As we enter an awakened state of consciousness, where we have gained distance from the confines of dualistic thinking, we find ourselves at the fulcrum point of neutrality. In some respects, this feels like a good marker; we no longer evaluate experiences as inherently bad (or good), which can reduce or release our suffering. Neutrality brings to us an impersonal realization that what happens to people may not be so… well, personal. At a minimum, it offers a perspective above the haze of harsh judgment.
With a shift in awareness and a steadfast grip on the wheel pulling us toward right-or-wrong thinking, we arrive at a paradox. Though our heart may feel lighter and freer, our ego – driven by order, duality, and survival – can begin to panic. When those sharp peaks and valleys of extremes soften into gentle waves, the ego may interpret the smoother ride as boring… or even as an indication of lifelessness. It is here we come upon apathy.
When we encounter apathy, we often misperceive what we experience. Is this depression? Not caring? Am I numb to life? If we have identified strong emotions and opinions with caring deeply, and grown appreciative of this aspect of being human, apathy can be an uncomfortable state. Not wishing to idle in unfamiliar territory, our ego rushes back to duality assuming we have gotten off our spiritual course.
Our spiritual growth gives us the capacity to appreciate the wholeness of Life, acutely recognizing that the multitude of shades, shapes and experiences are far richer than any duality-based definition. Whether we strive for it, or the occurrences of detached awareness happen spontaneously, the sense of feeling apathetic is simply a part of our awakening process. Neutrality not only allows us to notice the depth and complexity in all things, it offers an underlying contentment to our observation.
If we refrain from judging the spiritual apathetic state and allow ourselves to venture deeper into it, we discover its foundation; we realize the Perfection in Everything.
According to Merriam-Webster the simple definition of apathy is “the feeling of not having much emotion or interest: an apathetic state.” With neutrality and equanimity, the abundance of “much” diminishes.
With signposts touting “the more the merrier” at almost every turn in our lives, we’ve associated anything that implies “less” as some kind of deviation. Our feelings of “lack” and “less than” get triggered and put us into a tailspin. Gee, and all this over feeling a little apathy?
An awakening soul rises from the belief that emotions, desires and experiences define the true self.
Admittedly, on the trail of neutrality, apathy takes a bit of getting used to. It can show up in various ways, often leaving us feeling disconnected from mass consciousness. For example, we may not feel compelled to participate in activities that no longer resonate, even if others continue in that direction. Conversations that are shallow, heated or controversial can feel pointless. Discovering what makes us “happy” may suddenly seem like an impossible quest.
No longer being coerced by old habits, or feeling the pull toward emotional highs and lows, we gain opportunities to let go of what isn’t serving us. Guilt, shame and judgment stop navigating our choices.
In the abyss of apathy, we are given the space to simply be.
In an apathetic state we may wonder whether who we are or what we do really matters. If the wondering is infused with worry, it is not so much apathy but rather the ego’s desire to land in a comfortable place. And discomfort can be a handy jumpstart to move us toward the direction of our soul’s calling.
Untethered from dutiful posts, we are free to explore. Often, we begin our explorations within familiar boundaries, noticing them with more objectivity. Do I identify with this community… or that one? Do I want to volunteer my time in this way… or should I volunteer elsewhere? Maybe I’ll take a painting class… or what about web design? In a more open state, we accept our experiences and experimentations for what they are; we don’t depend on them to define us. With neutrality it is easier to discern which external experiences resonate with our core.
Inner journeying is also easier when we enter with equanimity. What used to be major roadblocks to exploring our soul are removed (or reduced to flashing lights signaling to proceed with caution). With our inner judge at bay, our defenses relax. Inviolable, we discover deserted passageways that lead right to our heart.
By exploring the depths and nuances of our being without judgment, more of our true self and gifts emerge.
In addition to our wondrous heart, our shadowy crevices (and all aspects of who we are) contain gems. In fact, the wisdom of our soul has carefully hidden our greatest treasures where they would be protected most; a place only one with skill and courage would dare to look. The spiritual apathetic state – the remembrance innate Perfection – provides the composure we need to find and excavate our inherent gifts.
With neutrality, we can learn to cultivate our gifts without letting them define us or determine our worth. We understand that sharing who we are and what we bring to the world is a choice, not a requirement. And, in electing to do so, we find joy.
If we choose not to perceive apathy as a digression from our spiritual path, or let it crumble to disdain, we can embrace it as a powerful tool to guide our conscious journey to self-awareness and joy.