Someone asked me recently, “How do I surrender so that I can wake up?” This made me laugh because there is in this question a paradox: The “you” that would invite surrender (or resist surrender) is not relevant to waking up to your true nature as Awareness.
You see, surrender is not something you do. It is not an action or a mental choice. Surrender simply happens when you realize there is nothing to hold on to, nothing to give up–that anything you imagine you must let go of is not real.
In this way, surrender is your natural state of non-resistance and openness to what is. Once you know there is nothing to hold on to, then surrender is your state of being. Surrender naturally rises up when resistance dissolves.
So then the real question is: How do I let go of resistance to my already surrendered and vast Self?
At risk of creating a recipe for enlightenment, I am going suggest that one “method” might be a practice of noticing the ways you are not yet awake and therefore in resistance. This witnessing of the dreaming self can be the beginning of going from fast asleep, to groggily awake. And then one day, boom—you just wake up, all the way.
So, just as when you are dreaming at night and can become lucid by looking for signs of a dream in progress (the purple polka dot elephant in your dream living room) I invite you to do this in your waking dream. Here are four purple elephants that can clue you in to a dream in progress. In paying attention to these four simple signals, you can begin to ask yourself “Am I awakened Awareness or am I the mind dreaming?”
1) You mind what happens: Or, reality bothers you. Instead of simply unfolding in the accepting embrace of Awareness, some or all of the what-happens causes you to feel anxious, sad, angry, guilty, and regretful and the list goes on. You are in an intermittent or ongoing dispute with what-is.
2) You believe your thoughts: Or, your thinking has influence. From Awareness, thoughts are few and arise in the context of the moment. They are contextual to the now, and do not converge around problems in the past or worries for the future. There is the now, revealing itself to ever-curious Awareness OR there is the past, future and almost-now being managed by the mind.
3) Your feelings matter: Or your emotions seem to make sense. What if you were told feelings are symptoms of a sickness? That your happiness, sadness, anger, fear, shame, guilt, despair on so on, are the results of an illness, much like a delirium induced by a fever? And that when the fever breaks, and wellness is restored in the form of your awakened self, the new territory is unerringly calm. Emotions are not real, because like weather patterns, they come and go. What always remains and is present even as the dream mind dreams on, is the understanding that stillness, joy and peace are all that is real. This is not a trying to be these states, but rather this is the truth of who you are, which pervades all and extends into the world once you are awake to your true nature as Awareness.
4) Your body is you: Or you imagine without your body, you are not here. This is perhaps the most convincing illusion in the dream. That this physical form called–(fill in your name)–is you. The fun part is that the body is you and it is not you. It is closer to say, that your form is an extension of the real you. A test that you believe yourself to be the body is the fear of injury or death. The fear is simply not possible in the presence of the Awareness. This is not to say that adrenalin won’t fire if you are faced with mortal peril. But it does mean that although you might have a physiological reaction from the body, you will not be afraid. This deeper serenity in the face of annihilation is a natural outcome of already experiencing annihilation of the mind upon awakening. Only the mind fears death. Awakened Awareness knows itself as eternal.
So you see, you are asleep—deeply or lightly. But if these clues arise in your experience of life, then celebrate the opportunity to recognize that “Hey, maybe I am not really awake. This must be a dream!”
To be lucid in your own life, in this waking dream, is a blessing. Because the gift of this realization is the inevitable: No sleeper sleeps forever. You are bound to wake up. It could be now.
Awareness is Here!