Not awake, not asleep.

Not awake, not asleep

Not awake, not asleep

I sometimes get confused with the term “waking up”.

In spiritual circles the word “awake” often seems to describe a state of realizing Oneness, enlightenment or unity consciousness.

It points to a place where primary identification as the separate self no longer exists.

In non-dual groups people will chat about “when I woke up…” as if one day the light switched on, never to turn off.

My experience has not been like that.

Yes, I have had awakening experiences.  But “awake” still does not describe it.  It’s not as if we’re asleep and then we’re awake.  (Maybe it is for some beings.)

Something may definitively shift, eventually, and then we abide without identification.  Adyashanti speaks of how an initial awakening often occurs as ego dissolves.  We may then still operate from a sense of self, albeit a larger more unified self. Later, awareness wakes up from the self, into the realm of no-self.  Bits & pieces of both awakenings are often experienced as coming and going in many of our lives.

Our minds sometimes hear “awakening” and think it’s something superior, something to which we must aspire.  My experience reveals that awakening usually reveals something very humble, connected, compassionate.  Without division, what is there to do but love?  Without a sense of self, what can possibly feel superior?  All our nemesis’ are clearly seen as ourselves.

In 2008 the first awakening experience happened for me.  Driving to a nearby city on my birthday, the “little me”, that essence usually at the forefront, receded.  OK, she seemed to disappear.  What existed?  Spacious awareness fascinated with Life. Peace, delight, openness.

It lasted on-and-off for about three weeks before the “little me” reasserted herself as the primary character in this play. Then the seeking-enlightenment game accelerated tenfold, further cementing “little me” in place.  (She who seeks is definitely an ego.  That’s what an ego does.  Seeks the next cup of coffee, the next tantalizing experience, $100 for the next arbitrary purchase of goods to soothe itself, enlightenment.)

In the next seven years awakening experiences occurred.  The little Kathy would be eclipsed by the sun of awareness. That sun shone bright in the forefront.  And then, two days or three weeks later, it didn’t.  The Kathy then thought she was an independent character, separate from the shining sun.  Separate from the person who didn’t like her, didn’t understand her, didn’t behave appropriately.

In May this year, one fine evening listening to Adyashanti, suddenly understanding of what he spoke down to the tippy toes, awakening happened yet again.  Gone was the Kathy from her throne of identification.  I asked my husband, “Can you tell a difference?”  Nah, he shrugged, giving a familiar resigned look (oh, here she goes again) and said, “Well, maybe you’re a little nicer.”

Awake?  It wasn’t noticeable on the outside.  From the inside it felt incredibly different.  It was as if consciousness shifted. Awareness became forefront.  Kathy appeared as background, almost an insubstantial piece of music playing.  Kathy certainly wasn’t “awake”.  Perhaps awareness was awake to itself.  But even that’s misleading, as awareness has ALWAYS been awake.

This awakening lasted about ten weeks.  Last weekend, filled to the brim with mental activity, confusion, some emotional pain, stories, the sense of Oneness seemingly disappeared again. (Although not in the old drama of “I’ve got it/I lost it.  It’s still possible to physically see Oneness.  To know that it’s immediate.  It’s just that the Universe is investing itself in the personality once again, bringing it forefront.)

Here’s where it gets challenging.  I can’t say anything about where I am today.  Awake?  Asleep?  Those words suddenly have no inherent meaning.

There is only what is arising next.  It can be identification.  It can be compulsively checking email.  It can be deep peace.  It can be bliss.  It can be mental activity.  It can be gardening.  It can be a negative thought.  It can be a positive thought.  It can be a sense of Oneness.  It can be a searing pain.  It can be total delight.

There’s no word for this that makes sense.  Just:  life arising.  Not awake, not asleep.

P.S.  A half hour ago lost this essay.  One minute, here it is.  Next moment, gone.  Not in drafts, nowhere to be found.  I looked around for an internal reaction.  Mild disappointment.  Oh well.  Life wants to move in some other direction.  OK. Then, ten minutes ago, the blog reappears.  Mild satisfaction.  Oh, Life does want to publish this blog. One never really knows…

16 thoughts on “Not awake, not asleep.

