10/08/2013 12:28 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Fog of the Heart

Awakenings. When is the last time you had a true awakening?

The kind that makes you think hard about life. Why you're here and where you're going. Like standing in front of a giant mirror that somehow cuts through your skin and bones and reveals your true heart, certain insights expose your soul and the spirit that defines you. They undress you and leave you naked, gazing in a mirror that reflects a clearer image of what you cherish most and urgently want to have. Suddenly you wake up to the real person you've become. Or had hoped to become. What makes you unique and distinct. And whether you bring lasting love and compassion into the life of others, especially your spouse.

Awakenings spark new awareness of something critical to the meaning of life and happiness you haven't thought about before. Or at least lately. Could relate to your life purpose or an exciting vision that motivates you to reach for more. You begin to think long and hard about time. The time you have left. And you begin to realize that time stretches only so far. The greater purposes that fill you with meaning, direction and a bold reason to be alive now seem more urgent. These represent major insights, not minor ones. A new belief that has the potential to take your life beyond the horizon that typically defines your thinking and beliefs. Somewhere special.

Most have experienced an awakening sometime in their life. Could be a major insight about your personality -- what makes you tic. Or perhaps tock. Could be a peak experience or some event that shakes you up and leaves you wondering about the more serious issues in life. Such as the death of a loved one. An illness. Makes you think long and hard about love and virtues and you start asking questions. You may ponder what love means with your life partner, your mate. How you got into the problems or challenges you face and what you did to overcome the odds. Times you really succeeded. You start to reflect on the ditches you have stepped in and how you got out. How you made it. Where you realize you have the right stuff to get somewhere in life you didn't think possible before.

Yet awakenings have a fragile side. So often they disappear into the darkness, subject to a kind of blindness that lurks in the shadows in your spirit and threatens to subvert the very light that illuminated hope, that created brilliant insights and gave you renewed courage. A process you see over and over again. Here's how it works. You have a major insight about your life. Let's say, for example, a loved one dies and you start to ponder what really matters most. Not what you take with you or what you've accumulated. But how they have impacted you emotionally and even spiritually. The influence they had on your life. You reflect on your own relationships and ponder the impact you have on your wife, your children, friends and even strangers. You see your spouse and loved ones with fresh eyes.

But then the fogs rolls in. Don't know if you've ever been somewhere watching the fog roll in. It creeps in slowly, as if hovers over the ground and makes its way up and around to the point you can't see much anymore. So it goes with the heart. There is a fog of the heart. Sinks in slowly and has the potential to camouflage or snuff out the insight that our awakenings produce.

Imagine for a minute that you have two powers available to you that center on a renewed energy to see and experience life differently. First, you have the power to discover and create your own awakenings. Don't have to wait for someone to die. A marriage to unravel. Love of self or your mate or others to die. And second, you have the power to sustain them. To integrate new insights that cut through the thick, steamy air around you and embolden you to love more, smile more and give more. At these times, the fog begins to lift and you see the light ahead.

Some thoughts to engineer your own revelations. First, ask yourself powerful questions that cut to the chase.

What really matters in life?

What is my true calling?

How can I bring more love and light into the world -- to strangers and those I love?

How can I love my wife, my husband passionately and treat them with immeasurable respect?

Second, write down your answers and hold onto them for dear life. Start searching for breakthroughs in how you see life. Pursue powerful questions that wreak havoc on the ordinary, mundane musings. That pulverize complacency and self-doubt. How you can love even more. And how you can make a difference in this world.

Don't let the fog of amnesia blanket your own mindfulness and commitment to keep change alive. Time is a precious commodity indeed. Not infinite. Fill it up with those things that truly matter. Love of self and especially love of your soul-mate and best friend. The guy you married. The woman you pursued, chased and won over. These are the awakenings that really matter. Find them. Embrace them. Mirror them in thought and action. Moment by moment. Hour by hour. Become the visions you discover. The change you know you have in you. They truly have the power to make us brand new. Brand brand new.