Awhile back, a shaman friend of mine posted an essay questioning the meaning of the phrase “late in life”, and re-framing the definition of age by equating it with the length of time that has passed since experiencing a spiritual awakening.
In other words, you are born when your consciousness comes alive.
This can mean many different things to different people. I thought, as I read his ideas, that the birth of what he called consciousness, which I see as a radical shift in perspective, often requires or comes on the heels of a sacrifice – for my friend, the initial catalyst was sharing his brother’s experience of facing mortality. For me the catalyst was motherhood. The literal birth of my first child into the world marked the occasion of the birth of the mother in me, and instantaneously I saw the world with new eyes and I recognized my Self, as well as the significance of my purpose.
This experience – the epiphany of self-recognition – can be born of any number of profound life-altering experiences. Parenthood, coping with severe illness or injury, going through a divorce, the death of a loved one… Coming out, too, carries with it the same gravity of emergence into the light of truth. Even making the decision to change careers can be similar – a choice to live your life as who you were meant to be.
There is a pivotal moment, after which authenticity and awareness become a part of your very being, and from which there is henceforth no turning back. A spiritual awakening. Any profoundly impactful emotional experience which results in the individual engaging the world in a new way (which was previously not even a part of their consciousness) can be seen, in effect, as the “birth” of that individual.
I was, by this new definition, “born” fifteen years ago.
When were you born?
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