When we’re speaking of spiritual awakening, it’s key to understand that it’s not a concept or something you can figure out with the mind. Such stories can obscure the reality because they create constructs in the mind that are not it. What reference points do we have when it’s not something that’s ever arisen, even in thousands of past lives?
Awakening is not an experience, it’s a change in being. It’s a shift in our reference point. A change in who we know ourselves to be.
As such, it is not the person that wakes up. In fact, we can be said to wake up From the person.
If we don’t understand this point, it can lead us to call many things “awakening” that are really just another experience. There are all sorts of experiences we might call spiritual that can be really nice, even life-changing.
But Self Realization? That’s a very different animal from any experience. It is a change in the thing that is experiencing, the experiencer itself.
The first key is that awakening is permanent. It does not come and go, even through sleep. It is a change in what we recognize ourselves as being. A change that means shifting from being a me to being cosmic – limitless, unchanging being.
But even there, there are distinctions to be made. We can have experiences of being cosmic that use memory to feel like it’s ongoing.
We can shift into the detached witness or observer (experiencer) that can bring many of the qualities of awakening. But it has to be more than awakeness for true liberation.
We can have an actual awakening but fall back into dominant mind for a time while the shift gets processed. I talked about some of these variations here.
What wakes up to what then?
You may have noticed that I used the word “being” a lot. The key shift I’m pointing to is that change in being, the I Am sense. With a true awakening, it is our very being, our very existence that wakes up to its own deeper nature.
Awakening is not I becoming aware that I Am. Rather, we shift from that possessive I-thought (my thoughts, my emotions, my body) to being boundless awareness observing those things.
We can say awareness wakes up to itself here. In other words, it has not just noticed itself (I have my consciousness, I Am) but cosmic or universal being has woken up to itself here.
Funny thing though – however many ways I put this, it will never be understood by the mind because the mind is not what wakes up. But I continue to write these articles because they help make clear what it’s not. And they bring clarity to those who have actually woken up. And because sometimes, the right wording at the right time can be the catalyst that triggers the shift.