You already know what it feels like to wake up. Every morning, you find yourself in a place where you are aware of your surroundings. It may be the alarm clock, it may be a ray of sunshine floating through your blinds to caress your eye-lids, it may be some other sound. You find yourself lying there for however long, experiencing. Then, suddenly, you become aware of yourself experiencing. The day floods in and the night recedes instantly, you begin to think of getting up, your plans for the day. Any dreams you may have been having slip into unconsciousness, as the waking mind is not equipped to fully understanding them. This is the common experience of awakening.
There is another type of awakening that occurs in pretty much the same manner. This Awakening has different variations and levels, much like the kind of awakening that you are currently familiar with.
During the course of any normal day, we are each relatively aware of our sojourn through life. We believe we know who we are and why we are here. Many of us have religious beliefs; we think there is a God, maybe in Heaven above, maybe somewhere else. We know there is a government, we know there are problems with the financial system. We know people who have it really good and many of us now know people who have it really bad, so we are aware that there are variations along a scale, although we may only be vaguely aware of why. We know that there are inequalities; we may have experienced them personally in some instance during our lives and have a memories of times when we were personally victimized. Our perspectives seem fixed, our experiences, straightforward, and this is enough of an awakening to make it through the course of any normal life.
But just being able to navigate the daily grind is not enough anymore. There have always come points in human history when people at a larger scale of occurrence begin to realize that there is more to their world than has previously met the eye. Often, it has happened against the direction of the collective will. People have had to be dragged, kicking and screaming from their placid lives – although this occurred figuratively, most often – as events and facts revealing an alternate understanding of the world began to amass beyond their capacity to deny. If the dragging and screaming occurred literally, it was often too late and their awakening coincided with the onset of the final sleep, death.
The first and most common type of Awakening these days is economic. Ever since the collapse of the monetary system in 2008, brought on by unregulated financial instruments and predatory lending, things have gotten worse for the majority of the world’s people. While wealth has continued its relentless path of concentration in the richest hands and banks, the Western world’s middle class ranks have been steadily thinning. Faced with joblessness, the lack of opportunities and limited welfare benefits, the realization that the educational system actually mis-educates has been sinking into the minds of more and more people. Understanding out-sourcing, international economic agreements, the trans-national nature of corporations and other previously arcane topics sends the newly disenchanted down rabbit holes filled with information previously disdained and irrelevant to the lives of the sleeping, but newly relevant to the burgeoning understanding of the nascent Seeker.
It is true that drugs, alcohol, television and video games can delay the search for truth for a while. But, without a job to be able to afford these things for long, the Seeker then has few other options available to him other than to attempt to understand why this has happened. Why her perception of the world has shifted and what the new parameters of reality have become.
The second type of Awakening that often seems as if it is the pinnacle of consciousness is often reached through the study of politics, but includes aspects of economics as well as general cultural production and world history. This type of Awakening occurs when one becomes aware of the existence of secret societies and their history within the evolution of Western Civilization. It often begins once one is apprised of the meaning of the symbols on the American one dollar bill and proceeds from there through wormholes of potentiality where Illuminated Ones mask themselves as Knights Templar and Masons, as Rosicrutians and Hospitallers. Into a space of understanding where Boy Scouts become neophytes engaging in arcane rites of passage while Disney cartoons and the Wizard of Oz turn out to be more diabolical than innocent. Turning down this path is dangerous for the Seeker, as the information gleaned therein begins to separate her from her family, friends and society itself. People start to look at him askance, wondering if she’s still putting in job applications. If he’s thought of joining the Peace Corps yet or applied to teach English in China. Once adversity rears its ugly head in the form of social censure, ostracization and the broaching of unpopular and apparently taboo subjects, a deeper form of Awakening begins.
