Within and from...

Omkaradatta's picture

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Folks talk about 'awakening within the dream' and 'awakening from the dream'. Some suggest to focus on awakening 'within', often because of a fear of abandoning the world, of losing their humanity, or whatever.

'Awakening within the dream' is certainly possible, but if 'awakening from' is of interest then you'd best narrow the dream's context. Awakening 'from' the dream in a broad context is very nearly impossible; the dream is too interesting, supplies too much to keep us interested in dreaming.

Thus, limiting the dream's context is virtually necessary to
awaken 'from'. One can always expand the context again later. "Cave enlightenment" is virtually the only kind. Once we're awake, we can re-enter the world. Do not be afraid of leaving the world alone, for a time.

If I may quote Nisargadatta:

"When you are free of the world, you can do something about it. As long as you are a prisoner of it, you are helpless to change it. On the contrary, whatever you do will aggravate the situation."

"The only proper place is within. The outer world neither can help nor hinder. No system, no pattern of action will take you to your goal. 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."

"In other words, either you become totally self-concerned, or totally un-self-concerned. It is the word 'totally' that is important. You must be extreme to reach the Supreme."

So, how do we be extreme? Well, by abandoning that which we cling to -- the world as we know it, our lives as we know it. We focus on the here and now, on our response to every movement of life, within a more limited contextual definition of "life". We allow our horizons to narrow, let our hopes and dreams go, be fully in the 'now'.

Sound unpleasant? It really isn't. What we find is that our overall level of contentment and satisfaction either stays the same when we do this, or actually increases. But we will need to make some drastic changes in our lives, do a lot more than chat about it on spiritual mailing lists and forums. We let go of the 'carrot on a stick' hanging from our noses, to see that we've really had the carrot with us all the time.

"Awakening" is a real human possibility. In a sense, the ultimate human possibility. To make it a reality, we drop all possibility and be right here in reality. That is the irony of the whole thing.

nancy pro's picture

The more important issue is the starting point - the dream

I think that awakening within or/and from is semanthic. You go on with the process and the exact phrasings loose their significance with the experience which is wordless.

The critical issue is that some try to awaken from an imaginary starting point - I see this mistake many times - not from the dream they are currently in.

The issue is that awakening like any other process can only start from one point: the point where I am right now, this is the only starting point by definition, this is the only starting point that takes into account the here and now, the only starting point which is practical and not theoretical.

If I want to go to New York and I am right now in San Fransisco then it will be pointless to speak about going to there from Barcelona.

I think we should always check where are we right now, what is my here and now, accept this here and now with all the possible difficulties and start the next pace towards awakening from this point, the only point we can genuinely start from.

This point is naturally within the dream if I am not awakened yet... Try to awake within the dream or from the dream, it doesn't matter as long as you admit that you are in the dreamright now.

nancy pro | Sun, 11/16/2008 - 08:36
Omkaradatta's picture

The here and now...

I understand what you're saying Nancy, but the content of thought re: past and future is NOT part of the here and now... the here and now is the present moment, your own presence (minus mental overlay or subconscious mind).

People talk always about "accepting things, warts and all", accepting suffering, but seem to miss the conundrum that suffering and absence of suffering (acceptance) cannot co-exist.

Yes, I agree, start from where you are now. The material I post here may be 'too advanced' for some, as a few people have mentioned something like that already. If so, everyone's free to skip over it.


Omkaradatta | Mon, 11/17/2008 - 00:45
nancy pro's picture

The content of thought is

The content of thought is only here and now as it is brought up in the now and here, when and where else can it be brought up? It starts to have a quality of "not here and now" only when there is unconscious identification with it and so the identifier is carried to other places and times relating to the content itself.

Suffering and non-suffering can co-exist as the real issue depends on who is suffering. If you accept and observe a suffering that is currently occurring then you immediately cease to identify with it - the suffering is still there but you are not suffering, it is just there observed and accepted (until usually it ceases at some point, or not, but you don't care anymore and at some point even happen to ignore it).

nancy pro | Mon, 11/17/2008 - 14:05
Omkaradatta's picture


OK, I can see your points above... there's some benefits to accepting suffering and stopping to identify with it, not identifying with thoughts, etc. But why does suffering keep coming up again and again?


Omkaradatta | Mon, 11/17/2008 - 18:19
Phroggy's picture


I say suffering and nonsuffering do not coexist. You assume that pain is suffering, and that pain in the absence of identification will still result in suffering, just nobody to identify with the sufferer, but suffering results from that identification, not from the experience of pain. Remove the identification and there is no suffering. It's the sufferer that makes suffering possible.

In the absence od identification, it's not that you don't care anymore (about whatever). Caring is a part of Love, but so is acceptance, and so caring is not attachment or need. It might be called compassion.

Phroggy | Mon, 11/17/2008 - 18:21
Omkaradatta's picture

Suffering is unnecessary

Suffering is optional if we have integrity, which is the same thing as 'presentness'. No delaying, no procrastination, no "working on" things, no treating life as a laboratory to perform experiments in, no compromise -- we simply proceed to live life directly, now.

P.S. I've said before that it can be useful to reduce the context of the dream, as we're often in situations where compromise (particularly social) is habitual, but really it's unnecessary -- all compromise is 'inner' compromise. The Self is "absolute", and so we can gauge our level of 'success' on how much compromising we're doing.


Omkaradatta | Tue, 11/18/2008 - 05:26