Perspectives on Awakening

Perspectives on Awakening

From the perspective of a person waking up, there is a falling away of a sense of individuality and a “waking” to our cosmic or universal Self. Hence it is called Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness. This is not just a recognition or an experience but a shift in being, a shift in where we experience the world from.

But for a person, there is nothing they can do to create this event. They can do practices to help smooth the process and prepare the ground. But awakening is a surrender, a letting go, a non-doing. Sometimes it happens with a catalyst, like the presence of someone awake they resonate with. And sometimes, it just happens out of the blue.

This is because what is triggering the awakening is much deeper. Deeper even than cosmic Self.

From the later Unity perspective, all comes to be seen as mySelf. The mechanics of consciousness and awakening become much more clear as they are intimate to us. We come to recognize consciousness as self-aware both globally and at every point within itself. But still the trigger of awakening is not seen. Perhaps it is called grace.

In Brahman, the perspective changes again. Now we are beyond consciousness, existence and all we were before. And yet, Brahman is inclusive of all prior stages. Where Unity gradually comes to see all as Self, Brahman knows what is non-Self. We could say non-Self is Self that has not yet woken up to itself. The dark side that is silence alone, unlit by self-knowing, the light of awareness.

Thus in the process of Brahman knowing itself it is said to devour the non-Self. The person back at the beginning? They know this as awakening.

Thus we discover it is Brahman knowing itself that is what a person knows as awakening.

Last Updated on June 16, 2016 by

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  1. celeste

    My own personal opinion is that this belief that there is nothing that a person to do to awaken is bullpucky. Sure there are people who automatically awaken, my guess they have had many lives of asceticism, good works and seva to get there. It seems to me there are more saints who spend hours in meditation and seva before they are awakened. One of my favorite teachers was an ascetic who roamed India for many years before he found the teacher that he felt was his true teacher. He awakened in a late age and died at 116. Good karma helps.

    I tend to shy away from the teachers who just wake up. They offer nothing to me because they don’t know what worked. Talking about the different states of enlightenment does nothing to bring me to enlightenment. Once I am awakened then perhaps it will help.

    1. Hi Celeste
      Sorry, but it’s not a belief. And an ego that thinks it’s going to awaken and can do something about it is mistaken. In fact, that can be a major barrier to it.

      I know people who have been in the Himalayas for 40 years, completely focused on spiritual practice. They’re not only not awake, they’re likely building barriers by investing so deeply in it. Even surrender can be turned into a concept.

      I know there are lots of teachers that will tell you they have the secret or the technique that will do it. I’ve had a teacher like that myself. Sometimes, they say these things to encourage the practice. Sometimes, they’re confused. Their actions didn’t cause their own shift so repeating them with another won’t either.

      If you read the article, I describe what awakening is. Then it becomes very clear that there’s nothing an individual or even consciousness itself can do to “cause” it.

      But notice I don’t say there’s nothing that can be done. Good practices can make a huge difference in clarity, smoothness, and the rapidity of progress after the shift. Clarity and darshan make one much more awake-prone.

      But the awakening itself is far deeper and more universal than even our universe, let alone any apparent individual. That has it’s own agenda and will happen in it’s own time. It will also organize what is required for the shift, including teachers, practices, etc.

      Doing our best to ready the ground is something we can do. Then surrender it all.

    2. On good karma – this can help make life smoother but awakening is well beyond the field of karma. It is not caused by karma. And the sprouted karma will continue after an awakening. Different area of life.

      The advantage of awakening is that we are no longer caught by it and can much more easily wind down what remains.

    3. On stages, I talk about them for several reasons.
      For one, there are some there and they find it very valuable.
      Also it’s important to be aware there is more so we don’t develop new barriers to progress after the shift.

      But yes, the talk is not for building big concepts or how it’s “supposed to” be or to create it. There are no words on this blog or in any book that will bring enlightenment.

    1. Just keep in mind that our concepts about it are always wrong. Very simply because the mind cannot comprehend what is beyond itself until it is known directly. The mind then catches up later.

      I spent many years of my life where the primary goal was for me to get enlightened. It was an ironic joke when I realized “I” was never going to get it. In fact, all the ego could do was manipulate memories of experiences and create false battles with itself. There was no way I was ever going to see through myself.

      Happily, i didn’t have to. When I gave up trying and allowed what was here to be here, Lorne showed up. 🙂

      Trust is good. We’re taken care of in ways most people can’t even imagine.

    2. If I think back, would I have been as devoted to the path if my teacher had told me then it would take decades? For a 20 year old, that was lifetimes.

      I well imagine he had higher hopes as well.

      It’s a funny dance. On the one hand, to continue practice. And on the other, to give up. (laughs)

      1. amaryllis

        Yes! To do or not to do; have been macerating in this one for a while … where it’s landed for me at the moment is to direct the question inward, and it *seems* that the answer is felt as a movement towards the action that will be taken.

        This could be seen as shoddy spiritual practice, I know. But some days a slow walk in the sunshine seems more necessary than an hour on the cushion.

        I marvel that some religiously do the same practice every day (and I used to want that for myself), but so far, it hasn’t worked for me to decide about the time, place or form of practice as a discipline. I know, it could well be my ego choosing, but when I think of ‘trust’, trusting what comes up, and acting on it seems important, and if it’s a purely egotistical choice, that has its own feel too. I am enjoying learning to discern both the somatic feedback, and that of the life too.

