When we awaken, we find that we are part of the one great Reality, and we realize our union with all things. -Paramananda
Awakening. It’s a frightening concept because few of us want to admit that perhaps we’re sleeping our way through life, that we’re not as awake and aware of our surroundings and our life situations as we think we are. We seem to be dreaming all the time, passive actors in life, letting life happen around us instead of being active players who are fully aware of all that’s happening because we’ve allowed ourselves to be lulled to sleep by the sheer overwhelming nature of life itself.
I like the idea of awakening, including realizing our oneness with all things. Not just with those things that are close to us physically, not just with our families or even our friends and neighbors, not just with the things we know–but with everything. That union is pretty powerful, and it’s something that can help us revisit virtually every aspect of life that we currently think we understand. The sleeper may be safe because he or she isn’t taking any risks, but that person also isn’t making any connections, not adding anything to life–neither his or her own nor the lives of others.
I don’t want to sleepwalk through life, though sometimes I do so to a certain extent. I fall into comfortable patterns and allow myself to be satisfied with them. When I do this, my life is relatively empty, to be honest, for I’m depending on something that isn’t real. The dream is how we see life from a non-awakened state–the hard part is realizing that even though we’re physically awake, there’s a good chance that we’re not awake spiritually or psychologically. We imagine that just because we’re not physically sleeping, we must be awake–but the truth is that our idea of being awake is only part of the picture.
I often remind myself during the day, “Wake up!” I do this because I usually start functioning on autopilot, and I don’t want to stumble through life doing things by rote. I want to be active, learn, and understand what’s going on around me, not just what I perceive to be going on. If you see me some time just making my way through the day, do me a favor and tell me to wake up–or find someone else for whom you can do that favor. If they understand what you mean, they’ll appreciate it greatly.
Questions to consider:
What does it mean to you to be awakened?
Why is it so easy to walk through our days on autopilot? What would it take to wake up to what’s there?
How much time do we spend not sleeping but still not awakened? What are some of the benefits of being awakened?
For further thought:
Those who dream must be awakened, and the deeper the people are who slumber, or the more profound they slumber, the more critical it is that they be revived, and the more powerfully they must be awakened. -Søren Kierkegaard