What is awakening?
Well, there are different kinds of awakening. Here, its not the act of waking up in the morning from a good nights sleep or an afternoon slumber. In the context of spiritual life, awakening or Self-realization, is the happening of waking up from a different kind of slumber. Traditionally this slumber is considered the, sometimes not so conscious, day to day experience that we all might know quite well. It is considered ”sleep” because in that state we are not aware of our Higher Self or True Nature, which is beyond ordinary perception. We are tainted, wrapped in a haze that, paradoxically, hides our innermost self from ourselves. We have become so entangled in, even identifying ourselves with, such interesting things as our name, gender, physical body, thoughts and feelings, social status, business position etc. All the names and forms, (”Nama Rupa”), not really constituting the essence of what we truely are. Needless to say, this is a discovery each one of us has to make for ourselves in the course of life, process of self development or in our spiritual practice.
Awakening to our innermost essential self, is not information about it, is not knowledge about it (though handy at times). There is a quantum leap from contemplation and philosophical thinking about awakening to the real deal embodied stuff happening right here in you. In the beginning it is a direct personal experience of that deeper awareness, higher consciousness. Later on, if we are lucky, this changes from merely being an experience to become a realization. We become that new reality.
So what are the qualities and expressions of that higher reality? Aha! Yes it can be a so called Aha!-experience but not necessarily so Aha-ish.It seems that most people have experienced a state of awareness higher or beyond their day to day consciousness. Have you ever tried watching a beautiful sunset or sunrise, or simply being amidst natural beauty and its splendor and felt that extraordinary experience of having no boundaries, being limitless and feeling an expansion beyond what can be described? The exceptionel feeling of merging with the surroundings. Like the internal space of your physical body is uniting with the space around you? I believe we have all tried that to some degree. They are the transient smaller openings and realizations that can happen to anybody at anytime. Interestingly enough they often happen when we are right there amidst of natures beautiful splendor. This could easily be an indication of the profound connection we have with nature. Of course we can also just see it as a deep inspiration of something extraordinarily vast and magnificent.
If these experiences happen spontaneously like this, arent they worth having more often? Definitely yes! And I believe that ultimately, they are an expression of that bliss-like feeling of being whole. It is our return to a state of wholeness and being complete and perfect, at least for a moment.