        The other focus at the moment is being simple the 23 hours I’m not on the cushion {and learning to relax around the *failures*}.

        1. Hi Amaryllis

          Doing is a curious part of the dance. Doing continues; it is necessary for life. But our relationship with that changes as who we recognize ourselves to be shifts.

          Part of that process can also be noticing what is motivating action and shifting from reactivity to flow – though usually in stages.

          So yes, being aware of the movement and how it is within. Not shoddy, as long as you’re not second-guessing everything or looking for new ways to control.

          I’ve never had a “discipline” in that sense. It would not have worked for me. I found great benefit to effortless meditation, so it came and stayed as part of my life. But it was done on the bus, in the forest, or whatever as it fit life. No special postures, incense, etc.

          And yes, time in nature and not in the routine can also be good. And failure? Nah – simply what didn’t happen in that moment, then a movement on.

  2. Jim

    Hi David – Good stuff.

    Some things that helped me to gain enlightenment. I offer these as an example, not necessarily a money back guarantee. 🙂

    I used to meditate with the siddhis a fair amount which thins the layer between self and Self, and when I felt I had been inside enough, would deliberately undertake something strenuous like a long run or bike ride. By alternating the meditation with the activity like that, I was prevented from “tripping” too much and getting conceptually lost.

    After awhile (30 years of meditation) I got exhausted from upholding a highly involved story of how everything made sense, and it just collapsed. From there to Brahman was another 9 years. (My wife tells me that “9” is the number of completion).

    There isn’t any way to guarantee enlightenment, but it helps to make it intentionally difficult to bullshit oneself, by engaging in vigorous activity. Raising a family and/or an intense career helps too, as a lot of feedback from the real world kept me adjusting to the path of liberation.

    Also found it helpful once I was on my way, once I had momentum, to interact with similar minded seekers rarely if at all. Again to stay away from any concepts taking root, or strengthening a false sense of having arrived. If I needed an answer I sought it, and then back to work.

    Funny if you have ever consciously boosted someone’s energy towards enlightenment, it is the damnedest thing, the energy goes off at odd angles, according to their proclivity (not ready to surrender, so the energy remains “dumb”), so someone would have to be literally on the edge to push them there in one step.

    1. Hi Jim
      Yes, the bleaching the cloth analogy comes to mind. And the broader cycles. The Siddhartha story comes to mind too. An inner period, then a very outer period, then the return and awakening.

      I also raised a family and spent some time in police evidence, a period of which was rather under siege. A real karma burn.

      Yep – we have to stop believing the mind at some point. It can’t take us these places, just note things after the fact.

      And agreed. I’ve seen teachers trigger people who weren’t quite ready. In many cases, they fell back into the mind and came to doubt it happened, just adding a new barrier.

      But for the right person, that nudge can be the catalyst for the seeing. And then we never look back…

  3. John Lamenzo

    ‘Only a Brahm Gyani knows a Brahm Gyani’: When one sees the Brahm in a Knower of Brahm, the observer sees Brahm in Him/Her-Self. (Most Observers of this Knowing unfortunately are in denial of the experience.

    90% of aspirants miss this, and thus get trapped in ‘the holy business’ charade.

    I admit, I got trapped…but I also un-trapped My-Self…

  4. Hi John
    I agree with the quote. I have the fortune to be able to sit regularly with a group of such people. We all notice how it amplifies it.

    My favorite phrasing comes from the closing lines of the Rig Veda – the “Go together” quote here.

    I’ve also found that there is a quality of resonance that begins around Self Realization and slowly grows, becoming larger and progressively more universal. So it’s not as obvious with everyone at first. Partly this relates to clearing house and partly to embodiment.

    Many who awakened have had little or no contact with others who have shifted, except perhaps their teacher. They may not be familiar with this effect and may have residual reservations about being with people from other lineages.

    And many people are teaching without any peers.

    Happily, all this is changing.

    And yes, many have a habit of looking at surface things and are uncertain of their inner signals. They get attracted to the charisma and smooth talkers. But things like energetic literacy are beginning to change that too.

    And people learn. Sometimes it takes experience to recognize quality.

    Thanks for commenting.

  5. It’s worth noting that the catalyst effect mentioned in the 2nd paragraph is due to the process of devouring mentioned at the end.

    Someone who is in that place of attention awakening all that is not comes into contact with awakeness that is ripe…


  6. Tim Owens

    While I cannot claim any particular awakening, I can’t help but note that I left my practice’s fold in the mid 1970s because I was so disgusted by the bullshit I saw in the organization. I also had to sober up in AA in the late ’70s and that was my first real awakening. I realized I was a garden variety drunk and I needed to be around other drunks to feel my truth. I remember speaking at an AA retreat and experiencing a profound shift in my identity. Fast forward 35 years, marriage, career, two kids, etc. and I find myself finally returning to that organization to teach the technique on my terms, and in some ways I am back from my exploring and seem “to know the place for the first time.” Things lately are moving very quickly and I am fascinated by how things(like this site) keep showing up to help me find my way through this mystery. Regardless of how it all turns out I am really having a lot of fun.

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