Ever since I noticed I don’t exist, I’ve been discovering hundreds of other no-selves all over the world–on Facebook pages, online forums, websites, blogs and even in my local community. In these new virtual and actual meetings, my reporter personality (still here) has been busy asking questions about this radical change of perspective called waking up. Here are some results I’m throwing out there, with the complete admission that nothing I say is true. Just possible.
1) Waking up is a choice. It’s not like winning the lottery or a lightning strike, a random crazy event that happens to a few. Waking up happens because a yearning is there to give up the dreaming self. Some get to this yearning in despair, existential fatigue, emotional crisis, near-death experience, boredom with unreality or simply resignation. And sometimes, it’s a catalyst like simple curiosity and eager intention. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need an ordeal in your life to wake up (like losing a fortune or suicidal depression). It’s just a simple but not-easy matter of choice. And while you do not choose the time and place of your awakening, you do set things in motion with sincere intention.
2) You can’t DO waking up. You can’t workshop, weekend seminar or read your way to waking up, anymore than you can force yourself awake from a nocturnal dream (well, some lucid dreamers can pull this one off perhaps). For most of us, it’s in the stopping of seeking (a certain stillness in the moment of not-trying) when awakening happens. For me, it literally happened when I was sound asleep in my bed. Think of when you try really hard to dance well—it’s when you finally stop efforting into the steps that wowzer, you are suddenly a candidate for Dancing with the Stars.
3) Pointers are catalysts. Some books, teachers, blogs and forums can point you in the direction of waking up (also see my blogroll). Yet as instructional and descriptive as these resources are, they are also just road signs, Awareness pointing at itself. Here I Am! Here you are too! Once on the road to enlightenment, your destination has less to do with the pointer and more to do with surrender.
4) Letting go helps. You will never wake up if you are not ready to give up–your life as you think it should be, your mind you think is you, your wounds, your story, maybe even your house, car, spouse and addictions, even chocolate. Yes, it’s all up for grabs. Or it might all remain as is. Life reconstruction after the “I” is demolished can be a minor reno or a complete gutting of the old.
5) The mind has defenders. The last thing that usually gets in the way of waking up, the last ego soldier standing (detailed in Why People Don’t Wake Up ), is your most cherished and usually unconscious drive. For most, it’s something like ambition, fame money, power, love, youth. (which are linked unconscious fears, like fear of losing control, of change, or of the unknown.) The usual suspects. When you become conscious of this unconscious drive/fear, the dismantling of it begins. Think of it like a time bomb that never served you anyway.
6) Resistance is futile. Eastern traditions hint that you will wake up in this lifetime or another, whether you first dismantle these unconscious conditionings or not. It’s just a matter of whether you will wake up gently or be jolted awake by a fierce grace delivering the proverbial bitch slap wake up call. It’s the difference between a shrill alarm waking you up, or a gentle nudge of a friend with morning coffee in hand.
7) The mind can become an ally. On liberation from the dream the last soldier standing often becomes your gift to the collective awakening. Yes, the very thing you desperately wanted, you are. You can’t have it. But you can be it. For instance, one of Lori Ann’s ego soldiers was ambition, especially when it came to writing (my highschool yearbook goal in my graduating year was to become a best selling author). Now, here I am writing without ambition, but with joy, ease and fun. And suddenly, with lots of readers!
8) This form is for something. On awakening, after lounging in the vastness for a bit, you will naturally purpose for the awakening of all dreaming minds. You might not be an evangelical writing zealot like me, but your every day Presence will flow toward an operational awareness even as you chop wood, carry water. From what I can tell, Awareness likes to gather Awareness to itself. C’mon everyone, wake up! It’s a party in here! (Andrew Cohen’s book Evolutionary Enlightenment, has a lot to say about how this impulse works).
So there you have it, eight possibilities about enlightenment which may or may not be true. The one thing I do know is waking up challenged the most basic assumption by which I had lived my 49 years–the assumption I was this separate self called Lori Ann, made up of thoughts and emotions that defined me. The truth of what I am–and what you are–is so much more delightful.
Or as the Indian spiritual teacher Nisargadatta once noted, “All that a guru can tell you is: ‘My dear Sir, you are quite mistaken about yourself. You are not the person you take yourself to be.'”
Still dreaming you are you? Then you are suffering from a simple caes of mistaken identity. And the simple cure? Intend to wake up.
Awareness is here.
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