For the longest time, including innumerable incarnations, we live life largely satisfying the material needs of the ego. So much of this kind of life is spent working to pay for the material stuff in life. Life is typically filled with stress about how to get more material stuff and to take care of and keep the stuff we already have.
There comes a time when there is a break in this long, long pattern. Yogananda said the following:
“The materialist, after carrying the load of material duties – without the compensation of true happiness – begins of his own accord to think of cultivating divine qualities such as equanimity and calmness, and thereby starts a spontaneous introspection. It is at this juncture that wise men should strive to lift him to the higher strata of good attributes – discernment, meditation, and performance of actions without attachment.”
When we start to wake up there are several paths we can follow. Confucius said, “By three roads we can reach wisdom: the road of experience, and this is the most difficult; the road of action, and this is the easiest; the road of reflection, and this is the noblest.”
Breaking the pattern needs to come from inside. While there can be some external stimulation and input, this stimulation input has probably been around available to help us in our lifetimes. It’s only when we are ready inside that the shift can begin.
In my life it began with making the statement, “There must be a better way!” I did not know if there was a better way but I was fed up with the life I had been living. I had done everything to optimize it and that was not close to good enough. By asking that question, I began to wake up. I’m still waking up.