The third type of Awakening that happens to people is related to the first two. It occurs when people begin to really understand that not only does the system not have their best interest at heart, but that it is actually trying to kill us all. Beyond the economic system, beyond the politics, it soon becomes clear to the Seeker that the environment around us has been eviscerated by human greed and consumptive patterns of living. But not only is it the external, biological environment that has been under attack, but the internal, physiological environment has been invaded as well. The food that we eat, the beverages that we drink, the products that we use to cleanse ourselves and live our daily lives often have toxic repercussions upon and within our bodies. From fluoride in the water and toothpaste to aspartame in our drinks. From mercury in our teeth to the numerous pharmaceutical offerings of questionable potency and probable toxicity, the Seeker begins to understand that he is seen as a commodity to the corporate overlords and so is imminently expendable. This understanding then leads the Seeker to naturopathy and holistic health; to seeking alternative and health-building not health-destroying ways to live that impact the body and the earth in a minimal fashion. Vegetarianism, Veganism and Frutarianism are paths that become viable to the Seeker as she begins to understand the true nature of the world and her place in it.
And this is where the path of Awakening generally ends, for most people. And why not? Up until this point, the Seeker has gone from placidly going about his daily life, content with the mainstream pleasures and accomplishments that are generally indicative of success in life. A job, a family, a bit of spending money, maybe a house, condo or nice apartment, friends and vacation time. Coming to the understanding that a life lived consciously is comprised of much more than just going along to get along is a quantum leap from a start-point of ignorant material comfort and nominal success.
This is an evolution of consciousness, right? Losing financial stability in life or seeing someone close to them lose it may have brought her through the steps of Awakening all the way to the point where he has begun to live a transformed life. The Seeker no longer drinks grape or red soda. She is now eating veggie burgers instead of prime sirloin steak, he even eat fruit now instead of candy. Their carbon footprint has lessened – as they probably now recycle – drive less – if they even have a car – and don’t litter. Even if materially poor, the Seeker is attempting to live consciously, aware of what is going on around himself and aware of her own responsibility as a citizen of the world. So what else could there be? What further type of Awakening is possible?
Thus far, the path of Awakening has corresponded exactly to the process of waking up each day as enumerated earlier: 1) an awareness of one’s surroundings, occasioned by some intrusion upon primal consciousness (noise, light, pervasive being-ness, etc.; living life unaware of Self; omnipresence) 2) awareness becoming aware of itself (thinking of the day; learning what the world really is; omniscience) 3) awareness projecting consciousness into materiality (getting out of bed; living consciously; omnipotence). Not coincidentally, the experience of mundane awakening approximates the cultural Awakening process brought about by research and information synthesis and integration (holistic economic, political and cultural awareness), which then leads to the next level of iteration, that which represents the process that is the subliminal goal of all previous efforts, culminating in the beginning of the Seeker’s sojourn upon the path of Higher Awakening. The three-stage process mentioned above is also, not coincidentally, an exact rendition of the steps of material manifestation, of Creation itself as expressive of the most sublime principles of spiritual understanding.
At this stage of the process, it is no longer about studying or debating, sharing or even caring what other people think about you and your path in life. It is about going deep within. It is about connecting with your spiritual core. Knowing exactly who you are.
This is formidable task. This is where most Seekers balk. This is where most fall back into the comfort of group-think and stagnation, preferring intellectual masturbation to inner knowledge. This is where the programs of a lifetime reassert their primacy, where the ego recognizes the threat and responds. Where a not-so-subtle material re-entrenchment occurs once you’ve realized that you’ve reached the point beyond which your family and friends must finally realize that you’ve gone Off the Reservation and are no longer even attempting to conform to their culturally-based standards of normality and social acceptability.
This is the point where knowledge becomes lived reality, something done rather than something thought or talked about. The goal of all life, all evolution; beyond thought, beyond conception, beyond understanding. To finally and truly Be, integral consciousness manifest, existing within the eye of the storm, the center of the circle, placid and peaceful, flowing through life formed yet formless, like water, malleable yet firm, self-aware within and thusly aware of all else without.
But that’s a topic for another day. Welcome, to the real world.