the way of clear seeing. If we want to discover that path that is so unique to each one of us then we do have to make the concerted effort to remove the blocks to that vision. In order to remove the blocks we have to dive inside and see what’s there.
The Outer is a Mirror of the Inner
If we want to see what the reality of our inner condition is like we only need to look at the world we have created around us. A new global analysis just revealed that 30 percent of the world is obese while one in seven people worldwide go hungry. According to Forbes the eighty-five richest people on the planet have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest combined. Planet Earth is on the precipice of complete and irreversible damage. We are one word away from nuclear warfare. Genocide and slavery still exist. And there are inner, civil and global wars happening all over the planet. Never before in the history of mankind have we been confronted with so many possibilities for self-annihilation. We have reached a breaking point as a civilization. We have nowhere to run anymore. We are running out of moves. We’ve tried to fix these issues externally through politics, organizations, movements and protests. None of it works because we are only dealing with the symptoms and not the cause. The true cause of all this insanity is our own inner separation, our own confusion, and our own inner battle against self-rejection, shame and feelings of unworthiness. That is at the root of all that we see as bad and awful in our world.
If we want to change the world we see around us, it is only logical to begin with our own selves and our own lives. The only move left is to wake up to who we really are. Only this will cause the ripple effect that can change the fate of our species and our planet. This is why spiritual awakening has never been more vital and more important. Our very survival depends on it. This is the reason we are here and this is what can take the human race into a whole new realm of existence. We are on the verge of something spectacular and coaching can play a significant role in this process. But it isn’t an easy process and it isn’t one we as coaches can force within our clients. It has to come from them. We are only here to serve and to support the awakening of each individual that comes our way. Understanding the obstacles and the challenges that our clients face can be the most important resource we have at our disposal.
The Obstacles and Challenges to Awakening
We are creatures of habit. That’s the way we’re constructed. Particularly in the first five years or so of life, we are sponges absorbing everything in our environment. We are born with a clean slate. We have no preconceived concepts, opinions and judgments about anything. We’re an empty vessel with supreme natural intelligence. Whereas most animals are born and automatically and instinctively know their role, ours need to be learned. So as perfectly constructed learning machines we pick up every voice inflection, every gesture, every feeling and every emotion and encode it into our brains. It is the way of the human species. Because of this, the way our first 15 years of life goes greatly influences how the rest of our life goes. As we pick up the habits and thoughts of those that raise us, we also pick up their energies. We are also picking up the habits, thoughts and energies that have been passed on to them during their upbringing and so on and so forth back generation to generation ad infinitum to the beginning of time. Sounds overwhelming. And it is.
We’re carrying more inside of us than we think and certainly more than we can handle alone. As we pick up all these different components we are also reacting to them in the only way our growing brains are capable of. If we constantly pick up signals of fear and anger then our instincts will kick in and we will try to protect ourselves, building psychological armor to prevent our perceived threats from manifesting. We then take this energy with us into our lives, filtering things from this energetic level, which then dictates our experience. It’s not hard to imagine what happens to a child born into extreme conditions of poverty or war. Most things become a threat and that child becomes an adult that has evolved a certain internal mechanism to cope with this bombardment of external threats
If you’re reading this though, you probably did not come form such a place. But when it comes to interpreting threats, to the human psyche it almost doesn’t matter whether you fear for your life or your self-image, the fight or flight mechanism operates in the same way. We release epinephrine and increase cortisol production and then our body reacts accordingly, followed by our perpetuated mental interpretation of that event.
So, when as a young child, we experience physical or emotional abuse or abandonment of any sort we start protecting ourselves from the possibility of this happening again in our lives. We start building this psychological armor I was alluding to earlier. We fear the same events that hurt us as a child, happening again. Ironically, through this fear and rejection we bring about the exact scenarios we hoped to avoid. We haven’t properly processed these events and emotions. We have instead stuffed them away because they hurt us too deeply and we didn’t know how to deal with them at the time. Our brains were not properly trained to deal with them. We did the best we could with the tools that we had. Unfortunately this builds the mental sickness that we see today.
