What is Awakening?
The answer is hard to pin down, but here are some suggestions:
Curiosity. The physical world we live in is wrought with distractions. Usually, when they are pleasing, we have no problem swimming amongst them. But when they start to sting, the tendency is to be tainted and consumed by their bitterness.
Steeping our days in a sense of wonder can be a game changer. Instead of wrapping ourselves within these distractions, curiosity allows us to step outside of them. It removes us from our seat in the swinging ball of the pendulum and places us at its nodal point—a place from which we have the stability to ask questions of value and be open to receive the honest answers. It leads to an
Unveiling. With these honest answers comes a realization that our self is multi-layered. Sifting through all these layers is both thrilling and frightening. There are times when we gently ask a question and watch happily as a superficial layer floats away with ease. A sense of lightness and liberation begins to breed as we see more clearly past these layers to our true core.
Then, there are times when gentle asking isn’t enough. So we make a second inquiry. Nothing moves. A third, a fourth… this continues until one day, when the universe senses we’re ready, a shift happens and an entire chunk of our self gets ripped away.
Destruction. This part of awakening hurts. Curiosity has no bounds and when its destination is truth, what was previously thought to be essential and inseparable from our essence can be put into question. When first order reality meets a layer that we’ve held so tightly for so long, and then slaps it with a stamp, “no longer of service,” things get dirty.
There is a path of destruction where a big piece of you once stood and you spot the culprit up ahead, swinging away. As you gain ground chasing behind him, you finally arrive at his feet… only to realize that he has four of them, as well as a tail and the trunk he is violently swinging. It is Ganesha. Perhaps this piece of you that he is clearing out is for your benefit. Certainly it is for the benefit of all beings, and so you look back to see what remains where Ganesha cleared the way.
Infinity. Where there were once numerous objects, small and large, cluttering your way, now all you sense is openness. Infinite openness. Behind Ganesha is infinite openness and in front of him there is lots of stuff, things. Some of it may be closely tied to your identity, but now you stand beside him and you can compare the clutter ahead with the infinite space behind. Perhaps he is on to something. Yes, his cleanup service can be painful but when the result is a space of infinite possibility, how could we ever deny that bit of pain? So we decide to let him continue on his way and we revel in this newfound infinite space of possibilities.
Now is a critical time. Now is a time to
Nourish. With never-ending space at your disposal and the universe wide open within your reach, you are certain that this moment must be spent carefully cultivating and tending to any land before you plant new seeds. The only way to do that is to nourish your self. Practice takes on a different aspect. Gone are any feelings of obligation or reluctance. Practice becomes an opportunity for pure love and nourishment—a time to express the deepest of your essence with pleasure, excitement and gratitude. And when this love takes the place of obligation, suddenly things begin to glow with ease. The radiance within begins to
Permeate all aspects of your life. There is no more hesitation to think “bad” thoughts, or fight judgments that may arise. You accept that you can’t fight those any more than the smells or the sights that meet you with each new day. There is a silent knowing that they are not you. No sight, smell, thought or judgment can ever come close to your true essence no matter how worthy or unworthy they are. Because what you are is pure, indescribable love. And with that, there is no room for doubt or hesitation. There is just
Trust. You trust that when your actions come from a place of pure love, there is no right or wrong. You trust that pain will be followed by pleasure. You trust in Ganesh. You trust in Parā. You trust that siddhah svatantra-bhāvah: the state of freedom is already attained. You trust in life. You trust in you. You trust in
Truth. Because it exists. If truth exists, everything must be truth. And if that’s the case, then whoa. Just. Whoa.
“Long enough have you dreamed contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every
moment of your life…”
~ Walt Whitman
So, what is Awakening? Awakening is curiosity. Awakening unveils. Awakening is destruction. Awakening is infinite. Awakening is nourishing. Awakening permeates. Awakening is trust. Awakening is truth.
Awakening is a curiosity that unveils destruction, which makes way for an infinite space to nourish that then permeates your being to the point of complete trust in truth.
Awakening is all that, but really… Awakening is.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Used with Permission by Jules Viera