Waking up from the dream

Omkaradatta's picture

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'Awakening' is misunderstood by a lot of folks... people are seeking enlightenment, but often don't seem sure what they're looking for.

The definitive statement of awakening is probably: "There is only this, here". What contacts our being in the moment is real, the rest we cannot know if it's real or not. We have never experienced anything as being apart from us, only imagined it so. Nisargadatta puts it this way:

"There is nothing peculiar in the present event to make it different from the past and future. For a moment the past was actual and the future will become so. What makes the present so different? Obviously, my presence. I am real for I am always now, in the present, and what is with me now shares in my reality. The past is in memory, the future -- in imagination. There is nothing in the present event itself that makes it stand out as real. It may be some simple, periodical occurrence, like the striking of the clock. In spite of our knowing that the successive strokes are identical, the present stroke is quite different from the previous one and the next -- as remembered, or expected. A thing focussed in the now is with me, for I am ever present; it is my own reality that I impart to the present event." -- from "I Am That"

At first, such a view seems curiously limited, perhaps even boring. What, just this present reality here? What about all the rest? Yet it is NOT limited, but is in fact infinite. Without the mental overlay, without dreaming of the past and future, without dreaming of 'elsewhere', we go fully in-depth in terms of what *is* here. Quantity goes away, and full/complete quality enters the picture.

Nisargadatta: "Your world is personal, private, unshareable, intimately your own. Nobody can enter it, see as you see, hear as you hear, feel your emotions and think your thoughts. In your world you are truly alone, enclosed in your ever-changing dream, which you take for life. My world is an open world, common to all, accessible to all. In my world there is community, insight, love, real quality; the individual is the total, the totality -- in the individual. All are one and the One is all." -- from "I Am That"

What does he mean by "my world is an open world, accessible to all?" Well, when illusion drops, we find the 'common world' at last. There is in fact a real world, normally overlayed by much imagination. We really cannot tell very accurately what's imaginary and what's not when we're dreaming. It's a case of "maps vs. territory", what is in the mind and what is present. And these often get confused in the daily waking state. We are generally unaware of this confusion.

"Waking up" is not difficult either, although the ego can be threatened. Nisargadatta suggests:

"Stay without ambition, without the least desire, exposed, vulnerable, unprotected, uncertain and alone, completely open to and welcoming life as it happens, without the selfish conviction that all must yield you pleasure or profit, material or so-called spiritual. Give up all working for a future, concentrate totally on the now, be concerned only with your response to every movement of life as it happens."

"You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and your efforts are meaningless. You imagine that your possessions protect you. In reality they make you vulnerable. realise yourself as away from all that can be pointed at as 'this' or 'that'. You are unreachable by any sensory experience or verbal construction. Turn away from them. Refuse to impersonate."

Awakening is truly worth the loss of imagination; what we gain is reality, which was covered up by the imaginary before. We lose our precious attachments (particularly to ourselves), but gain something far more precious -- the world we had lost.