Excerpts About Awakening
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 446 • discuss »
Facets of Unity, p. 222 • discuss »
Brilliancy, p. 338 • discuss »
Brilliancy, p. 339 • discuss »
Brilliancy, p. 339 • discuss »
As we recognize the truth of this drive, we learn to work on the instinctual drives and harmonize them into the enlightenment drive. true nature, our inherent beingness, has its own dynamic force. As the soul matures, this dynamic force appears as the drive within us to go toward greater actualization of that nature, to bring that nature forward and display it in full consciousness, in full awareness. True nature has inherent in it the drive to reveal itself in our experience. We call that dynamic force the enlightenment drive—the drive toward enlightenment, toward freedom, toward liberation, toward awakening, toward reality, toward truth, toward the genuineness and authenticity that is the truth of Being. This is a natural drive that we all have that can wake up at some point. For many people, it hasn’t awakened. Mostly, it functions unconsciously insofar as everybody wants to be happy and everybody wants to improve their life. When this drive toward freedom functions consciously, it appears as the recognition that what is at stake in our lives is the quality of our inner experience, the realization of our inherent beingness, the awakening of our spiritual nature. When we recognize this truth, the enlightenment drive has awakened. The true motivation for practice is the direct expression of this drive.
Runaway Realization, p. 28 • discuss »
Thinking that realization happens because “I am stepping aside” is the same thing as thinking that realization happens because “I am meditating.” Both positions take awakening and illumination to be a result of something we are doing. This becomes problematic because it prevents reality from revealing the fact that true nature is always the illuminator. It is the light that illuminates. It is the awareness that discerns. It is the knowledge that knows. The self or the individual or the practitioner doesn’t have these powers, doesn’t have these capacities. And when we use the ordinary style of language—where the subject doing the action is always an “I” or a self—we are appropriating the capacities of true nature. As I said, from the nonhierarchical view, we see that reality does appear this way sometimes, but if we assume that this is the only way that reality is, we limit our experience of reality and miss all kinds of freedom and fun.
The Alchemy of Freedom, p. 92 • discuss »
When we see that awakening is the self-illumination of true nature, this doesn’t mean that we should stop practicing. It doesn’t mean that we get a free pass and can be lazy and simply rely on true nature to do the job. It means that in our practice, what we have faith in is not the mind or the heart or the body but true nature and its truth and love and power. This trust is similar to how the monotheistic traditions talk about faith in God, except here it is not faith in an other. True nature is not something outside of us or other than us. We completely trust the truth of true nature, and we have unwavering faith in its loving and illuminating and liberating power. The only thing left for us to do in the light of this kind of faith is to stay oriented toward true nature. We continue whatever practice we are doing without believing that we are making any illuminations happen, without believing that our practice or our capacities are what make awakening occur.
The Alchemy of Freedom, p. 93 • discuss »
If we read about the lives of enlightened masters or mystics, we see that often their enlightenment or realization happens when they hit bottom, when they get to the point of being completely helpless and hopeless and incapable. They throw in the towel and completely and truly give up. You can’t fake this; it really has to happen. You have to exhaust all your capacities and truly give up, not out of cynicism or despair but out of the simple recognition that you can’t do anything. When this truly happens, satori is possible and awakening can erupt as true nature manifests with its blazing light. True nature wakes up by revealing to itself the delusion that it is this little self that is trying to practice and get somewhere. And when it sees this, it does not put its energy into the functioning of that little self. It doesn’t put its intelligence and its will into the action of that little self, because that little self can impede the whole process of true nature awakening to itself. It’s not that the little self has the independent power to impede awakening, but because true nature still hasn’t woken up to itself, it is putting all its power into the activity of the little self. So when the little self feels that it can’t do anything, that it is poor in capacity, it is in fact recognizing the power of true nature.
The Alchemy of Freedom, p. 94 • discuss »
When I talk about awakening, I mean waking up: recognizing the purity that is at the heart of reality—the purity that is true nature. I call true nature the heart of reality because I want to leave it a little ambiguous. If I call it the source of reality or the nature of reality, I introduce inaccuracies. True nature is so mysterious that it is nothing in particular and, at the same time, it is the purity at the heart of reality that makes realization and spiritual experience possible. Spirit is so mysterious that we can’t even say that it exists or does not exist; and yet, it manifests itself as existence and nonexistence and all sorts of other possibilities too. Awakening to the realization of the purity that is at the heart of reality means recognizing that this is what we are, and when I say this is what we are, I don’t mean that the usual self is true nature. I mean that the usual self is set aside or dissolved and what remains is true nature that has self-recognition. Awakening can be more or less complete depending on our readiness, on the way that true nature is manifesting itself, and on the magic of the philosophers’ stone. We recognize that there are many kinds of realization because there are many ways that true nature manifests itself.
The Alchemy of Freedom, p. 130 • discuss »
“Awakening,” as we have seen in our exploration of necessary and primary awakening, the expressions I’m using to convey some of the factors that are useful for essential activation, means recognizing true nature. In necessary awakening, we are awakening to true nature or spirit or truth in a way that shows how radically different it is from ordinary egoic experience. When we awaken to what we are, when we recognize what we are in its essential nature, in its true nature, we are experiencing realization. For me, realization equates with being: We are not only aware of true nature, but we are aware that true nature is what we are. Awakening is the simple awareness of true nature, without our necessarily experiencing true nature as what we are.
The Alchemy of Freedom, p. 154 • discuss »