We can see the avoidance of this psychological pain manifest all around us. The obesity epidemic we’re experiencing worldwide is a direct manifestation of trying to stuff away or numb out all these experiences, this fear that we have inside. Likewise drug abuse, alcoholism, sex addictions and even our obsession with TV and the Internet can be seen as outlets that we use to avoid the suffering.
We can start to see, rather quickly that we have an entire buffet of avoidance tactics that have become part of our regular, every day life. We also start to see that we’re not alone in experiencing this suffering. It’s all around us. More so, we are all perpetuating this same sickness by refusing to investigate the validity of it all.
If we can give ourselves the space to take a step back, we can see that certain experiences happened when we were young, innocent and defenseless. We are now adults that have great capabilities of discernment. Realizing the origins of this inner dysfunction we understand that we have a choice and that we can perceive things differently. What was once a perceived threat to survival is now only a mental image and belief system that we keep re-creating in our minds. We can only see this if we have enough inner presence to separate ourselves from our experience and see the reality behind our interpretation. It takes great courage to do this because at stake is the entire world, however negative, that we have built our identities and our lives around.
Ultimately the obstacles and challenges we face is our own self and our own willingness to fearlessly look at our life situation with an open mind and an open heart, determined to see the truth. If we can begin to do this we will start awakening to who we really are and what our life purpose is. Once all of this confusion is cleared our being becomes free to express itself as it was always intended to; to be in direct service and unity with God and the Universe.
How can coaching help?
We are in a unique position as coaches when it comes to spiritual awakening. We are not therapists, hired to heal psychological imbalances. And we’re not spiritual teachers here to impart our beliefs. Yet our clients still come to us for guidance. So then what is our role exactly? Our role as coaches is to be the space where our clients can come to safely explore and heal the inner blocks they perceive to have. We are here to be the nurturing space where our clients can come to experience their life in the most authentic way imaginable. We are not here to impose our will or to impart our own belief systems on our clients. We are here to be a tool for the awakening of our clients. That is why it is absolutely vital we come in with a continuously polished mirror so the highest expression of our clients can manifest. We need to have an open presence and a clear mind if we are to be of the most profound service to our clients. And we can only do that by doing the inner work ourselves. We need to be one hundred percent committed to the path of awakening if we want to be a true vehicle for change. It is through this commitment that we are able to fully be the presence our clients need.
Our coaching presence is the single greatest skill we can provide our clients. In this presence openness, non-judgment and deep listening are all implied. It is from this place that we can create a deeply nourishing and healing energetic space. In this way, deep coaching becomes, as Leon Vanderpol states, “therapeutic, even though it’s not therapy.” We are supporting our clients in their movement back to wholeness. We are helping them to connect with their own inner life force that will guide them through their transformation.
If we don’t have experience with this in our own lives it will be extremely challenging to support and guide our clients through this very important and very sensitive time in their lives. There will be times when our clients will feel the need to go deeper into themselves. We as a coaches need to trust in our ability to go as deep as our clients are willing to go themselves. If we can do this then we are providing a dimension our clients probably don’t get anywhere else in their lives. It is from these depths that our clients will get in touch with parts of themselves they may not have even known existed. And that’s when the magic starts. As coaches we need only to maintain our presence in this space and allow our clients to empty their soul of all the insights and wisdom that had previously been buried. In this space, our clients begin tasting what it feels like to live from spirit, devoid of the ego. And really what have we done as coaches up until now? We can say nothing and everything at the same time. Nothing in that our clients are doing all the work. They’re the ones navigating this space, dictating its direction. But everything in that presence is THE transformational force in our world. Presence is healing. Presence is forgiving. Presence is allowing. Presence is loving. Presence is power. And our presence helps to expand the presence within our clients.
Our role as transformational coaches is big and it’s vital. People don’t need another method or another teaching at this point. There’s an endless amount of that all over. What people now need more than ever is a space to empty their hearts so that the true expression of their being can shine bright. If we can provide that space then we are truly at the front lines of this rapidly approaching spiritual awakening.