Awakening: The Journey Part Three "Awakening Awareness"

A Weekly publication of The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation,

Spiritual Direction and Soul Care

Hi Everyone, I pray that you, at this very moment, are experiencing the presence of God in your day. Now is a good time to be still for a few moments and let God speak to your heart.

The Journey Part Three

Last week we began to offer a flavor of the journey by taking a brief look at the foundational brokenness that all humanity deals with.1 Week one, we began with an article titled, “Integration and Disintegration”, which set the stage for a discussion of the human mind. This week we consider a concept we call “Expanding Awareness” as part of the holistic re-integration that we seek.

Expanding Awareness: Presence: of self, others and God, in the present moment1

For the most part, when speaking of expanding awareness, we are looking to move from the false isolated self, of fear, who is dependent and responsive to external events that constrict the soul; to the true free self of love, who is dependent and responsive to the inner, soul expanding, God created self. Soul expansion is the human soul, by the power of the human spirit, which is empowered by the Holy Spirit to expand, permeate, invigorate and enliven all aspects of the human make-up; mind, body and spirit. This process includes a period of purging and purifying, leading to the illumination of that reveals God’s presence everywhere; spatially, as well as temporally and eternally with regard to time, all culminating in union with God. This process opens us up to a deeper sense of our own presence and the presence of others, thus allowing us to be more present to ourselves and others, in the present moment as it unfolds in our lives. This double sense of awareness opens to us the possibility of a quantum life; simultaneously aware of being in all places at any given moment, interconnected (entangled) with all that exists, temporal, eternal and spatially. Of course the fullness of this awareness may never be fully attained, as it is an infinitely ongoing experience “in Christ.” This is what we are referring to as an infinite the process of expanding awareness, whose direction and ultimate goal is perfect awareness that is simultaneously complete and yet to fully be. Within this unfolding moment by moment experience we can become more deeply aware of our own presence and the presence of others as those created the image and likeness of God, with an ever deepening awareness of the presence of God’s before whom we stand, and who is everywhere. Within the context of this expanding awareness the human soul expands as well, as the burgeoning awareness makes us more spiritually susceptible and responsive to the Holy Spirit. In other words as we become more open to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit an awareness of God’s presence becomes more palpable in our lives. Part of this awareness is the realization that the Holy Spirit, given to us by Christ, has empowered our human spirits far more than we previously realized, and it is the Holy Spirit immersed human spirit which is the source and power of soul expansion. It is by this expanding soul, by the grace of God, that holistic, soul, mind and body transformation occurs.

The following “Awareness Dynamics Chart” chart is designed as a visual, to help us better understand this process of expanding awareness. Notice that I have referred to this as a dynamic, and not as steps or stages; as we may find ourselves at various points of the dynamic at any given time, depending on events and circumstances. That being said each dynamic is to be seen as an upward spiral movement of awareness, which corresponds with a deeper relationship with God, other people, and all creation. In a real way each dynamic is both a building block and formulaic mixture that helps us to an expanded awareness, built upon deeper states of consciousness that become manifest in and through actively knowing and carrying out the will of God.

Awareness Dynamic Chart

Kenotic awareness (self-emptying Love; beyond awareness to pure being)

Fully aware (union with God)

God’s eye view (illuminating Love, holiness; sanctifying awareness)

Knowing Love (Relationship with God, purifying awareness)

Acting on the realized need to know, Love (God) (justifying awareness)

Receiving Love (awareness that ego is not our true self)

Awareness that God is Love (purifying awareness)

Awareness that is love we seek

A sense of more (awareness of longing)

Goodness, beauty, truth (beginning awareness of divinity)

Human existence (base awareness; fully self-oriented, utilitarian)

Human beings---------------------ability to transcend through soul expansion

Animal-life----instinctual awareness, extremely limited ability to transcend

Plant life -------------------------------fixed awareness, no ability to transcend

Inanimate objects --------------------------no awareness or ability to transcend

Expanding Awareness

1 The complete Soul Care program at The Awakening Institute consists of five 90 minute session called “The Journey” followed by six a session program called “Choosing Joy.” For complete information please email the

Save the Dates


  • Lectio Divina (3 hour seminar and practice) April 29th from 9:00am-12:00noon

(Postponed new date TBA)

  • Introduction to the Enneagram (6 hour seminar) May 20th from 9:00am to 3:00pm with 1 hour break for lunch.

  • Centering Prayer (3 hour seminar and practice) June 24th form 9:00am to 12:00noon

Please email for details

To register please call 321-298-8801

Or visit our website for a complete listing of available classes and a free syllabus for a class of your choice.

Want to learn more about the important practice of spiritual direction, or are looking for a spiritual director to walk with you in your spiritual journey?

Contact “The Awakening Institute” 321-298-8801 or visit our website

Coming in the Fall of 2017

Introduction to the Enneagram Eleven Week Course

This is an Eleven week (27.5 hour) course into the fantastic world of the Enneagram.

This class will include an in-depth look into all nine spaces as well as their subtypes, wings, triads and Holy ideas, with emphasis on its usefulness within the context of spiritual direction and self-care.

Syllabus is now available;

Something to Ponder

“It is we who choose to awaken ourselves, but God who chooses to awaken us”

Thomas Merton

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Send us their email address and we will make it happen

Coming this Fall

Christian Mysticism in Today’s World

Course Description: This is an 12 week course, (2 1/2 hours per session), designed to help the student discover the most important dynamics of Christian Mysticism, both in its historical context as well as the many ways it has, and continues to develop today. We will use a three-fold approach, which includes 1) Defining mysticism historically and what it means for disciples today. 2) Answering the question, “Who is a mystic?” and 3) the way of the mystic.

