Waking up from the dream…
March 12, 2010, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Quotes, Random Reflections, The Chatterbox Club | Tags:

I recently listened to a talk on the Eckhart Tolle TV web site. Tolle described “waking up from the dream” (as in “awakening”) in a way that made so much sense to me. He has such a great way with words–he can describe things simplistically enough for the mind to grasp (though of course words are just pointers, as he so often reminds us).

In any case, what he said is that consciousness likes creating (forms), which it does “in the dream state” — just as we (humans) create in our dreams, when we sleep at night. Sometimes we like the dreams and when we wake up from a really ‘good’ dream, we might do so reluctantly. We might prefer to go back to sleep and see what happens with the characters we have created. Nightmares and bad dreams make us want to wake up from the dream, which is what suffering serves to do in our daily lives–it causes us to want to wake up from this dream–the story that we (as unconscious beings) have created.

Hearing him describe it that way, I was reminded of the first time I ever saw someone struggling to wake up. I was babysitting a young girl–I was just a youngster myself–and I happened to sneak a peek into the room where she was napping just as her eyes fluttered open. They closed immediately, and I stood quietly watching her, completely entranced with the process she was going through. She seemd to want to wake up, but also appeared unable to pull herself into complete awakeness. It took her several minutes, during which time she would sometimes open her eyes completely and look at me, only to go back to sleep again for a few moments. I don’t think she actually even saw me those first few gazes. But when she finally did–when my presence registered, somehow–then I saw that she truly WOKE UP from her nap.

This is what I feel like I am going through these days. It feels like a huge struggle to wake up and stay awake. I fall ‘asleep’ many times, for long periods or only moments, caught up in thoughts and unconscious activity. I will sort of catch myself and realize I’ve been lost–that the “Now” has been lost to me–and I will bring my focus back into the present moment. The chatterbox club is challenged to not offer criticisms of my unconsiousness.

Enlightened spiritual teachers suggest that ‘awakening’ is not something one can force. That spark of recognition that throws you for a real loop is offered only through grace, not effort. After receiving it, you may fall back to sleep, or not. I did. And now I am like that little girl trying to awaken … my eyes open and I see, but not really… not enough to keep me fully awake. Yet.

Adyashanti also describes this process beautifully in many ways. I particularly enjoy his talk titled, “An Inner Revolution.” I am including the text of it below, or you can click the link above to read it on his web site.



The enlightenment I speak of is not simply a realization, not simply the discovery of one’s true nature. This discovery is just the beginning—the point of entry into an inner revolution. Realization does not guarantee this revolution; it simply makes it possible.

What is this inner revolution? To begin with, revolution is not static; it is alive, ongoing, and continuous. It cannot be grasped or made to fit into any conceptual model. Nor is there any path to this inner revolution, for it is neither predictable nor controllable and has a life all its own. This revolution is a breaking away from the old, repetitive, dead structures of thought and perception that humanity finds itself trapped in. Realization of the ultimate reality is a direct and sudden existential awakening to one’s true nature that opens the door to the possibility of an inner revolution. Such a revolution requires an ongoing emptying out of the old structures of consciousness and the birth of a living and fluid intelligence. This intelligence restructures your entire being—body, mind, and perception. This intelligence cuts the mind free of its old structures that are rooted within the totality of human consciousness. If one cannot become free of the old conditioned structures of human consciousness, then one is still in a prison.

Having an awakening to one’s true nature does not necessarily mean that there will be an ongoing revolution in the way one perceives, acts, and responds to life. The moment of awakening shows us what is ultimately true and real as well as revealing a deeper possibility in the way that life can be lived from an undivided and unconditioned state of being. But the moment of awakening does not guarantee this deeper possibility, as many who have experienced spiritual awakening can attest to. Awakening opens a door inside to a deep inner revolution, but in no way guarantees that it will take place. Whether it takes place or not depends on many factors, but none more important and vital than an earnest and unambiguous intention for truth above and beyond all else. This earnest intention toward truth is what all spiritual growth ultimately depends upon, especially when it transcends all personal preferences, agendas, and goals.

This inner revolution is the awakening of an intelligence not born of the mind but of an inner silence of mind, which alone has the ability to uproot all of the old structures of one’s consciousness. Unless these structures are uprooted, there will be no creative thought, action, or response. Unless there is an inner revolution, nothing new and fresh can flower. Only the old, the repetitious, the conditioned will flower in the absence of this revolution. But our potential lies beyond the known, beyond the structures of the past, beyond anything that humanity has established. Our potential is something that can flower only when we are no longer caught within the influence and limitations of the known. Beyond the realm of the mind, beyond the limitations of humanity’s conditioned consciousness, lies that which can be called the sacred. And it is from the sacred that a new and fluid consciousness is born that wipes away the old and brings to life the flowering of a living and undivided expression of being. Such an expression is neither personal nor impersonal, neither spiritual nor worldly, but rather the flow and flowering of existence beyond all notions of self.

So let us understand that reality transcends all of our notions about reality. Reality is neither Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Advaita Vedanta, nor Buddhist. It is neither dualistic nor nondualistic, neither spiritual nor nonspiritual. We should come to know that there is more reality and sacredness in a blade of grass than in all of our thoughts and ideas about reality. When we perceive from an undivided consciousness, we will find the sacred in every expression of life. We will find it in our teacup, in the fall breeze, in the brushing of our teeth, in each and every moment of living and dying. Therefore we must leave the entire collection of conditioned thought behind and let ourselves be led by the inner thread of silence into the unknown, beyond where all paths end, to that place where we go innocently or not at all—not once but continually.

One must be willing to stand alone—in the unknown, with no reference to the known or the past or any of one’s conditioning. One must stand where no one has stood before in complete nakedness, innocence, and humility. One must stand in that dark light, in that groundless embrace, unwavering and true to the reality beyond all self—not just for a moment, but forever without end. For then that which is sacred, undivided, and whole is born within consciousness and begins to express itself.


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