Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wanting to Awaken

When it’s time to awaken, a longing for awakening arises from deep within us. This longing comes from Essence and spurs on our spiritual growth. However, it is often co-opted by the ego, which sees awakening as an opportunity to be special, to feel good, to finally get what it wants, or to escape life. When the desire to awaken is co-opted by the ego, the result is suffering, as with every other desire the ego has. To the ego, how we are and how life is right now never seems good enough. It seems flawed and lacking the ingredients for happiness. This is the ego’s constant state, a state of discontentment. People often suffer greatly over wanting to awaken, as they suffer over every other desire, because desire by its nature takes us out of the moment, where contentment—and awakeness—are possible, and into a dream of something better in the future, which creates an experience in this moment of lack and, therefore, discontentment.

It’s natural to want to escape this state of discontentment, and that drives us along the spiritual path toward awakening. Suffering does eventually wake everybody up. But what we may not realize when we are ego-identified is that our discontentment is caused by longing for something else—for spiritual awakening or whatever else is desired—not by the actual absence of anything. There’s so much to be grateful for right now, but the ego doesn’t see this. When we are able to acknowledge what we are grateful for about our current circumstances, we drop out of the ego and into Essence and experience contentment—awakeness.

The good news is that you don’t have to have a spiritual awakening to experience awakeness. If you want to experience what it’s like to be awakened, then just be here right now and not in your thoughts about now, about the past, about the future, or about what you want. Just be here right now. Do you want awakening enough to give up (i.e., ignore) your thoughts about yourself and your desires, which are just more thoughts? That’s all that is required, really. Do you want awakening enough to just be present in this moment?

The ego doesn’t want to be present in the moment, and it doesn’t want to give up thoughts about “me” because it would no longer exist, since it exists only as thoughts about “me.” The “you” that you think of yourself as and all the desires that go with that are just thoughts about “you.” What’s really alive and living this life is not a thought but a Being, while the thoughts about “you” are the self you pretend to be—a masterful, but false, disguise for this Being. When, for even a moment, you stop thinking this “you” into existence by being involved with stories and self-images of yourself and, instead, experience the Being that you are, you are awake. When you live from this place, it is said that you are awakened. But isn’t it wonderful that, in any moment, you can choose to experience awakeness by simply choosing to disregard and not identify with thoughts about yourself and with the desires of the ego.

The process of awakening is a process of learning to dis-identify with the egoic mind (i.e., the false self) and identify instead with the Being that you are, who is here right now and always has been—looking out of your eyes and breathing and moving your body. Who else would be doing these things? The “you” that you think you are stops existing as soon as you stop thinking, so how can that be who you are? The false self, or ego, comes and goes with thoughts about “me,” “my life,” and “what I want.” When you are involved with thoughts about “me,” then you exist as this “you,” and when you aren’t, then you exist as Beingness.

The process of awakening is facilitated by meditation because meditation trains you to detach from the egoic mind, or false self, and experience Being, or Essence. The more you meditate, the easier it becomes to detach from the egoic mind in your daily life and express your Being. So, do you want to awaken enough to make time to meditate? The ego doesn’t want to meditate, so you may have to overcome its resistance because, naturally, it doesn’t want to disappear, and that’s what happens in meditation.

The longing to awaken will motivate you to do things that support awakening. It will drive you to attend spiritual gatherings, read spiritual books, meditate, question, do healing work, be quiet, and just be. It is a force that will take you Home, but you have to listen to it. When you do, it feels fulfilling. The egoic mind, however, might tell you that you don’t have time for these things or that they aren’t enough or aren’t making a difference or are too difficult or that the teacher is flawed. It will try to interfere with the natural process of awakening. It’s good to be aware of how the ego tries to hinder this process, while at the same time enflaming your desire to awaken in a way that causes you to suffer.

You don’t have to suffer over awakening because everyone is waking up in exactly the way and at exactly the time that is best for him or her. And you especially don’t have to suffer when you realize that in this very moment you have the capacity to experience awakeness simply by choosing to be here now in the present moment without involvement in the story of “you.” Do you want to awaken enough to choose being awake in the moment to being lost in the dream of “you”?

Gina Lake

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