Sometimes there can be a moment, an opportunity to shift. These can happen at any time but are most rich in places where there is an intensity of alertness. A gathering of the awake on a retreat is an optimum place for intensity of attention and awakeness.
If a recognition happens, the question then becomes – can this be sustained by this physiology out in the world beyond that circumstance? Is there enough sustained clarity to support the shift?
Was the recognition clear enough to know That unmistakably? Mind will grasp any doubt and run with it.
Was the surrender deep enough to blow out the me concept? This is often illustrated by emotional release. We may laugh or cry or both. Without the release, the clouds may roll in again.
Is the mind struck dumb enough to let go of the stories and drama?
These are not questions for the mind. They are only seen in retrospect. If it is a true awakening, the mind will have no clue what this is. While we may notice experiences and release with the shift, the shift itself is deeper. Pure consciousness has no content so cannot be remembered directly. But we can Be it.
True awakening happens when the cosmic Self recognizes itself experiencing through this form. It is not enough to recognize there is a cosmic sense of Self, being or emptiness. Nor is it enough to have some experiences of that. Those might be called stepping stones or tastes but they still give little sense of the real thing. The key shift happens when Self recognizes Itself here. Our very being shifts and we become cosmic. Hence the name Cosmic Consciousness or Self Realization. This is why the depth of clarity and surrender is required.
As cosmic Self is eternally present, it is already awake to itself. The key is bringing that awakeness through this body-mind. There needs to be enough clarity here for the seeing to happen.
This isn’t something we do. Nor is it the person who wakes up. We wake up From the person.
From the perspective within consciousness, awakening is grace. It simply arises. From a Brahman perspective, it is Brahman devouring the not-Self. From a ParaBrahman perspective, it is the unfolding Shaktis, the Divine noticing itself in this point.
The obstacles to this recognition are primarily attachment to the concept of me and lack of experience of this deeper reality. Secondarily, we have attachment to our drama, belief we know what enlightenment is, and other things that keep us devoted to the mind and its self-concepts.
These are softened by the direct experience of samadhi, of pure being. This releases the entanglements and opens us up. Then when clarity arises, the shift can happen.
After the shift, there is a lot of unpacking to do. How much depends on how thorough the release was and what had been resolved prior. Now the new open space and deep peace are a great opportunity for clearing. It’s common that what is unresolved rushes forward to be seen.
With the detached observer now present, it is much easier to let go of our baggage. Just a knot or two and another wall crumbles.
Sometimes, the unpacking can overshadow the clarity of the shift. But at some point, the dust will settle and the shift will become established. Then nothing can shake it. Clearing will continue but the steadiness and clarity will be unshakable. We are deep enough to be beyond all the noise.
With unshakable peace comes bliss. This is why established awakening is called sat chit ananda or nirvana.