There are two basic flavors of life-changing insight.
Firstly, there are the spiritual insights, which always pertain to something about the eternal present. Maybe it’s perceiving the sacredness of all things, awareness splitting off from the ego, or dropping into a boundless love.
Secondly, there’s the human insights, which refer to meaning, purpose and choices. Maybe it’s figuring out your life’s calling, realizing it’s time to leave a job, or understanding the meaning of your friend’s death.
In either flavor, the insights happen totally unpredictably—some call this grace. Maybe it comes through a peak experience in nature. Maybe through a profound absorption in song or dance. Maybe through the deep stillness of sitting meditation. Or, maybe through nothing special, like cleaning the bathroom sink.
Ultimately, the specific moment any insight happens is unpredictable—however, there’s also a loophole.
While you can’t just decide you’re going to split awareness from the ego, you can create the conditions that lead to that event; or, as I like to put it, you can trick yourself!
Usually, I’ve tricked myself when I notice I’m stagnating in some way.
One the spiritual level, I once tricked myself by signing up for a month-long intensive yoga course off the grid. Another time, I tricked myself by signing up for a ten-day meditation retreat. Similarly, I once tricked myself by buying a one-month unlimited pass to a yoga studio and telling two people that I would go at least six days a week.
On the human level, I’ve tricked myself into dietary insight by committing to radical eating changes for one month, like no meat or sugar; by fasting or by not stocking my pantry with anything but whole foods. I’ve tricked myself into bodily insight by committing to commuting to/from work with my bicycle. I’ve tricked myself into self-growth by packing my bags and buying a one-way ticket. I’ve tricked myself into deeper layers of love and connectedness by moving in with a woman.
Basically, the “tricking” involves making a decision that you can’t easily back out of; and, from there, totally surrendering to grace.
Where is your longing pointing you? How could trick yourself into diving in more deeply?