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What Does Awakening Mean?
2022, August, Issue 5
In its essence, awakening is none other than opening your heart and mind completely, so that reality can be directly experienced, as it is. Such a notion is easily misunderstood, simply because people are in the habit of applying belief to what they think reality might be. It never occurs to many people that reality has nothing whatsoever to do with belief. I would go further by saying that belief is utterly useless, at least when it comes to awakening.
Awakening requires a certain raw exposure to what is, without lying to ourselves or changing what we perceive with our mind, or judging what appears in this way or that way. We can’t grasp at whatever arbitrary notion pops into our mind, expecting that to have anything to do with awakening. We must allow reality to be directly experienced. This does not mean we reject belief or various arbitrary thoughts, it means we see such appearances for what they are, which is completely insubstantial.
Awakening simply is, as it is. It is allowing clarity. It is being present in the light. It is our heart and mind encountering a circumstance when all barriers are removed, directly experiencing what is, as it is.
As it is.
When we remove all barriers, submitting this self to the ineffable, we no longer sustain an ego. This constantly changing idea of self that we have defended since time immemorial simply merges with Timeless Luminosity, this ineffable light, the Dharmakaya. We awaken because this illusion of self and other becomes utterly obliterated. We merge with our Real Guru, who some call Source. This ineffable condition becomes all, beyond what a feeble human might think is possible. This is true enlightenment once we remain in that condition.
To awaken means to illuminate the essence of all and beyond. It’s much more substantial than any concept. When I say awakening, I am referring to being fully aware of all and beyond in a brilliantly bright condition. This is reality. It's not out there, it’s in here. Everything we need is within our heart and mind, available only when we have the ability to open completely, without constructing some explanation of that condition beyond belief.
Awakening means that we must cast aside any delusions or fantasy. It means going beyond concept and rational thought. Awakening means utterly resting within a condition of what is, in order to remain open completely to the ineffable, without fear, without the slightest inclination to shield ourselves from the sudden rush of all phenomena, simply accepting reality. It can be overwhelming to think about what awakening ultimately will mean.
This Spiritual Path really means to discover reality. If we are forming ideas about this or that, then we are creating obstructions. When you die, it is best to have an open mind and an accepting attitude. If you can remain relaxed in that situation, when your body has ceased to function and all the storms of karma arise, then there will be less problems. When we talk about capacity, in this regard, we are talking about how open your heart and mind are. It’s good to prepare with meditation. Personally, I gathered as many Buddhist teachings and practices as possible, then implemented them completely. One does not need to become a Buddhist to utilize such meditative practices. Just start where you are and gather all the tools you need. That’s the best attitude to take, simply because with these tools you can learn to discover reality for yourself, without inserting distracting notions.
In reality, beliefs, concepts, ideas, fantasy have nothing to do with what is, as it is. They only distract or get in the way. At some point we must let them go, in order to awaken. When we practice meditation, we are uncovering those things that block our understanding of reality. This is the whole point of meditation—to discover what is ultimately real. When we contemplate life, death and dreams, we don’t find anything that can remain as something substantial, something real. By looking inwardly, we see the impermanence of all matter, every atom in the universe, every thought, every dream we’ve ever had. Our daily life can only realistically be seen as nothing more than a dream. It feels real, even though it doesn’t hold up to intense scrutiny.
Awakening means getting past all of that stuff that we create for ourselves. When someone asked the Buddha what he was, seeing that he was someone other than what we are used to, maybe a deity or some amazing spirit, the Buddha merely said that he was awake. This is what we all can be. When you look inwardly, you will see that we all have the same potentiality to awaken. When we awaken, we will be the same. Our heart and mind will merge with that amazing light.
When we awaken, we are Buddha.