The thing about Awakening? It’s easy. Recognising who you essentially are is as simple as looking in the mirror. If you know you are aware, and you know this awareness is present, constant and primary (both transcendent and immanent), then that’s it.
Now I agree, getting to this simplicity might take a wee bitty time. There’s a phrase Helen Amery introduced to me as, “muck on the lens”. Which made me think of that quote from William Blake:
“If the doors of perception were cleansed then everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”
The cleansing of the doors or lens is an enlightening process. Literally making the load lighter, letting more light in, enabling our perception of self to be clearer.
What are we cleaning off? The muck of accumulated now unhelpful conditioning. Even if it was once useful, now all it’s doing is surrounding us with rules to live by, judgments about the world, and definitions of who we are that are limiting or restrictive.
Some people spend years, decades even, working on clearing back the layers of muck through personal spiritual development – never really looking further than the glass until it gleams. Others rub a teeny pinpoint of light and glue their eye to it.
Both are extremes. The most common modern process is a short period of time clearing up the misconceptions and misunderstandings on the direct path to awakening – followed by a deconditioning process that enlightens every area of life.
In terms of tools for Awakening, there are none bar exploration at every level of experience – asking questions in self-inquiry and then applying logic to see how the answers can make sense in the world.
Enlightenment, on the other hand, has a gazillion ‘tools’. None are guaranteed. Not one is a panacea. Each path is different. Though the commonality is that each will, used appropriately, remove burden, increase lightness, and not add chore or duty.
Further out than both are practices or rituals that temporarily bring a lighter feeling that persists for a short time – which is is a lovely experience in its own right, and a great expression of who we are. But what they offer is not enlightenment, but rather the opportunity or opening for enlightenment and awakening. And this potential is all too easily missed when the activity becomes the goal.
Indeed, if your ‘awakening’ is reliant on certain repeated practices, it’s more accurately a temporary enlightenment that offers glimpses into awakening.
TL;DR: Awakening isn’t fancy. It’s a basic as existence itself. It is no more an no less than self-realisation. And it allows enlightenment to become part of life’s playground.
Which is why Helen and I wrote the book, “The Complete Book of Awakening” first. We don’t know where you are going to go from there. But we know having this foundation will support finding enlightenment in the most surprising places – and mean that rituals or practices you adopt will be as an expression of your true nature rather than an attempt to acquire it.
It’s why my core work is divided into the awakening conversation (via book groups and online courses) and the enlightenment conversation (getting unstuck from things that seem impossible, then learning how to navigate whatever life brings us). And it’s equally why my work with longer term clients is increasing about play, expansion and expression.
With Love, Sara
There’s a tendency amongst the “woke” to see themselves as having a higher level of access to truth. Especially if they retreat into a cave, a religious institution, or a clique that rejects dissenters.