Avenues for Awakening

Avenues for Awakening

As I explained last week, a few years ago Briana started writing a book that directly speaks about spirituality and the awakening of human consciousness. I like the word awakening because the condition of everyday consciousness is often like being in a dream. A dream in which anxiety and depression are considered normal, and awe and delight are less common than outrage or boredom. A dream in which we lose contact with two of our greatest powers – the power to create and the power to see. That is, the power to create our life as we choose, and the power to see the truth – i.e., reality unadulterated by our thoughts, stories, beliefs and all the human drama.

The book is called Rituals for Transformation. Our aim was to address several facets of the human condition that are instrumental in keeping us in this unempowered “dream state.” We organized the 108 lessons of the book into 14 categories, but didn’t use these categories in the book, because after writing the lessons we decided to mix up the order. We realized the process would be more effective if we returned to each category repeatedly – making a sort of spiral through the lessons over three months. As we get ready to launch the second edition of the book, I thought it might be inspiring and informative to write about these categories now.

1: Body Awareness and Reframing

The body (and, more importantly, how we relate to it) is one of the biggest impediments to human consciousness and potential. Most people have limited body awareness combined with excessive identification with the body. By “limited body awareness,” I mean that we’re disconnected from our bodies – we tune out most of the intelligence and felt experience that are available to us through this physical vessel. And by “excessive identification with the body” I mean that (despite being disconnected from what it’s telling us) we tend to define and judge ourselves based on how our body looks, feels, and performs – especially in comparison to others.

We started with the physical body because it’s the outermost level of our being. (You can read more about this concept here.) It’s also the most tangible or earthiest aspect of who we are. The lessons in this category focus on loving and being grateful for the body while recognizing that it isn’t who we are. We also focus on learning to feel into the body and reside more mindfully in it. We look at ways in which our concept of the body leads to feelings of antagonism – how the body’s vulnerability to injury, aging, and sickness can make us feel threatened by it and hostile toward it. And we invite readers to honor and care for the body while also experiencing freedom from its limitations.

2: Reframing Thoughts and Feelings

We could say the mind (or ego – meaning our mental identity, our story about ourselves, which is informed by our body, thoughts, social roles, history, relationships, etc.) is the greatest obstacle to awareness. Even the ways that we’re limited by our body come down largely to our thoughts and feelings about it. The mind isn’t intrinsically bad – we use it to solve problems, communicate, and performs all kinds of everyday tasks – and its associated feelings are part of the specialness of being a human.

But our thoughts and feelings have a tendency to completely monopolize our awareness, and in effect, they become our identity. That is, we forget that who we really are is something else – and when we forget, we lose our power and we suffer.

So, these lessons are about perceiving the difference between Awareness and thoughts/feelings, learning to make inner space so that we have the perspective that enables us to not be run by them. We learn to recognize our inner critic and other tricks of the ego, to see how it degrades our experiences, and to defuse its survival mechanisms. And we remind ourselves that it’s always possible to choose our Highest Self (Spirit) rather than the ego.

3: Resistance and Letting Go

In these lessons, we look at the mechanism of resistance. It’s a very primal survival mechanism – by resisting things that don’t feel or taste good, we might spare ourselves harm. But most people resist every feeling, thought, image, smell, person, situation, etc., that isn’t pleasant. When we resist, there’s an underlying subconscious thought – “If I resist this, it will get better” – and it’s almost always untrue. Instead, the resistance itself becomes an uncomfortable burden that obstructs the authentic experience of reality. It also squelches our power, our energy, and our freedom.

The lessons in this section begin with noticing all the ways we resist life and perceiving the impact of that resistance. We inquire as to what inner stories perpetuate resistance. Then we look at the opposite of resistance – “leaning in” or “turning toward” the object we’ve been resisting, getting curious about it, allowing it, exploring what we feel in relation to it, and accepting those feelings.


If these ideas sound interesting to you, I encourage you to check out Rituals for Transformation. Of everything we’ve written, I feel the most strongly that this book changes people’s lives.

You’ll probably notice that some of these ideas feel poignant – likely to provide challenging and rewarding work – while others may not resonate strongly with you. That’s okay. Our intention is to explore multiple avenues for awakening, knowing that, depending on the person, not all of them may be revolutionary.

If you’ve gone through the book, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below. Next week we’ll look at more of these avenues for awakening.

Be well,


  • Shawna E
    Posted at 21:59h, 29 May Reply

    Rituals For Transformation did exactly what it was intended to do for me. It was my first introduction into all things Dragontree and started me on the road to achieving my life’s purpose. The most important gift to me from this book was my meditation practice. I had none and this introduced me in a subtle and engaging way. The next gift was the habit of journaling. When I completed the book, I scrambled to find a replacement to continue the practice. The body awareness days were so important for me and made me feel so grateful for my body and what it has done for me. The reframing and letting go of resistance days found me becoming more open to possibilities I had never considered. The second time around was even sweeter!

  • Jenna
    Posted at 14:13h, 30 May Reply

    I found Rituals of Transformation last year after deciding that it would be a year of Transformation. Working thru it completely, I found the layered approach was powerful, and I’ve recommended it to many friends. I shifted into the Planner this year, but am going to repeat the 108 Day Rituals of Transformation soon, as the habit of journaling and meditation morning and night helps both ground me and ignite growth. The habit held for quite a while, but it is time to refresh that daily practice.
    I’m preparing for an art exhibition (Emergence: Tour of Transformation, which opens June 23) and will be performing my poetry and songs and giving a talk about my own healing journey.
    The work in the Rituals of Transformation helped me delve deeper and brave the darkness within.

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