The period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one’s life. ~ Dalai Lama
In time we completely lose touch with our Divine Self, because as we grow up we are increasingly exposed to the man-made concepts, theories, paradigms, belief systems, cultures, traditions and history underlying our current time-space reality. We become attached to the Material Self or Ego, and we learn to cling to whatever we are taught to perceive as the parameters, or limits of our shared reality.
Eventually we end up fully conditioned and firmly ‘plugged into’ the co-created, human ‘reality matrix’ that forms the foundation for life here on Earth. In the process the memories of our original Divinity often fade completely. This state of separation and ‘spiritual amnesia’ is the Divine Disconnect.
The Divine Disconnect in the early years of a person’s life is, in fact, a classic concept found in many ancient wisdom teachings, mythologies and religious traditions. One only needs to consider the biographical information of the well-known prophets, ascended masters and spiritual teachers throughout history to find evidence of the proliferation of this phenomenon:
The founding father of the three largest mono-theistic religions of the world, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, had an unremarkable life as a semi-nomadic shepherd and trader, until very late in his life. Somewhere in his 70’s God revealed to him his true destiny as the father of a nation and entered into a sacred covenant with him. Today Abraham is honored as the Father of Faith, yet his connection with the Divine happened very late in life.
His reforms and teaching is reported to have only begun when he resigned from his position as Justice Minister in the Chinese state of Lu after the age of 53.
Many spiritual teachers – in Buddhism, in Islam – have talked about first-hand experience of the world as an important part of the path to wisdom, to enlightenment. ~ Bell Hooks
He lived an ordinary life and worked as a carpenter, until his baptism at the age of 30, when John the Baptist recognized him as the long-awaited Messiah. Shortly after, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to fast and pray, and at this time he was unsuccessfully tempted by Satan. His return marks the beginning of his ministry and teachings.
The receiver of the Ten Commandments also had his spiritual awakening very late in life. After 40 years of being a humble shepherd, God appeared to him in a burning bush and instructed him to return to Egypt and free the Hebrews from slavery.
It is unclear exactly when he had his spiritual awakening, but there is more than one legend about his life that seems to reflect the concept of an initial Divine Disconnect. According to one popular myth he was conceived when his mother gazed upon a falling star, after which he stayed in the womb for 62 years and was born a grown man with a full grey beard and long earlobes, which are symbols of wisdom and a long life. Another legend has it that he grew weary of urban life and became a hermit at the age of 160. It was at this time that the classic Chinese text known as the Tao Te Ching is said to have come into being, when a guard at the city gate asked him to produce proof of his wisdom. The Tao Te Ching founded Taoism and strongly influenced Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism.
He renounced his kingdom, his family and worldly possessions at the age of 30 and subsequently spent twelve years as an ascetic who practiced constant meditation until he achieved arihant status, which means that he conquered anger, ego, deception, and greed, and attained perfect knowledge and perfect perception, while becoming passionless and gaining infinite power. Mahavira is known as the sage Vardhamāna who established the Jainism faith.
If we remove ourselves from the world, we are pretending that we can follow our own individual enlightenment and let the rest of the world go to hell, so to speak. ~ Satish Kumar
The Founder of Islam was orphaned as a child and brought up by his uncle. As adult he worked as an ordinary merchant and shepherd, until he became discontented with his life in Mecca. He retreated to a cave in the surrounding mountains to meditate and during this time he received his first revelation from God at the age of 40. Three years later he started preaching these revelations publicly.
Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha
He was born into the life of a wealthy prince, set to become king. It is said that he was shielded by his father from all religious education and knowledge of human suffering. Although his father ensured that he was provided with everything he could ever want or need, Siddhartha felt that material wealth was not life’s ultimate goal. His spiritual life began around the age of 29, when he left his father’s palace and became profoundly aware of aging, sickness, suffering and death among his subjects. This depressed him so much that he gave up his life as a prince and initially strove unsuccessfully to overcome human suffering, by living the life of an ascetic. He later changed the direction of his quest and subsequently attained true enlightenment and thus founded Buddhism.
According to legend he was the son of a mediocre nobleman and he lived a conventional life as a priest, until he had a heavenly vision at the age of 30. In his vision an angel brought him to the god Ahura Mazda, who instructed him to found a new religion known today as Zoroastrianism.
From these examples, among many others, there emerges a clear pattern of metaphysical awakening and spiritual transcendence, namely that it typically occurs towards the second half of a human life, after an initial period of Divine Disconnection.
It is my belief that this initial period of Divine Disconnection is intentional, not coincidental. This preliminary stage of spiritual unconsciousness, or disconnection, is a period of physical orientation and data collection in every young human’s life. It is the preparatory time in our lives when we learn to adapt, function and survive in the Earth environment.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
We seem to need this period of Divine Disconnect to truly focus our attention of the demands of the material world, in order to become fully contributing members of society. Only once we have established a firm footing and a solid understanding of our physical reality, are we ready to reconnect with our original spiritual mission and realign with the Divine Self.
But our world was simpler in the past, when the pace of life was slower and more predictable, and religion provided a firmer spiritual structure to our physical existence. In our post-modern day and age it is increasingly difficult to spontaneously return to our spiritual roots when the time comes; when we are ready to awaken.
Awakening is easier said than done for many people these days. The Material Ego has mutated over the past millennium into an exceptionally dominant and all-pervasive force that somehow paralyzes modern man’s spiritual inclination for much longer periods of time, even whole lifetimes, while enslaving him with fear, superficial materialism and hedonistic pursuits. We have created a manic world nauseous with the pursuit of material wealth. Many also bear their cross of imagined deprivation, while their fellow human beings remain paralyzed by real poverty. We drown in the thick sweetness of our sensual excess, and our shameless opulence, while our discontent souls suffocate in the arid wasteland of spiritual deprivation.
The spontaneous spiritual awakening we are supposed to have no longer occurs as it should for everyone. Some of us become deeply stuck in the reality maze of the modern world and find it difficult to ‘wake up’. Some of us miss our target date, because of life’s distractions and our capacity for free will.
Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. ~ Morihei Ueshiba
Such a late reconnection means they never have the opportunity to fully self-actualize, individuate and transcend in this lifetime. Therefore they never fully achieve their Soul Purpose, or wholly accomplish their Life Calling. Their Life Plan will remain partly unfulfilled when they depart from this time-space reality.
Not accomplishing your Life Plan is a tragic act of free will. It is akin to charting an elaborate vacation itinerary before arriving at your holiday destination, with all kinds of plans for outdoor adventures and intentions to go sightseeing and shopping, but then ending up spending the whole trip in your hotel room ordering from room service and watching television. In a similar fashion the unconscious soul spends a lifetime in the semi-conscious state of Divine Disconnection and then returns home mostly ‘empty-handed’.
Fortunately, all is not lost, because the Divine Self has many innovative ways to remind us who we really are when the time draws near for us to awaken. At the end of our lives none of us will be able to claim that we have never received any signs, messages or warnings to emerge from our disconnected slumber. We are invited to reconnect in some way on a daily basis. All we need to do is hear the Inner Calling. The Eternal is Omnipresent. Yet, despite all the messages and signs, many of us choose to remain spiritually deaf and blind. Many choose to continue their unfulfilled half life in a self-imposed spiritual exile… their self-created desert of human suffering. Some are awoken, but then choose to turn their back on the Voice within. Others are eventually forced to awaken through illness, trauma, or tragedy.
Excerpt from: Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny by Anthon St Maarten © 2012