Awakeness is an innate quality of who you are. What we call "awakening" is recognizing not only that there is awakeness
present but that that is who you are. At some point, you
recognize the immense limitless perfection and innate awakeness
of your true self. This happens on its own with no effort on
your part. Spiritual awakening is similar to the recognition
that you are awake in the morning after sleeping. All of a sudden
you realize that you are awake, the sun is up, and it is time
to get up. In the morning you do not do anything to awaken.
When the time is right, it just happens. Spiritual awakening
also just happens when the time is right.
One of the dilemmas that many find themselves in is that they
want to awaken more than life itself and yet they can do
absolutely nothing to make that happen. The desire to awaken
and the fact that you can do nothing about it are two immovable truths,
which crush "you" between them. When you just rest in
the place where you admit both of these truths, something indescribable can happen. When you just stay there and don't
turn away just because the situation is impossible, then these
two truths can wear away all of your mistaken ideas and illusions. What remains is an empty spaciousness that allows the truth of
your being to become obvious. You still haven't done anything,
but everything else has fallen away, leaving a clear space for
There is a difference between awakening, which is recognizing
the truth of who you are, and Freedom, which is the end of
suffering. Awakening is a gift of grace. That's the part that
you can do nothing about. You can't do anything to make awakening happen. It just arrives, and it's not up to you when. However, Freedom comes as soon as you stop resisting what is happening
or grasping after what is not happening.
When you do that, the
end of suffering is instantaneous. Freedom does not depend on awakening. What it depends on is wanting Freedom more than anything else—more than you want to maintain the illusion of a separate self.
After awakening, there is a natural reduction in the tendency to grasp or resist and therefore a reduction in suffering. However,
even after awakening, the tendency to grasp can still arise,
usually in more subtle ways, such as trying to hold on to the experience of awakening or longing for that experience to return. When that happens, suffering reappears. The good news is that
Freedom is available in every moment—before, during, and after awakening—whenever you surrender your grasping and resistance.
By surrendering your futile efforts to change what is, you can
be free. This choice to surrender is, in fact, the only true
choice you have, since you can't choose to awaken. Then, as
awakening will take care of itself.
Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self
Fair Use Notice: This document may contain
copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically
authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that
this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web
constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material
(as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law).
If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes
of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain
permission from the copyright owner.