Syllabus now available, email:

Community Bible Experience

This is an encounter with God’s Word designed for those who wish to experience the Scriptures at a deep heart level, as a way to inner transformation.

Coming in the summer of 2017

The Gospel of John

Watch for details

Some recommendations for excellent spiritual guidance…

If you have others to share with our readers please send them to

Knowing as We Are Known

A five week study in inner stillness

As taught by the author

Eugene T. Yotka

August 4, 11, 18, 25 and September1


at Epworth UMC,

7651 Johnson Street, Hollywood, Florida

Email for tuition costs, further details and to reserve your space

Soul Care at “The Awakening Institute”

The focus of Soul Care is the tending to, and strengthening of, the human soul, which has been damage by past trauma, an ongoing crisis, or various negative life events accumulated over a period of time.

The human soul is created to perceive God, to contemplate God and to love God. In other words, the human soul is designed to sense God’s presence, to be consciously aware of, and to practice God’s presence, and to have a deep love relationship with God as a result. This is often blocked by the damage that life in this world can do to the soul. This is spiritual damage in that it keeps the soul, which is fed and empowered by the human spirit in connection to the Holy Spirit, from receiving the nourishment it needs. This blockage is often in the form of stress, anxiety, worry and depression, which blocks the life giving effects of the Holy Spirit upon the human soul. The heart of The Awakening Institutes approach to soul care is an eleven week process consisting of two elements. 1) A five session experience we call “The Journey”, which is an in-depth look at spiritual formation as a dynamic process where the human spirit immersed in the Holy Spirit, has an empowering effect on the human soul, which in turn has healing effects on the human mind and body. 2) The Journey is then followed by a six session program titled “Choosing Joy”, which addresses spiritual blockages and soul damage due to the effects of stress, worry, anxiety and/or depression in a person’s life. For further information regarding the Soul Care program at The Awakening Institute please email and request details regarding Soul Care.

“Knowing as We Are Known: An Exercise in Inner Stillness”, by Eugene T. Yotka,

Imagine Seeing Yourself as God See’s You; The True You.

Imagine Living in Full Awareness of The Lord’s Presence in Your Life

Imagine Having a Deeper Sense of Being One of God’s Beloved Children

Imagine Hearing God’s Still Small Voice in a More Profound Manner

We all long to live from the center of an authentic self. Gene Yotka has provided an important resource for helping us identify and express a spiritual life from that center. His book is a gift. – Dr. Steve Harper, Professor of Spiritual Formation, Asbury Theological Seminary

Gene has demystified contemplative prayer and made it accessible to the average believer. – Dr. Stephen Seamands, Professor of Christian Doctrine, Asbury Theological Seminary

From Gene’s book I learned a lot about how to truly pray. -- Salvatore Buttaci, Author and Poet

Eugene Yotka's book changed my life. I have struggled with years of feeling lonely even though I had people in my life that I felt connected with and having been saved since I was 3 years old and felt I had a relationship with the Lord. But this book and practicing inner stillness brought me to a place of knowing God like I have never known Him before. I no longer feel alone and feel empowered to practice inner stillness daily to continue this awesome relationship with God. --Wanda, Amazon review

“Knowing as We Are Known: An Exercise in Inner Stillness”, by Eugene T. Yotka, offers a way to experience the true self where God speaks to our spirits telling us we are God’s children. We are created to live in the Presence of God, here and now, and to know inward stillness, peace, and tranquility as a way of life.

Available for $12.00 from The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction and Soul Care

Immerse yourself in that still place within, in which God speaks to the true self that you have been created to be. This book is more than simply information about inner stillness; it is a guide into the experience of inner stillness itself. This is the author’s journey to that place where God speaks to our spirits and calls us children. This is a call not so much to do something as much as it is a call to be who God created us to be.

A Gathering of Spiritual Directors

This coming spring The Awakening Institute will host a gathering of spiritual directors. The reason for the gathering is to come together in prayer and to seek discernment regarding ways we can, together, raise awareness within the church of how spiritual direction can be a vehicle by which God’s presence and voice can be more deeply felt and more clearly heard, at both individual and congregational levels. If you are a spiritual director and would like to join in this conversation please contact Gene Yotka at 321-298-8801 or email for additional details.

Have Something You Would Like to Share?

Awakening would be blessed to receive original articles, poems, or artistic work that would be helpful and edifying for those interested in Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction, and/or Soul Care for future publication.

Please submit via email to

Recommended Reading

(Additional to our daily Scripture reading)

  • Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, by David-Steindl Rast

  • I Am A Follower, by Leonard Sweet

  • Becoming Human, By Jean Vanier

  • Knowing As We Are Known, by Eugene T. Yotka

  • Let Your Life Speak, by Parker Palmer

  • Desiring God’s Will, by David Benner

  • Walking In The Light, by Steve Harper

  • Thoughts in Solitude, by Thomas Merton

  • Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven & Earth, by Will Willimon

  • The Mystic Way of Evangelism, by Elaine A. Heath

  • A Hidden Wholeness, by Parker Palmer

  • The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henri Nouwen

  • Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity, by Norman Wirzba

  • Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr

  • Between the Dark and the Daylight, by Joan Chittister

  • New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton

  • Love Henri, by Henri Nouwen

  • New! The Divine Dance, by Richard Rohr

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