Awakening what exactly?
People talk of 'waking up' or 'when I awoke' but what is being referred to? Who or what wakes up? What is being woken up from? Is there a waking up at all?
This is a bit of a silly graph (How can you graph the formless?) but it diagrammatically represents that
In more detail the graph shows the following
Awareness is Universal, Eternal and non-personal. There is no separate entity that is the person, no specific 'piece of awareness' that is personal. No-one there.
The Ego says that it exists, is believed to exist but is a mental construct with no substance at all. It is a ghost in the machine. It does not actually exist. No-one there.
So who is the 'person' that becomes 'enlightened' or has an 'awakening'. There is no-one there to have either of those experiences.
The belief in the self image, the ego, the reference point gives the apparency of separate individual actually existing, but it is apparency only. Even while it is believed in, it still does not exist. It is not as if it exists while it is believed in, but does not exist when it is not believed in. It does not exist at all - it just appears to exist. Apparency only.
What does exist is Aliveness / Awareness / Consciousness. It is Life itself. Life Lives us as a unique expression of the One Life and it is also the case for all living things. Life Lives us and does this whether or not there is a belief in a so-called ego.
We apparently lose sight of our true nature (Life itself) and believe that we are a set of dead mental images from the past. Then regard this image as ' most valuable' and defend it whenever it is challenged, repair it whenever it is damaged and enhance it whenever the opportunity arises.
The question then is - who or what is holding that erroneous view? Is there someone else there as well that is holding this view - that 'our nature is the ego, the self image'?
In Natural functioning decisions are made, preferences are held, choices are made. but by no-one.
There is no separate entity in Life that is 'doing' this. There is no personal sense of self except for the illusory ego. All the functions of Life continue - and this is what they are - functions - actions. All verbs. It is the movement of Life itself.
Some cats prefer chicken, some cats prefer fish. Preferences are held, but there is no self-preening sense of self there claiming it made the preference. It is the functioning of life without a 'me'. Natural functioning without apparent mental interference.
All thoughts arise - we do not choose our thoughts - they just happen. Some thoughts express preferences, some express choices, some express decisions. There is no 'me' there clinging onto some thoughts (so-called values, for example) or rejecting others.
It is not as if thoughts by themselves control or determine what we do. Very often we make a so-called decision to do this and we end up doing that. Actions also arise, just as thoughts do - and that is Natural Functioning as well. Sometimes the thought and the action coincide and the 'me' claims credit for that. But it is actually Life Living us and after the fact the 'me' claims the credit.
Thinking is an aspect of Natural functioning - 'we' design things, 'we' make things, 'we' solve quadratic equations. Natural Functioning - but there is no 'me' there or no 'we' there at all. Natural Function stems from Life Itself, not a collection of thoughts.
Thoughts happen. Decisions are just thoughts that just happened. Choices are thoughts that just happened. Beliefs are thoughts that just happened and often reinforced by other thoughts that just happened. Whether there is a personal sense of 'me' there or not does not change the fact that they all just happened.
All of our Life is Happening - Arising in the immediacy of the Present Moment. That is what 'being alive' means. All Natural Functioning. Just like a cat, a chicken, or another human or a blue whale. Life Itself.
The belief that our true nature is contained in the self image, the ego, is a thought that happened. The thoughts that gave rise to the apparent ego itself that we believe in just arose. The sense of 'me' did not 'make' the thoughts that apparently brought itself about. Thoughts just happen. We do not choose our thoughts.
While the 'me' is apparently real - the story of 'me' apparently continues. There is hope for 'me' that things might get better, unhappiness for the 'me' about the past, psychological suffering for the 'me' continues. The story of 'me' reinforces the belief in the 'me' - and it is the story of human, mental suffering.
The 'me' exists in the dream - in fact it IS the dream. Mental suffering itself exists only in the dream as it is 100% mental and applies only to the 'me', which is also 100% mental.
(This is not to say that pain and grief cannot be felt in the aliveness of the present moment - they certainly can and it is a part of the normal experience of living in this world. Part of the deal! The term 'mental suffering' is used to describe a personalised sense of suffering that becomes a part of the personal identity, the self image.)
The entire story, all the suffering, all the attempts to improve are all predicated on the belief in the 'me' that needs to be fixed. The 'me' is believed in, but does not exist - it IS the dream - the dream of 'me'.
The SEEing that there is no 'me' there at all is a pure SEEing by Life itself. By Awareness itself.
It is SEEing through the illusion - the illusion of 'me'. It is the end of the dream of 'me', a 'me' that never existed in the first place. It is SEEN to not exist.
Having thoughts about it - believing that the 'me' does not exist - having a conviction that the 'me' does not exist is just thought that arises. Nothing more - just thoughts, along with all the other thoughts that also arose.
All thoughts are in the realm of Duality and it becomes one thought in opposition to another thought. No liberation there.
Liberation lies in the SEEing, not in thoughts, not in beliefs, not in the mind.
SEEing is Non Dual. It is pure SEEing, but there is no separate Seer, no apparent entity that is 'doing' the seeing.
Awareness is non-personal, Universal and Eternal.
The SEEing is Liberation itself, Life itself.
Awareness does not 'wake up' - it is already awake. The ego does not become aware - it is just as totally unaware as it always was (if it ever was!).
What occurs is a SEEing - the seeing the false as false.
And in SEEing that - our true nature is in full view (as it always has been).
That is the Liberation.
That is the end of the dream of 'me'.
It is not an achievement for any personal sense of self, which there isn't.
Nisargadatta says -
"The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false."
"The seeker is he who is in search of himself... To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not."
Ramana Maharshi says
"All that is needed is that you give up your realisation of the not-true as true."
Sailor Bob Adamson says
"The natural state is never lost. It is not an appearance and therefore it can never disappear. It is always the same. It is not an entity."
Written by Mike Graham, 24 Mar 2008, last edited 25 Mar 2008
Chogyam Trungpa (Buddhist Teacher)
'Sailor' Bob Adamson