This is in response to a comment by Louis over on “How i learned to stop…” She was uncertain about awakening…
As you approach awakening, you can become uncertain if you are awake or not. The Self seems awake inside and there can be a sense “I am that”, but one also notices the person is still there. Some days, it can seem clear, others less so.
Another feature of closing on awakening is the witness. The awakening soul. The soul or jiva awakes within and becomes the observer or witness at all times, even in deep sleep. Suzanne describes this in “Collision with the Infinite”, mentioned on “It Can be Easier“. Note that she is also experiencing a great deal of ego fear. More typically, this is an experience of profound peace, with some brief periods of purification.
When we truly awaken, the ego is seen through and “dies” or is forgotten. It’s not uncommon for the ego to see it’s approaching doom more clearly than we do. It thus can get into all sorts of tricks. Pretending to be the Self. Or Suzanne’s panic and fear. I’ve seen a couple of people suddenly balk at the whole thing and abandon the path. This is due to our identification with the ego – it makes more noise so we tend to listen to it more than we should.
I’ve also seen a few people declare themselves “Enlightened” and begin their preaching. Whats been called “premature immaculation”.
Often, the last barrier to awakening is our ideas of what awakening is. Because we hold to certain expectations, we resist anything that may get in the way of that. Same as all other suffering.
Awakening can be sudden or gradual but there is always a distinct shift, a point at which we step out of the illusion/ loose the ego/ change from being the person to the observer. For some, this change is quite distinct. For people long on the path, it can be less distinct as it is already familiar. But you may notice things like there being no transcendent to transcend to in meditation – you are already there. It shifts to a time of deeper silence rather than touching silence. If you are to ask where you “are”, you will find its not inside the body anymore. Much more non-local.
When you reach a place of such transition, your understanding can help but it can be invaluable not to waste time in doubt or confusion. A suitable Teacher can help with clarity. At some point, you will reach your own certainty.
Don’t see this as the goal or end of the journey. Indeed, when you awaken, you will discover it’s just the beginning of a whole new adventure. Abiding peace, happiness, and freedom are fine things. But there is much more.