  1. Resonating, inspired…………grateful for the forum provided on this blog.

    Noticing how typically I use language, write in certain pattern, expressing observable reactions to what someone has written.

    Noticing the habit to make it personal, i.e. Kathy wrote and me, Peter, responds…

    Playing with a new “form”, don’t make it personal, allow language to emerge from within a realm that transcends the personal. Is that poetry? It seems that when I choose the philosophical angle, there is a personal touch to it: The attempt to make sense of what was said, comparing it to my set of beliefs on that perceived topic, and then bringing in my 2-cents worth.

    This time, allowing the langue to emerge from the depth of experience, what is here, now?
    Especially towards the end of your post, resonating with that sense of it-is-what-it-is. In the absence of someone to judge it, label it, agree or disagree with it, yes, is sure is-what-it-is.

    Fleeting thoughts about how would what I write be heard, received…recognizing an intent to impress, to be noticed, perhaps to connect and be heard?

    The post stimulates that sense of stream-of-consciousness, letting-it-flow, uncensored authentic expression. Wow, that feels nice, refreshingly crisp and clear. A sense of wanting to do more of it. Recognition that the post inspired this style of being, inducing a state of being-in-the-zone, where there are phenomenons coming and going, and the need to grasp, analyze, explain and discuss it is transcended. Yes, awakening is the topic, and Kathy talks what that is like for her, sweet!

    Awakening…being at Disneyland (believe it or not, have never been!)……and seeing all those rides to step on, or not. What if all the different realms of existence were just like a different ride to enjoy? All the facets of life, facets of truth, that make up that smorgasbord from which to choose from………….and then the sentence just fades into a number of considerations, and it seems to much of an effort to contain the thought. What freedom if we can choose to change our mind, let a thought peter out mid-stream, be distracted by another thought, that is making its way into the focus of attention :-)………….

    Awakening…being at Disneyland (believe it or not, have never been!)……and seeing all those rides to go on. What if all the different realms of existence were just like a different ride to enjoy?

    All the facets of life, facets of truth, that make up that smorgasbord to choose from? Do we have a choice to what ride to go on, what delicacy to pick? And once we chose, do we have a choice about enjoying

    the ride, or saving the taste on our palates? Is our evaluation and response to stimuli deliberate, at will, or is it automatic, or more like a reflex? Do I have an opinion on that, and how important is that opinion.

    As I let it stream, it feels more fun to stay with the experience, navigating around the intellect that appears like rapids and rocks sticking out creating currents in the flow.
    Then again, the self raising its head: “Wow, this is pretty good”, perhaps I should put this on my own blog – and schwooooooooooops, there is that egoic habit, entering through the backdoor, and how familiar
    it feels with the inner voice resuming its ongoing talk.

    Swimming last night, on my back, and looking out into a star filled sky, this consideration hit me: When looking out into that night sky some 40 years ago, there was just darkness and light. My horizon was close in,
    and my attention was pretty much occupied with the menu-of-the-day, mostly re-hashing what happened earlier and speculating what might happen later. Last night though,
    recalling some numbers about the dimensions of what I was looking at, the sheer magnitudes in space, and then projecting myself out there, looking back onto the Earth, and seeing that guy floating on his back
    in a swimming pool in Palm Springs on a really hot summer night. Awe!………..and awe again!

    Well, Kathy, and whoever read along here, or even joined this particular ride ;-)………..what does this have to do with your lovely post this morning?
    Still resisting to go back into my logical mode, explaining myself, or philosophizing……how about leaving it at this for now:
    As enough dust has settled, and enough static of my mental chatter abides, your post created that field out there, that Rumi points to:

    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
    and rightdoing there is a field.
    I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass
    the world is too full to talk about.”

    • Thank you for sharing of your thoughts and feelings, Peter. You have the soul of a poet. And you seem to notice so much. Wow, the star filled sky, the magnitudes of space. I am glad that you explore this side of *what is*, too. While our logical side has an important place, the dreamer does, too. Love Rumi! The field which surrounds us…and IS us…

    • A wise person once said, “Anything can happen now.” And anything certainly does happen! It’s so interesting how the mind so often hears a concept and wants to make it true. I have noticed it’s impossible to say “I am awake” or “I am not awake”. It’s as if both are true, simultaneously. A paradox, for sure!

