What is awakening? Is it the same as enlightenment? Is it something that can be created? Conjured?
All I can speak to is what it looks like from here: If there is deep experiencing of oneness, and the experiential and recognized, however brief, lack of a personal self, then that’s it. Awakening. Enlightenment. And just like coming out of deep sleep, it is but the starting point of a new day.
Awakening isn’t the end of anything other than delusion… and is also the beginning of the gradual and constant coming to clarity about what is. My preference is to use the word awakening over enlightenment, as the E-word bears a lot of baggage for some.
From what, to what, is one awakened? Strictly speaking, the answer to both is nothing. This can be confusing until the actual awakening, yet from the angle of Ultimate view, it’s the only answer.
Look at it this way: There is but OneThing here, a singularity, nothing existing other than that; so there is not a thing from which to travel into another, different thing. It’s always the same thing.
Yet it’s absolutely accurate to say we wake up from the illusion of separate into the clarity of oneness; from dreaming of many to living as singular. We step out of thinking about life, and into experiencing it as it is; many many fewer thoughts imposed on top, coloring it all. Oneness becomes experiential.
And what is oneness? This, right now. It’s also the source of this, and the seeming two are never more than one. Such a paradox! (And this rabbit hole goes even deeper: there really isn’t even a “one”… but that’s for another post.)
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There’s a classic story about a poor man who unknowingly has a diamond sewn into the lining of his pants pocket; he wanders the earth, starving; no home, no possessions. Only when he finds the diamond, of course, does his poverty end.
Awakening is the seeing of that hidden, yet always available, treasure. Never not here, just not known; poverty of spirit carrying on, despite the potential. Wealth realized, eventually.
Awakening is waking up to what was always the case, and the answer to the can it be created or conjured question is nope. It already is; it’s just not always apparent. It either shows up or it doesn’t. The diamond stays hidden for some; is discovered by others. All we can do is await; yet intention and focus can be helpful. Adyashanti says it shows up via grace. I agree.
“We awaken to what we are,” is another way of saying that IT awakens to what IT is, as and via us. IT is Ultimate Be-ing; imagine it as a verb, not a noun.
We are all presentations, my friend. We are Ultimate, presenting as human, as life here and now. Same for rock, love, sky, plastic, anger, sun, laughter, tears, time… all of it. Simply be-ing as apparent manifestation, and always IT.
Strip off the names, remove the labels of good/bad, right/wrong and peer closely: all is a presentation of the One showing up as the many. And this is realizable.
How? My best answer: Look. It’s a doing, sure; and when it shows up without a lot of thoughts attached, seeing can happen.
Investigate: are you genuinely a “me”, a separate self?
Look: is there a little entity inside, thinking, speaking, controlling?
Looking can reveal that “I” is an idea and that singularity gives birth to seeming multiplicity. Oneness is right here, right now, so utterly obvious it is simply not noticed.
The two realizations together are the foundation of genuine, lasting awakening; the doorway into the the peace that simply is.
How to see there is no ‘me’, there is only Oneness? Look, without thought, and ask over and over:
Is there Oneness? Where? Is it true?
Is there a self, a me? Where? Is it true?
By dropping automatic, unexamined belief in what is considered unquestionably real, by opening without reservation, the seeing of what is actual has a chance.
Ask. Look. See.