Thursday, August 19, 2010

Clear Thinking

Are YOU Awake Yet? – Part II

Waking starts to happen the moment you realize that you are doing one of three things – reacting to something/someone, resisting something/someone or repeating a previous mistake. In each case it is the ‘noticing’ of some form of discomfort or emotional suffering that signals the emergence from the sleep of illusion. However just as there is a moment when we awaken in the morning it’s the next moment that holds the choice to either stay awake or go back to sleep! Similarly as soon as we notice that we are reacting, resisting or repeating it’s the next moment that will define whether we want to stay awake or prefer to go back to sleep and allow the reaction/resistance/repetition to take over.

More often than not it seems to be the easy option to return to our slumber (just as we do in our beds on weekends!) and in many ways we won’t stay awake until the suffering that is the condition of our sleepiness is either so great we don’t want to go back to sleep or we are just tired of sleeping (suffering)! Either way, just as we eventually have to awaken in the morning so, some day, we will have to awaken from the illusions and beliefs that keep us asleep i.e. unaware of reality.

In the meantime here are four of the other signs that we may be sleepwalking through the days of our lives.

5 Being Controlled
You are still asleep if think you are being controlled by others, the government, circumstances etc. Just as we saw last week that we cannot control someone else so no one can control us. It can be hard to see this if we had controlling parents and teachers and perhaps controlling friends. In which case we have been conditioned to believe we can be controlled. But they don’t (and didn’t) really control us, it just seems that way until we realize regardless of the situation we create our own responses. The awakened soul knows that they make their own decisions, create their own thoughts and feelings, and generate their own actions everywhere and at every moment of their life, regardless of the circumstances. Realising this sets us free of the illusion that we are victims or slaves. Staying awake and free in a world that celebrates the opposite is a daily challenge.

6 Happy Purchasing
You are still asleep if you go shopping to be happy. It means you are still attempting to complete yourself with something that is not you! It means you are still trying to find fulfillment by filling your life with stuff. The awakened soul knows that they are already complete and can never be diminished. Their only effort is to remember and reveal their already full filled self every day!

7 Problem People
You are still asleep if you believe the ‘other person’ is the problem. You have not yet realized that it’s not what others say or do that is the problem, it is how you judge them that creates your negative feelings about them. In effect it’s how you see them that’s the real problem. But even that is not a problem. It just means we have not yet learned to choose how we perceive others, we are still at the mercy of old conditioned perceptions, based on beliefs created yesterday. One clear sign of this is an absence of compassion towards others. To the awakened soul the ‘other person’ is never the problem.

8 Detached Expectations
You are still asleep if your happiness is dependent on your expectations being met. You probably have not yet seen that your expectations are really desires in disguise. And all desire has fear (stress) built in – fear of not getting what you want. It means you still believe you are missing something in your life, in yourself. And when your expectations are not met you get upset and thereby chase your own happiness away. The awakened soul has ‘desire free’ expectations and if they are not fulfilled it’s OK, they don’t lose the plot, because their happiness is not dependent on their expectations being met.

Waking up from these illusions and staying awake is the challenge we all face if we are to live peacefully, lovingly and joyfully. Hence the value of developing 'vigilance' in the form of attention and awareness. It’s not that we need to struggle to get rid of these illusions and beliefs but simply see them for what they are and thereby ‘see through’ them. Only then will they lose their power to shape our thoughts, feelings and actions. On the journey between ‘here’ and being fully and consistently awake there are the inevitable fluctuations between waking and sleeping, victory and defeat, illusion and reality, until staying awake is as natural as being asleep used to be! After a while it becomes obvious that everyone, no matter how exalted or elevated, how humble or how simple they me be, will have to make the same journey, make the same effort, undertake the same practice. If we sleep together then we awaken…together!

Question: To raise self awareness review which of the above symptoms that you display the most – rate each one (1 is low and 10 is high)

Reflection: Take one of the above each day for the next few days and visualize the awakened state and see how well you can practice it during the day.

Action: Send this to a friend and begin a conversation entitled “Waking Up – Do You Agree?” and in so doing support each other as you develop your mutual understanding of how to change the above ‘sleepy’

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