      • Kathy, and all, ……………this thread holds particular “juice” for me, as it truly opens new doors to new (imaginary) spaces, not visited before! – and after posting such a long “reply” yesterday, it was interesting to observe how self-conscious I felt………a memory, seen in clear daylight, in its full glory of pure fabrication by the self, the persona. Along with it, as clear and crisp, all the slogans that go along with it: “What’s wrong with you, rambling on like that….” and the like. Remarkable, especially remarkable that it is so easy to mistake those slogans as real, and allow those facets or ourselves run our lives. – So in that sense, waking up would be to see that invented self, and how it might stifle and distort, generalize and delete……… see all that from a perspective of the genuine Self, that which is connected to Source. And I see this particular post and the comments exploring within that “field”. There is a yearning here to allow that fog to lift, a fog that seems to be so thick that the natural Self is hidden. –

        THANK YOU all for playing in this field, discovering, experiencing, noticing distinctions among the shifting perspectives. What a wondrous world this is.

        • Oh Peter, I am so familiar with those thoughts that leave us feeling self-conscious and almost ashamed about what we have shared. So many of us do that so often! And it’s just so hurtful at times. And yet–that the Universe speaking through you, as you. The Universe so wanted to say that! I am glad you followed your heart and did so. Thank YOU!

  2. Kathy,

    That is just it, awakening in moments, holding those moments, feelings, knowings… it is like falling in love, the first blush of love, intense and consuming, yet it fades into the back, yet we are changed, we view the world differently, yet life is still breathing in and out.

    The essence of what you say is true to my experience for I recently had an “awakening” again. Beautiful and powerful.

    Love you.


    • Jeff, I like how you say that it fades, but we are changed. YES!!! Never the same. Something shifting, moving, enlightening, opening, revealing. And then the river flows into something else. I am in awe of the power of the Universe that “awoke” itself within you again. What an amazing thing. So glad for “you”…for all of us…

  3. Some time ago I shared with you my story about my “awakening.” I remember feeling very different within. This “world” seemed to melt into Oneness. I didn’t see, feel or react to anything the same for weeks. There are no words to describe the peace I felt. My brother, whom I used to argue with all the time, even remarked about how different I’d become. He had no idea about the spiritual studying I’d been doing and was surprised I wasn’t arguing with him anymore.

    I have not been able to remain in that state for long periods of time since. I only have brief moments with Oneness on occasion. It used to bother me that I couldn’t remain in that state (or “awaken”) again. Over time, I’ve come to accept that the One is experiencing Itself as Lori, and that’s okay. I find it kind of exciting, the play we are acting out as Lori, as Kathy, as all we see in this material world. Anyhoo, those are my thoughts on this “awakening” post. Thanks for the outlet.

    • I remember your story, Lori. Am pondering what it’s been like for you, all these years, after experiencing Oneness and then returning to the Lori-story. Those who have “awakened” say it doesn’t matter if the story plays itself out, or if awareness-as-itself plays itself out. I don’t think we get to choose. Am feeling really happy that you feel this excitement, this OK-ness. I really appreciate that you shared this!

      • Oh yes, I was very upset for some time, that I couldn’t find my way back to Oneness. I read tons of books, sought out spiritual sanctuaries. I read A Course in Miracles, hoping that its lessons of denials of this dual world would help it fade away. Still, I couldn’t get back to Oneness for but a few seconds. I realized that in struggling to get it back, I was actually going against the flow. So, I accepted the “non-reality” as reality while I’m here. It’s not always easy, but I trust the One to guide me where I need to be.

        • Thanks, Kathy. I still get afraid, sometimes scared out of my wits, but I accept that as part of the dance, too. Sorry to go on. This topic has me feeling like expressing today, and I appreciate your blog for this expression.

        • We never know why we write, do we? Sometimes it’s just so another person might express what the Universe wants to express. So many blessings…

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