Waking up, again
Photo credit: naydeeyah via Foter.com / CC BY
It’s maddening. Days go by. Perfectly good days. Enjoyable days. And then, one day, I WAKE UP, and I realize that I’ve spent all of those days without awareness, watching my life go by.
The first time I woke up it was surprising. Enlightening. Uplifting. I had moved from a state of unawareness to vibrant wakefulness. I was awake! Alive! It was wonderful. I wrote about it, here. And again here. And here. And here.
Today I realize that the experience of waking up has changed. Once it was: “Holy shit! I’m awake! This is cool.” And now it’s: “Fuck! Did I fall asleep again? How did I do that? How long have I been out this time? A week. Shit! Fuck! Shit!”
Well, alright, that’s how it is. And that “Fuck! Did I fall asleep again?” That’s not me awake. It’s a conditioned response to waking up. I’m in the dream, dreaming that I’m awake and reacting in a way that makes good dream sense. It looks a lot like being awake, but it’s not. Just as my being awake or not is nearly undetectable to people who are not me, this false-awakeness is nearly undetectable even to me. It’s a pretty good imitation of awakeness, but it’s not awakeness.
Because if I was actually awake I wouldn’t be pissed off. I wouldn’t be saying “Holy shit! I’m awake!” either. “Holy shit! I’m awake!” is a line in a story that I might tell myself, or might and have told someone else about being awake. It's part of a script. It’s not being awake.
My awakeness has two dimensions: how fully awake am I, and how long can I maintain that state. Just as there are deeper and deeper levels of unconsciousness, deeper and deeper levels of dreaming, so there are greater and greater degrees of awakeness.
The kind of awakeness I've experienced only lasts an instant. It’s quickly followed by “Holy shit! I’m awake.” But it is a starting point. According to the Aro and Dzogchen stuff that I’ve read, having that instant of realization of awakeness is the necessary STARTING point for a steep path to further awakeness.
I keep falling asleep, forgetting everything that I have learned, then finding my way back to that STARTING point. Actually, I have two STARTING points, the LOWER, and the UPPER. I reach the LOWER point in moments when I realize that I am awake, aware of witnessing some part of my life, and not mindlessly watching it. I reach the UPPER point when, having reached the LOWER point I remember to look to the SELF that is awake, so see whether the SELF is an illusion. That act propels me through a metaphorical wormhole and there, for a moment, I find myself at the UPPER point.
When I live my life, in the ordinary sense of lived life, I quickly lose everything that I have gained. I go back into the somnolent state that I was in before I woke up for the first time, and I seem to stay there until the next opportunity to REMEMBER appears. Writing about the process, takes me again on that journey. Telling someone about it does likewise. They force me to REMEMBER the path, and sometimes to walk it.
I realize that I need to DEVELOP my practice. I don’t want to rely on CHANCE presenting me with opportunities to explain my strange journey and thereby to reproduce the journey and WAKE UP.
I want to blog daily.
It can be easy to blog, easy enough to write in my sleep. I’ve certainly written more than one post that way. But I think I’d do better if I made it my business to WAKE UP every day, to do my writing while AWAKE and not asleep.
So this post is going up. And after that another one. And another. All awake.